BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Observing the Circus from the Monkey Cage


Human beings have always tried to create rules and codes for their groups. The survival of the group, or its success, (from a biological point of view) may have relied on the group’s ability to come to a consensus concerning what was a favourable habit or action, and when and why that action was appropriate. If we consider perhaps one of the earliest human groups, which was probably the family group, maybe an extended family group; it would have been recognized to be to the group’s advantage that special privileges or rights would be afforded to the members of the group, as those special rights or privileges would have sustained the integrity of the group.

They would have been aware that they were capable of performing actions upon other groups in competition for food, land, breeding rights, that they would not want to be inflicted upon the own members of their family tribe; so, I think they would have afforded special privileges to their own group which may, or may not, have been demonstrated to all or any other group. Some of these actions that they perpetrated upon other groups they certainly would not want their own group members to display WITHIN their own group. So, I think one of the first structures of a code of conduct was built upon a “us and them” mentality. (As an aside, bonobo chimps regularly hunt, kill and eat other monkeys, though of course not monkeys within their own family group.)

So, it may have been ok to rob, rape, steal, plunder, or kill people who belonged to a different group, as they may have seen this as justifiable for their group’s survival. But those same actions, they would NOT want displayed within their own group, as it may have led to the disintegration of the group. Whether or not these rules, or codes were written or an oral tradition, I think the first codes of conduct may have been based upon the desire to protect the group, but not necessarily OTHER groups. If we also consider our ancient past, and if we are prepared to accept our genetic origins of common descent, (and I know that is a hurdle for many religious believers), we can understand that our human hierarchies have a basis in the hierarchy of our ancient ancestors.

I accept that human beings evolved and that we have a common ancestor with other hominids. I also think that the mapping of the human genome and its comparison with the chimpanzee genome is strong evidence for this claim. (See : Ken Miller - On Apes and Humans ) Primates tend to form what are known as “dominance hierarchies”. Animals higher in the hierarchy tend to displace lower ranked individuals from resources (mates, space, food). They tend to have higher reproductive success (either by mating more often, or by having more resources to invest in their offspring). As I accept that we share a common ancestor with hominids, I also accept that human beings also create dominance hierarchies. It is obvious, nonetheless that we form dominance hierarchies even without accepting evolutionary origin, as hierarchies are evidenced in our modern societies.

A hierarchy is a position of power that is assumed by an individual, or group of individuals, according to various attributes and characteristics. Ancient human hierarchies probably found favourable characteristics which we still find favourable today.

  • 1. strength
  • 2. intelligence
  • 3. leadership
  • 4. resourcefulness (etc etc - you get the picture)


So traditionally, though not always in ancient societies and groups, the position of dominance would have been held by “the alpha male” though this was not prescriptive. The alpha male would gain the respect, and trust of the group through deeds.

  • 1. a good hunter
  • 2. a good negotiator
  • 3. ability to forsee danger etc.

So, early human beings developed hierachies which were similar in nature to their genetic origins, and our modern hierarchies, I suggest, also reflect these origins. Alongside the development of human groups, tribes, family groupings was the development of beliefs. Beliefs that most of us today would consider to be myth, legend, folklore and supersitition. And of course this is to be expected in a world where people had virtually no scientific understanding of the natural world around them.

Rocks, trees, plants, volcanos, stars etc were believed to hold special powers which influenced and acted upon the lives of men, either positively or negatively, depending on the circumstance. People looked for the meaning as to why they were injured by fire, and fire became a substance of power, which they harnessed but also worshipped. Meteorites falling from the sky became omens and portents of impending disaster as surely they must have been thrown from the sky by a powerful being/force/entity. Mankind did not have control over this natural environment which was both dangerous but bountiful and they sought to understand it as best as they could.

Those who claimed to understand the messages in the stars, or the powers of the rocks and trees, were revered as they had attained “special knowledge.” It didn’t matter if this knowledge was basically wrong from a modern perspective, as this “special knowledge” learnt through observation and false associations served their primitive purposes. For example: it didn’t take an Einstein to work out, after viewing the smoke and ash displays of a volcano that something was gunna blow. To ancient man, it was obvious that something harmful possibly to them, their family and their environment was about to happen - but why? They had no scientific knowledge of lava, magma, plate tectonics, pressurised gases etc. So, it was inexplicable except as a mysterious power which must reside in the volcano. One that must wish them harm for their misdoings.


So, with the formation of family groups, tribes, and hierarchies, we have the formation of “religious” belief systems. This formation of belief systems opened up a place in the hierarchy for those who claimed “special knowledge” concerning the mysteries. This position became a special position of power sometimes alongside that of the leader of the tribe, sometimes he/she was the advisor to the tribal leader and sometimes he/she assumed the role of leader. These positions of “religious power” had a variety of names depending on the culture from which they sprang. (shaman, witch doctor, seer, prophet, necromancer etc etc), but they were all positions of power within the tribal/ family group.

One way the leader/ tribal elder/ alpha male had of consolidating his power over the group, enhancing his position and retaining it, was to claim the authority, or the agreement from, the member of the group who claimed “special powers.” So, it was inevitable that under some societal structures, the prophet/seer/ shaman (whatever you want to call him or her), would assume leadership based on their claims of special powers or special understandings of the world. Or, that the leader of the tribe would be supported by the shaman who received special privileges due to his support.

Codes of conduct could now be enforced according to NOT ONLY the will of the leader, but also according to the will of seer/prophet. Those who stepped out of line within the group, could be quickly chastened according to the codes, but also with the approval and perhaps at the instigation of the shaman/witch doctor etc. (I am using these terms interchangeably to suggest that their origins are similar - claims of “special powers” and claims of understanding the “special powers.”) The codes of conduct would have reflected not only the will of the leader, and his immediate successors, but also the will of the priest/ “religious advisor”.

This became a very efficient and successful way of dealing with dissent, and also a way to preserve the group, even though the group as a whole may or may not have had a lot of say in the formation of the codes. The belief systems which were formulated would have been “tribe specific”. That is they would have been as a result of the development and the resultant dynamics specific to a region. So, they would have reflected the geo-political specifics of the tribe. Of course, other tribes also created their own “gods” which reflected the geo-political specifics of THEIR tribes but each tribe was convinced and encouraged to support the beliefs of THEIR tribe to the exclusion of other codes which may exist in other tribes.

