Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dennis Says: "Dear Church of God Ministry"





Dear Church of God Ministry

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThis will be very short and to the point.  I would sincerely like to recommend  you read Dr Raymond Brown's classic and very well done volumes on The Death of the Messiah before you give another sermon on just what did or did not happen in the Gospel accounts of Jesus death. 

Having been there, I recall the endless arguments over 13th or 14th Passover and all the associated issues and contradictions that everyone tried so hard to correlate and harmonize.  I realize you have no clue as to how we got the Gospels, who actually wrote them and when, much less why but grow up or at least grow in your knowledge if you can't grow in your grace towards others. 



Next Christmas, when you get all swoozy over the birth stories of Jesus, you can move on to...



Birth of the Messiah  -     
        By: Raymond Brown



Warm regards

103 comments:

Joe Moeller said...

The Prophet Moeller Predicts:

This thread will get very few posts.

Asking people to read a WHOLE BOOK? Dennis, we live in the era of 300 word max articles, news commentaries and summaries. NO ONE reads whole books anymore!

And perhaps that is why society is decaying.

Luv,
Joe Moeller

Anonymous said...

Dear Church of God Ministry
Dennis I agree that those in church of God ministry should read more of the literature that is being created to reduce the value of the bible used in promoting Christianity.

The next question is what are they supposed to do with the information. Are they to use it destroy the Christian faith and promote an agnostic approach to life?

Can you imagine what would happen if these ministers would begin teaching the material you are recommending?

Such an approach would create a confusion that would destroy more lives than the “conversion” of Joe Jr. and associates.

There certainly must be a better solution than you are suggesting.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Might I also suggest:

60 Days That Shook the World: The Last Days of Jesus Christ
By Roy G. Pittman

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "There certainly must be a better solution than you are suggesting."

Yes, indeed, there is: go where the demonstrable evidence actually takes you, not necessarily where you WANT it to take you. What if the facts lead us to agnosticism? It's very obvious from your posts that to you clear evidence and empirical facts mean little if they don't support the cherished conclusions you WANT to arrive at. It's a matter of what the objective truth actually is, not necessarily what triggers within you the warm and fuzzies.

This is the basic difference between facts and faith, between science and religion. Facts and evidence don't care whether you agree with them or want to believe them, they just ARE, in spite of your feelings to the contrary. It just seems to me that you refuse to get out of this mindset that the universe just HAS to revolve around you and your species.

Anonymous said...

Leo the big difference between you and I seems to be that you are thinking only of individuals who may be suffering abuse due to the faulty practices of Christianity in the cult organizations or those who are mesmerized by the modern televangelists.
Dennis was targeting the ministry of Armstrongism. I my concerns are for those who find Christianity as a solution to the many unknown factors associated with our human existence. If you have read anything on the psychology of religion you will find that reason behind religion can be addressed psychologically.

We cannot expect all of those who have embraced Christianity (or any religion) to understand the internal working of the mind that contributes to the development of religion. It seems that religion has influenced human life from the beginning of human awareness.

I am well aware of the many questionable teachings and I personally have looked at both sides of the issues in every situation. I am also aware of the fact that the problem isn’t religion it is how it is used and perhaps abused by the leaders forming these human organizations.

My personal advice to people is to not give up their freedom without a clear understanding of the leadership wants to control. If what the leadership wants to control will give you a better freedom than you already possess you may enjoy a better life, but otherwise a person is destined for misery.
Back to the original question: do you really believe that all the people who a happy with Christianity would find a greater happiness if they began reading what you perceive to be the facts of science? I personally believe that the facts of science (which I am aware of) that are used to question Christianity would create a greater misery rather than improve a persons security and spiritual development. Of course this is just my opinion.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

If people prefer the leadership of men (eg, churches of any kind let alone cults like the COGs) instead of the leadership of Jesus Christ then that's their own fault once they find out they have no future.

Byker Bob said...

It'd be good if people just read widely, period. I think many during the classic WCG era almost felt as if they needed ministerial permission to read anything that wasn't written by WCG staff. Numerous members felt as if they were really going through some sort of "greening" or enrichment process if they read Velikovski or Hislop. If it was known in the field that certain books were recommended for the students at Ambassador College, such books were automatically added to the church approved reading list.

As we now know, the approved list amounted to a quarantine, and was heavy on apologetics! Fuel for cultic mindlessness.

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

I know Joe...what was I thinking! lol. Besides, I don't find many here actually have interest in such topics over all and sometimes I forget that.

Mr. B Dr. Brown is a profoundly popular Catholic scholar who, while alive, did all he could do to speak truth in theology but not get thrown out of the RCC. He succeeded and you can find places where he pulls his punches. These books merely tell the why and how of the Gospel stories of Jesus birth and death, the various renditions and why they are so diverse.

Any honest theologian would want to know this material well.

DennisCDiehl said...

I recently included an article on the problems of a literal Exodus as told in the OT. I find people simply do not want to think these amazing stories through to obvious conclusions . Much of the epic tales in the the OT were made up to give a small cultic group of down and out Canaanites by origins a huge pedigree.

The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein is a good example of Israeli scholars admitting this . I sat with Dr. Finkelstein years ago as he discussed the Exodus and it changed my life and view of the Bible. While WCG would have ended my ministry anyway, it would have ended with facts replacing faith as faith is what one is expected to have before the facts unfold.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "I am well aware of the many questionable teachings and I personally have looked at both sides of the issues in every situation. I am also aware of the fact that the problem isn’t religion it is how it is used and perhaps abused by the leaders forming these human organizations."

Well, based on how you respond I seriously question whether you've really looked into the various "sides of the issues in every situation" in a rigorous manner. Nothing you've ever written in your various responses give me even the remotest impression that you've studied into these issues outside of "proving" what you WANT to prove. Your responses to me routinely AVOID any meaningful response to objections I raise, or address them in a very shallow fashion.

Be that as it may, I would counsel people to seek empirical truth - because in the end that's the only thing that matters. I'm not saying science has all the answers, but it sure has succeeded far better in decreasing human suffering that religion has over many millennia. If the biblical God truly and objectively exists and reveals things through the Bible, then that's what we must face up to and deal with. But if not, then knowing some hard truths is better than clinging to comforting falsehoods.

That's all I'm saying.

And anyone who can seriously and with a straight face say "religion isn't the problem" but rather how it's been "used and abused" - well, all I can say to that is you need to read a bit more history on the subject. Would you use the same line of reasoning about Marxism, for example? "Marxism wasn't the problem in the former Soviet Union, it just was misused and abused by the leadership."

Come on Mr. Boocher, for someone who claims to have read deeply about the psychology of religion you seem to have some pretty superficial reasoning.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher further writes: "I personally believe that the facts of science (which I am aware of) that are used to question Christianity would create a greater misery rather than improve a persons security and spiritual development. Of course this is just my opinion."

Yes, I agree that it's just an opinion, and one that cannot be rigorously defended. See, there's your bottom line standard for "truth" expressed once again: what are the pragmatics of the situation, instead of what are the objective facts that can be demonstrated to an open and rational mind.

OK, I'll play your game - lets stick with just the pragmatics of the issues. I ask a simple pragmatic question: Why do many western European nations (Sweden, Norway, etc.) which are essentially nonreligious in practice have far lower proportional crime rates than many Christian nations? If practical Christian virtue saturates such cultures, then why do they proportionally have far higher crime rates? Brazil is one. The United States another. I can provide the specifics if you want them. I've asked this of you before in a previous thread, and you just avoided dealing with it.

Leonardo said...

Dennis wrote: "...faith is what one is expected to have before the facts unfold."

BINGO! Exactly. Christian apologetics was a special interest of mine during my days with the COG because I wanted to prove the faith to all infidels and challengers by sound reasoning. Not to convert them, but to show that my faith was grounded in facts and sound, rigorous reasoning. But over time I found that such "proofs" that apologists offer require ardent, emotional, unreasoning belief BEFORE the facts are ever addressed. Its a very subtle stream that runs under the surface, but it's always there. Ardent apologists like W.L. Craig will deny this, of course, but Christianity is far more similar to a house of cards than a house built upon rock.

And to A. Boocher, yes, Christianity has some very positive effects in people's lives. So does Black Islam, or Hinduism - but positive pragmatic effects doesn't prove the objective truth of something. Such evidence is entirely too subjective and culture bound to be objective.

Anonymous said...

Leo you quoted Dennis on this: "...faith is what one is expected to have before the facts unfold."
This is a true statement, but what you do not seem to recognize is that the faith associated with religion is dealing with the non material as well as the material. If you do not believe there unseen influences associated with life that cannot be measured you will not understand anything I tell you. Human Life is more than an animal or a tree. It has a mind that can envision things that do not exist and bring them into existence. It cannot exist without other human beings, but it seeks self interests more than a wholeness of a perceived perfection.

What do you know about psychology of religion? What do you know about psychology?
I am not a psychologist, but I have studied it to understand counseling and coping with mental difficulties that people are coping with. All religion is a product of the mind and theoretically religion is supposed to teach moral standards and principles that create a wholeness in our human existence. Realistically religion has failed to fulfill its intended purpose. The science of psychology recognizes human problems, but rejects the value of religion in resolving them. Religion often rejects science believing that it adds no value to religion’s purpose. It is a proven fact that a positive or balance in religious beliefs offers many of the things that contribute to the wholeness of human life.

Just because you are contented with your personal beliefs about life doesn’t mean that other people would fined the same degree of contentment. I interact with people who are contented with the Christian faith in several different varieties. I may not agree with many of their beliefs that deal with everyday life, but I do not tell them to read a book that will prove they are wrong in what they believe.

My whole point is that the effort to prove the falseness of the biblical writings is motivated by the idea that there a new and improved way of thinking without any consideration of the fact that the development of a person’s religion is a psychological journey that is an important part of who they are and why they exist.
I realize this may not be clearly understood and I don’t question, but religion isn’t a clear cut subject.
A. Boocher

DennisCDiehl said...

