The Winding Path – 161

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-30 10:24

Croquet_Player responding to Justin – “Interestingly however, a vaccine will work whether the person who received it believes it will or not.”

That is a good way to understand God as well.

2015-07-31 09:45

Lark62 – “Not really. When people stop believing, the deity moves from god to myth. Just ask Osiris and Ra and Zeus and Apollo and Jupiter and the rest.

Ask Odin, Thor, Freya and Saturn. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are named for them, yet myth they are.

Reality remains true regardless of knowledge or belief. The earth orbited the sun even when humans thought the earth was flat and stationary. Pluto has existed for billions of years even though humans were unaware. Germs have been causing disease since life began even though the god of the bible didn’t see fit to let anybody know.”

The myth isn’t IT though is it? That level of engagement will always be a pantomime based on an approximation.

Until the undeniable realization.

Believing, refusing, or ignoring only defines one’s experience; With vaccines or God.

In the era of monism, who talks about deities anyway?

2015-07-30 11:50

[The following is from blog; “5 Things Christians Shouldn’t Say to Atheists” by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble. An ex-atheist returned to the Catholic church.]

Jeff – “I think it would be the coolest thing ever for me to personally meet and talk to the creator of the entire universe…. assuming such a being actually exists. And I have absolutely no reason to believe such a being exists.”

This I don’t get!

Putting all the Catholic conceptions and testimony aside for a minute, just what about the origin and manifestation of the universe isn’t sufficiently compelling enough?

Are you not in awe? Why compromise that awe fussing about the details of deities or the lack thereof?

Waiting for priests or scientists to tell you what the Truth is just wastes the opportunity.

Some tried and true generic guidelines:
– Scrupulous honesty.
– Alert mind.
– Open heart.

The most potent question, “Who Am I”?

2015-07-30 14:57

Jeff – “Um… that’s…. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

My point was that I’m perfectly willing to negotiate terms of worship and service with your god. I’ve tried seeking him out, and offering my service freely, and I got nothing. But I’m still willing. I’m still open-minded about this.

He just needs to come to me. I’m done chasing after him and begging for his attention.

I’m not Catholic or even particularly Christian, so not sure what you mean by “your god”. (sounds like a deity to me)

The “negotiate terms” thing seems REALLY strange.

Perhaps consider my previous comment as a “road not yet tried”.

Unless of course you’re only being facetious. (There is a lot of it going around.)In which case you might as well ignore the whole thing.


Alms and Patronage

Posted in logs

The Winding Path – 160

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-27 14:25

[responding to a comment by Bruce Gorton]

There is considerable imposition of personal sentiment overlaying your interpretation of the Jesus quote.

First remember, that his statement cannot be divorced from the principle teaching which is the non-separation of us and God.

The Son of Man declaring that I and the Father are One. Means that this is our true nature as well.

Re-reading the quote that you provided in this light, produces a completely different understanding than the one that you have personally invested in.

Jesus – “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Who is forgiving or not forgiving and who is being forgiven or not forgiven in any of the above scenarios?

There is no point in being a Christian if it doesn’t resolve the fall from grace.

[Note: There was some nice thematic “synchronicity” this morning in a post on Atreya Thomas’ blog.]

Alms and Patronage

Posted in logs

The Winding Path – 159

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-25 10:07

lapona – “Are you going to alvinize all people around here? I know you are plantigated, but try to speak like normal people.

Bringing in the big guns?

alvinize, v. To stimulate protracted discussion by making a bizarre claim.

It would be helpful if you could explain how and why what I’ve said is bizarre.

Then we can establish what passes for normal and ponder the advisability of adhering to that standard.

2015-07-25 10:48

Robin Ludvig Isomaa responding to the blog post by Neil Carter – “Even as a lover of truth, I have to ask you to delete this post (for the greater gooooood). Usually when a Christian says that they only follow Jesus, it can be translated into secular-speak as ‘I want to be a decent person’. In the long run, these are our allies. We can’t deconvert them, so let’s empower them to be good people, regardless if their beliefs don’t fit with your reading of that old book of bad ideas (and kinda okay poetry). The more Christians distance themselves from the Bible, the better.

I like this post but had to overlook the implicit assumption of a superior and finished insight.

A Christian who transcends the limits of Bibleism and goes forward from there, still rides at the back of the truth train?

2015-07-26 09:19

Otto responding to Robin Ludvig Isomaa – “//Usually when a Christian says that they only follow Jesus, it can be translated into secular-speak as ‘I want to be a decent person’//.

I think it is often translated to ‘I am unable to justify much of the Bible so I just focus on Jesus’.

and I think it is a cop out.

Maintaining access to the Guru archetype, instead of succumbing to dismissive and possibly petulant certainties, is a cop out?

2015-07-27 13:30

Otto – “Yes, if one maintains that certain information from said guru is divine in origin (and the guru himself is divine) and said information comes from a book that is claimed to be at least to some extent divine in origin, but not all of it and of course they know just what to cut out.

What is divine? A better criteria would be, is the teaching moving the individual towards undeniable authenticity of experience?