These codes of conduct, behaviour etc were prescriptive for the members of the tribe, but did not necessarily apply to people outside of their tribe. Battles for resources, land, food, women, slaves etc continued to be waged, but each tribe carried with it, the approval of their “religious leaders” . Homages and sacrifices, chantings and mantras would have been performed by the one with special powers, and eventually by other members of the group; in the hope of effecting the outcome of such raids, or ventures. Of course, if the incursion failed, it was because the group had not ministered well according to the wishes of either the religious leader, or they had displeased the god in some way, and this was punishment for their "bad deeds" or lax behaviours.

This hierachial arrangement was successful until a tribe came up against another tribe which was more powerful. The other tribe may have had more sophistocated weaponry, a larger fighting force etc. In which case the weaker tribe was subsumed by the more powerful one. By some, this would have seemed as an indication that the “gods” of the other tribe were more powerful than their own gods, so the survivors may have decided to adopt the beliefs of the victor. In many instances, according to ancient history, the victors would not enforce the worship of their gods but would amalgamate their gods onto the gods of the defeated tribe. This ensured a certain amount of harmony if the defeated tribe’s religion was not entirely broken and destroyed.

This type of hierarchy has remained popular because of its ability to motivate the group in a common direction. It doesn’t require that any of the gods created actually exist for it to be an effective method of crowd control. All that it requires is that people believe they exist and that they will be punished, either according to a code of law, or according to the laws of the religion. The notion of religious law, based on a belief in the existence of gods, has remained popular because it claims a “higher authority” than that of the leader of the group, the president, the prime minister, or the alpha male.

It claims an authority, which theoretically, unlike that of an elected leader, CANNOT be questioned under any circumstances. It has claimed the position of privilege where it’s rules are sacrosanct. (above and beyond question and criticism). As, I said, it doesn’t require that any of the gods actually exist. Neither, the volcano god, the egyptian gods, the sumerian gods, nor the ant god of africa. Whether or not they exist, (and obviously, I don’t believe that any of them do), has become irrelevant to their political, social and cultural functions.

Religion and god belief has been a very successful political tool, used to apply and encourage all sorts of social, cultural, and economic stances. Though of course this has not been without a considerable amount of bloodshed, but, as previously mentioned, the pattern had been set in those ancient tribal times that when you kill in a political arena for what you believe is for the preservation of the codes and religious beliefs of your tribe, it is not considered murder. It is considered a sacrifice for the benefit of the tribe. And obviously, the most “powerful god symbol”, would be one who was prepared to die so that others in his tribe could live and prosper.

The major problem in our modern times is that most of the religions, god beliefs of the ancients have been subsumed by war, imperialism and evangelism. There are basically 3 powerful political systems which use their tribal religion as a political tool. 1. christianity. 2. islam 3. hinduism. In reality it comes down to the first two. Each seek dominionism over the other. In the competition of the tribes, as from their beginings in ancient tribes, “there can be only one.” Neither in their extreme fundamentalist form, is prepared for pluralism as represented in a secular society. They each seek a monopoly in the political arena, and dominionism over the rest of the planet. They do not seek a society where many people of various religions, or no religion, can live harmoniously within a political climate which offers equal protection for ALL regardless of their religious belief.

This is the position we find ourselves in, and this position, I suggest is evidenced by how, and why we created our codes of conduct and our religious codes to suit our geo-political origins in the very beginning.





Monkey Magic

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73 Comments:

Blogger breakerslion said...

2nd try. Glooger decided to go down for maintenance as I was publishing the last time.

My pet theories on this subject are similar to yours. What a marvelously untouchable alpha is the godhead, and what marvelously humble servants are its alpha-by-proxy shamans. Tribal elders deserve some scrutiny in this paradigm too. While elders have a role to play in any tribal structure, their vulnerability decreases in direct proportion to their ability to spin mummery and create fear and awe. As you point out, it does not matter that their "wisdom" is mostly wrong attibution, what matters is what the rest of the tribe believes.

You left Judyism out of your list of major religions, by the way. What we lack in numbers, we make up in devotion. Chickpeas!

17/3/07 1:07 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Since our previous exchange is now in an archived thread does that mean you will not be responding to the comments on Justin Martyr?

17/3/07 1:07 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Oh, totally. The origins of human government and religion rest on foundations laid in the Neolithic.

On the other hand, it's not inevitable. Even if it was genetic, there are plenty of ways to stop the expression of a gene as a phenotype (and I concede there is likely a genetic component to dominance in humans, as in most primates). Genes are not destiny.

17/3/07 2:38 pm  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Religion came about because humans are aware of their own mortality. It is possible humans have a "God Part" of the brain.

17/3/07 4:11 pm  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

That was a good read. Vid too.

17/3/07 5:36 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE lion

Don't ya hate it when blogger eats the post. I have got into the habit now of copying my post before I try and post it, just in case it gets munched.

I didn't comment on "judyism" because even though it is alligned politically quite strongly with christianity, it doesn't trust the fundie christians or the fundie muslims anymore than I do.

And fundie jews tend not to proselytize. They may be as nutty (in my opinion), as the other pair, but they tend to respect other people's right to a religion or to no religion.

17/3/07 9:52 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly:

Sorry, I have been out today doing girlie stuff like shopping and going to the movies, so I haven't had time to look at the previous thread. I will have a look later on when I get a bit more time.

For anyone else who is interested in commenting - the thread is -
http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/2007/03/issue-of-extraordinary-claims.html

17/3/07 9:55 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE chris

"Genes are not destiny."

Perhaps being aware of that which may be influencing us, is our strength and our weakness. We are aware that the major influences on our lives are nature (genetics) and nurture (environment). This makes it interesting. For how much does human awareness impact upon the results?

I think that how genes are expressed and the circumstances under which gene expression occurs is going to be one of the most interesting academic studies in the future.

17/3/07 10:05 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE renegade

I am not sure I would describe it as a "god part of the brain" but I have read the studies to which you are referring.

17/3/07 10:07 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE michael

I don't know if you ever saw the TV series called "Monkey" but it was very popular here in OZ about 20 years ago. It was loosely based on the supposed ventures and expeditions of the Buddha.

17/3/07 10:11 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Fantastic post Beep. There's no doubt that god has and still is being used as the ultimate authority to whom all people that don't do as they're told will answer.

And Monkey was the best. I particularly liked the way he kept his staff behind his ear...:)

17/3/07 11:15 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

What an awesome post beepbeep! Lots of food for thought here.