Albert said: I interact with people who are contented with the Christian faith in several different varieties. I may not agree with many of their beliefs that deal with everyday life, but I do not tell them to read a book that will prove they are wrong in what they believe.

Albert, it is obvious you have not looked at or read Browns study on the Birth and Death of the Messiah. They give the history, background and origins of the stories in the Biblical context. They aren't trying to show people are wrong. Brown,a devote Catholic is showing the context, difficulties and background of the scriptures.

Sunday school was not the place to really understand the Bible

Leonardo said...

But I would argue that religion IS rapidly becoming a more precise and clear-cut subject as we understand more about the human brain. I’m currently reading “Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief” – and it’s not just another religion-bashing screed written by hard-core atheists.
I think we all need to expand and further our understanding in this crucial area. So many people making comments here are frightfully uninformed as to some of the latest findings on the subject. They just seem to assume their present level of knowledge is good enough.
Now, as to my response to your above comments, all I can say is that, once again, we are operating on such differing wavelengths here that real dialogue on this topic between you and I is really all but impossible.
As I see our exchange of views: I try to deal with specific lines of reasoning, whereas you continually evade dealing with them only to “respond” by making even more extremely generalized claims. You make so many such statements above that are based on a number of zany yet unexamined and unproven presuppositions, I don't even know where to begin. And if I may be so bold, I must say your reading and study in the area is far more uninformed and superficial than you imagine it to be, based on your comments. I’m honestly not trying to be disrespectful or insulting here, you must trust me on this, but I mention this because it comes across so plainly to those who read a great deal on the subject.

But just to address one foundational area that keeps coming up repeatedly in virtually every comment you make: your continual appeal to pragmatics. To which I say it doesn't matter whether or not people are content, or happy, or satisfied with objective truths, or whether it makes them feel good. These mental states are important to human life, yes, absolutely they are – but they aren’t the gold standard for whether a particular truth claim is objectively real or not. For this we have other more accurate tools to validate or disprove various claims.

Sickness happens. We may not like it, but it's a reality with which we must deal. The fact that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level may not please us - why can't it boil at a lower temperature so we could expend less energy in making a bowl of oatmeal - but the fact IS what it is.

And as this principle applies to religion, what matters is the following: are the dogmatic, all-encompassing truth claims religions make actually TRUE, and can they be demonstrated to be so without recourse to having to accept them by faith beforehand, or to appealing to some of the pragmatic effects they sometimes produce in human lives.

It can accurately be said that back in the 1950's Black Islam theology raised Malcolm X off the streets as a common criminal and improved his life immeasurably. Does this therefore prove that the many rather bizarre truth claims of Black Islam are objectively true? I suspect you would disagree with many such claims. Yet this is where your argument from pragmatism would have to lead you.

As a previous commenter once noted on another thread, some research has shown that athletes who delude themselves often perform better. Yet would you say this pragmatic result validates the general principle of self-delusion? It indeed has some positive (though transitory) benefits in their lives, does it not? Following your argument from pragmatism self-delusion would be a good thing. Though I suspect you wouldn't propose it as a virtue to be cultivated.

Retired Prof said...

Leonardo said, "And to A. Boocher, yes, Christianity has some very positive effects in people's lives. So does Black Islam, or Hinduism - but positive pragmatic effects doesn't prove the objective truth of something. Such evidence is entirely too subjective and culture bound to be objective."

This disagreement between Albert, the believer, and Leonardo, the skeptic, is full of delicious irony for me.

I remember Lynn Torrance ridiculing the pragmatic idea of truth; his straw-man construct sounded almost exactly like Albert's sincere propositions. Torrance's averred that pragmatism's shifting answers contravened the eternal, fixed, objective truths given to us by god, which we were bound to accept whether they made us feel good or not, and whether the effects seemed desirable to our weak human desires or not. That was the only way to understand reality, because our personal ideas about truth were inevitably false and would only lead to sin and the Lake of Fire.

Now here comes Albert claiming the reasons for belief in god are that it persuades us to behave properly and fills us with hope for the afterlife. I can't tell whether he thinks objective reality is an illusion or merely irrelevant.

Leonardo, on the other hand, tells us that objective reality is the only thing that matters. He claims we can actually determine what it is, without resort to ancient authority or subjective reaction. The only way is to systematically collect facts about the world and analyze them carefully.

Me, I lean way over toward Leonardo's side, except that I have these lingering doubts that my motivation is the pragmatic one. Could it be that I take this way of approaching the world simply because it satisfies my subjective needs most thoroughly? Besides that, how can I and other observers ever be sure we see things objectively, with no tint of the subjective lenses we are forced to look through?

In following the twists and turns in these lines of thought my mind kinks up so tight it gets positively frizzy.

Anonymous said...

A. Boocher wrote...
"My personal advice to people is to not give up their freedom without a clear understanding of the leadership wants to control. If what the leadership wants to control will give you a better freedom than you already possess you may enjoy a better life, but otherwise a person is destined for misery."

Why would you give up your freedom?
How does controlling someone give them more freedom?

The Science versus Religion arguement? Which one came first? At one time there was no science or religion. They both sprang forth from our ideas, some good some bad and some more useful than others. The belief that you can be totally objective about reality is as dangerous as the worst organized religions. Those that claim to have the TRUTH(be it science or religion) will be more likely to miss the greater truth that surrounds us all. Because, why would you look for the truth if you think you already have it?
It fascinates me that alot of the paradigms of science didn't come from the scientific method but, from an accident or a paradox of our current understanding. Take the discovery of penicillin and Einstein's relativity or even Einstein's attempt to prove quantumm theory wrong with EPR expirements which actually reinforced the theory he was trying to prove wrong. Einstein didn't know nor did Isaac Newton know about the more accurate theory of relativity and science in general doesn't know. Now we know that we don't know. Enough happened. It still does. Plan on it. You can be sure we don't know. We can't know ABSOLUTE truth. We can build and assume more functional beliefs. Destroying christianity or atheism won't solve our problems. So, ask yourself "Can we build better beliefs?" To build those things we have to be able to suspend whatever belief system we already have. This applies to science and religion or any other idea we may come up with. I think destroying someone's hope is wrong unless you can replace it with a better hope. It is better to build hope from an experience rather than a understanding.

A question for Dennis or Leonardo,

If you know someone that had miraculous results with a placebo would you feel compelled to tell them that they were wrong to have those results?


another seekeroftruth

Anonymous said...

Reired Professor said...
"how can I and other observers ever be sure we see things objectively?"

We can't. What we can't do is based on what we don't know.

Leonardo said...

Anon 10:56 wrote in response to "how can I and other observers ever be sure we see things objectively?": "We can't. What we can't do is based on what we don't know.

Plasma Dude, is that you? Pardon me if it's not, it's just that I thought I recognized the hazy, vague and tweet-like style of writing. Please contribute a bit more to what may become a serious discussion. But as it is, your enigmatic 13-word tweet just needs some further clarification. Sorry, but I'm afraid serious give & take dialogues which profit those who participate in them requires considerably more mental effort than a lazy one or two sentence grunt. It's just the way it is in the real world of actual reality and meaningful communication as opposed to the virtual "tweetosphere."

Anonymous said...

lol
hook, line, and sinker

the converse:we can only do what we only know

Anonymous said...

ANON said: Why would you give up your freedom? How does controlling someone give them more freedom?
It is difficult to address questions when drafting comments in this type of communication, but what I was pointing out was that freedom requires responsibility and some people do not want responsibility in some areas of life so they give this responsibility to other people. Why do we have government systems and laws? It is to relieve us of the responsibility of judge what is necessary for functioning in a community.
This is true in the area of religion as well. Many if not most people have some religious beliefs, but they do not want the responsibility of trying to determine is socially or religious correct so that willingly submit to the control of those they believe share their beliefs. This gives them the freedom to focus on other things in their life.
When I was in the army there were a number of people who love army life. Their basic needs were met and all they had to do was follow the leaders and the army rules. They enjoyed the freedom of not having to worry about what the wear, what to eat, or what to do.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

I think i understand. Some people like to be independent while others are more comfortable with dependance.
But, I don't think they can escape thier responsibility from thier choices.

another seekeroftruth

Anonymous said...

Anon said: I think destroying someone's hope is wrong unless you can replace it with a better hope. It is better to build hope from an experience rather than an understanding.
This is basically what I have been pointing out, but I try to get people to understand the experience.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Seekeroftruth asks: "If you know someone that had miraculous results with a placebo would you feel compelled to tell them that they were wrong to have those results?"


No, I don't think I would.

Though I would have to ask you a few questions about your question – like what your definition of “miraculous results” would be in this particular context. Further, how could such a result be characterized as "wrong" in the first place? It just simply would BE - no need to complicate it by adding an unnecessary moral dimension to it.

But the overall intent of your question is an interesting one, and to be more precise, I suppose my response would have to do a lot with the specific person and context involved. Though I think my personal leaning would be that if the person healed is religious, I would sincerely rejoice with them about the end result - the fact that they are no longer sick and can now live a more normal life. This would be truly worth celebrating, no matter what the ultimate cause of the healing was. What would be the point of introducing unwanted philosophical or medical discussions about placebo effects, spontaneous remission, etc. into the celebration? - even though privately I would think such items would be extremely relevant to the situation.

My response would also most likely be multidimensional in nature, in that part of me would ask things like "Wow, I wonder if a divine power actually DID heal this person?" (It's true I tend to be a skeptic, but this skeptical approach also extends to my skepticism as well, not just to supernaturalistic religious claims! I suppose you could rightly call me an equal-opportunity skeptic!! Healthy skepticism is crucial, and a major reason why you are still alive. There’s a big distinction between robust skepticism that leads to truth and despairing cynicism that saps life of all meaning, but that’s another discussion.)

