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Atheists Complain of "Spirituality" in Army's Mental Health Program
The Christian Post ^ | December 31, 2010 | Stephanie Samuel

Posted on 01/01/2011 2:50:50 PM PST by wmfights

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To: betty boop; A_perfect_lady; wmfights; Alamo-Girl; xzins; r9etb; YHAOS; TXnMA; MHGinTN; metmom

snip: I don’t think we have souls, no. That’s just something we came up with because we can’t comprehend death.

Spirited: Rationalist Materialism is monism, which means that everything that exists is “nothing but” (to use the favorite phrase of evolutionary materialists) a “part of something else.”

In the case of materialism, everything is part of matter and the irrational, nonspiritual energy force that animates it. By extension of this view, mankind has no soul, spirit, mind, conscience or free will for he is “nothing but” a fleshy robot whose thoughts such as they are, are “nothing but” an emergent product of the brain similar to the secretion of bile from the liver. Another view is that thought is “nothing but” the firing of synapses and/or chemical interactions.

Materialism totally submerges man within nature (matter + energy), which means that there exists no possibility for freedom of mind, will, and conscience.

Now if rationalist materialism is true, then this claim-— “I don’t think we have souls, no. That’s just something we came up with because we can’t comprehend death”-—is either a total, though unwitting, refutation of rationalist materialism or it is “nothing but” either a secretion of the brain similar to bile or the chance firing of synapses and/or chemical reactions.

If I were a betting person, I would place all of my money on the former (unwitting refutation) rather than the latter.


51 posted on 01/03/2011 5:21:04 AM PST by spirited irish
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To: A_perfect_lady; Mariner; betty boop; wmfights; YHAOS; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; LiteKeeper; ...
FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh Wednesday to protest the “spiritual fitness” assessment of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. The co-presidents say statements in the mandatory “spiritual fitness” evaluation tramples on the freedoms of nonbelievers.... The spiritual statements include: “I am a spiritual person;” “My life has lasting meaning;” and “I believe there is a purpose for my life.”

Having spent a number of years as a chaplain in the US Army, one must understand the LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL place of chaplains in the military to understand this program and why it is no problem.

1. The courts have upheld the place of religious leaders (chaplains) in the military. The reason for this is that the US Constitution guarantees religious freedom AND religious exercise to every citizen. One must understand that religious freedom does not mean "I can pray or talk religion when I want to." It means you can FULLY practice all aspects of your religious faith. In short, to FULLY practice one's religion one must have that religion's FULLY authorized religious ministers/priests/rabbis available in order to do so. This is not about "10 commandments in front of town hall." That would be the topic of "preferential treatment in a government setting." The military chaplaincy is about "American citizens having their right of free exercise removed."

2. Therefore, given the appropriate presence of military chaplains, it is long acknowledged by military commanders that these highly trained officers in their midst have unique skills in areas such as counseling, family programming, morals education, law of war and just war, AND morale and esprit de corps assessment, and etc.

3. They, therefore, have a two dimensional task in the military: (1) religious leader (2) troop support. One is religious and one is not religious. On the "religious leaders" side, they cannot be part of a commander's "mandatory" attendance programs. On the "troop support" side, the commander can certainly require the attendance of troops. (For example, the battalion chaplain is typically the officer chosen to provide "suicide prevention" briefings to all troops. These are mandatory attendance briefings.)

4. "Esprit de Corps" (Spirit of the Unit) is an ancient concern of military commanders in that it is closely aligned with "morale." The morale of a unit is that sense of team unity that is radically energized to mission achievement and cohesiveness.

5. One cannot speak of "Esprit de Corps" without speaking of the "esprit" of the member. The "spirit" of the member, therefore, has to do with the morale of the member, with their "essential core" and its energy.

6. The "morale" of a unit is not a passing concern of a commander. It is one item on a checklist of battlefield preparedness that is a requirement, and one item on which this commander's fitness report will be based.

7. While the chaplain is certainly not the only member of the commander's staff whose mission touches on morale, he is one staff member who is trained is assessing the "core" of the individual and of the group. Like the commander, he visits among all the troops, speaks to many of them, and has eyes and boots on the ground in the midst of their circumstances. If they're down, he can see it. If they're up, he sees that, too. None of this, mind you, necessarily has anything at all to do with the religious side of his mission. Some of those he sees will, of course, be a part of the religious community in that unit, but many will not be. If the chaplain sees a depressed soldier, he doesn't ignore them if they have no religious affiliation.

Instead, he tries to help that soldier through a tough spot. Most times that wouldn't involve any religious discussion at all. He'd say something like, "Private Snuffy, what's going on, man?" Pvt Snuff might respond, "Wife back home is having trouble." "What kind of trouble, Snuff?" "Well, she made a mistake in paying bills and they're broke." "Snuff, why don't we get in touch with the family support group back in the states and have them contact her. They have all kinds of help resources. What do you think?" "That'd be great, Chappy." "Good...give me her name and number. I'll pass it on and set something up."