18/3/07 12:40 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

I think that how genes are expressed and the circumstances under which gene expression occurs is going to be one of the most interesting academic studies in the future.

Yes, it will. And maybe I'll be proved wrong and genes are destiny, hehe. I suspect not, but, yes, a growing awareness of genetics is going to be useful in shaping human society (and humans, themselves) to be what we want us to be.

Which also raises the question, "What do we really want to be?" ;)

18/3/07 4:59 am  
Blogger Goader said...

God or gods represent that which we do not understand therefore, God does exist. When contemplating the unknown one realizes it is extensive. The life processes that are required to sustain us are mostly unknown. Science has done a good job of identifying many processes of life but has accomplished little of understanding how they originate.

We observe the many processes involved in consumption, digestion, and assimilation of eating food, as well as explain many of the steps involved. However, we can do nothing to create the systems of structure and function. In other words, we can explain things eloquently but cannot begin to do them. It is this profound disconnection between our ability to understand life and our inability to cause it that is God.

Those who possess the ability to bridge the profound disconnect are the ones who lead, be they political, religious, or familial. We all, on one level or another, know how little we really know yet succeed in life by living. A few are able to convince the many that they have the missing answers. Mother Nature has bred in us the capacity to ask questions (all new parents find this out soon enough), which is like an empty glass that is only useful when something is in it. We do not carry around an empty glass long without filling it with something. Few of us find saying we don’t know comforting, therefore, we create answers readily. If we cannot come up with the answer then it is comforting to know a few of us will do just that i.e. the politician, the priest, or good ole mom and dad.

18/3/07 7:13 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Each seek dominionism over the other. In the competition of the tribes, as from their beginings in ancient tribes, “there can be only one.” Neither in their extreme fundamentalist form, is prepared for pluralism as represented in a secular society. They each seek a monopoly in the political arena, and dominionism over the rest of the planet

Um, Christianity can't tolerate pluralism for the reason that in order to do that, we must embrace contradictions.
The God of the Holy Bible is in contradiction to other gods of other religions.
And by the way, when was the last time you heard of a Christian group of people rioting and getting violent because someone made fun of God or Jesus? Even "extreme fundies" of the Christian faith aren't suicide bombers.

18/3/07 8:46 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Jaynes in his book stipulates that there was a hierarchy among the 'bicamerally challenged' (hehehehe).
That is to say, everyone heard the voices of the gods - but it would've been chaos had they not agreed, & somebody HAD to be in charge IAMOS.

18/3/07 9:04 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

I see that you live in the deluded fantasy world where your christian tribe doesn't do terrible things in order to ensure its dominance.

These actions in order to ensure your tribe's dominance were performed by your christian tribe in the last 300 years.

1. The almost complete obliteration of the native people's of North America.

2. The subjugation of the native people's of South America.

3. The destruction and subjugation of the native people's of Africa.

4. The destruction and subjugation of the native peoples of Australia.

5. The dropping of 2 atomic bombs on Japan, with, no doubt, the blessings of many a "christian leader" and the blessings of a "christian nation" where it is estimated that as many as 140,000 had died in Hiroshima by the bomb and its associated effects,with the estimate for Nagasaki roughly 74,000.

In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the deaths were those of civilians. IN 1945 firebombing of Tokyo killed 72,489 people, according to the Japan War History office. About 60 Japanese cities had been destroyed through a massive aerial campaign, including massive firebombing raids on the cities of Tokyo and Kobe.

6. Agent Orange was used from 1961 to 1971, and was by far the most used of the so-called "rainbow herbicides" used during the Vietnam War. Studies of populations highly exposed to dioxin, though not necesarily Agent Orange, indicate increased risk of various types of cancer and genetic defects.

Agent Orange is not the only still-remaining lethal legacy of the Vietnam War. Areas such as Quang Tri Province, north of the Aloui valley, are still littered with unexpoded bombs. In total, it is estimated that six million are still scattered across Vietnam.

The US sprayed 80 million litres of poisonous chemicals during Operation Ranchhand. There were many Agents used, including Pink, Green and White, but Agent Orange was used the most - 45 million litres sprayed over a 10th of Vietnam. It was also used - mostly in secret - over parts of neighbouring Cambodia.

Andrew Wells-Dang, Fund for Reconciliation and Development
But Agent Orange in particular was laced with dioxins - extremely toxic to humans. Dioxins accumulate in the body to cause cancers. Anyone eating or drinking in contaminated areas then receives an even higher dose.

Spraying stopped in 1971, after more than 6,000 MISSIONS and growing public disquiet.

Now before anyone starts to jump up and down protesting about how it was war and these actions were completely justified, I want to make this clear. I am not making a moral judgement about these acts. I am neither saying that they were justified nor unjustified, I am merely pointing out that these actions are NOT in contradiction to the model I explained in the article "Observing the Circus from the Monkey Cage."

They display the mentality that ancient tribes used in order to assert dominance over another tribe, and they display the mentality that modern tribes use in order to ensure and assert dominance over other tribes.

As with the ancient tribes, their gods went with them when they had wars, skirmishes, battles with other tribes. And synonymously, the god or gods of modern tribes are always there cheering them on when they go on a destructive spree in order to ensure dominance as well.

So, don't talk to me how muslims have blown themselves up and others to kill their supposed enemies. This trend of wilful destruction for the "greater good" of the tribe, and for the "honor of one's god" is just as evident in our cultures as it is in theirs.

This tribal metality has changed little. The reasons for destroying the opposing tribe have changed little. The respective gods and their respective shamans, "magic men", prophets, religious elders, are still there cheering on each side towards more heinous acts of cruelty and barbarism. (The gods like the smell of burning flesh don't you know...)

And there are still enough people in the world who fear and despise other tribes to ensure that it continues.

18/3/07 11:05 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Even "extreme fundies" of the Christian faith aren't suicide bombers.

Christians don't need suicide bombers. They have smart bombs and huge armies.

18/3/07 12:35 pm  
Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Beep, good post. It is amazing that apes get by without having to keep their tribes in line using God. But then again, they haven't gone that extra mile with respect to the higher intelligence man has, and didn't evolve enough to have to get a steady paycheck, build homes and worry about mortgage payments.


Goader,
Science has done a good job of identifying many processes of life but has accomplished little of understanding how they originate.
******************
There are many theories about how life originated, just give it time, and science will explain it completely.

