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November 29, 2020

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Yes, individualism is one of our weaknesses and no doubt contributing to the disastrous handling COVID-19 in the US.

Yes, the profoundly stupid government leaders and their sheep (I’m not naming names) who refuse to wear a mask and refuse to make it a federal mandate are responsible for murder. <— that’s an extreme statement (even though it’s true).

Now, China is an atheist, communist state. They are doing profoundly better than everyone else when it comes to controlling COVID. Suspiciously so. However, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t enjoy living there.

There has to be an in between. Maybe a socialist democratic government with competent leaders is the answer. I don’t know. But to think that everyone who believes differently than you do is wrong is exactly how a dictator thinks. We should encourage others to think differently and even if we don’t agree with them we should encourage freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of belief, freedom of speech, freedom to love whomever you want. If we start condemning people because they think differently then what on earth have we become? We don’t have the right to control other people’s thoughts and beliefs. We should encourage people to live their own truth no matter how stupid we may think it is, as long as they aren’t breaking any laws.

Plenty of religious and spiritual people wear masks and believe in Science. Religious and spiritual people also have kids and parents and friends and loved ones. Nobody wants to lose a loved one—nobody! So, I don’t care if you’re a fundamentalist Southern Baptist who believes you have to be saved by Jesus or else you’re going to hell... those fundamentalists don’t want to die either. And they sure as hell don’t want their children dying. I believe everyone would be wearing a mask if it weren’t for Trump.

Look at Sweden, they were all “herd immunity” at first and then Science gave them a swift kick in the ass and now they’re acting intelligently.

We should have had a federal mandate and a two week shelter in place mandate at the very beginning. But the fact that that didn’t happen, we can only blame on the government. And Trump doesn’t even believe in a god as far as I can tell. I think he held the Bible upside down because it was starting to burn his fingers.

While Trump is busy golfing Sundays, Biden attends mass every Sunday—fully masked up.

This is a Federal government problem, not a spiritual problem. (It’s a stupidity problem too when you consider Trump’s base.)

Now, if you consider moving anywhere else keep in mind, atheist countries don’t just “frown upon” religion and spirituality they are very threatened by philosophy as well. So, if I were a hard core atheist I’d still rather live in a country where people have the freedom to worship unicorns if they want, than to be told how to think and have every imaginable type of social organization be heavily monitored.

From a politicians perspective
- dead people do not vote against you
- dead people do not protest
- alive people will vote for you if you give them what they want,
- alive people will vote for you if allow them to do what they want.

I want to get some facts corrected

(1) Every living entity dies - witih exception of the Turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish
(2) This includes human physical body, the consciousness is not yet understood and so may or may not die
(3) So you, I, and everybody else will die as suggested in (2)
(4) There is no solid evidence of life after death - which does NOT scientifically prove there is no life after death, it merely suggests there is more for science to discover - which IS a fact.
(5) Yet religions claim there's an afterlife which surely implies a continuing investigation rather than making a false conclusion

I’m taking a class on Religious Diversity through HarvardX online. It’s free to audit. I highly recommend it for everyone here. It views religion and spirituality in the context of culture, history and diversity. It specifically states that it’s purpose is not to decide whether a belief system is right or wrong but to understand how it developed and why cultures embrace different belief systems. I think the course was created by non fundamentalist atheists.

So let me get this straight Buddhism, which believes in reincaranation is good and in keeping with atheist beliefs?

Please do us all a favour.

India is a pretty religious country and it has a phenomenally low death rate. Emphasis on the death rate.

Sweden's death rate is much, much higher than predominately religious countries like India, Palestine, Greece, Jordan, South Africa, and Russia.

66% of people in the UK claim to be atheist or non-religious and they are doing almost as bad as the United States when you compare death rates.

I like statistics. So here's a list of countries with the percentage of citizens that claim to be atheist or non-religious:

HONG KONG 70%
NETHERLANDS 66%
UK 65%
ISRAEL 62%
JAPAN 59%
GERMANY 58%
AUSTRALIA 58%
SWITZERLAND 55%
KOREA 55%
SPAIN 54%
AUSTRIA 54%
AZERBAIJAN 54%
VIETNAM 53%
CANADA 53%
FRANCE 52%
DENMARK 51%
IRELAND 50%
LATVIA 50%

I don't know, I just think there are a lot more factors at play than religiousness when it comes to the death toll of this virus. This virus is all over the map when it comes to religion. There's no consistent factor.