Our personal limitations are not applicable to others. They are also not immutable.

We determine what and how much we want to understand and how rapidly we come into understanding.

Attachment and the habits of expectation govern of our progress.

If Christianity is not a good fit why do you linger in it’s orbit?

2015-07-26 08:55

Max Doubt – “//A Christian who transcends the limits of Bibleism and goes forward from there, still rides at the back of the truth train?”//

The truth is that there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist. The truth is there is no substantive difference between what a person believes to be a god and any other figment of their imagination. So yes, bible or not, if someone believes gods exist they’re disregarding the truth.

This statement, about what you believe to be an example of truth, also falls into the category of imagination.

So where do we go from there?

2015-07-27 09:53

Max Doubt – “//This statement, about what you believe to be an example of truth, also falls into the category of imagination.//

No. My statement is a rejection of the claim that gods exist outside of the imagination. Unless someone can objectively demonstrate that gods are substantively different from any other figment of the imagination, my statement remains true. Your dishonest attempt to shift the burden of proof is noted.

//So where do we go from there?//

Go? The place to start would be for those who believe gods actually exist to defend their belief with honesty rather than dishonesty. But you and I both know that won’t happen. It would require agreeing that gods have no affect on the universe and should be given exactly the same consideration as anything else which cannot be shown to exist as part of reality.

Honestly people claim gods exist, but honestly there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods are real. Honestly god believers have nothing but the same sort of juvenile fantasy as a kid who believes there’s an invisible magical princess at her make believe tea party or a monster under his bed. So where to go from there? Honestly acknowledge that the alleged existence of gods is indistinguishable from their non-existence.

Your statement was.

The truth is there is no substantive difference between what a person believes to be a god and any other figment of their imagination.

Which I actually agree with. My stance is that the imaginative conception of God is not God.

All mature practices of God/Self realization make this the starting point.

Your dishonest attempt to shift the burden of proof is noted.

This remains in the realm of imagination as well, but I don’t need you to prove anything one way or the other.

In light of the above clarifications I imagine that the my original statement remains useful.

2015-07-28 10:52

Max Doubt – “You don’t have a stance. You’re all over the place in this thread, as you have been in other discussions on these forums.

I just told quite clearly what my line of commentary is about.

Since it still bounces off your hard-wired rhetoric, the conversation can only draw to a close.

The limitations that you set are not mine, so why would I pander to them? Or, respect any declaration of nonsense? That being the only argument you seem capable of making.

2015-07-28 14:36

[responding to a long and progressively rabid summary by Max Doubt]

I have the luxury of being correct from the git-go. It’s the people who think gods exist who are responsible for making their case.

So, … now you will have to make your own case won’t you? Oh, self declared one.

Good luck to you chuckles.

[Unpleasant reading though it be, I’ve included an excerpt from his follow-up for the sheer irony.]

Max Doubt – “//Good luck to you chuckles.//

Not only do you possess a grasp on reality comparable to that of six year old child, you’re an asshole, too.


Alms and Patronage

Posted in logs

The Winding Path – 158

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-24 11:14

Daniel Wilcox responding to 54350437543705437 – “Ditto for inequality. There is no equality among the cats in our neighborhood, None. One seldom finds honesty or equality in nature.

But I am committed to the truth of honesty as much as equality.”

Equality from the relative viewpoint doesn’t work, but factoring the absolute into your scenario brings it into focus.

The missing part is the infinitude that underlies creation.

This is also what is missing from most of the “god” concepts, theist and atheist, that we run into on the web.

Why is that?

2015-07-24 16:47

Daniel Wilcox – “Sorry, I don’t follow your point or your question.

I’m dealing with various health issues including really bad insomnia, so please help me out here with more explanation or an example.

[quoting Daniel Wilcox from previous comment] – “Ditto for inequality. There is no equality among the cats in our neighborhood, None. One seldom finds honesty or equality in nature.

This is the “relative” side of nature. The kinetic, ever changing dance of complementary opposites. Cause and effect. This and that.

Every phenomena is a composite of it’s attributes. The cat’s hierarchy is an expression of that.

The “absolute” is nature taken as a whole. The entirety. This is the infinitude of singularity. There is no This and That. No otherness.

Nature is not completely comprehended without allowing for this.

So, equality is a fundamental principal and therefore the practice towards it is desirable.

The Zen practice of “holding no opinion for or against” or Jesus advising us “not to judge the mote in the other’s eye before removing the log from out own”, point to this.

Frankly even “I and the Father are one.” But who is ready to get on board with that? Since it means you too.

2015-07-24 14:09

Curtis Martin – “And if it turns out that we care for people and the rest of creation and their is not God, well. No big deal.

You didn’t have to concede this. God being a-priori, the only thing that changes is our understanding of THAT.

As a not particularly Christian person, I have been following this and some of the other conversations you were involved in. I want to say that you have exhibited a fine and honest spirit.

The choice not to acknowledge is theirs and it is a personality thing. The cherry picking on that end, as seen in litanies of failed, bent and distorted beliefs has reached the terminal stage. It’s scope is irrational whereas your process is evidence of evolving wisdom.