That, my friends, is a "spiritual (morale) assessment" and a follow-on response.

The freedom from religion foundation doesn't know didly about the job of the US Military Chaplain.

And that's what really should be taken away from this article.

52 posted on 01/03/2011 6:29:54 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: spirited irish

I’ve seen people’s entire personalities changed or wiped out by drug interaction or head injury. The core is physical, I’m sorry, but it just is. Most of what you attribute to “soul” is really just personality.


53 posted on 01/03/2011 8:54:26 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: 1010RD

I don’t think we have a “God gene,” I think we are just imprinted psychologically in a certain way because we are mammals. Our species has heavy parental investment. In other words, we must be taken very good care of that first year of life or we die. Unlike snakes who hatch and slither away in search of food, human infants can do nothing but cry out for help. We cry, and a big, powerful being whom we cannot see clearly (usually Mom) comes and helps us. We grow up with the unconscious belief that if you cry out, help will come. Lots of other mammmals have that too. I’ve seen a kitten sitting by her dead mother on the side of the road, crying out for help. Who is she crying to? Her mother is dead. Does the kitten believe in God? No, it just knows that if you cry out, help is supposed to come. (I saved that kitten, by the way. So no one gets depressed by this post.)


54 posted on 01/03/2011 8:59:28 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady

In saying “I’ve seen” you again unwittingly refer to a self, a “chooser,” a “chooser” who chooses to believe that all that exists is “matter” even though matter cannot account for personality...a metaphysical concept— anymore than it can account for soul, spirit, mind, and free will.

Materialism is not new, nor is it empirical science. Going back to the time of the ancient Church Fathers, materialists were then as now, denying their souls and comparing themselves to beasts while the Stoics (vitalists) scoffed at them, just as their modern “New Age” counterparts are doing.

The brain is the computer used by the soul. When the computer malfunctions or is infected by a virus, its’ user cannot communicate.


55 posted on 01/03/2011 9:22:27 AM PST by spirited irish
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To: spirited irish

I’m not trying to develop a “new, empirical science.” I’m telling you that the simplest answer is usually the right one, and the simplest answer is: the world is what it is. You make the best of the hand you’re dealt, and when you die, it’s over. Personalities are indeed just part of your chemistry. Even animals have personalities, and differ from one another. I have three cats. They have different personalities. They don’t have souls.


56 posted on 01/03/2011 9:29:13 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady
Thank you, A_perfect_lady, for your reply.
57 posted on 01/03/2011 10:24:09 AM PST by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: xzins; A_perfect_lady; Mariner; betty boop; wmfights; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; LiteKeeper; ...
The freedom from religion foundation doesn't know didly about the job of the US Military Chaplain.

Nor can we think that the FFRF cares a diddly about the job of military chaplains. Their name (Freedom From) gives away their game. The FFRF wants all trace of religion (particularly Judeo-Christian belief) driven from the public common, and hope to enlist the aid of government in accomplishing that goal. Their pretense of “equality” is a farce; eradication is the object.

Thanks, xzins, for your thorough exposition on the scope and the breadth of the US Chaplains’ duties.

58 posted on 01/03/2011 10:30:42 AM PST by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: xzins

mega-dittoes


59 posted on 01/03/2011 10:47:32 AM PST by LiteKeeper ("Psalm 109:8")
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To: A_perfect_lady
Personalities are indeed just part of your chemistry.

It's possible quantum entanglement and superposition play a role in the brain's function. Pieces of matter can be very far apart but function as if they occupy the same location. Electrons move about in an unexplainable fashion as if they are being influenced by forces outside the known universe, and can pop through insulators taking a mysterious route. We don't know how it all works yet. Reducing consciousness to just chemistry is oversimplifying the mystery.

60 posted on 01/03/2011 12:58:13 PM PST by Reeses
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To: Reeses

So do animals have souls?


61 posted on 01/03/2011 1:22:32 PM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady

Religion frowns on that because it would make them a lot harder to use and abuse for food. My guess is that some animals have much of what we have, whatever it is.


62 posted on 01/03/2011 2:10:39 PM PST by Reeses
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To: xzins; A_perfect_lady; Mariner; betty boop; wmfights; YHAOS; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; LiteKeeper
If the chaplain sees a depressed soldier, he doesn't ignore them if they have no religious affiliation.