Almost forgot!

Top 3 athiest countries in the world:

CHINA 90% (doing amazing!!)

SWEDEN 76% (not so good at controlling the virus)

CZECH REPUBLIC 75% (doing terrible)

I'm not trying to be argumentative. Really, I'm not. I just like looking at statistics. I could be wrong. There's always a good chance that I'm wrong, but from what I see it doesn't seem conclusive that beliefs about an afterlife are having any affect on the control or spread of COVID.

Geronimo, I'll do you a favor by pointing out some facts about Buddhism that you seem to not know:

(1) There are Buddhisms, plural, not a single Buddhism.
(2) A secular non-religious Buddhism exists which denies reincarnation or rebirth.
(3) All Buddhisms deny the existence of an enduring self or soul.
(4) All Buddhisms deny the existence of God.
(5) Reincarnation isn't a core tenet of Buddhisms.
(6) Understanding suffering and how to diminish it is the main aim of Buddhisms.
(7) Rebirth usually is how Buddhisms speak, not of reincarnation.
(8) The reason, again, is that there is no enduring self to be reincarnated.
(9) So something, somehow, somewhere, supposedly is rebirthed.
(10) There's no solid evidence of rebirth, just some anecdotes.

Lives are different, why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.

A 90 years old Christian man died. When he got to the gates of Heaven Saint Peter looked up his record. “Well, you haven’t been good enough to be entered into Heaven or bad enough to be sent to Hell. You have two choices. You can be born again on Earth or pass on into oblivion.” The man asked “What will the next 90 years be like on Earth?” Saint Peter replied “Oh, much worse than the last 90 years.” The man said “Then I’ll take oblivion.”

Technically Satsangis don’t believe in a “God”. They believe that everything merges into one. That “one with everything” thing. They may not realize that they don’t believe in god in the traditional sense but it’s true. They’re more like Buddhists. I think it’s just the idea of a father figure that gives some people comfort. And that’s okay... god is a weird concept when you think about it. It’s all oneness really.

Geronimo,

Here you go (copied this directly)

“There are many commonly held misunderstandings about religion. Let’s focus on clearing up three of them.

The first misunderstanding is the belief that religious traditions and practices are uniform. The truth is that religions are internally diverse. For example, there are strong debates regarding the role of women and of sexuality in all religious traditions including deep divisions within local religious communities. In this way it is always problematic to make claims that begin with, Jews believe, or Hindus believe, (did you know Julia Roberts is Hindu??) because of the vast diversity of beliefs within all religious traditions.

The second misunderstanding is the belief that religions are static and separate from the movements of history. In fact, religions exist in time and space, and are constantly interpreted and reinterpreted by believers. For example the practice of slavery has been both justified and vilified by all three monotheistic traditions in differing social and historical contexts.

The third misunderstanding is the belief that religions function in isolation from their political, cultural and economic contexts. The reality is that religions are collections of ideas, practices, values and stories that are embedded in cultures. Religion and culture are inseparable. Just as religion cannot be understood in isolation from its cultural context, it is impossible to fully understand a culture without considering its religious dimensions. Religion is inextricably woven into all dimensions of human experience, and a better understanding of it is crucial for meeting the variety of opportunities and challenges we face today and into the future.”

—HarvardX

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/opinion/pope-francis-covid.html

Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts

To come out of this pandemic better than we went in, we must let ourselves be touched by others’ pain.

By Pope Francis
Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome.

Sonia
Curiously, science is not too far from theorising the existance of God as per your definition
Download this paper - its a little technical, but not too technical. The assumptions made in this paper are that science as currently accepted is indeed correct, ie, the Big Bang happened, Zero Point Energy exists (Casimir effect) and so on.
Follow the paper, and the existance of God automatically follows

Here is the link - its well worth reading
http://sciencefront.org/ojs/index.php/jfap/article/download/86/55

@ Technically Satsangis don’t believe in a “God”. They believe that everything merges
@ into one. That “one with everything” thing. They may not realize that they don’t
@ believe in god in the traditional sense but it’s true. They’re more like Buddhists.