Privately, I would be curious to know of follow ups in terms of objective test results. I say this because many such "healings" (especially the religious kind) have later been documented to have been totally false. For example, a person dies a day or two later after attending a healing revival meeting, say because they were "healed" of diabetes, and as a result of no longer taking their dose of insulin they go into insulin shock and expire. Or because the initial diagnoses of the sickness was in error, and there was no sickness there to heal in the first place. This happens far more frequently than most realize in the medical world – and at the revival tent.

A lot of legitimate research has been done in this area, and I can tell you it doesn't reflect well on religious claims for healing. Spontaneous remission of serious cancers, for instance, happens to people across a broad spectrum of personal belief, all the way from utter atheist to diehard believer. To the best of my knowledge, though admittedly I don’t read much in this area, there doesn’t seem to be enough studies done with this phenomenon of spontaneous remission.

That's why such studies tend to be avoided like the plague or ridiculed by True Believers. They prefer to stick with the unrigorousness and extremely general surveys that show, for instance, that folks who pray have better health on the whole than those who don't, which are so popular in pop media, but completely unscientific.

Anonymous said...

Ah, now I see A. Boocher's point, and I agree with it.

My hope that I would spend eternity in the company of Rod Meredith and Gerald Waterhouse has been replaced by a better one: that I will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire.

Hugh Boettcher Rass

Anonymous said...

Leo, Let me say that my comments are not meant to discourage anyone in reading any material that supports a scientific approach to life nor am I trying to support or even explain my personal beliefs. What I have been trying to understand is what you believe and why you believe that people would experience a better life if they gave up their beliefs.
I thought I was pointing out that most people who are serious about their religion feel a sense of security and would not benefit from much of what you present here. I am sure many of those here agree with what you present in some way, but that doesn’t mean that the world is any better than it was when I was a kid more than 8 decades ago.
No offense intended and I admit that your approach has helped me understand why things are in such a sorry shape worldwide.
Have a great day!
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

"I think destroying someone's hope is wrong unless you can replace it with a better hope."


I would wholeheartedly agree with that statement, whoever it came from.

But human HOPE and objective REALITY are two entirely different concepts in this discussion. And one that highlights once again the difference of emphasis between A. Boocher and myself. A. Boocher keeps focusing in on the pragmatic effects of religious belief, or whatever other kind of belief he means - positive thinking ala Norman Vincent Peale, neuro-linguistic programming, or whatever. I just don’t know for sure because he never comes out and plainly specifies it, only that he sees himself as somehow being knowledgeable in “religious psychology.” Whereas I'm far more interested in whether such truth claims are ultimately true or not. Epistemology means to me what pragmatic effects means to A. Boocher, it seems.

One of the biggest problems I have with A. Boocher’s comments is that, as well meaning as they appear to be, they are very seriously lacking in intellectual precision, in both content and expression. This is generally not something you find with folks who are as well-read as he repeatedly claims to be in religious psychology. Regular exposure to the serious writings of others (books, articles and the like – and no matter what the topic) just has the practical effect over time of making one more articulate and precise in one's thoughts, and therefore one’s written expression. Just read the average comments made out on FaceBook or Twitter, or even here by our occasional friend Plasma Dude, and then behold the results of folks who, if they seriously read at all, read very little, or maybe just comic books – I’m sorry, “graphic novels” I think is the politically-correct term to use nowadays, so as to not offend the functionally illiterate “dudes” among us. But the point is that a person’s level of reading tends to show up in the way they express themselves in writing. Are they precise and clear? Do they employ relevant examples or methaphors to illustrate their points? Do they use enough words and sentences to make themselves plainly understood. Or do they just lazily tweet out a few unintelligible sentences that are incomprehensible and subject to all sorts of misinterpretations?

Anyway, the question of hope is indeed important, and not to be dismissed - but it’s a secondary one to this discussion. This vital distinction somehow seems to get muddled again and again in A. Boochers comments. I’m sure many radical Muslims were given a great shot of hope when they saw the Twin Towers collapse on the tragic morning of September 11th 2001. My question is not did this tragic event instill in anybody a sense of hope – for it surely did depending upon one’s worldview – but are the religious teachings that prompted such an attack in the first place true, right, appropriate or moral?

This is where wide reading, mental rigor and deep reflection come into play, as these activities distinguishes between and separates out such concepts as they are being considered and discussed.

Leonardo said...

And the reason I keep trying to discuss these things with A. Boocher is not because I want to engage in an unending verbal free-for-all, but because I sense and truly believe he's got some important things to say, but somewhere along the line I just don't seem to be getting what he's attempting to convey. And I think it's frustrating both of us!

Leonardo said...

Seekeroftruth wrote: "The belief that you can be totally objective about reality is as dangerous as the worst organized religions. Those that claim to have the TRUTH(be it science or religion) will be more likely to miss the greater truth that surrounds us all. Because, why would you look for the truth if you think you already have it?"


I agree - but then who would make such a loony claim that they can perfectly understand all of reality? Perhaps a religiously motivated one would, yes, that's true. But nobody here is arguing about being TOTALLY objective. Rather it might be best illustrated as more a matter of degree, or as along a continuum, such as a gray scale with white at one end, black at the other and various shades of gray in between. Any human endeavor will be imperfect by nature, since infallibility doesn’t exist in human life, except in the official teaching of the Catholic Church, and perhaps in the minds of certain COG gurus!

My point is that some methods of searching for truth have produced far more accurate and life-promoting insights, on the whole, than have others. Modern chemistry trumps Dark Age alchemy, for example. Astrophysics outperforms astrology when it comes to answering some of the larger cosmic questions of life. I would suggest that science as a basic methodology or approach to obtaining practical knowledge has in it's short span of 400 years proven itself far superior than religion ever has during the ages it reigned supreme. "One scientist is worth more than a hundred priests" as a character in a Dostoyevsky novel (Fathers and Sons) once proclaimed! And it a good point.

And ask yourself, "Would I rather live in today's world influenced by scientific inquiry, in spite of all it's flaws and imperfections, or would I have rather lived sometime back when religious ideology held sway, say the Middle Ages for example? Or even modern day Islamic countries where religion far exceeds secular science in terms of its real-world practical influence?"

Take your choice, not that you have one, but pretend for a moment for the sake of the argument. And if you're bone honest with yourself, I think I know how you would answer, and how 99.9% of other folks would too.

Can you give me the name of just ONE scientist who believes that he/she has possession of “the whole truth” in their particular field of expertise? If they do, then they are not scientists, for science is tentative and provisional in nature, it offers the best possible explanation for a particular phenomenon...until more information is discovered and that explanation is either revised in the light of such updated knowledge or totally refuted and replaced by a better explanation.

Science doesn't think in the terms you expressed in your above comments. Religions, to the contrary, do think in terms of "THE Truth" or "THE faith once delivered" or other such absolutist declarations.

Anonymous said...

I’m getting the impressions that some here are being extremely dishonest and devious to say science in any way proves Christianity in its purest form (ie, the Bible, not the churches) is right or wrong. There are far too many good real scientists on either side who can put forward reasonable scientific arguments to support their views. For some irrational reason, most people think secular science has it right with regards to say evolution and how the Universe came about, and treat them as facts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the existence of various competing and conflicting Big Bang theories shows there is no real consensus. The theory of evolution has so many holes and contradictions it’s often regarded by some good real scientists to be a hoax and a scam. Then there are the many scientists who hold the opposing view that there is a Creator we call God. Both sides can’t prove what they believe is true but the scientific evidence, both historical and experimental, is clearly on the side of the existence of a God. In any case, both sides are positioning themselves on their faith in what they believe to be true, not actual experimental scientific evidence that can be used to prove their side is right and the other side wrong. So, please stop peddling the myth that science has no need for a God. Many if not most of the famous scientists in history had the opposite view.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: but somewhere along the line I just don't seem to be getting what he's attempting to convey. And I think it's frustrating both of us!
I am not frustrated and I probably cannot give an explanation of my purpose of getting involved in the type of dialog you appear to expect. My primary goal is to show that many if not most of the people who were attracted to HWA’s religion were people who had simple religious needs. Dennis and some (maybe all) of those who were groomed at HQ may have been exceptions or had different personal needs, but people who made up the congregations were the people I related to in everyday life. I have sympathy for people and generally adapt to their level of understanding. I can’t explain it, but I never realized it until late in life.
Part of is may be due to a recognition that people are uncomfortable if they feel you have a greater than thou attitude and part of it maybe due to the realization that no matter how intelligent we are we really know very little about what we are a part of. Of course being well past the four score and ten has been an excuse at times.
Years ago a gentleman from Europe told me something like this “everyone has their own pleasures said the donkey as chewed on his mouth full of thistles.”
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

"The theory of evolution has so many holes and contradictions it’s often regarded by some good real scientists to be a hoax and a scam."

Easy for ignorant fools to make such ungrounded statements (as you have just done) - but absolutely impossible to verify. Sorry Anon, but you've just revealed in spades that you know next to nothing about the actual facts of the subject. I think if you read the serious literature (real peer-reviewed literature by real scientists, NOT creationists material) on that particular point you'll find that it's a standard creationist claim not supported by the verifiable, and well-documented facts at all.

Ever heard of Dr. Francis Collins? - the former head of the Genome Project, and an unashamed evangelical Christian as well? You probably have, because he's one of the world’s foremost geneticists. Read his book "The Language of God" and you'll find that he totally excepts the findings of science with regard to biological evolution. Sorry, but the DNA evidence is becoming stronger every day for it. The “holes and contradictions” you foolishly proclaim exist mainly in the minds of creationists, not the actual science itself. They’ve been predicting the utter collapse of evolutionary theory now for, oh, about 150 years. And the empirical evidence for it keeps getting stronger and stronger. Denial of this will get you nowhere. You might as well disagree with atomic theory, or germ theory, or the theory of terrestrial gravity.

In reality, it's ignorant folks like you who keep making such stupid claims that science leaves no room for God (as you would state it) - not science itself.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Michael Behe – a micro biologist at Lehigh University? An ardent Christian and major speaker in the Intelligent Design movement. I had a wonderful conversation with him several years ago at a seminar, and sorry, but he too pretty much accepts the standard facts of science with regard to evolution. The evidence is just too persuasive.