Thank you.

2015-07-24 14:32

Michau responding to Curtis Martin – “So it looks like your ‘Christianity’ = humanism + ‘God exists’ + ‘in the end this God will make all things right somehow’. It’s obviously better than evangelical Christianity, but still I don’t see any reasons for the two last elements, and you don’t provide any compelling arguments why humanism must be supplemented by them.

He has an interest in cultivating the relationship with God whereas you do not. Therefore, your lack of interest in the last two elements.

This is not a compelling argument why his humanism should not be supplemented by his religion.

2015-07-27 11:26

[responding to Michau]

Thank you for a substantive response.

Remember we are basically building off of your response to Curtis Martins comments.

So, whenever Christians say that they have ‘relationship with God’, it is only because they have no idea what a true relationship is.

But a relationship with God – no. Because a key to true relationship is meaningful and reliable communication. Without meaningful and reliable communication there is no relationship possible. There can be love and lots of other things, but no relationship.”

Curtis Martin seems to be treading the path beyond the point where you fell off.

He probably is still under the influence of Christianity’s inherent “dualism” (i.e. God outside of Creation), but the choices and observations that he describes indicate an active and earnest enquiry is in progress.

That enquiry, given free and honest reign, will lead to the realization that “relationship” is actually a misnomer.

The “relationship to” God is ultimately in Truth, “identity with” God. Interpreting the feed back from THAT is going to be different than the expectations that you describe would allow for.

From my experience which is less directly Christian, I can understand the “atheist” view, but only when it is the result of the above mentioned Self Realization (i.e. I and the Father are One).

Until then, as long as there is any sense of Otherness, God exists. This miracle of existence demands a term worthy of it.

The hubris of man’s increasing infatuation with himself does not satisfy.

2015-07-24 12:07

Michau responding to Curtis Martin – “What kind of truth is that? ‘Don’t underestimate your opponent.’ – it’s not truth, it’s advice. ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’ – it’s not truth, it’s wishful thinking. I don’t think it’s a language barrier, I think it’s you trying to redefine ‘truth’ to mean much more than it normally means, so that you can still maintain that the Bible is ‘true’. With such a broad definition surely it is, but so is the latest Bond movie.

Now I see why religion is lost on you.

You would also probably not understand the experience of an artist a work as a relationship with truth.

2015-07-24 15:27

Michau – “If you defined ‘truth’ in the same way as Curtis Martin, then of course I would understand the experience of an artist at work as a relationship with such ‘truth’. Even more, I had such experiences myself.

It’s just I do not accept his definition of ‘truth’, therefore I do not classify such experiences as having anything to do with truth. They are surely related to many other things (feelings predominantly), but truth is not one of them.

This is a very interesting distinction.

For me, the whole religious/philosophical/existential impulse is synonymous with whatever this is that we are talking about.

Self Realization, Authenticity, Non-abstracted experience….etc.

But the indicator of success, is the proximity of the True, no way around it, at least for me.

2015-07-25 09:22

Michau – “//But the indicator of success, is the proximity of the True, no way around it, at least for me.//

Well, it looks like it is the same for me – the indicator of success is the proximity of the True. It’s just what is “True” is different for us. For me True = no God.

If you substitute “Reality” for the word “God” you’ll be closer to my meaning of the word.

The “No God” thing, like it’s complement “God”, is at the level of the personality.

Reality stands untouched by our facades.

Each attitude comes with it’s own potential and limitation.

All under the umbrella of Reality.

My understanding is that we have the capacity to stand directly before the Real and know it as ourself.

At which point God/No God is irrelevant.

2015-07-27 13:48

Michau – “It looks to me that we have different definition of ‘reality’ as well.

What you describe looks like some kind of fideism to me, a position with which I would strongly disagree.

Don’t worry, it’s not.

I would be curious to see you present a definition of reality though.

2015-07-28 13:57

Michau – “Sure. Reality is the sum of things that are real. Something is real if it can be reliably demonstrated to exist or happen.

So, for example, abstract concepts (like ‘love’) are not real, whereas concrete realizations of these concepts (like ‘Alice loves Bob’) are real.

‘To be real’ is therefore a stronger qualifier than ‘to exist’. Something can theoretically exist, but not be a part of the reality. A good example is deism, which is basically the belief that God exists but is not real.

That is quite interesting. It might explain a lot of long circuitous, and ultimately fruitless conversations I’ve had lately.

From this I am led to understand that the potential of Love to manifest is not real but does exist?

I guess I’ll have to ask about the justification for this distinction?

There are other ramifications that will affect my way of talking about God. For instance, things that are “real” have a starting point and presumably and ending point.

The above scenario leaves reality free floating upon what?

2015-07-27 15:52

[responding to Michau]

I have no idea what “New Age” is suppose to mean. The things that I have been saying are rooted in the entire experience of Human Beings. I say this just to put in perspective that which you want to dismiss.

They do not indicate that such oneness actually exists.