God or gods represent that which we do not understand therefore, God does exist.
******************
Wow. There was a time we didn't understand lightning. So I guess back then God was throwing down bolts on earth.

18/3/07 1:26 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Beep,
Just in the first four instances you used there was a lot more going on than "Christians violently pushing their agenda on others".

18/3/07 4:09 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Sadie:

And the same can be said then for "the muslim agenda."

Religion is the willing accomplice. Wherever there is political mileage to be made, or political power to be had, there will be a religion pushing or pulling the populace in one direction or the other. And justifying whatever actions are taken according to their "holy books."

18/3/07 6:17 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE goader:

I agree that the concept of a god represents that which we don't know about, or our lack of knowledge about the universe, ourselves etc.

So, I agree that "god" exists as an abstract conscept, whether or not any gods exist in any other form, I seriously doubt.

18/3/07 6:19 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Sadie: when was the last time you heard of a Christian group of people rioting and getting violent because someone made fun of God or Jesus?

The the crusades tended to lean towards violence and the Inquisition was renowned for it. Just because they didn't use explosives doesn't mean they didn't employ terror in any form they could.

18/3/07 9:23 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Sadie:

I don't see this as a "us and them" competition as in who is the most violent, who is the most depraved, or who is the most "barbaric." But I am not surprised that many people do. We are taught to accept the false dichotomy of " - either this or that.

The only job required of people under the false dichotomy model is to pick your team and then find all the reasons why YOUR team is worthy and the other team is not.

People willingly do this with football teams, political parties and religions. An only "2 choice world" means that people don't have to think seriously about any issues. They just have to "pick a horse" and keep riding it to the finish line.

Therefore the model that many people use to make their choice is flawed, but they persist in playing the game anyway.

Christianity and Islam in the secular world are like declawed and de-toothed tigers, still menacing, but most of the bite has been removed.

Where they are have political power, they quickly revert back to their autocratic, dominating, oppressive and authoritarian ways that have littered their history.

And this is why islam in theocratic societies is so potent, oppressive and feared. Make no bones about it, I am aware of how potentially dangerous a political force like Islam is. And I am also aware of how throughout history, christianity ALSO has been ruthless, dominating and, oppressive.

So, go ahead, worship your god, I accept the individual's right to believe in a god. Everyone should have the freedom to believe in the tooth fairy if it helps them get through the night.

But personally, I do not trust the judgement of any politician who plays the religious card. (This includes ALL religions.)

I do not trust their judgement, nor their intentions. And I do not trust their ability to make rational, intelligent honest decisions.

18/3/07 10:46 pm  
Anonymous Goader said...

Baconeating Atheisjew—

In the past, God threw down no more lightning than in the present. Humans have created gods in the past to explain natural phenomenon, but once an explanation exists sufficient to satisfy them they relegate the god to myth. Though we explain the process to our satisfaction, we do not begin to understand its fundamental causes, which so far we have yet to discover even one. When humans think they have reached the fundamental level in a process, it turns out that a new unknown exists.

Take lightning for example; all that we know about it only leads us to the next unknown of its origin. In order to know the origination of a lightning bolt, we must understand all of the four (currently we know of four) basic forces of the Universe. We do not. In my mind, therefore, God exists in the details of how any process originates. So far, we have not found the first originating detail—none, nada, zip.

BeepBeepItsMe—

I did not mean to imply God was abstract. God exists in the next unknown we strive to understand; therefore, when we reach a fundamental level of origination, which we have yet to do, we will have a concrete glimpse of God. After eons and reaching many more fundamental origination points, we will have many more glimpses of God. Only then will we see God in this life without having to enclose see with quotation marks. In the meantime, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God does exist in life’s details.

I did mean to imply, though, that gods are abstract since, in the past, they explained that which humans did not understand. As our understanding of natural processes increased, the importance of gods diminished.

18/3/07 11:11 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: goader

"God exists in the next unknown we strive to understand; therefore, when we reach a fundamental level of origination, which we have yet to do, we will have a concrete glimpse of God. After eons and reaching many more fundamental origination points, we will have many more glimpses of God. Only then will we see God in this life without having to enclose see with quotation marks. In the meantime, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God does exist in life’s details."

Specifically this means what?

18/3/07 11:43 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Sadie:

And by the way, when was the last time you heard of a Christian group of people rioting and getting violent because someone made fun of God or Jesus? Even "extreme fundies" of the Christian faith aren't suicide bombers.

I seem to recall one George W Bush using the "God asked me to do it" as one (of many) pretexts to invade Iraq.

Also, for extreme Christian fundies getting violent, one needs look no further than Fred Phelps and his cronies.

In Africa at the moment, religious zeal means that tribespeople practising traditional religions can be lynched for being "witches".

It appears too easy for Christians to hide latent bigotry behind a veneer of moral outrage. Sadie this comment is not directed at you personally, unless this shoe fits.

18/3/07 11:43 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader:

I did not mean to imply God was abstract. God exists in the next unknown we strive to understand; therefore, when we reach a fundamental level of origination, which we have yet to do, we will have a concrete glimpse of God.

Then:

I did mean to imply, though, that gods are abstract since, in the past, they explained that which humans did not understand.

So did you mean to imply that "God" was abstract or not? "God" is only one more in a long line of "Gods", after all. How does a current lack of an "explanation" make this god any more real than it did Zeus?

19/3/07 12:18 am  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Ho Monkey!

Great stuff, Beep!

19/3/07 12:19 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Ted—

Gods (lower case “g”) are abstract creations of humans to explain natural processes that are incomprehensible at the time. God (capital “g”) is an unalienable entity, which exists independently of understanding. It does get blurry at this point, because God is so far beyond human understanding. Image going back in time ten thousand years and explaining to the people that our bodies are made of trillions and trillions of atoms. Each atom has a nucleus and some combination of electrons. The configuration of the nucleus and electrons varies and determines all the various bodily systems. Today, you and I can comprehend this complex scenario; but imagine how those living ten thousand years ago would see it.

Using magnetism as another example, the ancient human might choose to name the force Magnanimous (the god of attraction and repulsion). Later, after a plausible explanation, the more enlightened human relegates Magnanimous to myth. Rather than completely get rid of Magnanimous, the god is categorized in myth, which has value today since we still do not understand the originating forces of magnetism. However, since we have an understanding of the four basic forces of the Universe we no longer need Magnanimous for an explanation. One might still argue that since we do not completely understand magnetism then Magnanimous still lives. In an abstract mythological way, that person is correct. Let us remember that abstractions are as real as our thoughts.