Instead, he tries to help that soldier through a tough spot. Most times that wouldn't involve any religious discussion at all. He'd say something like, "Private Snuffy, what's going on, man?" Pvt Snuff might respond, "Wife back home is having trouble." "What kind of trouble, Snuff?" "Well, she made a mistake in paying bills and they're broke." "Snuff, why don't we get in touch with the family support group back in the states and have them contact her. They have all kinds of help resources. What do you think?" "That'd be great, Chappy." "Good...give me her name and number. I'll pass it on and set something up."

That, my friends, is a "spiritual (morale) assessment" and a follow-on response.

Thank you for the clarification.

The freedom from religion foundation doesn't know didly about the job of the US Military Chaplain.

And that's what really should be taken away from this article.

I take something else as well. I see a growing trend where every little thing (especially anything Christian) is found to be offensive to some small group and to placate the small group the things that made us great must be changed.

63 posted on 01/03/2011 3:59:05 PM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: betty boop; A_perfect_lady; wmfights; Alamo-Girl; xzins; r9etb; YHAOS; TXnMA; MHGinTN; metmom
If you are truly an atheist, you have to be on the side of the Franco-German model. For it is the model that rejects, as a matter of principle, God and man himself, as an individual (i.e., as an "ensouled" being of incalculable worth and dignity in himself, for he is made "in the image of God"). The Franco-German model does not care about individuals, only about "groups."

Thanks for the great post, lots to chew on.

One thought along the lines of the Franco-German model. If we are no more than barnyard animals why should we obey any higher laws? Why not just form the strongest group possible and do what we want. In the case of our military, the strongest group, why not just take over and make slaves of those that are of use.

64 posted on 01/03/2011 4:07:05 PM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: wmfights

Bull patties. Atheism is not a positive stance, it is simply an absence of belief. Lacking a belief in anything does not automatically align you with any random belief that happens to feature that element along with several others. That’s like saying “Failure to accept Mohammed’s prophecies aligns you with Communism.”


65 posted on 01/03/2011 6:41:37 PM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; betty boop; Alamo-Girl

snip: I’m telling you that the simplest answer is usually the right one, and the simplest answer is: the world is what it is. You make the best of the hand you’re dealt, and when you die, it’s over. Personalities are indeed just part of your chemistry.

Spirited: The simplest answer is not a belief predicated upon a need to explain away man’s soul, mind, conscience, and free will.

The simplest answer is the one embraced by the Founders, which they defined as “self-evident” truths. Self-evident in that man really does know that he thinks, makes choices, and feels guilt. There is no way except by willful self-delusion that man cannot know these truths.

At bottom, both rationalist materialism and pantheist vitalism are alternative salvation systems. Salvation is not BY God the Father but FROM Him. It is had by either explaining away or denying the existence of mind, soul, conscience, and free will. Scrooge was a rationalist materialist. When Morley appeared, Scrooge tried to explain him away as indigestion caused by a bit of bad meat.

America and the West are even now experiencing an occult revival. Some of the world’s most powerful leaders have spirit guides. The UN has become a veritable temple of spiritism. Occultism always signals the end of a civilization.

Very dangerous times lie ahead. Your denial of a spiritual reality will not save you from its effects, or from the forces behind them. They are there whether you believe in them or not.


66 posted on 01/04/2011 4:43:05 AM PST by spirited irish
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To: A_perfect_lady
Of course animals have souls. Everything that is alive has a soul from which life is flowing. However, only the particualr animal called human has a spirit within the soul of life, so that the life in human animals is so much more than the life in everything else that is earth derived animal or vegetable.

It is kind of like the number of dimesnional variables which limit a living thing. With plants the variables are less than with animals, and with animals the variable are less than with humans.

67 posted on 01/04/2011 7:37:42 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: 1010RD; wmfights; A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; xzins; YHAOS; r9etb; spirited irish
“the map is not the territory” - Alfred Korzybski

Indeed, 1010RD. This point cannot be stressed enough, IMHO. For it seems a great many people today, atheists and others in the grip of "scientistic" modes of thinking, are living by the "map," and not in the "territory" — which is the Reality in which individuals exist as "parts and participants".

Cicero called this mode of being aspernatio rationis, the rejection of, or contempt for, Reason. He diagnosed this rejection as a symptom of mental/spiritual disorder (read: pneumopathological disease)....

This disease seems to be endemic in our time.

Thank you so much for writing!

68 posted on 01/04/2011 8:27:24 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: YHAOS; xzins; A_perfect_lady; Mariner; wmfights; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; LiteKeeper
Thanks, xzins, for your thorough exposition on the scope and the breadth of the US Chaplains’ duties.

And thanks from me, too, dear xzins, for your illuminating essay/post!

69 posted on 01/04/2011 8:42:18 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: betty boop

thank you, bb


70 posted on 01/04/2011 8:53:45 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: A_perfect_lady
Atheism is not a positive stance, it is simply an absence of belief.