Please revisit this statement. Of course “oneness” exists. It is the function of our brains via imagination that parses it all out into useful interrelated subdivisions.

These worlds we create are not separate from the whole but only seem so.

God is not just creation but the entire process of potential and actual. This is the parent of all infinities. Infinitude itself. Not gone after the Big Bang but still fully here.

The present moment.

If your use of the term “universe” equates to that, then the word universe is redundant. Otherwise it is one abstraction among many and therefor not God.

2015-07-28 12:14

Michau – “Why should I revisit this statement? My statement says ‘feeling X does not make X true’. In other words, feelings are not a source of knowledge.

What you are saying is in no way rooted in experience of human beings. I am a human being and i experience nothing of the sort, so you cannot claim that human beings in general experience these things when it can be demonstrated that they don’t. They are more likely to be rooted in your experiences, which you try to project back on other humans.

If we start to base our claims on what we ‘experience’ (again, I maintain the point that the correct word here is ‘feel’), then I can dismiss your claims in no time – I experience something different, therefore I do not agree. This illustrates how ‘experiences’ are not a way to make claims about anything.

Michau from previous comment – “Things which New Agers like to describe like ‘feeling oneness with the universe’ and so on, are nothing more than just that: feelings. They do not indicate that such oneness actually exists.

I asked you to revisit.

They do not indicate that such oneness actually exists.

It should be obvious that I was not talking about a “feeling of oneness”.

So I will try again.

Are you saying that there is no aggregate, no sum total, of all that is?

And related to that. That there is no root cause of existence?

The discussion about our subjective relationship will have to wait until we understand what we each think we are related to.

2015-07-28 15:28

Michau – “Of course, this ‘collection of all that is’ is simply a thought construct –

I would have to say that there is the thought construct, and there is the reality.

(I would also point out, that this is what I have been saying all along about God via the fingers and the moon analogy.)

Can I suggest that the “thought construct” should be classified as real. It is a phenomena. A specific thought not the potential of a thought. (this should agree with your definition above)

As something real, the thought is included in the aggregate of all that is real.

Yes, there is no discernible root cause of existence, or even if there is such cause, then again it exists but is not real, therefore it is of no interest to me.

Things are becoming much clearer now. But, I wouldn’t mind hearing the justification for the distinction.

Your lack of interest contrasts considerably with my avid interest. So we should probably drop it soon. Before things go south.

2015-07-29 09:36

Michau -“//Can I suggest that the “thought construct” should be classified as real.//

No. You are mistaken because you make a category error.

The thought, which is ‘the process of you thinking about something’ is a real phenomena composed of the activity of neurons in your brain.

The thought construct, which is ‘the abstract idea you are thinking about’, is not and can not be real.

These two are totally different things, similarly to how a picture of my wife is not the same as my wife herself.

//I wouldn’t mind hearing the justification for the distinction.//

You lost me again here. Which distinction?

//Your lack of interest contrasts considerably with my avid interest.//

Yes, you are correct. As a practical person who has only limited time to live, I am not interested in things which are not real and are not manifesting themselves in reality, because my main focus in on living, not on thinking for thinking’s own sake. Purely abstract ideas such as ‘everyone who is left-handed and red-haired’ do not occupy my mind, because they have no useful properties in reality. Your construct of ‘the sum total of everything that is’ falls into the same category, unless you are able to demonstrate that it has some unique properties which are not already found in its parts. So far you have failed to do so.

Since we have not found a sufficient commonality in our approaches, there isn’t enough to work with. And so, there will not likely to be much of a coherent nature to be found beating these particular bushes.

Thank you for your time and the clear presentation of your world view. It has been quite helpful.


Alms and Patronage

Posted in logs

The Winding Path – 157

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-18 10:42

louismoreaugottschalk – “I’m not familiar with the term ‘origami’ other than Japanese paper sculptures. please share with me what you’re discovering about that. also about the diests.”

Nothing beyond the folding of paper. Just a good analogy.

The All as both One and Everything.

2015-07-22 11:42

Jesus Bones – “The ‘somthing infinite and eternal’ of the bible is actually a mistaken belief, an old anthropomorphic idea of spacetime based on myth!”

It was early days then. Just as it is now.

The key understanding is to be found in “infinite and eternal”.

What happens on the surface of THAT, is indeed subject to interpretation. Always will be.

2015-07-22 11:59

Jesus Bones – “Absolute Truth is analogous to Absolute Time in fact they are closely related.”

This has been said for thousands of years. What has also been said is that the self that conceives of what is true is not the Absolute Self. That being analogous to Absolute Truth/Time etc.

Not “closely related”, but the same.

2015-07-23 10:37

Jesus Bones – “A Taoist? Tao is intriguing, not the little bit of religion so much as the philosophy!”

As a wanderer, no “ist” has had strong hold on me.

The ability to translate comes easily through many and diverse contacts.

There is a thread of Gold running through all cultures.

Lao Tsu makes my heart sing, no matter what the Emperors or Mao get up to.

