Senate Christianity Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Community' started by Jabba-wocky, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    Aug 18, 2002
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    this is a matter of some (rather interesting) debate, actually
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jul 16, 2014
  2. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    FFS people, are you all idiots or just really, really stupid?

    The point of this thread was to avoid the pointless pissing contest of atheists v god, with its hilarious sideshows of "Science knows all!" "OK, so explain the science", "Well, all the sciences happen".

    The Atheist/Theist Thunderdome exists for the sole purpose of measuring who has the biggest wang.

    Honestly. Sometimes I feel you want me to be on my high horse all the damn time.
  3. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    for more introspective fare of the same flavour as ender's post, i now present a passage from vanessa vaselka's 2013 short story "Christopher Hitchens". enjoy

    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jul 16, 2014
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  4. PRENNTACULAR VIP

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    star 6
    ender, biggest wang isn't even a viable contest on these boards AND YOU KNOW IT.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
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    Saying "after MASTERPEEN" was redundant and YOU know it.
    Rogue_Ten likes this.
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    The Death of Ivan Ilyich basically posits that exact thing. It's a really wonderful short story.
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  7. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    Aug 18, 2002
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    love me some tolstoy.

    @Jabbadabbado if you like vanessa vaselka's writing you should read her novel, Zazen

    i havent gotten to it myself yet, but ive only heard great things and i think if you and i collaborated on a novel, the result would probably be themeatically similar. one reviewer described the novel as "a sustained panic-attack"
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  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    love the flow. got a copy of Zazen and will read it tonight
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  9. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
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    wow that was fast! kindle? lemme know how it is, i need to get around to it soon. i dont have an e-reader and i prefer paper books still besides, so id have to order it online (i never see it when im browsing bookstores)
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jul 17, 2014
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Right out of the gate exquisite passages like this:

    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jul 17, 2014
  11. Sarge Chosen One

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    Oct 4, 1998
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    Just had an interesting thought. What we have here is like a blind man saying that there is no such thing as light, or a deaf man saying there is no such thing as sound. Some people are spiritually aware and they know that spiritual things are real. As for those who are spiritually unaware, is it because they simply lack that spiritual sense, or are they subconsciously denying the spiritual evidence for some reason?
  12. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I'd say your assumptions are indicative of a highly lazy metaphysics and an unjustified presupposition of automatic correctness but, hey, whatever floats your boat.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jul 17, 2014
  13. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    yeah, thats a pretty impressively false dichotomy you've set up there, @Sarge
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jul 17, 2014
  14. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    But Sarge, that comment requires a certain level of assumptions to be true and all that serves to do is underscore a misunderstanding of the bit you quoted.

    i.e your question requires God to be real, and faith to be valid, in order for the irreligious among us to be either unaware or in denial.

    My counterpoint would be that you either have faith, or you don't, and those who have faith accept a number of things as given. I would then point to a combination of neurological, sociological and psychological needs that religion addresses - basically to the effect that religion is a placebo effect.

    Since neither can be proven, we cannot make assumptions about normative values and non-normative values.
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  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Ramza, stop being condescending. :p

    I think you can extrapolate a couple of interesting points from what he said. There's something there; I mean, it's certainly true that s ome of the people who criticize faith have never tried it. Personally, I've tried not believing and it didn't work for me at all. There's maybe some meat for a discussion there on the difference in having genuinely had faith and lost it versus simply never having it in the first place. I would imagine that the perspectives would be at least a little different. I'm sure we have at least one atheist of each kind here, so that might be an interesting thing to discuss.

    Secondly, I think it's interesting to consider whether some people are born more susceptible to "spiritual" experiences than others. I think that's certainly true, right? I've always wondered if my Native American heritage contributed in some way to my openness to mysticism and spiritual experience. I'm sure it did, in fact. This isn't anything hard and fast, of course. Everyone's different and there's the whole nurture side of things. But I do find it really interesting to think about how much of a person's facility/affinity for spiritual things is built into their genetic/chemical/biological makeup at birth.

