Another reason I hate Tennessee

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dillon
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by dillon » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:31 am

crfriend wrote:Can we please climb down from this before it gets entirely nasty?
Very sorry, Carl. i am the instigator, as usual. At least I tarred all religions with the same brush, right? But let me get southern here. I just had to interject, not meaning to cause a riot, because watching two full-grown, likely intelligent men debate theology - the minutae of superstition - is like watching two old squirrels fight over a hickory nut that neither has the teeth to crack.
As a matter of fact, the sun DOES shine out of my ...

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by crfriend » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:09 am

dillon wrote:Very sorry, Carl. i am the instigator, as usual.
At least it wasn't me this time -- because it could just as easily have been.
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by moonshadow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:21 am

It's hard. It's hard to submit to a society and government that hates you.
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rivegauche
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by rivegauche » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:14 am

If I can enter this "debate" without offending ...

It is unscientific to say God does not exist. You cannot prove that. All you can say is that there is no evidence that God exists. I call myself a non-believer, not an atheist. As a scientist, I have never felt the need to insult those who believe, or insult their beliefs. I may criticise when it comes to their attempts to restrict how others behave, however.

There are many people who call themselves Christians but attempt to impose rules on others that they have extracted from the OLD Testament. They have done so selectively. If you have problems with men wearing women's garments then you must also have problems with people wearing mixed fibres. Never a word about that.

If we want people to stop criticising us for what we wear perhaps we should live by the same principle and refrain from criticising others for their religious beliefs. The belief itself does no one any harm and can be a great source of comfort to the believer. It is only when that belief is imposed on someone else that it becomes a problem. Same applies to atheism. Live and let live.

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by Sinned » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:01 am

As to the existence of God, as has been said it's impossible to prove that he doesn't exist and I am open minded to this. The Bible is what it is and it's origins are beginning to be unearthed ( sometimes literally ) and places and events in it discovered and explained even in part. But as to the existence of an after-life then I know that it exists. No, I don't have physical proof but after my second eldest son's death my wife and I have felt his presence from time to time. There have been no drops in temperature or anything like that but we have looked at each other with the realisation that his presence is there and we feel it when he leaves. Some may ridicule such but contact spirit to spirit or soul to soul leaves a lasting impression. I've also had other experiences of spiritual "visitations" that have convinced me of life after this. Difficult to explain but unless you are or were there at the time ....
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by moonshadow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:54 pm

rivegauche wrote:It is only when that belief is imposed on someone else that it becomes a problem. Same applies to atheism.
I agree 10000000% with what you said, however the issue is, in the U.S., particularly in "red states" Chrsitian dogma is intertwined with state law. While it's not illegal or forbidden to practice other religions or none at all, it sure handicaps your ability to participate in society.

I wouldn't rant about it so much if it wasn't crammed down my throat at every turn.

As for God existing, it is true that we may never know how the universe came to be. Contemplating these subjects is fun and thought provoking, but so much better when we jettison the dogma. Nobody knows for sure and we'd all do well to keep an open mind.
-Moon Shadow

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by rivegauche » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:14 pm

Yes, the Bible Belt is a bit of a problem. I don't claim any great knowledge of American history but as I understand it the country was founded by a bunch of religious extremists who were driven out of Europe they were so extreme (though they would probably claim oppressed minority). NW Europe is one of the most liberal areas in the world, and though our next (likely) leader is a bit of a Trump clone, he is unlikely to target men in skirts in the same way.

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by crfriend » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:38 pm

moonshadow wrote:
rivegauche wrote:It is only when that belief is imposed on someone else that it becomes a problem. Same applies to atheism.
I agree 10000000% with what you said, however the issue is, in the U.S., particularly in "red states" Chrsitian dogma is intertwined with state law. While it's not illegal or forbidden to practice other religions or none at all, it sure handicaps your ability to participate in society.
It's down to a matter of degree and approach. Not all can survive in a world without a god. To be honest, it can be a terrifying place,especially with what counts as "humanity" in some parts of the world. However, this is not grounds for a select set of believers to jam their particular dogma down the throats of either other believers who don't share the same dogma or non-believers. Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the up-and-coming way in many places around the world.