2015-07-22 15:55

Mike Gantt – ” ‘Letting people marry who they love’ is completely inadequate as a definition of marriage.”

“The times they are a change’n”

We don’t have slavery anymore either.

Mike Gantt – “Non sequitur.”

Oranges and Oranges.

How are the fluctuations of social norms anything but relative in relation to the absolute that is God?

How is God anything but BOTH relative and absolute?

The All.

How to approach THAT?

(hint: Matthew 22:37-40)

Mike Gantt – “Removed from its context (i.e. the Bible), Matthew 22:37-40 eventually loses its meaning. This is evidenced by the people who today think that when Jesus said to love your neighbor that He meant to approve of your neighbor’s homosexuality.”

You are imposing your preference.

The real context is viewpoint of Jesus. Not the Bible.

Mike Gantt – “Of course, Jesus is central. But you wouldn’t know that without the Bible.”


2015-07-23 09:44

Mike Gantt – “You have some other source?”

The fruit of sincere contemplation.

A mindful effort to see past personal expectations and desires.

Steering clear of the projection of judgement upon others and myself.

Opening my heart to the inherent Love latent in absolute connectedness.

Nurturing the increasing understanding of God’s nature and my own.

Listening closely to the voices of those who have gone before me, both ancient and contemporary.

Recognizing the ever present guidance of the Entirety that is God.

2015-07-23 11:21

Mike Gantt – “I also accept the Bible’s teaching that the human heart makes us capable of self-deceit (Jer 17:9) and that the Bible exists to be ‘guard rails’ to keep ‘the fruit of our sincere contemplation’ on track.”

I’m curious, did Jesus actually emphasised the Bible as the primary source for confirmation?

I tend more towards trust in the “Guru/Holy Spirit” for that.

This conversation is very interesting and illuminates the situation of the early church for me.

I’m currently reading “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels. Our differences seem to fall right along the lines of what she refers to as “orthodox” and “gnostic”.

Being aware of the editing processes carried out by the “dominant” branch of the church, how can you hold such a firm resolve?

As for “God being fine with homosexuality”, I can only say that as a phenomena within creation it is by default under the auspices of God. Whether or not it interferes with “sincere contemplation” and coming into awareness of unity in God as Christ, that will get played out within the individuals life.

What’s it got to do with you or I? We should simply be trusting towards the same result in our own lives.

2015-07-23 14:17

archaeopteryx quoting – “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. — Mohandas Gandhi –“

Neil Carter responding to archaeopteryx – “But which Christ?”

Mahatma Gandhi’s ideal Yogi. Which is what this whole religion, Bible and even atheist thing is about.

Humans are reaching for something. How do you think we got to be Humans anyway?

It is all true even if it is lies. Since that which is seeking, is the flip side of it’s own self.

As Gandhi’s Yogi would tell you, remove the mirror and resolve the confusion.


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The Winding Path – 156

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-13 09:51

[Responding to John Lombard who was responding to ctss.]

Just how well do we understand gravity?

Giving up the conception that heavy objects fall faster than lighter objects when presented with evidence to the contrary, is reasonable.

But that is all. It is an adjustment in one’s understanding of the nature of gravity.

This is just a new conception. We will always be adjusting that conception.

Gravity itself is an aspect of nature. Adjusting our understanding of gravity adjusts our understanding of the nature of nature.

This process also applies to the phenomena generically referred to as God. i.e. The origin and ongoing sustainment of nature along with the subjective relationship to it.

Believing that

“Either there is a god, or there is not. It is impossible for BOTH claims to be true.”

is just like believing heavy objects fall faster.

2015-07-14 11:06

brmckay responding to mason – “I too am grateful for my guitar and it’s potential to reveal new vistas. (is this faith?)”

Kevin Osborne – “I have a Guild D-35 I bought 44 years ago. Guitar is muscle memory to Glen Campbell. creation for Pat Metheny, and why I’m still alive for Keith Richards. Faith is knowing there is more, my experience.”

Yes! And without it, why practice?

2015-07-17 11:20

Tom Swayer responding to BeaverTales – “I dont believe he [Mark Twain] was an Atheist but he certainly had troubles reconciling with the idea of a God when he more then most of us could see how evil the world can be. In the end I think Twain was an agnostic. However, slightly leaning towards Theism.”

Tom Rapsas the moderator responding to Tom Swayer – “Yes, that is a fair call. I’ve come to believe that the truth about Twain’s faith exists in the hazy middle ground; he is neither atheist or true believer. Thanks. ~Tom”

Too honest to declare God dead.

2015-07-17 11:40

UserBaines – “Only very few atheists discount altogether the possibility that some entirely unknowable prime mover exists, or even if they do, this is not the important substantive component of their underlying philosophy with regard to religion.”

Then there needs to be a finer grain of distinction to describe the type of individuals who fall outside your interpretation of atheism.

I’ve been engaging with them for several years and there seems to to be plenty to go around. They are recognizable by their rabid insistence that the fingers of religion are the moon of God.

Any attempt to provide the rudiment of insight required for stepping out of THAT maze, is greeted with cries of WOO!