Is God pantheistic or creationistic? I would answer this question, “Yes, both.” I admit this is confusing, but I believe that knowledge is the path to God; problem is we are only ten steps into a journey trillions of steps long. The good news is, we are only one step away from discovering one of the, no doubt, infinite origination points i.e. black holes, singularities, parallel universes, etc.—all we need discover is our first one.

BeepBeepItMe—

I hope that my address to Ted holds some explanations of which you inquired. “The Monkey Cage” addresses the gods that humans created to explain their surroundings. I suggest also that the “us and them” mentality emanates from natural forces that compel certain actions. Humans create the gods they need but also, they succumb to forces of God as well. (Here I defer to Spinoza’s concept of God, which is not exactly my view but has some similar elements.) In other words, humans, even today, are compelled toward hierarchical groups. Go to an organized sport like football, baseball, and hockey and you will see the unbridled nature of human behavior as it unwittingly expresses the "us and them" mentality. One sees it in nationalism, racism and classes. I believe your point is that these forces exist today as they did since the beginning of complex organisms.

19/3/07 3:08 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
And by the way, when was the last time you heard of a Christian group of people rioting and getting violent because someone made fun of God or Jesus? Even "extreme fundies" of the Christian faith aren't suicide bombers.
Sorry if it seems like we're all dog piling on you, dear.
I would like to point out also, that the US has had its share of xtian terrorists as well: McVeigh, the Army of God, etc.
NTM the recent spate of women who've killed their kids because 'gawd' told them to.
& there have been religiously motivated serial killers as well - BTK, Son of Sam, there's a bit of a list (no, not ALL serial killers, but there seems to be quite a few).

19/3/07 6:04 am  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

"Hey , hey we're the monkeys....."

Sadly, anyone who lifts Christianity above anything else, is simply too closed minded for their and our own good.

Christians were out yesterday protesting against the protesters who don't want to kill anyone else or be killed.

Guess I'm too dumb for religion! ; (

19/3/07 7:48 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Hello All,
I think my comment is the most quoted thing in these here comments!
Don't worry KA, this is a blog for atheists so it looks like you guys are dog piling, you are! But that's okay, I expect that to an extent. I hear all of the points that you have made about Christianity and violence and the way that men will use religion to justify their evil deeds. I am not in dispute over that.
However,
I will dispute anyone that says the Bible commands it's readers to take up with opposition in force and violence.
Even if I disagree passionately with abortion, I could never use Scripture to justify bombing an abortion clinic or harming a doctor that performs abortions. I can't even find an excuse to scream at woman entering a clinic! And while I know these things have happened in the past, it doesn't mean that these are good examples of Christian practices.
All too often, people who dislike Christianity will extract from it's culture, the very bad examples of religion in order to paint a broad negative picture of Christianity as a whole.
Take the documentry "Jesus Camp" for an example. It was nominated for an academy award so it is widely viewed and honored. However, it is a very poor example of a true picture of the faithful and how we raise our children. It's no accurate for most Christians and it's only focusing on a small sect of Christian culture.
I'm going off on a small rabbit trail but it needed to be said.

19/3/07 8:09 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
Well, we could go off on an extended bunny trail just on OT quotes alone (Oy vey, what savagery it entails), but there are a few NT quotes (granted, only a few) that explicitly condone violence. Sending the sinners to hell, for instance.
I appreciate that you're more restrained than your brethren: I realize that for the most part, people are a fairly decent bunch.
All too often, people who dislike Christianity will extract from it's culture, the very bad examples of religion in order to paint a broad negative picture of Christianity as a whole.
Here's the thing: I blame the people rather than the system overall. But the system claims that it improves folks, & I just don't see that happening en masse. It works for a few: but the demographics speak otherwise.
& when you have a system that's mired in ancient, anachronistic rules that haven't really been applicable for at least a 1000 years, that has nearly ZERO standardization, that shows a remarkable inability to elevate individuals as well as groups to anything remotely resembling the 'higher ground', well, it's overdue for a complete overhaul or a bulldozer.
That's just my 2¢ worth, anyways.

19/3/07 8:56 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Goader:
God exists in the next unknown we strive to understand; therefore, when we reach a fundamental level of origination, which we have yet to do, we will have a concrete glimpse of God. After eons and reaching many more fundamental origination points, we will have many more glimpses of God. Only then will we see God in this life without having to enclose see with quotation marks. In the meantime, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God does exist in life’s details.
What, is that a high-flown way of saying, "Hey, be patient! All will be revealed!"?
I sniff 'gawd of the gaps' in that 1.

19/3/07 8:58 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Yes, I basically hear "well, of course all the other gods don't exist, but my God does."

19/3/07 9:28 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I am left with the feeling that modern day christians are either unaware of the historical ravages and rampages of their religion, or they rationalize these occurrences in some way in their minds, so it doesn't impact negatively upon their idea of what christianity is.

19/3/07 9:32 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

KA...that explicitly condone violence. Sending the sinners to hell, for instance.

So the NT encourages people to "send the sinners to hell" or is that a job left to God at judgment day?

Beep--
Let me get this straight in my mind. According to you, I'm ignorant of my faith's history or I ignore the implications?
I offer you a third option:
I am fully aware of Christianity's history. I do not build the foundation of my faith in Christ Jesus on the shoulders of men nor the history of the church.
My foundation is in him alone.
Man has the unique ability to corrupt and misuse any good and useful thing. Why should the the word of God be any exception?
Perhaps I should lose my faith in democracy as well because the politicans have corrupted it's initial purpose of goodness and fairness?
Perhaps I should lose faith in love because lovers in my past have abused and misued it just to get me bed?
Yes, you are right Beep, Christians should lose their faith in God because corruptable men have misused and abused the word of God. The Bible has nothing to do with the Holy word of God and EVERYTHING to do with how feeble, weak-minded men have used it for their own personal gain and glory. I have been misguided.
*wink*
:)

19/3/07 10:03 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Well, I learned about “God of the gaps” today, I had not heard the term before. I see GOTG as more in line with my explanation of gods (small “g”) and their role in perhaps filling gaps in understanding, by providing supernatural explanations. Those gifted in weaving supernatural yarns wind up leading churches.