There is good reason why in a non-uniform population the governing system must be secular: if it's not, it's going to disenfranchise and alienate everybody who does not believe the dogma of the rulers, and that tends to destroy countries. In fairly homogeneous populations (e.g. Japan) intermingling faith with governance can work so long as it's done judiciously. In non-homogeneous populations (e.g. the United States and Europe) intermingling faith and governance is nothing but trouble. In the US, this was recognised early on and is the basis for the 1st amendment to the Constitution; that it's contained in an amendment -- an appendix if you will -- and that it does not also enshrine freedom from religion represent two of the fundamental mistakes of the original drafters (there are numerous others).

It's not so much about faith versus rationalism, it's about whether the two can agree to not impose their will on the other. It's about respect. Can the two coexist? I posit, "Yes", based on personal experience -- but the parties have to "agree to disagree" on some matters which, hopefully, is possible for adults.
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by moonshadow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:33 pm

rivegauche wrote:Yes, the Bible Belt is a bit of a problem. I don't claim any great knowledge of American history but as I understand it the country was founded by a bunch of religious extremists who were driven out of Europe they were so extreme (though they would probably claim oppressed minority).
You're likely thinking of the pilgrims that landed in Massachusetts. Puritan as they were they were only a piece of the fabric that would come to be known as American culture. The settlers in Jamestown were a little more "rowdy" by comparison (almost to the point of their own demise!) Neither groups were part of the original framing of the U.S.'s founding documents.

As to whether America was founded is a "Christian nation"? In my amateur study I'd have to say, "generally yes, though not particularly dogmatic in nature". Generally my understanding is that it was up to the states to decide as the original idea was that the congress (federal government) would not name an official religion. The 10th amendment would have left the matter up to the states. Granted I would imagine most of the individual 13 states would have had provisions for religious freedom in their constitutions and various charters.

Just looking up the 1776 DRAFT of the Virginia Constitution yielded some interesting finds, among them on the matter of religion:

All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to
frequent or maintain any religious institution.


Simple and to the point

I believe based on my occasional reading of documents that surfaced around that time, it was generally understood that the white inhabitants of this land were of some flavor of Christian. I'm not sure if the framers really contemplated the notions of Atheism, or other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, etc. I do honestly wonder if the framing documents would have been different had they had the hindsight of today's U.S. As for Paganism, it really wasn't a "stand alone" religion, and depending on who you might have asked would have been considered an "extinct religion(s) with some holdover customs" at best, or outright "witchcraft" at worse. I'm not sure witchcraft was considered a religion as much as it was considered a forbidden practice and religious heresy. Modern day Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches likely have Gerald Gardner and his followers to thank for elevating that subculture to the "religion" standard and thus being awarded with the same rights and privileges that other more common religions enjoyed (e.g. for the institution to not be taxed) While Gardner had nothing to do with this in the U.S. (he was a British witch) he did inspire others such as Raymond Buckland who would later come to the U.S. and bring with them the "new religion" of Wicca, which many consider to be modern day "witchcraft".

The fact that Gardner quite literally seemed to have "just made that sh!t up", and yet now it (Paganism and Wicca) is generally considered a religious "protected class" speaks volumes for the overall religious picture in the U.S. and in the world.

Whether or not there is a "God" is beside the point, evidence seems to point the the direction that virtually all of the worlds religions were "made up" and patched together over time. One of the biggest point of evidence in this matter is the conflict of trying to decide which of the worlds thousands of religious doctrines is "the right one"? A close examination to each basically requires a leap of faith, literally, and none appear to be, nor can be based on sound rational reasoning. Thus the logical man must conclude that by lacking any absolute evidence to any particular creed, each must be treated with the same level of skepticism. This is not to say that the search for evidence can not continue, that would be arrogant, and that is where I break off from the common "Atheist view". Although most atheist podcast and lectures I've listened to do say that many atheist do not affirm that "there is no god", they simply do not believe in one, as they have no evidence to support the position that there is a god.