2015-07-21 10:26

[Responding to UserBaines’s response to the above.]

I’ll have to start with the disclaimer that the Mark Twain I have read, has been for amusement, and not with an ear for these issues. Based on what I’ve been reading on this blog, I am now looking for a copy of “The Mysterious Stranger”.

I liked your refreshingly clear understanding of your own position. And only have a couple of points to bring up. You have possibly already considered them, but I’ll put it out there just in case.

“Is scripture divine revelation or is it human creation?”

My take is that the human hand will always be in evidence, but this does not in anyway remove the hand of the divine.

This statement is based on my understanding of the ultimate nature of God as All. Not removed from creation.

We human beings have a certain (and evolving) potential to reflect upon, and to express that nature.

God being All, the relationship is ultimately seamless. Though we are prone to an atomized field of perception, it is not a true limit of our potential, or an indication of our fundamental nature.

“Holding religion to the same standard that I hold any other series of beliefs or claims, I have to conclude that religion itself was made by man, whether an unknowable god (the only sort that, strictly speaking can exist) exists or does not.”

As there have been geniuses in all fields of interest, there have been geniuses in this area as well. Their legacy deserves our attention.

As for God being unknowable, that would only apply from an isolated and atomized identification with the body and it’s mind. Which, is not a true limitation.

Without an interest in understanding God, not much of real and lasting value will be “understood”.

Otherwise, ambivalence, antipathy, or even “scepticism and parsimony” set the stage. Such unintegrated understanding being but a flimsy, and transitory thing.


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The Winding Path – 155

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-12 10:57

Risto Kantonen – “… faith is of course not science, …”

Except of course that it is faith in “science”.

2015-07-12 11:04

mason – “I just transfered my faith in the irrational to the rational.”

Next step might be to embrace them both. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

2015-07-12 11:12

mason – “I have obviously reconditioned myself regarding the word, and as you say it’s semantics e.g. I have faith in my wife, my friends, science, my car breaks, my guitar’s integrity, etc etc.”

I too am grateful for my guitar and it’s potential to reveal new vistas. (is this faith?)


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The Winding Path – 154

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-11 10:43

[Responding to GregAbdul who has been talking with Kevin Osborne.]

I think that he is suggesting that you step into that freedom which is your birthright. The lack of it based on your skin color is a self perpetuating distraction.

This is the same advice that he would give to me.

2015-07-12 09:43

[Responding to GregAbdul who has gotten completely of the rails.]

I can’t even finish reading your comment without stopping to tell you that you didn’t hear him (he did suggest reading his comment history).

Kevin is not an atheist and was letting you know that he addresses habits of viewpoint and their effect on our experience of innate freedom.

As for my understanding of Martin Luther King, it would be that he did not accept the role of a “negro” and helped others to do the same.

Malcom X did so as well from a different starting point, and eventually began to see beyond the primary identity with race.

As an aside, you might enjoy today’s instalment of On Being. It featured an interview with Rami Nashasibi.

GregAbdul – “there is more than one way to hear, //If you go to the atheist’s board, I tell them the same thing.\\ Generally I avoid Christian and especially atheist’s boards, because I am not one. I am hearing him. He’s a racist white man subtly defending white privilege. You don’t know what the main white argument against MLK was? GROUP RIGHTS. He is making the same exact argument here. He stands against MLK and lies about it. MLK fought for the rights of an entire category of people and expanded that category after 65 to include poor people in general. “Negro” was the common term back then. King, like most blacks back then, generally accepted the term, he did NOT accept white hate as something that blacks should accept and ‘just get over it.’ Please sir, your problem…and his problem, is that you think you need to teach me….you need to quit siding with racist whites. You need to acknowledge and abandon slave religion. You and he show how Christianity reinforces prejudice. The most toxic lying form of religion (slave religion) there is when it comes to blacks and all you can do it talk to me about how ignorant I am and you need to teach me…’master’s jesus.’ Whites like you need to learn some shame and I don’t have a link to send you to so you can get some.”

As far as I can tell, you have a “one-size-fits-all” reaction to any caucasian. This is the essence of “racism”.

I used the term “negro” in a different sense than the way you took it.

So my meaning has been obliterated. In exactly the same way that you ran-off-the-rails in your last response to Kevin Osborne.

At this point I’m pretty sure that you are hard-wired for this response, and incapable of even imagining that he, I or any “white” you interact with, are not as you have portrayed us.

I wish that Martin were here to set you straight. The world that we are all creating together would be better for it.


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The Winding Path – 153

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

2015-07-10 16:51

[This comment followed an extended conversation betweenn louismoreaugottschalk (aka. charlesburchfield) and BillYeager. I’m addressing BillYeager an atheist who was unsuccessful in dragging louis into that by now familiar wormhole called an “honest” debate.]

See? You got to say all that anyway. And he got to exercise the wisdom of letting you spit it out yourself.

Just think how hard it would have been to work your rap in under the guise of reason and unbiased assessment.

Your rules of debate were not discussed and agreed upon at the beginning by the way, so all that fussing was unmerited.