I could mention many more like Dr. Kenneth Miller, etc. There’s a lot of good books out there on the subject. One even written by a WCG pastor who’s a good friend of mine. Here’s a link to it out on Amazon. But beware, reading this book might very well be damaging to your comforting creationist beliefs. Then again, it may open your mind to a whole other world of possibilities you’ve perhaps never even remotely conceived of in your dark fundamentalist cave.

You’re choice, though. But I just find that accurate knowledge trumps ignorance every time.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Evolution-Implications-Darwins-Fundamentalism/dp/0977604446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364682516&sr=8-1&keywords=god+and+evolution+daniel+samson

Velvet said...

"If you know someone that had miraculous results with a placebo would you feel compelled to tell them that they were wrong to have those results?"

Haven't there been scientific studies that prove placebos actually work, in a certain percentage of the population? So how would that be considered miraculous?

I've personally known of many people who got better via placebo effect; in fact, my parents' entire income, during the last years of their marriage, derived entirely from convincing the easily-susceptible that their placebos would work.

(Though they also advocated common sense stuff, like eating healthy, getting more exercise, and drinking more water, which is good advice generally, and guaranteed to provide good results.)

Velvet said...

"Besides that, how can I and other observers ever be sure we see things objectively, with no tint of the subjective lenses we are forced to look through?"

Well, y'know, there is this saying, about seeing through a glass darkly, Retired Prof. ;-)

Velvet said...

"Though I think my personal leaning would be that if the person healed is religious, I would sincerely rejoice with them about the end result - the fact that they are no longer sick and can now live a more normal life."

We may disagree on a lot, but you're a good egg, Leo. :-)

Anonymous said...

BTW I am well past three score and ten not four score and ten. Already my age is show a few problems.
A. Boocher

Retired Prof said...

A. Boocher, I too am past three score and ten.

Isn't it a relief? We are no longer at risk for premature death. None of those things they used to tell us to avoid because they would lead to an early grave can have that effect on us now.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher, your mind seems to be functioning very well, else you couldn't have composed that post at 2:37 - which I very much agree with for the most part.

I think our minds just think quite differently along different mental tracks, as we seem to look at things from VERY differing viewpoints - kind of like the old Asian analogy of four blind men feeling an elephant and trying to describe to each other what this large beast actually was. One felt the trunk and said elephants are like a fat, long, snake moving all over the place. Another felt the tusk and said elephants are cold, hard and long with sharp points on the end. The third man felt the elephant's ear and claimed that elephants were like a big, flat, rough floppy palm frond. And the last man felt the leg of the creature, and claimed that elephants are just like one thick giant immovable tree trunk!

In one sense, all of the blind men were right, and yet at the same time all were wrong.

We all view the "elephant" of reality from differing vantage points, through differing eyes that have been through different experiences in life. This is so true.

I very much try as well to figure out where a person is coming from when in discussion, and try to adapt to their view, at least to the degree that I'm able to, though I do this very imperfectly I confess. But with one exception: when they make definite dogmatic statements that I know to be false, or at best incomplete.

But you're right in that we are ignorant of far more things than those few we have knowledge upon, and I'm sure you have much deeper understanding of that fact than I currently do. Lincoln observed that all of us are geniuses, and all of us are ignorant fools both at the same time, just in different areas of our lives. How true!

Anonymous said...

Well Leonardo I suppose you have every right to be blind to the evidence. Many scientists though disagree with your view and instead believe in a supreme creator to explain the many mysteries of life and how it started in the first place. Think about it. You have us believe life came from non-life (an impossibility according to the rules of science) and then that "simple" life evolved in so many ways to produce what we have today. Too bad for you there is absolutely no evidence of it happening otherwise we should be seeing copious amounts of fossil evidence of the transitions between one kind of life to another. There is none and it has many atheistic scientists stumped. This is just one of hundreds of holes in the theory of evolution, which under honest and true scientific examination fails completely leaving aside the theological issues.

Anonymous said...

Also, if you were really honest and wanted to reject the existence of a Creator, then perhaps you should at least believe in life on earth coming from space somehow, either by a meteor or seeding by a superior alien race, as a few scientists believe. The trouble of course it only pushes the problem back. When did that life or aliens come from? The answer can only be the same no matter how one tries to figure it out; it came from God.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said...
A. Boocher, I too am past three score and ten. Isn't it a relief? We are no longer at risk for premature death. None of those things they used to tell us to avoid because they would lead to an early grave can have that effect on us now.

Yes it is, in fact my wife and I already have our grave site and the headstone. She was afraid our sons and daughters would not pick one she would like. We drive by every once in awhile to see if there are any flowers in the vases just to make sure we aren’t there yet. We have 61 years of marriage and still counting.
Perhaps that is the reason I am overly optimistic about the possibility of a greater purpose for this human existence even though I must admit my mind cannot envision just what it would be.
Thanks for your comment.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Anon, glad to know you have all the answers to life's biggest questions – though one would never know it, judging by your misinformed comments above. Let’s just say that about 99.9% of the scientists in the world would completely disagree with your above characterizations.

The thing is I've had this discussion with many others before, and contrary to what you claim ("I suppose you have every right to be blind to the evidence. Many scientists though disagree with your view and instead believe in a supreme creator to explain the many mysteries of life and how it started in the first place") it's you who are in utter ignorance on this topic, not me.

At one time I too assumed I understood evolutionary theory, but then discovered that such misunderstanding was based on the corny version creationists have of evolution, and that they were NOT accurately representing the findings of science in this area honesty. They present a cartoonish version of it – the kind that truly is shot through with “holes and contradictions.” The kind you present above. But the actual science isn’t. Debate this with Francis Collins if you’d like, he’s a fellow Christian, and he discussed this with ardent fundamentalist all the time, showing them how their anti-evolutionary arguments are as flimsy as wet tissue paper.

I came to see through time, experience and a lot of reading that religionists like you are often among some of the most intellectually dishonest shucksters on planet earth. Why? Because you’re not willing to expand your views and keep up with the latest findings. You often use arguments that are decades out of date, and have been refuted by real scientists again an again. Yet you still trot them out. The main problem is you’re not willing to put your cherished Dark Age beliefs to the challenge. But at least I was willing to take an honest look at the actual evidence, even though I didn't want to, and as scientists explain it, rather than just how it's dreadfully (mis)represented by creationists. I can tell very plainly just by the way you phrase things above that you haven’t read much beyond creationist claptrap, and are filled with misinformation. And what's even sadder, you seem to be unwilling to correct your ignorance. So what more can be done?

You've already made several charges against me that are completely untrue, and don't reflect my views at all, but apparently you're not willing to read further and expand your well of knowledge upon the subject, or even listen to what I have to say. Let me just say that I'll challenge you on any particular point, even though I'm fairly confident it would be a waste of time. Why? Because you already think you have the answers. Your Christian God did it. Right? Case closed. End of subject. But this isn’t science. It’s arrogant dogmatisim.

I'm coming down hard on you because folks like you need to learn a lesson: and that is that I think you’ll find its FAR easier to make your silly ignorant comments (“This is just one of hundreds of holes in the theory of evolution, which under honest and true scientific examination fails completely…”) than it is to rigorously defend them in public debate.

So, you think you’re up to it? Because I know I am.

Anonymous said...

Leo'tard: get a job.

Anonymous said...

"... we live in the era of 300 word max articles, news commentaries and summaries. NO ONE reads whole books anymore! "

I'll have to keep my comment to a tweet, I've read about 40-60 hours in books in the last two weeks, and I've got plenty more to read.

Amazon.com is selling plenty of books. Somebody must be reading them. And ya don't have to read the whole thing to get a lot out of them.

Anonymous said...

I can say more in one pithy incisive tweet that Leo'tard can say in 100 of those biographical (snooze) unoriginal verbose grammatically incorrect essays of his that I've stopped reading.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure the book Dennis recommended is better reading than the comments on this blog (except those of Drive-by-Philosopher).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glenn said...

I recommend that anyone interested in a fair examination of evolution vs. biblical fundamentalism read the book,"Saving Darwin" by Karl W. Giberson. It costs about $15 on Amazon. It is an attempt to explain how to be a christian and believe in evolution. Giberson is a physicist who believes in God and evolution. For me, the most interesting part of the book is a discussion of how the authors of "The Genesis Flood" led american christianity into the fundamentalist intellectual dead end in which it now finds itself. And it refutes the false claim that real science and real scientists support creationism.

DennisCDiehl said...

What I'm hearing from some is "why introduce ideas to people that hurt their faith and hope."

That puzzles me. It sounds like preserving faith in things that don't actually hold water or having hope in something that is not so is the most important thing in the world.

What is is, and what is true is true no matter how we feel or think about it.

Humans evolved from previous renditions. It took time, but time is all we have.

The Bible is not inerrant and demanding it is does not make it so. The Bible is a human book, written by humans abouta human fears and needs . That is a fact. We can discover this through research and common sense.

What's wrong with seeing ourselves as not so much as coming into this universe as springing out of it?

I invite, and have invited a real Deity to come and talk to me, see me and visit me. I have spent years on my knees asking for "wisdom, understanding and insight," Either there was NO answer or there was this answer for me.

People don't like "truth" near as much as they let on. The like their truth and while I also like to be comforted by grand beliefs, beliefs are not truths.

I'd rather dig in the earth for truth than dig through a book that was written by priests and prophets not unlike some of the loons that we easily reject today. It seems as long as a loon was long ago, we can take that as truth. But a loon is a loon.

Follow the truth, wherever it leads, as a little child....

DennisCDiehl said...

Personally, I have never found COG types to be as interested in the "truth" as the claim to be. They are Bible readers, but do not wish to understand where the Book comes from and why or even good science done well.