My implication is that the more we understand, the closer we get to God (capital “g”), which is Krystalline Apostate’s low-flown way of saying, “Hey, be patient! All will be revealed. The more we learn reveals how much we do not know. It is the complexity--or the gaps-- that supports rather than diminishes the existence of God.

Though we seem to know much we really do not, since we have barely scratched the surface of what is knowable. I like to use the human body as an example of how little we know. It is our vessel yet we know next to nothing of how to create and maintain it. The degree of complexity required to explain what happens to a grape after it is swallowed is incomprehensible. You might ask why it is incomprehensible if science can explain the process involved. The answer is that after completing the monumental task of diagramming and explaining all the processes of the grape’s journey to its inevitable, science is no nearer to answering why. Humans are good at how and not so good at why. Let us just say God lives in the why.

I want to be clear, in case you include me in the “those gods don’t exist but my God does” group. Let me remind you that I give credence to all gods as they have their respective reasons for existing. I even went so far as to legitimize mythology as a convenient “home” for retired gods. I was careful to say abstractions are as real as thoughts, and I do not think anyone here will deny the reality of their thoughts.

19/3/07 10:11 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
So the NT encourages people to "send the sinners to hell" or is that a job left to God at judgment day?
Obviously a rhetorical question.
It's the epitome of violence. For an omniscient being to constrain its offspring to eternal torment (& this in lieu of a substantial portion never having been exposed to the doctrine, unless of course you believe in the Dante clause) for being wayward, for ignorance, it's...well, it wrenches my stomach to think of it.
I'd rather be switched off like a light than endure the thought of billions of people being in pain.

goader:
It is the complexity--or the gaps-- that supports rather than diminishes the existence of God.
That's the teleological argument.
You might ask why it is incomprehensible if science can explain the process involved.
Appeal to wonder.
Let me remind you that I give credence to all gods as they have their respective reasons for existing.
So you're a pantheist? Polytheist?
I was careful to say abstractions are as real as thoughts, and I do not think anyone here will deny the reality of their thoughts.
Reification.
Here, I'll give my 'low-flown' (chuckle, snort) explanation:
Everything just is.
We can see a substantial track record: once, god(s) were given the abilities of weather, the attributes of planets, sun, moon. They were said to perform wondrous feats, from thunder to wind to monsoon. 1 by 1, these explanations fell. Blown away like dandelion spores by the soft breath of scientific inquiry. Superstitious theories fell by the score, & are still falling, toppled like a house of cards.
The gaps are being filled - because water seeks its own level.
Be patient - all will be revealed.
Just don't be saddened when it is finally proven that there was no invisible hand behind it all.

19/3/07 11:25 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader: in case you include me in the “those gods don’t exist but my God does” group.

I'm afraid I do, but there's a reason.

God (capital “g”) is an unalienable entity, which exists independently of understanding.

This is an abstraction which, by your own logic, means it should be a lower-case "g", if I've read you correctly.

19/3/07 12:10 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

I wonder if teleological reification just is, or pantheism, like water seeking its own level, reveals the invisible hand saddened but patient to the polytheist. Sometimes I just wonder.

19/3/07 12:12 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

KA--
I can't stand the thought of people going to hell either. That's why I spread the gospel as much as I can and whenever someone will listen. That's why as soon as my kids are grown, we will probably find our selves in the mission field--serving people and telling them about God.
Why do you think people do that? Serve people the way Christians do?
To grow in number so that we can dominate? To corrupt people? Brainwash them?
Why would I, who is seemingly non violent and capable of rational thought, go to the ends of the earth for Jesus?

19/3/07 12:26 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Just don't be saddened when it is finally proven that there was no invisible hand behind it all.

That's such a weird thing to say to a stranger. It would be like me telling you not to be "saddened" when you die and are suddenly standing before the Holy God to give an account of your life.
Surprise! It was all true after all!
Like I would delight in that.
Would you delight in proving me God does not exist? Surprise! You have been living a lie! You really are going to die and become worm food and nobody hears your prayers you silly sap.
Kinda meanspirited if you ask me.

19/3/07 12:33 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "My implication is that the more we understand, the closer we get to God (capital “g”), which is Krystalline Apostate’s low-flown way of saying, “Hey, be patient! All will be revealed."

And my implication is that the more we understand about ourselves and the universe, the less likely that we will call any of this knowledge, "God".

Unless, of course, one's concept of "God" is a shape-shifting abstraction capable of discretely filling the gaps of the unknown, which is what they appear to be.

19/3/07 1:51 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "... reveals the invisible hand saddened but patient to the polytheist."

Implies that pantheists are polytheistic? Not in my dictionary they aren't.

19/3/07 1:53 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Missionary work is fine and dandy. Don't forget to hand out the "don't have sex cards until jesus tells you to" to people starving away digging for roots in the not so good earth.

And don't forget to tell them that if they get AIDS that it is god's punishment.

And don't forget to tell them that if they pray hard enough that god will might forgive them and cure them from AIDS.

Prayer is always a lot cheaper than condoms or AIDS medication.

19/3/07 1:59 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
I wonder if teleological reification just is, or pantheism, like water seeking its own level, reveals the invisible hand saddened but patient to the polytheist.
Here now, I try not to reword your sentences, I'll thank you not to do so w/mine. I so hate it when folks do that.
Have you looked up teleology, or reification? If you knew the meanings, you'd realize you'd made a fool of yourself.
Rewording my sentences is just that 'active listening' crap, & I'm a grown man (about your age), & not appreciated. NTM showing a distinct lack of originality.

sadie:
I can't stand the thought of people going to hell either.
I note that you passed over the query: what benevolent deity would send people to eternal torment, who'd never had the opportunity to be exposed to the 'good news'? Some level of comprehension is obviously required: so what of the baby that dies, not of an age to comprehend? What of the remote folks isolated from the world, never touched by the words? Is there a Limbo? Or like Dante, they get assigned to the 1st Circle?
Would you delight in proving me God does not exist? Surprise! You have been living a lie! You really are going to die and become worm food and nobody hears your prayers you silly sap.
I wouldn't delight in disabusing the hopeless romantic of their romances.
I feel that religion is an anachronism, a wistful nostalgia of days that were but are no more. Of fables & phantasms & fish stories formed in a day when Man knew no better, & needed an explanation for that which lay outside the scope of knowledge.
Kinda meanspirited if you ask me.
Here, let me ask you this: say that you'd been lied to for most (or all) of your life. Subtract the religion equation - call it anything you like. Your husband wasn't who he claimed to be, or your child wasn't really yours. Name something - anything that pops into mind, that would outrage you if you discovered the facts.
Who would you appreciate more - the person who kept the secret, or the person who was honest w/you?

