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July 20, 2011

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Todd's father sounds like a great man - and as statistics would have it, probably a religious one. The Pew indicated that 83.9% of American's are religious (http://religions.pewforum.org/reports).

Our (the American) grit 'your teeth' and 'pick yourselves up by the bootstraps' hybrized breed of spirituality is pragmatic and beautiful one that realizes we are both physical AND spiritual beings.

Thomas Aquinas said, "In all things preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words." God, the Spirit, cannot be described by our limited human vocabulary - nor conceptualized by our pea-sized brains. What religion points to - is not what any of us imagine. Let that simmer.

"the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever".

Perhaps a spirit, energy, dark matter, laws of physics, the Blind watchmaker, Darwin's God, the Wizard of Oz in a parallel universe - the real truth is - we did not create ourselves - but we can elect to participate in the creative process - and thank God, some do. We are thus, never, captain of our domain - but number two at best. Sure, we get puffed up and 'full of pride' occassionally, when markets are good and the rain 'falls softly upon our fields' - but the minute the lights go out while in the crapper - or we run out of toilet paper - run out of gas - or break a leg on a mountain trail - we realize just how fragile we are. Thank goodness then, religion IS for the poor, the needy - especially when our leaders posses such rational humility to realize they also belong to this downrodden group - but rise to the challenge to which you've alluded. We would not be here if it were not so.

“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true.” ~ Blaise Pascal

The great paradox, however, is: it takes a great dal of faith, also, to be an atheist.

Thank God for faith - and thank God for atheists (pre-Christians). Keep contemplating, my friend.

"it takes a great deal of faith, also, to be an atheist."

Huh?

Aha - thank you cc! My apologies for not better elucidating my point.

Faith: trust in a theory for which there is no proof (i.e. the theory that there is no God)


"There is no philosopher in the world so great but he believes a million things on the faith of other people, and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates." - Alexis de Tocqueville

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" - Isaac Newton

"For nothing worthy proving can be proven, Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise, Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt, And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!" - Lord Alfred Tennyson

Your Old Buddy, you have a mistaken understanding of both everyday experience and the scientific method. Almost always the burden of proof lies on those who attempt to prove that something DOES exist.

Do you have faith that the Earth isn't flat? Do you have faith that gnomes aren't causing flowers to grow? Do you have faith that the British Parliament isn't having an invisible meeting in your kitchen right now?

There is no "theory that there is no God," in the same sense as there no "theory that there is no flat Earth." Religious believers like to play word games. But not believing in the existence of something because there is no evidence for it isn't the same as believing in something, like God, absent evidence for that belief.

Rarely, if ever, do atheists say they are 100% certain that God doesn't exist. I sure don't. All we know is that there is no demonstrable evidence for the existence of God, which is why it takes blind faith to believe in a god. Reality is what is, not what isn't.

My apologies if offended you, Brian - or if my logic is skewed. I'm not very good at this stuff - and only took one 'Into to Philosophy' course as a Freshman at a state supported school a long time ago.

I was so looking forward to that class - but we covered those topics so fast and superficially, that I walked out of there knowing little more than a couple dead guy's names: Descates, Kant, Spinoza, Hume, Kirkegaard, Rousseau, etc.

It's just that I had a 'set the world up-side down type of awakening' about 8 years ago, triggered by something so profound that had nothing to do with organized religion - that I sometimes have trouble not viewing things through those glassses. I'll probably never get to meet you face-to-face, but wish you the best.

Thanks for providing this forum - it's kind of like a modern day Aereopagus - but I guess I'll try not to stir things up here anymore. See you on the flip side - whatever that means - because I think it's probably worms and dirt. The kingdom is in our midst.

Love you, Bud.

Your Old Buddy, you didn't offend me. Hopefully you feel comfortable sharing ideas with other people, and then getting reactions to what you said. That's what a conversation (as opposed to a sermon) is all about: exchanging viewpoints.

I simply wanted to point out a flaw in your thinking. It's common, so you've got lots of company. Believing in God or the supernatural is a tough habit to give up. A big part of the reason is that the human brain is naturally predisposed to believe in hidden powers, such as divine essences.

Perceiving reality as it is isn't easy. Other people can help us discern our blind spots. My wife sure did, during the years I was transitioning out of blind faith. So take my response to you in that spirit.

With difficulty I've come to understand how I used to look upon reality in an unclear way. Now I want to help others, including you, to also consider fresh ways of experiencing what likely is our one and only life.

No prob and thanks, Brain.

I think were probably closer to 'arguing' the same perspective than either of us realizes. For God (perhaps not a consious) even made doubt.

These conversations are almost verbatim as the debates/discussions we have in my adult Sunday School sclass. We cover the gammut: epistemology, ecclesiology, soteriology, philosopy, liberals & conservatives, politics, social policy, world religions (bhuddism, hinduism, juddaism, shintoism, confucianism, mormonism, national and personal religion, primitive religions, Avatar, Matrix, The Force, Inclusivism), humanitarian efforts, the history of Christianity, the intersection of science and faith, and politics (yes, even forbidden topics). There are all perspectives and stages of development in there: extremely liberal in their religious belief to very conservative; so we havetread lightly. And to be honest - I'll probably even tell them about this conversation and website - in a fond light.

I love it - but your right - there are a lot of inflexible perspectives in the world - so you can't just spout off anywhere and not expect to raise an eyebrow. You'd probably be surprised how welcoming most people are. Our pastor and his cohorts are in a motorcycle gang :-).

One life: agreed - make the best of it.

And best to you, Brian - and thanks again. Peace.

Oh God...

Note for Your Old Buddy: your prose is quite interesting, but I have a suggestion: turn on your spell checker. There are only a few spelling errors in your replies, but the ones that do exist suggest that you may be trying a little too hard.

Your agenda as a believer is showing. As a non-believer myself, I can tell you that my condescension quickly overpowers yours. Not that you should care....

Hi Willie - yes, I'm a terrible 'hunt and peck' typer. It seems also to worsen as the night draws on, too; and when the battery dwindles on this 'supposedly fancy' keyboard.

For some reason I thought drafting was an important elective in High School. Oh I loved it, but never would I have imagined that typing would someday become such a coveted skill-set.

So I may search for a spell check add-in. I've never blogged or used my browser for stuff like this - so it'd never crossed my mind. Much obliged.

I'll keep dropping in from time to time - see ya round.

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