My COG minister friends may hold personal opinions which they never speak but want to keep their jobs and know to speak their life truths would be fatal to their income. They let the heirarchy control them and thus they wear masks. Trust me, I know this.

Rather than throw the ignorant leadership out on their asses, they go underground in their real beliefs and it's ok.

DennisCDiehl said...

Almost 50 comments and not one person has said they have read The Birth and Death of the Messiah lol Typical

DennisCDiehl said...

The authors of the "Genesis Floor" , Whitcomb and Morris, were hardly qualified to write about the geology of the "flood" Their conclusions were stupid and it is considered the epitomy of ignorance today.

Velvet said...

"three score and ten"

See, this was one of the few advantages Shadows of WCG could have used productively, instead of destructively; I think Bob was the oldest one on the board!

As it is, I'm the youngest one on this board. Also the youngest one in my congregation, and the youngest amongst the people I hang out with at the Feast...... :-P

Velvet said...

"Almost 50 comments and not one person has said they have read The Birth and Death of the Messiah lol Typical."

Little condescending there, Dennis? :-) I just finished reading Zero History (fiction). Last nonfiction book I properly read all the way through was Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven.

I'm still waffling on the Barrett book, for several reasons. Not least of which I'm concerned he might not be as unbiased as everyone is claiming he is, since (at least going by Gavin's review) Barrett seems to rely rather much on "personal communication" with Evangelical John Halford, as to what is going on in the Church now. Which, as we all know from past experience, is little but smoke and mirrors.

Leonardo said...

Anon wrote: “NO ONE reads whole books anymore!...I can say more in one pithy incisive tweet that Leo'tard can say in 100 of those biographical (snooze) unoriginal verbose grammatically incorrect essays of his that I've stopped reading.”


Well, obviously YOU don’t read entire books, Anon - that’s painfully clear by your inarticulate moronic tweets. And if it is Plasma Dude, I agree with Anon 11:12, give it a rest, because obviously others don’t find your totally irrelevant comments to be “pithy” nor “incisive.” I’m surprised the website moderator has so much tolerance for your routinely irrelevant and insulting tweets, especially since they virtually NEVER contribute in any directly relevant way to the topic under discussion.

Ahhhhhh, yet another sad causality of the “give them an award for anything” in order to boost their self-esteem mindset. This guy apparently actually believes he’s a “pithy” and “incisive” writer. And he can barely write at 3rd grade level – I count FIVE technical grammar errors in his last sentence accusing me of writing “grammatically incorrect essays.”

Simply astonishing!

Leonardo said...

Dennis, I read a number of books recommended here, both by you and others. The paperback version of the "Birth" book is only 45 cents out on Amazon. Don't assume that just because we don't directly mention it, that therefore we haven't read them.

And on the topic of books (which, of course, NOBODY reads any more, at least in the inarticulate twitterverse occupied by our local illiterate, Plasma Dude!) another excellent book is THE CREATIONISTS by Ronald L. Numbers, which thoroughly documents the creationist movement in the 20th century, one of the best out there, in my view:

http://www.amazon.com/Creationists-Scientific-Creationism-Intelligent-Expanded/dp/0674023390/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364764821&sr=1-1&keywords=the+creationists+ronald+numbers

As well as this one, written by a former WCG pastor:

http://www.amazon.com/God-Evolution-Implications-Darwins-Fundamentalism/dp/0977604446/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364764905&sr=1-1&keywords=god+and+evolution%3F+the+implications

Leonardo said...

Velvet, at least give Barrett's new book a try. I'm going through it now and find it quite good, except that his books tend to be printed in such a small font size, which can be a bit hard on my 57-year-old eyes.

Just borrow a copy from the Interlibrary Loan System at your local library.

And, like any real scholar, Barrett cites a good balance of many, MANY different sources in his work, not just John Halford. As I understand it this book is based on his doctoral dissertation. So it is legitimate.

I've learned a lot from it so far, and many things that I've never even heard of before. 38 years in the COG's, and 17 spent out at Pasadena HQ's, and sometimes I erroneously think I've heard it all. But Barrett's book is quite illuminating.

Come on Velvet, don't be like Plasma Dude, read something more than just a 300-word summary once in a while. Of course, in Plasma Dude's ideal world, such things as serious books, lengthy articles (anything over 300 words), doctoral dissertations, Amazon.com, libraries, etc. would be outlawed. But for those of us who actually see the real-world value of expanding our minds and deepened our wells of knowledge, reading books is the only way to go.

And we'll let Plasma Dude stay in his safe world of CliffNotes, shallow summaries and 2-minute Youtube videos - that whey he cin keep makin the relavint, pithy and insighsiv coments hes nown fer on this websight!!!

Sorry Plasma Dude, but you bring it on yourself - you really do!

Anonymous said...

DennisCDiehl said...
"Almost 50 comments and not one person has said they have read The Birth and Death of the Messiah lol Typical"

I tried snagging a copy of those titles but came up empty. Although I did find [Raymond_Edward_Brown]_Responses_to_101_Questions_(Book Fi. org) and some Alister E. McGrath titles.
They should make for some easy reading for a change. I'm about halfway way through Roger Penrose's
"Road To Reality". Having read "The Emperor's New Mind" and "Shadows of the Mind" years ago, his books just keep on getting more and more challenging.

another seekeroftruth

Anonymous said...

Leonardo, I'm getting suspicious of PlasmaDude. He or she could be someone's sockpuppet troll.

another seekeroftruth

Leonardo said...

That's why I wonder why the webmaster here keeps letting it happen - though I'm afraid I don't know what the term "sockpuppet troll" means.

Now I could understand if Plasma Dude/Anonymous actually said something of interest, or made an occasional comment that could even remotely be considered a contribution to the overall discussion, but it's the same old song & dance over and over and over again, like a defective record playing the same groove repeatedly. Personally, I'm of the opinion that when things like this happen, then such completely irrelevant comments should just be eliminated. Censorship implies blocking out a message, but this dimwitted kid (or someone's alter ego) never really says anything, so really there's nothing to censor except his incomprehensible babble. I think we've been patient enough with his nonsense. It's kind of sad, though, how someone can be so desperate for attention or empty or angry or whatever else actually motivates such drivel.

Oh, and here's the Amazon link to the first book Dennis mentioned:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Birth-Messiah-Commentary-Narratives/dp/0300140088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364780239&sr=8-1&keywords=the+birth+of+the+messiah

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

PlasmaDude n. a piece of human excrement with no life and access to the internet. dude, give it up. what a loser!

Glenn said...

Dennis,

I have not finished reading Brown's "Introduction to the New Testament" yet. Don't need 1800 more pages on my bookshelves for awhile. Besides, I am guessing that the books say that the various gospel accounts of the death of Jesus and the birth of Jesus are irreconcilable for both subjects.

Anonymous said...

Some must learn that they should not presume to speak for all others on this blog.

Velvet said...

"And, like any real scholar, Barrett cites a good balance of many, MANY different sources in his work, not just John Halford."

Thanks, Leo, I was concerned about that due to Gsvin's review. I realize Halford is a friend of yours, so please know I didn't mean anything negative by it; I was also told he had accepted the changes, but if he believes in evolution, maybe he is not a cookie-cutter Evangelical like the rest of them can be, sometimes.

If I were to get the book, it would more than likely get added to the congregational library when I was done with it. So maybe I can squeeze some coins from the social fund for it. :-) (I was also thinking of asking if we could get a subscription to Bible Archaeology Review.)

"Come on Velvet, don't be like Plasma Dude, read something more than just a 300-word summary once in a while"

I think your 57-year-old eyes need to reread my comment again, Leo; I did mention I had recently finished both this and this. I am still working my way through this, but that last one is slow going, and often makes me wonder if I am right to associate with the Church as it is at all, given where the Evangelicals actually come from, and what they are trying to do.

Velvet said...

Gsvin = Gavin obviously (I need a new prescription as well, but my year on these ones are not up I don't think). And I meant to add a smiley to my jab about your 57-year-old eyes, Leo. :-)

(My 37-year-old ones ain't all that great, either!)

Anonymous said...

Dennis said: Almost 50 comments and not one person has said they have read The Birth and Death of the Messiah lol Typical

A personal comment: It would help if you gave an indication of what you believe a reader would discover about the subject.
If you believe it would be convincing enough to turn people away from their religious beliefs you have a misunderstanding of an important human need.
If you believe it would prove how fraudulent Christianity and turn them to accepting truth, you need to clearly define the value of the truth they will look for and discover.
If you succeed in destroying Christianity what do you have to replace it?
I already have more reading material than I can absorb three 80 year life times.
This is a genuine request, since I am still learning at 80 plus years.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see the ages of some of those commenting. I have a son and daughter older than Leo and a grandson the same age as Velvet. I also have great grandkids the jibber jabber like the plasma dude
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "If I were to get the book, it would more than likely get added to the congregational library when I was done with it."

If I may humbly suggest, I wouldn't spend the $50 for Barrett's book. It's quite good. It's an excellent source. It's worth reading. But it's NOT worth the obscenely high price of $50 - which is fairly typical for doctoral dissertations turned into books.

Also, might you be able to provide me with a link to Gavin's on-line review of Barrett's book? I always thought Gavin to be very fair-handed and balanced in his reviews. Reviews, of course, are no match for reading the book on one's own, but I find them helpful.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "It is interesting to see the ages of some of those commenting. I have a son and daughter older than Leo and a grandson the same age as Velvet. I also have great grandkids the jibber jabber like the plasma dude."


I'll bet that IS interesting! That's why I like blogging so much, because you get to interact with people from all over the world that you'd most likely never meet in person. We can all learn from each other, "iron sharpening iron."

But since the topic of Plasma Dude has come up...again!...please permit me the following rant! And it’ll be my last in regard to him.

To somewhat mirror a comment you made the other day, Mr. Boocher, reading through the comments on any particular thread posted on this or any other website reveals on the microcosmic level what we observe in the wider world in macrocosm: that serious, educational, constructive dialogue can often be as rare as it is temporal, and can only exist just so long before it’s almost inevitably taken down by the boorish trolls of life if they are carelessly allowed to verbally “crap” all over the place.