    EDIT: Hmm, thought I was in the Thunderdome. I guess this thread is for discussion specifically related to Christianity and both of those issues are a lot more general, ie, differing experiences among atheists & natural predisposition to spirituality.
    Last edited by Rogue1-and-a-half, Jul 17, 2014
  16. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Sorry, I'll attempt to respond more politely the next time someone asserts that I suffer from a mental handicap?
  17. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
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    Being accused of being mentally disturbed in a religious debate is kind of a badge of honor around here. A poster flat out said he thought I had undiagnosed schizophrenia one time.

    Honesty compels me to admit that I did not respond with grace and humility.
    Last edited by Rogue1-and-a-half, Jul 17, 2014
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I'm aware of that and I think it's a lame, lazy form of argumentation in these kinds of discussions. Consequently I feel that correspondingly biting replies are justified. I call this the "Make the whole world blind out of spite" approach to formulating responses. :p

    I agree with you, actually - I do think there's probably an interesting talk to be had about the broader role of neuroscience in questions of spirituality or a lack thereof. Though I suspect the papers would be difficult and the results indicative of horrifying similarity.

    Maybe worth it for the bit where we all get to sinisterly post
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  19. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
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    for me it was more just that there's so many flaws in sarge's argument that i simply wouldnt have any idea where to start.

    perhaps the most interesting flaw is the assumption that "strong" "atheists" lack the ability to experience the feelings labeled "spiritual" by other people. now, i am fully aware of scientific research which has mapped the parts of the brain which are activated during "religious experiences" and there are indeed other ways to unlock those areas of the brain. more importantly, however, i believe i am fully capable of feeling the numinous, "spiritual", i daresay i am more capable of it than most people

    i feel it when im out in nature backpacking or climbing or skiiing or swimming. good examples of this would include the feeling of rapture and wonder when im alone on a snow-covered mountainside in the dead of winter. or the "smallness" and contrasting, ineffable connectedness i feel looking at the stars at night. or the arresting otherworldliness i feel when im scuba diving and i pause to look up at the play of light on the surface of the water

    when my writing or my speaking or my dancing flows and jumps in ways that are out of my control, i feel it then, too

    large communal gatherings can do it for me as well. a particularly overwhelming example of this was when i was at a "sunday celebration" service at (unorthodox, quasi-methodist) Glide Church in San Francisco. i was there with a group of anthropology and public health students. we went there on a day off from a service-learning programme, as we had heard the services are notorious for the quality of their singing and the overall experience. to this day i have to say it was the most diverse crowd, in all senses of the term, i can ever recall having been a part of. and the joy and collective emotion was quite overwhelming to the point that my best friend began to shed tears. on seeing this, i too became swept up in the tide of emotion i had hardly been able to contain up to then, and i cried as well

    all this to say that "spiritual" feeling can encompass a mind-boggling variety of feelings and experiences, even without invoking mental illness or drug abuse, so there's really an astounding arrogance in assuming the religious have a monopoly on that side of life. religion is merely a systematization of life that tends to hegemonize, among other aspects of a person's existence, those feelings
  20. harpua Chosen One

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    Mar 12, 2005
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    Exactly.... 'spiritual' doesn't always mean 'religious.' Not believing in a god doesn't make a person spiritually vacant. For me, music takes me to a spiritual place.
  21. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    music and some giggle bush, man.
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  22. Estelita Force Ghost

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    Oct 29, 2001
    star 2
    Maybe he was saying that some people are tone-deaf then? I don't know.
  23. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I'm kind of the opposite in that I have tried belief in a specific god and a specific religion and it didn't work for me at all. And my parents are not hellfire-and-damnation fundamentalists. Their description of their faith is similar to yours and Ghost's, and I respect it, I just haven't been able to share it. It's the my-way-or-the-highway fundamentalism that involves checking your brain at the door and never questioning God that I can't respect.

    All that said, I don't consider myself an atheist. I am absolutely willing to believe there is someone or something out there, and my own spiritual experiences happen close to the way harpua and Rogue_Ten described. When I'm running on the greenway, when I'm hiking, when I'm out in the water on a kayak or a boat, when I'm watching snow fall.

    There have also been a few times in my life when I've met someone and felt a connection that I couldn't explain, without using the term "soul mate" because the term is kind of corny and no connection is that perfect, but at the same time I'd describe it as spiritual.

    No specific God has to be involved here and no one's pathway to spirituality has to be "wrong".