2015-07-11 09:03

BillYeager – “Mmm, killer post there, fella. Strongly rebuts all the objective reasoning and valid assertions I made during my discussion with a guy who knew he had no way to defend his intellectual dishonesty so wanted to only respond by ‘saving me’.

But, hey, you sure showed me today!

What were YOU intent on, if not “saving” him from HIS delusional world view?

The rules you wanted to play by don’t apply, since you can not allow any validity be give to the power of subjective experience. That being the foundation for him as well as for people like me. Though we may use different terms to speak of it.

Letting ourselves be boxed in by hyper rational empiricists actively trying to subvert the integrity of our best understanding is foolish. So I applaud the success of the demonstration.

As for objectivity, you should not kid yourself that you are in possession of it in this matter. Which was the main point of my comment.


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The Winding Path – 152

For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.

[From the Patheos blog – Notes From An Apostate – “Why This Atheist is Patient with the Religious – Part 1 and Part 2″ – by Sincere Kriabo.]

2015-06-16 14:13

[john l. is responding to the blog post by Sincere Kirabo]

john l. – “Patience for the outragious LIES?
It’s just making lame excuses for being so INcredibly (as in NO-credibllity) brain dead from an early age, no curiosity, no rationality, no skepticism, nothing-just swallow fantasy and such blatantly obvious, in your face falsehoods and outright LIES.

AS a sentient, curious but realistic child, my first recollection of anything religious was hearing the nonsensical spiel in sunday school thinking, “what in hell is wrong with these people???

Adults, “grown-ups shoveling such obvious BS into innocent kids, worse than fictional fairy tails, simply the weirdest crap, I was embarrassed for them.

Nothing’s changed but only gotten worse, more invasive and dangerous to community, society, humanity.

It is purely child abuse for parents and other ‘adults’ to infect vulnerable young minds tuned to trust parents, adults as decent trustworthy teachers.”

It seems to me that what you are describing is a degraded form of
something else.

Do you have the same scorn for say Hopi or Navajo religious tradition
being passed on from one generation to the next?

2015-06-17 09:36

john l. – “When Hopi or Navajo religious practices and beliefs or any others, shove them unwanted up our ears and down our throats in the form of controls over society, raiding the public treasury, yes indeed I will and have when appropriate.

Believers in magic mythologies who keep it to themselves and don’t hijack others with their goofy fantasies are fine with me.

It is child abuse of the worst kind to hit defenseless children with such life changing crap before they’re old enough to defend themselves. If this stuff is so great, they will doubtlessly choose it for themselves.”

I’m curious if you have had any encounters with the religious that didn’t prime you for fight-or-flight.

So many people keep it to themselves. How can you tell what has shaped the character of any given person you meet?

I definitely wouldn’t call it [religious indoctrination] the “worst kind of child abuse. I’ve met too many victims of incest.

And frankly, the blanket disrespect thing, is no better than the myopic and proprietary declarations of an avid Bible thumper.

I’m sure you must realize that it does not represent Truth.

2015-06-17 14:40

john l. – “Religious freaks & fanatics, and their followers, are as obvious as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

And when you encounter truly obvious a-holes in things pertaining to humanity and life, whether the problem is ordinary loony tunes, insane political/ideological, or religious, (or as Mark Twain quipped: ‘but I repeat myself’) the result is much the same and has to be handled by a minimal of quarantine for the health and survivability of community and beyond.

Incest has obvious effects, from negligible to very serious trauma, no doubt. It is primarily physical, with very possible psychological effects. Without your indicated familiarity, I would suspect usually diminishes/fades with time. But this is far out of my pay grade.

The religious sickness, likewise usually inflicted at very young and defenseless age, most often remains for life, poisoning both individuals and society’s very humanity.

Ironically, the most effective cure seems to be the afflicted individual simply READING the bible…”

I’m going to have to let other people sort your response out.

I guess I’ve said what I know how to say.

john l. – “It understandably wasn’t much.”

brmckay – “Don’t worry, it’s not really your forte.

Read through some of your posts. You don’t actually bring anything to the table.

But like to hear yourself talk.

A regular master of vapidly grandiose scorn.”

john l. – “This typical from those dupes who have not one iota of evidence to make their case. Case? Ha.

That’s all atheists ask for, evidence. Not one bit in over 2000 years.
There’s nothing here to talk about.”

brmckay – “Plenty of evidence but not for those chronically out to lunch.

Not sure what 2000 years has to do with anything.

Maybe THAT is the problem.”

2015-06-19 11:21

john l. – “//Plenty of evidence…//

But none presented.

2000 years is how long it’s been searched for, alas none yet found. It seems there’s much you’re ‘Not Sure Of.’

Admission of ignorance is the first step in learning.
Good luck.”

I admit my ignorance of why 2000 years is in any practical way significant to what you call searching.

Searching (at least as I know it) has never NOT been. It’s counterpart is Finding.

As for evidence. Just reach for it.