For several weeks now my approach to Plasma Dude has essentially been one of “answer[ing] a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceits.” But we’ve tolerated him long enough, his true aims are plain for all to see, and now’s the time to begin applying the other side of that particular proverb – “answer NOT a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him.”

I’ve been blogging on various Internet websites for about 16 years now, and so I speak from a lot of experience. I find that the more serious, high-quality blogsites almost with exception are run by webmasters/moderators that uphold fair yet high standards of respectful dialogue. They make it crystal clear that irrelevant comments obviously off-topic, repeated ad hominen arguments, and the slinging of immature personal insults will simply NOT be tolerated. Offenders are politely warned, perhaps several times, and if they refuse to comply with the basic principles of courteous discourse then they are permanently removed from the conversation.

So the plague of internet trolling is, to a very great extent, either passively encouraged or quickly extinguished by blogsite moderators, who are either responsible in their role or not.

It’s no secret that authentic civil dialogue is rapidly on the decline in America and around the world. I find it quite ironic while at the same time technological advances are making possible more potential human interaction than ever before in human history, the deplorable reality is that never before have people been so shallow, bereft of good manners and mean-spirited in their interactions with one another.

This unfortunate trend becomes painfully obvious by spending but a few minutes on FaceBook, Twitter, various blogsites or just a quick perusal of the “comment” sections appearing below on-line articles posted at mainstream media sites. And I don’t think that most of these folks are UNWILLING to participate in the mutually-beneficial give and take of civil conversation, but it’s becoming plainer by the day that they are completely UNABLE to do so, especially the younger “dude” generation, who’ve been tragically let down by our public school systems.

These kids simply aren’t being provided with even the most basic of tools required to engage in genuinely constructive human interaction. Whenever many of them are confronted by a cogent, logically sound, well-articulated argument backed up by documented facts, they just freeze up, their eyes glaze over, then they instinctively go into “dude” attack mode and the vapid, shallow, stupid, 2nd grade-level comments begin.

I’ll be the first to admit – we have failed them terribly.

How lamentable this situation really is, for it blunts one of the greatest of all capacities we human beings have – the ability to meaningfully interact and communicate with each other to the benefit of all.

Anonymous said...

Albert..The Birth and Death of the Messiah Books are designed to explain the birth narratives in their origins and intent. We'd call that theology. He explains why birth and death accounts of Jesus are varied and contradictory due to different writing styles used by authors for different reasons. It is meant to explain the "faith" not destroy it. However, the average person is not used to understanding the how and why of Bible texts , why they really don't match and aren't inerrant. This is not sunday school lessons. This is what a truly educated pastor would want to know before he was asked real questions about the text by critically thinking congregants.
dd

Also, I don't know how to address the 'what hope would I replace it with" etc. Truth is true and doesn't always lead to a new way to deny it or get new wrong fuzzy feelings to replace how things actually are . You often sound to me as if there has to be a hopeful and faithfilled alternative to these realities or may as well keep the error going. I don't think like that.

Velvet said...

I'm certainly hoping I won't be the one to lay out $50 for the book, Leo. :-)

"Also, might you be able to provide me with a link to Gavin's on-line review of Barrett's book?"

I tried, and my browser crashed. Let's see if it works on the next comment.

Velvet said...

Fragments in Focus: 1

Fragments in Focus: 2

Fragments in Focus: 3

Fragments in Focus: 4

Fragments in Focus: 5

Fragments in Focus: 6

Fragments in Focus: 7

Fragments in Focus: 8

Fragments in Focus: 9

Fragments in Focus: 10

Velvet said...

Those links working for everyone? They look OK on my end.

Leonardo said...

Thank you, Velvet!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dennis for your reply
I may appear to sound like there has to be hopeful and faith filled alternatives, but my intent is to avoid destroying a persons faith and hope without a plausible replacement.
I believe it is recognized that intelligence in human life must have a source and there must be starting point for active movement in the universe.
Until these have been determined in way that is understandable to everyone we need to realize that religion is humanities effort to understand these unknowns.
Unless we can provide information that will promote universe wholeness that sees human life as an important part of the whole, we will have the religious diversity we currently have.
I personally see the purpose and ultimate goal for life as the development of intelligent relationships that produce positive and productive communities whether current or future. I look at scripture as writings that reveal the use of religion in explaining the unknown, but can also see the principles that can be applied universally.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

"I believe it is recognized that intelligence in human life must have a source and there must be starting point for active movement in the universe."

But why must that source always end being, at least in the minds of most people, a highly-complex invisible "god" with amazingly human-like characteristics and completely undiscernible to the five senses or the devices that magnify them, like microscopes and telescopes? Nobody can ever seem to give me a sound answer to this question.

Head Usher said...

Exactly Anon 2:06!

The argument religious people make over and over again is:

IF [insert claim about life or the universe] THEN [insert claim about the deity that it just so happens that I have been conditioned to prefer].

That is not logic though. That's blind, unthinking, faith in the PEOPLE who handed you a bunch of stories about a deity, as though those people should have any reason to know any more than you do about invisible intelligent beings they've never met. And then, they tell you that your faith is not in the PEOPLE (ancient and modern) who told you all these stories full of magical beings and events, the likes of which you have zero first-hand experience, no, they tell you that your faith is in the deity now.

Albert wrote:
"Until these have been determined in way that is understandable to everyone we need to realize that religion is humanities effort to understand these unknowns. Unless we can provide information that will promote universe wholeness that sees human life as an important part of the whole, we will have the religious diversity we currently have." (emphasis mine)

I have a few problems with this:

Blindly accepting dogma doesn't really constitute an effort to understand anything. It actually short-circuits any effort to understand because it fools people into thinking they already understand when they don't. Instead, people are pressured by their culture into accepting their culture's accepted "received understanding" about any and all "unknowns." Why should anyone expend any "effort" when they've already received all the answers on a silver platter?

Unfortunately, there is NO INFORMATION to be provided. That's why you previously called them "unknowns," quite correctly, I might add. Religion is an attempt by various cultures to fill in those unknowns with made-up shit, by and large it seems, made up by ancient con artists and the mentally ill.

I have no problems with promoting "universal wholeness" and good relationships between all men as you've otherwise expressed in many other posts. Those are lofty and noble goals, no doubt, but I just happen to think, call me crazy, that made-up shit is a terrible foundation upon which to construct anything, let alone such a noble edifice.

Leonardo said...

Head Usher, I ask questions like this for two reasons: First, to get people to THINK with greater precision, which very obviously many don't! And second, to see how they will reply (if at all) so I can better understand their present mindset. I'm fascinated (perhaps even obsessed) by how people think, by how they reason, by why they believe the things they do. My experience in life thus far in this area teaches me that the vast majority of people don't think with a great deal of exactness or precision at all - that they pivot around on word meanings and use words carelessly, rather than using words in exacting ways that achieve clarity of thought and expression.

My old biblical scholarship teacher at AC – Dr. Stavrinedees – would call this “fuzzy thinking.” He was an absolute stickler for clarity in both thought and communication.

I like Mr. Boocher. He's a senior citizen with much life experience and I think such folks have a lot to teach younger ones about life. And that's why I posted that previous comment as Anonymous, because I don't want him to think I'm coming across as being disrespectful or argumentative with him.

But I think the bottom line is this: people differ in many ways. And in this particular instance, in the way they conceptualize thoughts, ideas and the perceptions of reality they have in their minds. Some people think with greater amounts of detail, precision and lucidness. Others think in very broad, hazy, vague generalities.

And this has nothing to do with old age, at least in the sense that I see people far younger than myself doing the exact same thing. The “dude” generation in general are poster children of muddled thinking and even less effective communication styles. I cite Plasma Dude as a fact in evidence to illustrate this point.

Here’s another example: remember several days ago when someone posting as Anonymous made a broad sweeping claim that evolutionary theory was filled with “hundreds of holes” and a complete hoax? I then challenged him to provide us with just one or two specific examples to illustrate.

He refused to respond.

On another current thread (“Ron Meredith says members who…”) someone else (though I suspect the same person) claimed that “the truth is Christ.” I responded again by asking for greater clarity, and what exactly is meant by such a statement. At least he responded this time, but with yet another equally unclear, vague set of slogans – his exact response being:

“Leonardo said "Put up or shut up, Anon!" Put up what? I have Christ of the Bible and the promise of eternal life. What do you have?”

And I see this time and time and time again on other blogsites I frequent, or in personal conversations I have with Christians: the religious mind of faith has been steeped for so long in denying factual evidence, in accepting the most ludicrous truth claims, in pretending they have all (or most) of the answers, in using broad, sweeping, intellectually lazy generalities via various slogans and bromides and scripture quoting that they seem completely unable to think clearly, to think with precision, to think logically for the most part. And I think this very sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

Velvet,

Thanks for the links, I was going to put together the same list to send to someone and you saved me time in doing so.

Only error I noticed was that clicking on #9 actually brought me to #8.

But I've enjoyed reading the comments on this thread.
The most puzzling thing I've read is Albert's strong worry about "destroying people's faith"
Maybe I just look at things differently, but I don't share that strong and oft-repeated concern of his.
I can't see the need to keep people feeling good no matter if what they feel good about is hogwash.
But really, I don't even have that power to destroy anyone's faith. If someone reads about and thinks about a different worldview than they currently hold, I see it as a sign that they choose to challenge themselves.
Those who have no want to challenge themselves and their cherished notions generally don't wander outside (the box of their beliefs and those who support and appear to confirm those beliefs).

-Norm

Anonymous said...

Another Question:
But why must that source always end being, at least in the minds of most people, a highly-complex invisible "god" with amazingly human-like characteristics and completely undiscernible to the five senses or the devices that magnify them, like microscopes and telescopes? Nobody can ever seem to give me a sound answer to this question.