All this said, my overall position on the matter is that generally the worlds religions (all of them) are nothing more than a product of human kind and its evolving culture [0] (Wicca being the most recent example). I personally do believe in a "spirit world" so to speak, but I do not believe in the supernatural. I believe everything is "natural", and supernatural stuff is just stuff science can't explain yet, such as it is with the "spirit world". The study of physics is fascinating, and yields the possibility that mathematically, nature can do things that would make the most supernaturally minded religion seem like a parlor trick! For example, if you could travel back in time with a cigarette lighter and flick the thing in your hand before a biblical audience, YOU might be the "Jesus" they wrote about! (the man who performs miracles and makes fire from his hand!)

[0] Just like gender! I told you the two (religion and gender) share MANY parallels!
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by crfriend » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:20 pm

moonshadow wrote:Just looking up the 1776 DRAFT of the Virginia Constitution yielded some interesting finds, among them on the matter of religion:

All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to
frequent or maintain any religious institution.


Simple and to the point
Fascinating. That was certainly forward-thinking for the time. Were there any stipulations on the running of the State vis-a-vis religious interference with governing? That's the biggie in this case.
I believe based on my occasional reading of documents that surfaced around that time, it was generally understood that the white inhabitants of this land were of some flavor of Christian. I'm not sure if the framers really contemplated the notions of Atheism, or other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, etc. I do honestly wonder if the framing documents would have been different had they had the hindsight of today's U.S.
Tolerance for, and the free practise of religion was coming of age at that time. The UK had "recently" mandated tolerance of all religions (mainly Christian or Christian-like, with exceptions for those holding official power) and that's what caused the Puritans to migrate to the New World -- they had no tolerance whatsoever for other forms of religious expression -- the Taleban of their day, as it were. So, the New World wound up with some real rotters in the 1600s. Echoes of this survive to this day.

Many of the original 13 colonies had their own flavour. For instance, Massachusetts was Puritan, Rhode Island was founded by Baptists, Maryland was primarily Catholic, and Pennsylvania had a distinct Quaker leaning. So stitching all of that together required some serious negotiation. 'Twas a bit of a tour-de-force at the time, and it's amazing it held together as long as it did.

Outright atheism likely wasn't even on the horizon in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and even if one didn't practise one of main religions (assorted forms of Christianity and Judaism being the major players at the time) one would almost certainly have been a deist: one who believes in a supreme power but doesn't much worry about it in a practical sense. There is historical evidence that Benjamin Franklin was of this bent. Belief in the supernatural was prevalent even amongst the intelligentsia of the time, mainly because nobody'd put forward a cogent argument as to why a deity (one or more) might not exist. That would have to wait until well into the 19th Century as we began to better understand our world and how it worked.

Paganism would fall into the general class of "deism", and I'm not sure if any two pagans follow the same dogma or doctrine either then or now.

"Therefore, make peace with your god, //
Whatever you perceive him to be - hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin."
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by BobM » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:44 pm

Dust wrote:
Here is a true statement: for any passage of Scripture there is one, and only one, correct interpretation. There may be a hundred applications, but only one interpretation. The law of non- contradiction applies.
Non-contradiction definitely applies, but a passage can have multiple meaning. Take Old Testament prophecy, for example. Much of it had an immediate meaning at the time, while also a deeper meaning that foretold something that Christ would do. This isn't contradictory, at all, but shows multiple meanings.
Indeed. A good many prophesies have both an immediate and a long term application. That, however, is not having different meanings, but different applications. There can only be one correct interpretation. What I find especially amusing is when someone, knowing nothing at all about the subject, pretends some kind of moral superiority because of that ignorance. You are no doubt familiar with what the letter to the Romans has to say about the obvious nature of creation, and the wilful blindness of those who refuse to even consider it, and even boast of their supposed enlightened condition. I'm glad you are not counted in that number.
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by BobM » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:11 pm

If there is no God, then what is the foundation of civil law? If there is no God, then the civil law is only a matter of opinion, and who can claim the right of enforcement of opinion? People, ignorant ones anyway, like to claim that you can't legislate morality, but that is exactly what the greater part of the body of civil law does. Why is murder punishable if it is only a matter of opinion whether or not it is wrong, and why is someone else's opinion of right and wrong worth more than mine? No, there is a law outside of ourselves that applies to all men at all times. We can all agree, maybe, that murder is wrong, but why is it wrong if it is only a matter of opinion?