I think your view would resonate with Satsangis too. They really
don't believe in a separate soul for the same reason. When
awareness rises, the notion of separateness dissolves in the
realization that nothing exists except the One.

The words God and soul are convenient props for a thought
process that's mired in duality. I'd argue that Sat'gis remain
open to reincarnation as a phenomenon though. It's only
a theory to be tested and proven within however, not a
subject for fanatical debate. After all, there're voluminous
serious studies that belie the dismissive "[ it's ]ust ] some
anecdotes".

Sat'gis are similar to Buddhists in their goal to understand
and diminish pain too. Distill the essence. Throw out all
religious rites, claims, and assorted mumbo-jumbo and
you're left with everyone's imperative. Everyone's.

@Ron Krumpos
Haha... I shared that joke with several people.

@Dungeness
👏 another classic
You should definitely add that to your greatest hits collection.

@Freeezzz
You had me at time-reversal invariant. Thanks for that! I downloaded it and am looking forward to reading it. I’ll follow up on open thread.

And now for today’s abysmal coronavirus update:

‘Here's exactly how bad Covid-19 was in November’ https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/01/us/covid-november-numbers-records/index.html

Obviously Pope Francis was referring to the US when he talked about “countries” that were mismanaging COVID-19 (see the link to the NY Times article posted in previous comment).

The central issue continues to revolve around notions of soul/individuality in my view.
Most mainstream religions other than Buddhism still adhere to the belief there is an ‘individual’ even at the ‘soulular’ level to be saved/allowed through the pearly gates etc. This is well and truly entrenched and not questioned.
Returning to Buddhist notions of what we are, I remember reading something that considered the mind likened to/be made up of a series of events.
In a similar vein I find this book on fungi I’m reading really interesting in that the author keeps raising the issue of the how and relevance of human individuality. He discusses the operations of mycelial networks as being brain like with their own ‘intelligence’, as well as reminding us that ‘all life forms are in fact processes, not things.’
All life forms include humans obviously, so how does an individual fit into that?

Dungeness – where did you get the info that satsangis don’t believe in a separate soul? Isn’t the separate soul story foundational to the teachings? Maybe things have evolved.
BFN

It would be a mistake to confuse faith and spirituality with religion, in the same way it is a mistake to confuse legitimate protest with rioting.

@ Dungeness – where did you get the info that satsangis don’t believe in a separate
@ soul? Isn’t the separate soul story foundational to the teachings? Maybe things have
@ evolved.

I think a separate soul remains an RS foundational belief but
a clearer understanding emerges with spiritual growth. The
notion of a separate soul isn't so much invalid as unevolved.
A religiously raised child may fantasize about God as a stern
Abrahamic father figure dispensing punishment and reward
for instance but that view will likely change. Hopefully for one
more, um, enlightened.

Ishwar Puri tells the story of his own disillusionment with RSSB's
"soul-droplet merging into the ocean" metaphor. As a child
he saw it as a lose-lose game. The ocean gained an unneeded
drop and he lost his identity in a vast ocean. Later he realized
the drop had never the ocean. In fact he was the whole ocean,
not a puny drop at all. He had only been fooling himself.

There is most certainly a separate soul, as there is the difference between the good and the bad, right and wrong, truth and falsehoods. These are not entirely physical events.

The dream of an ideal is a real ideal, but in the Physical world, this is only a reflection. The beautiful building in the vision of the architect has its real home in his vision. The actual building here is just a physical photocopy, never perfect.

Yes our soul exists so long as we can dream of the perfect.

To say that we only dream because we have a brain, that hardly matters. Our dream matters. It is the vision, the dream, the experience we are living. Body is just the vehicle for it. But it is as sacred, as the vessel for all art, creativity, conception, and imagination.

And in that highest experience of spirit we see the world with less bias, calmly. We look at ourselves in this life from a distance, acknowldging that this body and brain are temporary and severely limited. Still, they are the studio in which we make our art.

Will we live forever? So long as we are alive!

@Tim &
@Dungeness

There’s always an analogy in nature to every valid concept.

Tim, I like your “soulular” concept. It reminds me of cellular. :) And fungi are endlessly fascinating.

Dungeness,
Interesting way of putting things — “not so much invalid as “unevolved”.