My answer:
A short answer is; because we are a human being with a mind that reasons and desires to communicate this reasoning with other reasoning beings with superior understanding. The assumption is that since human life is the highest form of intelligence its source would come through an intelligent source that was superior in the characteristics of human life.

A more in-depth approach deals with the Psychology of religion. That approach deals with the science of Psychology that is an evolving science explaining how the mind works. I see there is a plan to map the brain, but I am not overly optimistic about them find a solution for explaining the mind.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Norm, which brings us back to the one essential difference between Mr. Boocher's views and my own, best expressed in the following question: Is what you believe and build your life upon valued merely because it may have the pragmatic effect of making you feel good, feel loved by a deity, or of providing a crutch that somehow helps you muddle through life - or is there sufficient reason and evidence to lead you to the conclusion that it's objectively TRUE? In my view his latter reason seems the only legitimate reason to believe anything.

Though it appears that relatively few are willing to take that latter path to truth. Probably because it can be quite challenging and requires considerable mental effort, whereas religious faith is easy, as it really only demands one thing: just believe. Many religionists unthinkingly go for the immediate pragmatic effects of emotional comfort, solace and the patently false sense of absolute 100% philosophical certainty that their faith can appear to provide, much like a drug addict prefers the immediate "high" of the hit, instead of taking the more long-range view that this temporary comfort is only delusionary in nature, and will eventually CAUSE many more problems down into the future than it seems to “solve” in the present.

Though I do understand - and heartily applaud - Mr. Boocher's concerns for his fellow humans. It shows a sensitivity not often found today in many folks.

Through my 38 years in the COG's, I observed that VERY FEW believers are willing to challenge the foundational beliefs they hold so near and dear, and most especially the presuppositions those beliefs are ultimately grounded upon. They often can’t even remotely discern such assumptions even when they are explicitly pointed out. Either that, or they just don’t WANT to because it would be like opening up Pandora’s box, and bring much confusion into their lives. I know the feeling, I’ve been there. But this is made abundantly clear on websites like this, and others internet forums that debate the general differences between faith and reason, or religion and science, etc.

Notice how Mr. Boocher frequently refers back to the "psychology of religion" as the basis of his views. I majored in psychology, and minored in theology, and have therefore read much in this area, and from many different perspectives. But notice he can never seem to seriously articulate much about the "psychology of religion" he so often harkens back to. He just discusses it only in very broad, loose generalities. Which makes me wonder if he's ever read Freud's "The Future of an Illusion." Or Dr. Earnest Becker's 1974 Pulitzer-winning classic "The Denial of Death." Or “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer.

Mr. Boocher speaks above of a more “in-depth” approach using this “psychology of religion” - but never can give us more than just standard generalities. Which makes me wonder how widely he’s actually read on the subject. HWA frequently spoke of the six-month “in-depth” research he did back in the 1920’s, how he would spend all day at the library, etc. But few realize that library at the time was little more than a very small one-room building that had a tiny collection of serious books on history, science, etc. HWA came to some very erroneous conclusions given his claims to have researched such subjects “in-depth.” I wonder the same about some of Mr. Boocher’s conclusions regarding the psychology of religion.

Anyway, my two cents worth.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: “his claims to have researched such subjects “in-depth.” I wonder the same about some of Mr. Boocher’s conclusions regarding the psychology of religion.”

Leo you are not listening to what I am saying. I do not claim to have researched Psychology of Religion in-depth. What I am saying is that we a dealing with Psychological issues. Most of my studies in Psychology have been related to counseling and why religion exists. One of the books I have read and digested is Psychology of Religion by Paul E. Johnson; Sub titled A Psychological Analysis of what It Means to Be Religious, copyright 1959. It has a lot of good information that deals with some of the things I see here on this blog site. It compares the secular science of Psychology with the religious psychological problems, but I do not believe we can solve the problems that surface here. It might be notes that more recent postings are exposing what I believe are psychological problems.

Norm: You may not believe you have the power to destroy another person’s faith, but some people have a faith that is very fragile. It should be evident that many have lost faith over a lack of someone caring when they are going through a crisis. The Christian faith hinges on the belief that there is a God who cares, destroy that God and you have destroyed Christianity.
A. Boocher

Head Usher said...

Albert,

So, what I hear you saying is that religion is about "psychological issues" which, if I hear you correctly, sounds like an acknowledgement that religion is all in your head. Either religion has an external reality, or else it is just a placebo, a giant sugar pill in the sky that gives one warm and fuzzy feelings, but does nothing except contribute to a general state of optimism. If religion merely comes down to "psychological issues," then there really is nothing real about it.

Now, if that were the extent of it, that would be fine, no harm, no foul. Except that as Michael Shermer points out in this TED lecture, unfounded belief can do real harm:

http://youtu.be/b_6-iVz1R0o

Faith in the ADE 651 Bomb detecting dowsing rod is totally unfounded, because, like it's cousin, the Quadro 2000, "designed" to detect marijuana in student's lockers, when tested, I am sure it's going to also work 50% of the time, or in other words just as well as a coin toss. Students have little to fear from the Quadro 2000, they can continue to bring their marijuana to school the same as before, just like terrorists have nothing to fear from the ADE 651, but from a government's point of view, it's not what you want when innocent lives are at stake.

If faith brought one closer to something that was a literal, external truth that pervaded the entire universe, like gravity or quantum mechanics, then faith would not be fragile, it would be robust. The fact that people's faith has to be handled with kidgloves and cannot withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is rather a cause for concern. The practice of science is to eliminate all assailable ideas, because facts are unassailable. Whatever is real and true is only illuminated by investigation, scrutiny, doubt and questioning, never destroyed by it.

Leonardo said...

Head Usher wrote: "If faith brought one closer to something that was a literal, external truth that pervaded the entire universe, like gravity or quantum mechanics, then faith would not be fragile, it would be robust. The fact that people's faith has to be handled with kidgloves and cannot withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is rather a cause for concern. The practice of science is to eliminate all assailable ideas, because facts are unassailable. Whatever is real and true is only illuminated by investigation, scrutiny, doubt and questioning, never destroyed by it."

BRAVO! Here, here!! That statement seems so crystal clear and obvious to some, like me, and yet so incredibly naive to others. Note that scientists don't have to begin each symposium with a song service to emotionally reinforce the facts of gravity, or atomic theory, or quantum theory. Why? Because such real-world objective realities have plenty of evidence backing them up, plus they work in actual practice. Christians and other religionists are constantly having to bolster and reinforce their flimsy beliefs because they are based on faith, rather than facts. That's why so many people's faith is so empty, and so easily destroyed. But my question is why in the world would anybody want such an unsure, shaky foundation to build a life on in the first place, especially when other more suitable options are readily available?

Leonardo said...

Mr. Boocher, your admission that "The Christian faith hinges on the belief that there is a God who cares, destroy that God and you have destroyed Christianity" - well, pretty much says it all.

My question is that If such a deity truly existed then how could a puny human being reasoning down here on a little pinprick of a planet "destroy" such a super being? Now, on the other hand, if this deity can be so easy destroyed or dismissed then what would that say about him/her/it/they or whatever? Possibly that such a deity is the flimsy creation of the human imagination and has no real, objective existence?

I NEVER go around purposely trying to get folks to give up their faith in God, Jesus, Allah, Krishna or whoever. However, if they willingly come to blogsites like this and try to make claims for which there is no evidence or real rationale behind, then yes, I challenge them. And if you'll notice very few of them ever respond back, and if they do 99% of the time it's merely with some stale religious platitude or slogan or scriptural quotation.

Leonardo said...

And Head Usher, I very much liked the Michael Shermer TED talk. He used to be a Christian, by the way. I've read his book "The Believing Brain" among his other works as well. Interesting the Iranian government buying those bomb detector devices based on nothing but pseudo-science. Another perfect example of the religious mind in action. And then folks wonder why the State of Israel won't allow these morons to obtain nuclear weapons!

Anonymous said...

Head Usher said...
Albert,
So, what I hear you saying is that religion is about "psychological issues" which, if I hear you correctly, sounds like an acknowledgement that religion is all in your head. Either religion has an external reality, or else it is just a placebo, a giant sugar pill in the sky that gives one warm and fuzzy feelings, but does nothing except contribute to a general state of optimism. If religion merely comes down to "psychological issues," then there really is nothing real about it.

Now, if that were the extent of it, that would be fine, no harm, no foul. Except that as Michael Shermer points out in this TED lecture, unfounded belief can do real harm:

My comment:
When I use the term psychological it in not about the head or brain, which are the only external reality to be claimed. I refer to what is defined as the mind, which processes the emotions and behavioral characteristics. Religion exists in minds of real people. The external reality of religion is measured by a person’s outlook on life and the desire to achieve a perceived wholeness desired by the Creator God.
If we have no perception of God what do we use as a standard of the desired wholeness? What does biological science offer that will produce things life love, joy, peace, patience, and other characteristics that will produce a better quality of human existence? Will all of those things naturally evolve through a series of educational improvements as human life continues to evolve?

A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Leo Said: The Christian faith hinges on the belief that there is a God who cares

I think there are several billion who follow the Christian faith in the world care who, but we can’t think about them can we?
A. Boocher

Head Usher said...

Okay, no problem, I can accept the word "mind" in place of "head" or "brain."

So, even in your clarification, it sounded like you were still saying that you believe, or are at least willing to accept that religion may just be all in your mind. That is to say, it sounds like you're okay with the concept that the "creator deity" could be just an imaginary construct of your mind with no external truth except for a more positive "outlook on life" than would otherwise be the case. Furthermore, it sounds like you're advocating that it's better, or perhaps even virtuous to believe a lie, if that lie results in "a better quality of human existence" than it would be to believe something that was objectively true, since it appears that humans aren't sufficiently well adapted to be able to handle the truth in a productive fashion.

Let me say, I've never imagined that anyone would be okay with such a position of willful self-deception, or that it would be possible for anyone to discuss it openly without destroying the illusion and dispelling their blissful self-imposed denial/ignorance.