19/3/07 5:36 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Oops, shoulda said 'as per Dante'. Rassafras!

19/3/07 5:37 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

Well, well, it seems we have a pompous ass among us or does Kristalline Apostate mean, “Just kidding.” Perhaps if you came down off your high horse you might reveal the real fool by gazing in a calm pool. It displeases me so to chastise you, but the rather clever rearrangement of your words, was a reflection of your own propensity to label things that you find disagreeable.

I did appreciate you introducing me to God of the gaps, as I had not heard of that. However, the boorish snippets you attached to my cut and pasted passages bored me. Rather than provide you more repartee that is thoughtful for you to simply cut and paste then add your simple snippets, I constructed a rather cogent string of your own words into what resembled a sentence. Apparently, the log in your eye prevented you from see it.

19/3/07 11:09 pm  
Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Goader, if you haven't heard of God of the gaps, I am thinking you haven't had very many discussions about your beliefs with Atheists.
Not that this is a strike against you, but to me it would mean you haven't really heard our rationale or thought about it much until now.

The findings that lightning has a scientific cause, like BeepX2 said, logically knocks out another reason God exists. I remember producing lightning in a bottle in high school, and there was no magic needed.

God is an invention of the mind. That is why there are 3400 distinct Gods invented that we know about. The fact that at least 3399 have to be wrong, means man makes this stuff up. Just like you are doing, to try to make sense of the greater scheme of things, which KA has right in saying "thing just are."

As more gaps are filled, more "evidence" that God exists gets thrown out the door.

Of course, I use the term "evidence" sarcastically, as there is absolutely no evidence God exists or ever has existed, just gaps that will all be filled, maybe not in our lifetime though.

19/3/07 11:59 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader:

You could always address the abstraction that you call god instead of just ignoring it.

As BEAJ says: As more gaps are filled, more "evidence" that God exists gets thrown out the door.

So yours seems to have been pushed right out of this universe and into the "somewhere else", which is just another big unknown.

20/3/07 12:19 am  
Blogger Goader said...

I commend your powers of observation. I have not delved deeply into atheism and I hope I have not sounded arrogant in putting forth my thoughts. I am reasonably educated and believe I am reasonable in my opinions. Although I presume to be right in my general premise, I do not know it for a fact. I base my arguments on my interpretation of life. I also assume that those commenting and the originator of this blog do not object to my joining in the discussion, even though I may less versed in the vernacular. Even my little jab at Krystalline Apostate was offered as good-natured ribbing; and meant to affirm my arguments correct and KA’s wrong;-)

You have precisely hit on the misunderstanding of our (human) knowledge. You fall into the same trap doctors do when they think they have caused someone to get better. Knowing how to elicit a natural phenomenon is not the same as understanding its origin. As I stated earlier, humans have yet to prove any points of origination. Science seems to be tiptoeing around a few e.g., singularities, parallel universes, string (or wave) theory, etc. but we are not there yet.

Your having “created” lightning is misunderstanding your own knowledge of lightning. Not to diminish your feat, but what you did was elicit lightning; you did not cause or create it. If you can truly create lightning, then to you I bow down and worship your name. (It just a joke atheist.)

When we do finally succeed at causing or creating lightning, we have our greatest opportunity at glimpsing God.

20/3/07 1:20 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
Well, well, it seems we have a pompous ass among us or does Kristalline Apostate mean, “Just kidding.”
Said the raven to the crow, "My, how black you are."
It displeases me so to chastise you, but the rather clever rearrangement of your words, was a reflection of your own propensity to label things that you find disagreeable.
'Rather clever'? Chastise? Wow, are you full of yourself, or what?
However, the boorish snippets you attached to my cut and pasted passages bored me.
Yer breakin' me cold heart, you are.
Rather than provide you more repartee that is thoughtful for you to simply cut and paste then add your simple snippets, I constructed a rather cogent string of your own words into what resembled a sentence.
Well,
A. It's called fisking. Go look it up. It's a common technique among bloggers, &
B. If that's what you call cogent, then I'd have to say English is your 2nd or 3rd language.
Apparently, the log in your eye prevented you from see it.
No, what prevented me from seeing it is that it was gibberish. Cute reference though - Matthew, isn't it?
Even my little jab at Krystalline Apostate was offered as good-natured ribbing; and meant to affirm my arguments correct and KA’s wrong;-)
Oh, nice save (rolls his eyes).
Thus far, severely unimpressed.

20/3/07 3:16 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Oh, God, you are right.(1)

How could I not have seen the folly of my ways?(2)

I beseech thee, Krystalline Apostate, accept my penance.(3)

Thou art showing me thy way, THE WAY, which is of righteous indignation.(4)

Who am I to offer my insignificant ramblings to such a sage.(5)

Nor a simple sage is thee, rather, a label sage.(6)

A master of labels, into thine eyes I dare not look, for I could not bare that which awaits my gaze.(7)

Only may I do unto thee as thou would unto me and label thee.(8)

It is with the greatest of sorrow I utter unto thine ears that which others have known before me: you really are an asshole!(9)

Sh*t comes out of both ends.(10)

20/3/07 4:12 am  
Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

What is with theists and the number 10?

20/3/07 5:40 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Beep said...
Missionary work is fine and dandy. Don't forget to hand out the "don't have sex cards until jesus tells you to" to people starving away digging for roots in the not so good earth.

And don't forget to tell them that if they get AIDS that it is god's punishment.

And don't forget to tell them that if they pray hard enough that god will might forgive them and cure them from AIDS.

Prayer is always a lot cheaper than condoms or AIDS medication.


You subscribe to a lot of anti Christian propaganda.

KA--
Sorry I overlooked your query.

what benevolent deity would send people to eternal torment, who'd never had the opportunity to be exposed to the 'good news'? Some level of comprehension is obviously required: so what of the baby that dies, not of an age to comprehend? What of the remote folks isolated from the world, never touched by the words?

The Bible says that only God knows the hearts of men. This applies to men that claim to be Christians and live an external Christian life but do not really walk the life and this also applies to people that haven't heard the gospel or are of an age where they do not comprehend what God asks of them. He knows the state of their hearts.
Other than that, I have no idea what happenes to them.