Freeezzz,
I’m still down the rabbit hole with that paper. So, far the best nonlocality explanation I’ve read. I have to keep rereading it in light of other works. It’s raised more questions than answers though. Well, what I actually mean is, it has opened a door that connects numerous scientific and mathematical theories. There’s this sort of unfolding happening where things are coming together... if that makes any sense.

@ There is most certainly a separate soul, as there is the difference between the good
@ and the bad, right and wrong, truth and falsehoods. These are not entirely physical
@ events.

The mystic (or wannabe) might counter the dreamer's dream is real
but, however beautiful and enduring in the moment, the pristine
beach he dreams of is washed away by the ocean when he awakes.

‘….however beautiful and enduring in the moment, the pristine
beach he dreams of is washed away by the ocean when he awakes.’

Crikey Dungeness that’s a cool and powerful quote....
Henceforth do we need to address you as Swami? :-)

@ Crikey Dungeness that’s a cool and powerful quote....
@ Henceforth do we need to address you as Swami? :-)

Oh Crikey, that would be totally Fake News.
A presidential pardon would be my only hope.

@Spence

One way of looking at the soul is to consider its origin. It’s origin is in Sach Khand or whatever ones religious/spiritual tradition calls it. It can’t be divided but our consciousness can which is why we have these minds—causal, astral and physical. But the soul/life force permeates everything.

Does a tree have a soul? If so, then do each of its leaves and seeds and fruits have separate souls? If you cut an earthworm in half do you suddenly have two souls? What about blades of grass or mushroom colonies? Where does one soul end and one begin? What about all the space in between the souls? (There isn’t any.)

It’s all one. But our minds are divided. Hence all the debate.

Dungeness, this is the dream. The ideal is a glimpse of the reality.

Hi Sonia
We have, in nature, or in meditation, an experience of bliss and happiness when we are outside of ourselves and yet part of a beautiful whole. We are at peace and with a sense of something greater. We live that and yet to understand it conceptually, to develop it is a life's pleasant work.

While we can deepen the experience it can't be defined by this tiny brain. It is just a healthy experience that gives us peace and greater understanding of our tiny and short lives: Helps us become less threatened, and more able to see, hear, understand, accept and help each other.

For some this worship of nature, of an ideal, of the whole, takes on the worship of the Master. But universally, this experience of oneness helps us appreciate each other and get through life with a sense of purpose... Particularly the more difficult moments. Because we feel and believe there is this something more and greater within ourselves.and that gives back to us in beautiful and unpredictable ways. This relationship makes for a life of miracles
That is a happy life.

But universally, every attempt to define it with this one cylinder lawn more engine we call the human mind, fails. So we must accept it as a subjective experience, though it is transformative and very healthy.

Some get a glimpse and want to own, control, commoditize and sell that experience. That's when religion comes in. But at least that informs people there is such a transcendent and transformative experience available. "The company of the Lord", "Oneness", "brotherhood, etc., is built into each of us. Only worship is its price... Our whole hearted focus and devotion.

But what is it really? Could just be biochemical. Yet it may be our highest achievement. If we really are like leaves on a tree, destined for autumn, then let us find Spring within for every day and every breath destiny has allotted to us. The benefit in a hearafter is speculative, and there is physical evidence all around us against it. But there is also substantial evidence that we are connected to eternal life that keeps on generating itself, and the healthy benefits of deepening our own connection.

Hi Spence,

I don’t know if it’s just the English language that’s limiting or if all languages are limiting, but there may be a difference between consciousness and awareness.

I believe the soul is aware but the mind has a very different kind of consciousness.

Tomato Tomato :)

@ this is the dream. The ideal is a glimpse of the reality.

I agree. But the "separate soul" vanishes when that
reality is glimpsed.

You are absolutely right that the US is far more religious than the other rich, developed countries of the world. But there's also an argument that it's not quite fair to classify us in with the rest of them. Sure, we are rich and developed on average, because the outliers at the high end of the scale pull up the average for everyone else. But in some ways you can argue that we should consider ourselves to be more like a developing country than a developed one -- a developing country that happens to have a few very rich spots in it. And in that case, maybe our religiosity isn't quite so anomalous. It's a thought. I spell this argument out in a little more detail here: https://hoseaspatio.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-developed-world-wheres-that.html.

I haven't thought hard enough yet about your main thesis, that religious faith in an afterlife makes one more likely to count this life as worthless. Let me mull that one a little longer.

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