I guess the only difference between what I hear you saying and a good hallucinogen is that even when you know you're experiencing a hallucination as the result of a substance that you know you ingested, the hallucination is still pretty darned convincing. When I lie to myself, and I'm honest about the fact that I'm lying to myself, it's not convincing at all. Which leaves me wondering if your everyday reality isn't quite a trip. What medications do the doctors have you on?

Anonymous said...

Head Usher said….When I lie to myself, and I'm honest about the fact that I'm lying to myself, it's not convincing at all. Which leaves me wondering if your everyday reality isn't quite a trip. What medications do the doctors have you on?

I am not lying to myself when I point out that the fact that human intelligence demands a source for the existence of life. Until that source can be designated and clearly defined I must assume it is greater than the wholeness of the life I experience. The biblical statement that man is made in the image of God reveals that human intelligence has recognized that life comes from life. My life has been a positive experience that has been filled with successes and is still experiencing the fruit of a well managed life, but I cannot claim to be smarter or anyway better than any other human being. The only thing that I can claim is my dependence on the guidance of this God revealed in the Biblical record.

It is ironic, but the many comments made in this blog site have strengthen my faith and expanded my understanding of what the bible and Christianity has contributed in developing constructive human relationships and the management of life. I have a positive mental attitude that sees life as a learning experience in building a wholeness that has purpose beyond my human existence, even if that purpose is not clearly defined.

I do not need medication since the main physical problems are hearing loss that hearing aides compensate for, a dimming of eyes that glasses compensate for, and the normal loss of energy due to aging the requires a little more resting than when was young. The only reason I comment on this site is to show that people are the problem not religion. I will admit that I hope there will never be a time when I can honestly say “I know how you feel, because I have been there and done that”.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "I think there are several billion who follow the Christian faith in the world care who, but we can’t think about them can we?"

Yes, the number of Christians in the world is about 2.2 billion – Muslims, about 2.1 billion. But Mr. Boocher, all I can say is that I'm sincerely trying with all my mind to understand where you're going with this, but I STILL remain utterly baffled by your logic. All I can say is that your responses obfuscate rather than clarify, and seem to raise more and more questions in my mind, far more than they satisfactorily answer.

For instance, as I mention above, there are about 2.1 billion Muslims in the world. Does that mean we must respect their truth claims (often violently opposed to Christian truth claims) as well without challenging them, because after all, it would offend them and might unsettle their peace of mind? All lines of reasoning have implications. Your line of reasoning naturally extrapolated out would seem to include all forms of unverifiable mysticism because such thought systems merely exist and in some way provide emotional solace to followers of such. What about Wicca, Caribbean voodoo or outright Satan worship as well, because obviously they must satisfy some kind of psychological need too, don’t they?

If I understand you correctly (which I’m afraid I don’t) , it appears that you're claiming this reason alone seems to justify ANY ideology's existence in your mind – part of your “psychology of religion” hypothesis. I just CANNOT for the life of me understand where you are going with your present mindset. I’m just being honest here, but I strongly sense that you can't remotely comprehend the obvious real-world implications that your view of religion has. And the more you try to defend or clarify it, the more the logical implications of such magnify and spread.

I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded person, and really do try to comprehend concepts and ideas other people sincerely present to me in discussion. But I must say this one “takes the cake” as far as having even the slightest logical consistency to it. It just seems to me that you’re going in many different directions at once, and yrt no place in particular.

You wrote: “It is ironic, but the many comments made in this blog site have strengthen my faith and expanded my understanding of what the bible and Christianity has contributed in developing constructive human relationships and the management of life.”

Oh, I don’t doubt that at all. I’m quite certain the guy who posted his empty religious slogans the other day, who, when challenged in detail, just scurried away and never responded, felt his faith was “strengthened” in some way as well. And your understanding may have expanded, but I don’t see any evidence of that whatsoever based on your attempts to explain your views. I’m sorry, but I don’t. And I don’t think this failure is due to your advancing age, but rather to the curse of circular reasoning that seems so rampant among religious folks. This is not meant as a disrespectful comment or any such thing. Please understand that. But I find that so many religionists who claim great faith and understanding almost without exception have the hardest time giving verbal or logically consistent expression to such presumed insights.


Head Usher: I very much sense that Mr. Boocher is stuck in a continual loop of circular reasoning that he just cannot perceive nor escape from, and the more he tries to explain it, the more confusing and contradictory it becomes. I’m trying my level best to understand where he’s coming from, I really am, but the implications of his reasoning are just too obvious to me, and I think to you as well. I’m even going to try to get a copy of the 1959 book he recommend earlier, that apparently his “psychology of religion” is based on. I always find there’s something to be gained by such mini-researches.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "The only reason I comment on this site is to show that people are the problem not religion."

And the more I reflect on this entire exchange, the more I see that this is the bottom line to Mr. Boocher's "psychology of religion": it's the flawed, evil, ignorant, unreasonable people who are at fault here - not any one of the thousands of completely faith-based, utterly irrational and often conflicting religions that man has proposed the past many centuries to explain reality.

Such ideologies are fine, it's the people who are to blame.

This may somehow make sense in some other kind of dimension, but most certainly not in the world with which I'm familiar.

Anonymous said...

I will make one last comment on this subject. I am not justifying any or all religions what I am saying is that many if not most religious people do not see their life the way you picture it. What I see here is a number of disappointed people who believe human beings will solve all the problems and experience contentment and wholeness if we can show them that they have evolved through the natural process of birth to death in ever evolving universe that has an unknown beginning and end. I do not believe the truth you are searching for will be satisfactory even if you find it.
Why? Because true happiness will never be experienced until we are at peace with ourselves and those who share our human existence.
It is interesting to have people tell me I am out of touch with life when life in the world today is nothing more than rat race to expose what is wrong without a standard for what is right.
Of course I could be wrong, but I am good company since most of those who are a part of my life seem to be balanced and contented.
Have a great day!
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Here's a link to the on-line text version that 1959 book PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION by Paul E. Johnson:

http://archive.org/stream/psychologyofreli012811mbp/psychologyofreli012811mbp_djvu.txt

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: " I am not justifying any or all religions what I am saying is that many if not most religious people do not see their life the way you picture it. What I see here is a number of disappointed people who believe human beings will solve all the problems and experience contentment and wholeness if we can show them that they have evolved through the natural process of birth to death in ever evolving universe that has an unknown beginning and end. I do not believe the truth you are searching for will be satisfactory even if you find it."


Well, now I'm being misunderstood because that's NOT what I'm saying at all.

And where is it written in stone that objective truth always has to be humanly satisfying? I can think of many truths that aren't. Unlike religion, I don't claim to have all the answers. I do question those who make that very claim, however, especially when they justify such claims by appealing to whether it makes people happy and content, or not.

You refuse to adequately respond, or even respond at all, to studies that show that self-deception often can have satisfying effects in ones life (athletic performance, etc.) - so does this justify self-deception or delusion as a valid principle of successful living? So far as I can tell, in your reasoning it would.

Richard Dawkins is an ardent atheist, and yet from all appearances enjoys a very productive, content and happy life. You claim the same three last states in regard to your life, and claim them to be the natural result of your religion convictions. And yet you have very differing worldviews and lifestyles. So under your "psychology of religion" view, who's right, or most accurate, in their worldview, since both apparently have produced the same desired results?

I'm not letting you off the hook here because your responses are so contradictory to each other. One time you say this, the next time you say something else. And yet you always come back to the same conclusion: you live a content life, so therefore you must be right. I'm asking you these questions because I'm trying to makes heads or tails of what exactly it is you're saying.

Anonymous said...

Leo, I do not want to appear difficult to understand, but you need to realize that am from a different era and communicate with people that have different outlooks on life. I have debated with myself about making another comment, but decided to send you a couple paragraphs from an article I wrote a while back.

Who Knows what evil lurks in the world of our existence?

Who knows what evil lurks; was a question posed on an old radio program. The answer was “the SHADOW KNOWS” and the program proceeded to give a blow by blow description of the efforts of this superhero’s efforts to rid the world of the evils that abounded in the fictitious world of radio. While the evils were based on many of problems that plaque the world of our existence, the “SHADOW” was the figment of someone’s imagination the message was that it takes good to destroy evil.
The wars raging around the world and the many disasters resulting from acts of nature and human greed and selfishness reveal that destructive situations and activities are still at work wherever human beings exist. There is a tendency of accusing God of being negligent in protecting people and correcting the evils that prevail without considering the reality that the source of evil is in the failings of human creatures. The real solution to the elimination of evil lies in learning to live in harmony with the principles revealed as the character of God and a planned purpose that includes the system supporting our existence.
AB

Leonardo said...

Fine, but what in the world does that have to do with the specifics of the discussion we were having? You've demonstrated nothing, nor addressed any of my specific questions - only voiced a highly speculative opinion.

I guess I prefer dialogues where folks communicate to one another by directly addressing each others specific question and issues. But I get frustrated by your refusal to do this. It's the equivalent of creationists "discussing" the subject of origins by constantly sending endless links to websites like Answers in Genesis, etc., instead of personally summarizing the issues in their own words. But this isn't dialogue - it's monologue.

But I DO appreciate your attempts. I think we just are on very different wavelengths here. That's all.

Anonymous said...


Joe Moeller wrote:
"This thread will get very few posts."

I was going to throw a party at 100, but it looks like we fell one short.

Anonymous said...

I hope Joe knows far more about cattle farming than he does about predicting how many responses this post would get. And break out the beer and pretzels, Anonymous 9:18, we've reached a hundred!!

Velvet said...

So, Joe, tell us, how does it feel to be a real, live, false prophet?!?! LOL

Anonymous said...

joe doesn't respond when he's wrong, which is most of the time.

Anonymous said...

When Joe doesn't respond, it's his pathetic attempt to insult.
As he wrote, "Ignoring a person's post is the highest form of insult"