2015-06-19 13:50

john l. – “Everything is NOT about you brmckay.
Evidence is unlikely to be ‘there’ despite claims from ‘day one’. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, yet not a morsel, not a crumb has yet to be found despite untiring efforts of thousands, millions?

Religions are said by many to be god-explanations to natural phenonomen. As we understand more and more the magical mythical gods recede further and further into the mist of time and ignorance.. The day is approaching when he/it/they fade completely in the light of discovery and understanding.

Perhaps THATS when your education begins.”

Since we are both obviously talking past each other. Rehearsing our separate tunes. I’ll break it up a bit.

What changes if we know how this or that works? The bits and pieces out of infinite possibility?

REALITY remains unchanged no matter how far our knowledge expands.

You want proof of some god or other, but why? What would it change?

The infinitude of ALL that IS does not approach or recede. Grow larger or smaller.

You want people to abandon their gods then abandon yours. This no-god God worshiped by the aloof, unimaginative, or over-trained.

It no more represents the TIMELESS ENTIRETY than a few hundred years of mathematical speculations or tens of thousands of years of shaman’s dreams.

Don’t call IT God if it’s against your religion, but only a fool would claim that IT is NOT.

2015-06-19 14:52

john l. – “It’s apparent few if any would object to other’s personal beliefs if kept personal and not imposed on others to the point where it impacts negatively on their freedom of choice and liberties. But when various forms of coercion from immersing defenseless children in cultish theologies through to the point of military and violent force, matters of human slavery, torture, war, and issues of life and death, it becomes a social issue to be dealt with.

Continuous and ongoing scientific investigation has brought you every tangible thing in human history Religion has fought it tooth and nail every step,of the way, determined to keep humanity in the dark of ignorance and retardation of witches, spirits and ghosts.

Your last post is the routine christian response when they run out their other childish arguments, to ‘You Do Too!’.

What can possibly be nuttier than accusing atheists of god disbelief to be their god?
This conversation has hit the bottom of the barrel. If this is your comedy gig, save yourself further embarrassment. Don’t give up your day job.”

I agree with you, but dealing with it, first requires accurate understanding of the problem.

The shotgun approach of attacking all religious expression as foolish, simply IS foolish.

There will be religion. There will be religious culture. There will be parents teaching that culture to their children.

The world, even in these times, has religions or subsets of religions, that are not cultish, or militaristic. They often are centered around the universal theme I tried to express in my last comment. The essence of Monism (a step beyond monotheism).

The Abrahamic traditions on the other hand, are prone to causing problems because of the latent dualistic emphasis. There is a “storyline”. God has a will (specifically, a will that mirrors our own).

The more science informs religion the better. But if science pits itself against the religious instincts of humans, We all just stay stupid.

Science can and will venture into the realms already explored by the Vedic Rishis, Yogis, Zen Masters, artists, savants, and generations of Shamans.

This in turn, will improve science, but only if there is an accompanying sense of humility to moderate our interpretation of what we learn.

2015-06-19 16:43

john l. – “The ‘problem’ WAS explained in some detail. Reading comprehension is your next assignment.

Few ‘attack’ all religious expression. I expressively emphasized ‘Live and let live’.

You really need to read before yapping. Determined, insistent ignorance is never excusable.

We’re clearly finished.”

Kevin Osborne responding to john l. – “//Determined, insistent ignorance is never excusable.//

But it is understandable. One has become stuck in place in a motion universe that one is dimly aware of, so latches on to some solution allowing one to continue movement. The solution, being incomplete, fails, yet has become a part of one’s identity and is cherished as such.. So the solution and the identity are held onto and not looked over or that failure would become apparent. Taking another’s viewpoint is impossilble and attempts at reasoned discussion become an onslaught defending a postiion lost long ago.
The double attack of the motion universe and one’s (determined…,etc.) is a death sentence to logic, to understanding, to personal freedom. Fortunately any who are stuck can be freed up if willing.”

[responding to john l.

“Few “attack”all religious expression. I expressively emphasized ‘Live and let live’.”

You can believe the above about yourself and your fellow atheists (at least the anti-theists). But it is not very true. (This fellow, Sincere Kirabo being a pleasant exception.)

” ‘Blanket disrespect’ is the very best religion deserves.”

“Patience for the outragious LIES?
It’s just making lame excuses for being so INcredibly (as in NO-credibllity) brain dead from an early age, no curiosity, no rationality, no skepticism, nothing-just swallow fantasy and such blatantly obvious, in your face falsehoods and outright LIES. “

You in no way, EMPHASIZE “live and let live”. Sorry, but maintaining an attitude of utter scorn that you will keep to yourself, if those morons will do likewise, is not emphasizing “live and let live”.

That would actually imply “patience”. The subject of this blog post.

You baited me back into the conversation after I first withdrew.

(Your downplaying of the trauma of incest, relative to the ravages of Religion on children’s lives, had left me speechless.)

“You really need to read before yapping. Determined, insistent ignorance is never excusable.”

I don’t know man, it’s really hard to read this stuff differently than I have. I think you back peddled a little a bit, but the cat was out of the bag.


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