Who would you appreciate more - the person who kept the secret, or the person who was honest w/you?

Good question. The person that was honest with me is the easy choice. However, I don't think I would appreciate it if the honest person was being honest with me with a smirk on their face.

20/3/07 6:12 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:

I beseech thee, Krystalline Apostate, accept my penance.(3)

You are forgiven, my son. Do 10 hail Marys, call me in the morning.
It is with the greatest of sorrow I utter unto thine ears that which others have known before me: you really are an asshole!(9)
As you sow, so shall you reap.
Do let us all know when you finally depart Martguerita-ville.

20/3/07 6:36 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
This applies to men that claim to be Christians and live an external Christian life but do not really walk the life and this also applies to people that haven't heard the gospel or are of an age where they do not comprehend what God asks of them. He knows the state of their hearts.
But your own savior says, "there is no other way to the father except thru me", does he not?
It's such a messy, messy grab bag. Chock full o' mixed messages. Some say acts, some say faith, some say both.
I've said it before: for such a watershed event, the documentation is just awful.

20/3/07 6:46 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

KA--
Do you really, honestly think that you are going to read the bible and come away with anything? Your eye is too critical and your mind is not opened to it. Seriously, you must admit that it looks like habberdashy to you because of how you look at it. I can't make sense of it for you.
I did a post you might be interested in.
Beep, I directed my readers to your review of Jesus Camp, hope you don't mind.
:)

20/3/07 7:16 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

I don't mind. Those who disagree with me are as welcome as those who don't.

RE: anti-christian propaganda

Let me put it this way - when christian missionaries hand out condoms and AIDS medication more than they hand out bibles, I will consider looking at them in a different way.

RE BEAJ: And the number 10

It's all about the poopshute mate..

20/3/07 8:06 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Let me put it this way - when christian missionaries hand out condoms and AIDS medication more than they hand out bibles, I will consider looking at them in a different way.

I don't know how you know that. I plan on doing a post on this misguided thought as well. I know of two missionaries from just my small town serving in Uganda as we type and both of them lead sex education seminars--they teach husbands not to cheat, teens not to sleep around and if they do, to use condems.
Both missionaries have doctors that serve with them--treating the children with vaccinations and feeding the hungry--you just don't know because it doesn't serve your agenda.

20/3/07 8:17 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
Do you really, honestly think that you are going to read the bible and come away with anything? Your eye is too critical and your mind is not opened to it. Seriously, you must admit that it looks like haberdashery to you because of how you look at it. I can't make sense of it for you.
I'm actually pretty well-read on the bible for a layman - & I used to think it made a great deal of sense. When I seriously considered converting, I did a lotta homework (I can't emphasize the LOTTA enough) - & I began to look at both sides of the fence.
Contrary to what most theists think, I approached it from a 'let's see if it holds up' angle, not an 'either/or' angle.
Once I detached the emotional approach, it became a tangled mess. Rife w/glaring errors, historical & otherwise. Contradictions abound w/in its pages. Violation of known laws of physics. An abysmal lacking in science & sense.
From the outside looking in, an odd, odd book it is.

20/3/07 8:46 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
I know of two missionaries from just my small town serving in Uganda as we type and both of them lead sex education seminars--they teach husbands not to cheat, teens not to sleep around and if they do, to use condems.
Do they really? Have you sat in on their classes? Do you have an online syllabus, or transcript, or something? Protestant, Catholic, non-denominational?
I'm genuinely curious, is all, since this is the 1st time I've heard of any xtians doing this.

20/3/07 8:49 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Sadie:

I have to agree that some missionaries do the right thing.

But although for some demoninations condoms are a good thing, for the Roman Catholic church, contraception of any kind is not allowed (their's is the rythm method and that is the only reason I'm here). Not even if they are only being used to keep desease at bay. I guess it's just unfortunate that the Roman Catholic church sends more missionaries into the world than any other single church, has the biggest "church" presence in the third world and has done for a very, very long time.

The other unfortunate thing about this is that the vast majority of catholics I know will tell you that anyone that has contracted aids via sexual contact has only gotten what they deserve and that they don't deserve treatment. Sad, but true in my experience.

20/3/07 8:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted:

And the missionary programs supported and funded by evangelical christians is similar. Preach abstinence and hand out bibles.

20/3/07 11:40 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Beep:

Agreed, but there are a couple of groups out there that try and do the right thing.

20/3/07 7:49 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted:

I agree. When they focus on practical help rather than on selling their religion, it can be of benefit.

20/3/07 9:21 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

KA--Yeah. They really do.

The first link is for Christian aid. They actually fight Catholics and appeal to them to change their stance on condoms so they can be more effective missionaries in Africa.

The second link are from my town--friends with the elders of my church and my church sends them $$. They are The Kellermans and they work in a Pygmy villiage:

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/aboutca/index.htm

http://www.bchc.ug/

Check them both out and report back with your findings. The other people from my town have a small Calvary church and they don't have a website.

21/3/07 1:37 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
Check them both out and report back with your findings.
Oh my. Homework?
It looks pretty much on the up-&-up. That's actually good news - thanks.

21/3/07 6:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I guess now we only need sadie to accept that crappy things were done in the name of her religion as well.

21/3/07 11:08 am  
Blogger Blueberry said...

...and don't drink the Koolaid.

Good discussion. I wanted to comment on the chimps. Our UU pastor (Davidson) has been discussing animals for several weeks and has talked a lot about bonobos as well. I didn't know much about bonobos before, but, as it turns out, they actually have just a bit more in common with humans genetically than chimps. It's interesting because bonobos are very different from chimps in that they are matriarchal, peaceful, and enjoy lots of sex with many partners (and not always regarding the gender of the partner so apparently the prime directive is not reproduction). Very different from chimp society. Most human populations are more chimp-like, but perhaps we still have the potential to become less warlike and develop better qualities. Maybe that bonobo DNA is our last hope. ;-)

He calls these human ancestor species the ones who were here before God(s). Here's a link where his talks are posted if you want to browse through them.
http://www.austinuu.org/gpage.html

21/3/07 2:22 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Bonobos are what humans would call promiscuous. Lots of sex all over the place without regard to gender.

It obviously fullfils a biological or social function other than ONLY procreation.

21/3/07 3:18 pm  

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