Consider information. Brother Friend, you will like this. Where does information come from? Does information create itself? Can a blank book fill itself in, or does it require an outside agency? Do computer programs write themselves out of thin air, or is a programmer required? What is DNA, but stored information? Information can not create itself because information is required to create information. But information that can't be read isn't of use, so a reader, RNA, is required. But even with information and a reader, nothing happens without a mechanism for deployment of the read information. To assume that all the incomprehensible amount of information in the universe created itself is, in a word, asinine. Appealing to "chance" as a creator of information-- or anything else--is equally asinine because "chance" has no existence, hence no ability to do anything. The fact of God is both a rational and a logical necessity.
Last edited by BobM on Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by moonshadow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:00 pm

To me, if there is any truth to any of the bible stories, I feel it must come down to one of two different scenarios:

1) Stories handed down yet exaggerated for the dramatization effect. This is not so uncommon and is part of human culture in general. Even today, how many TV shows and documentaries come with the disclaimer "Based on a true story". That doesn't mean the production is factual without fault, rather is BASED on a true story. Much like modern day stories and dramas, these ancient stories were meant to share a message and teach people. People exaggerate. Modern people do, why should the ancients be any different?

2) Extra terrestrial intervention. I am not saying that space aliens are the "Gods of the universe", though if you had a species that were a million years ahead of us in evolution, they might appear as "God like". [0]

As for religious convictions, my only one is that "I do not know". Much in the same manner that I explained to the Jehovah's Witnesses that paid us a visit a while back "I would not be a good asset to a church body because churches claim to have all the answers, thus their congregations minds are generally closed to new ideas. The only thing I know for certain is I that I do not know."

But I will say this, that the same tingly feeling that Christians get when they experience a very uplifting moment in their church is the same one I get when I stare off into the cosmos on cool clear nights and contemplate the universe. So many questions, and each answer yields untold numbers of new questions.

[0] Imagine an advanced species a million years ahead of us. We've only been "civilized" for a few thousand years... now imagine the progress humanity would have made in another 995,000 years! What new things will we learn when we accept the fact that we don't know everything and open our minds to new kinds of thoughts and notions we never would have dreamed of!
-Moon Shadow

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by moonshadow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:08 pm

moonshadow wrote:[0] Imagine an advanced species a million years ahead of us. We've only been "civilized" for a few thousand years... now imagine the progress humanity would have made in another 995,000 years! What new things will we learn when we accept the fact that we don't know everything and open our minds to new kinds of thoughts and notions we never would have dreamed of!
Is it even possible for "humanity" to exist for a million years? Or would some point along the way we'd evolve into a different species all together rendering the modern day "homosapien" a backward relic of the past. Who's to say that these space aliens weren't just like us so many aeons ago? Who's to say that humanity today isn't an elaborate science experiment from these space people to see if they can take a homosapien, plant them on a new planet, and see how they grow, evolve, and adapt?

Fun stuff to think about... like religion, you can't prove it isn't true!
-Moon Shadow

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Re: Another reason I hate Tennessee

Post by greenboots » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:18 pm

Can I recommend an antidote to the modern trend of insisting that religion and science are incompatible?

The Great Partnership by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (formerly Chief Rabbi in the UK)
Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Partners ... 0340995254 (other bookshops are available).

Book Description
Jonathan Sacks sets out a clear and forceful argument for the complementary nature of science and religion, drawing on an eclectic range of historical and philosophical arguments to prove the necessity of both if we are to understand the human condition.


His main contention is that to dismiss religion purely because science (allegedly) has answered all the hard questions about the universe is addressing the wrong issue. Science attempts to describe how the universe works, religion attempts to give meaning to life; science describes how, religion why. (That's a very simplistic summary of very sophisticated arguments) Sacks notes that many of the most contentious scientists were also religious, whether Christian, Muslim or from ancient civilizations before both. It's still the case that many scientists believe that God created an orderly universe, and that in exploring the natural laws helps them to understand the nature of God. Likewise, there are cases of skeptical lawyers seeking to "debunk" Christianity who end up believing.

I write this not to convince or cajole anyone into believing - most of you have demonstrated a strong ability to reason, which will not be overridden by a few words on SC. Rather, I wish to see an end to the battle of words over "fairy tales" vs "facts". There are too many highly intelligent people on both sides to permit outright dismissal either as "fake news"

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