Why then hold to any beliefs about right and wrong?

If there is no belief that humans are any different than barnyard animals why should humans behave any differently?

71 posted on 01/04/2011 9:13:27 AM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: MHGinTN
Of course animals have souls. Everything that is alive has a soul from which life is flowing. However, only the particualr animal called human has a spirit within the soul of life, so that the life in human animals is so much more than the life in everything else that is earth derived animal or vegetable. It is kind of like the number of dimesnional variables which limit a living thing. With plants the variables are less than with animals, and with animals the variable are less than with humans.

I do admire your ability to make it up as you go along...

72 posted on 01/04/2011 9:14:19 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: wmfights
If there is no belief that humans are any different than barnyard animals why should humans behave any differently?

Most of them don't behave any differently. What we do have that animals don't have is imagination. It gives us our ability to create order, and also to destroy on a large scale. But it's just a physical attribute. There's no need to develop these intricate stories and people them with named dieties who have motives and moods. It's human imagination that does that, I suppose, from Native American mythology to Greek mythology to Middle Eastern. But it's the same impulse that allows us to create fantasy worlds with dragons and mages and beautiful princesses. Just a by product of the cerebrum and the frontal lobe.

73 posted on 01/04/2011 9:20:33 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: spirited irish
Look, if you want to live in Dungeons and Dragons world, you go ahead. I don't care and won't stop you. But you're living in a very complicated fiction, rather like those folks who believe a celebrity has been having an on-going affair with them for years, using disguises and fake names.

Ever talk to these folks? It's fascinating, it's well-thought out and complex. It's just all in their head, is the problem. I've talked to others who have very detailed and documented evidence that aliens have warned us that Planet X is going to create a gravitational pull that will draw our galaxy into a nebula that will create such global catastrophe that most of us will die in 2012.

Religion is a series of stories that each generation adds to, tweaks, refines... witness another poster that gave me a hierarchy of souls and spirits in plant and animal life. Is that in the Old Testament? No, they're probably taking what they like of Hebrew lore and mixing it with a little Celtic or Native American... whatever. Each generation takes its parents stories and alters them a little, making them their own. Fine with me, as long as I can live my own simple life a safe distance from your highly-decorated and ritualized dramas.

Christians are only a mild annoyance. It's the muslims I really don't like, for reasons that I'm sure are obvious.

74 posted on 01/04/2011 9:28:31 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; xzins; wmfights; 1010RD; Mariner; spirited irish; YHAOS; P-Marlowe; ...
I’m telling you that the simplest answer is usually the right one, and the simplest answer is: the world is what it is. You make the best of the hand you’re dealt, and when you die, it’s over. Personalities are indeed just part of your chemistry. Even animals have personalities, and differ from one another. I have three cats. They have different personalities. They don’t have souls.

Your "simplest answer" — "the world is what it is" — is a non-answer. To me, it indicates a refusal both to apperceive or explain. You aver, but do not show any evidence in support of your assertion — except perhaps evidence that you have set yourself up as the measure of Reality in your own mind.

Evidently on your view, human beings reduce to their chemical composition — that's all there is — and the "world" is a matter of opinion, which differs from person to person. Although how can there be an "opinion" if all a human being is, is his chemical composition? Do chemicals "think" or "opine?"

But the Reality as measured by you is evidently grotesquely reduced to what can be known by means of direct sense perception. This is the positivistic Cartesian/Newtonian reduction, which envisions the world as a mechanism — i.e., the so-called machine metaphor.

But this machine metaphor, which evidently gave such comfort to Pierre Simon Laplace (the French mathematician and astronomer who authored Mécanique Céleste [Celestial Mechanics]), is ultimately self-defeating for two reasons: (1) All machines are purpose-built; and (2) All machines operate by means of a set of instructions, or "software."

So to invoke the machine metaphor does not get rid of the problem of "non-observables": purpose (whose purpose?) and instructions (information). Since these are examples of what has been called non-phenomenal reality, they are indetectible by sense perception in principle. It takes an act of the mind to explore these realities — a willingness not just to "perceive" (the processing of sense data), but to apperceive (the relation of sense data to each other and to the larger environment in which they occur, which is evidently structured by universal laws which are not themselves direct observables).

As the poet William Blake put it,

We are led to believe a lie
When we see with, and not through
The eye.

If find it rather amusing that atheists and others of scientistic bent classify the soul as "the ghost in the machine." But I thought these folks didn't believe in "ghosts!" That's another non-observable in principle. How can they use this term without involving themselves in yet another self-contradition?

It seems to me (FWIW) that atheists and others of scientistic bent of mind are either totally irrational, or guilty of intellectual sloth....

75 posted on 01/04/2011 9:35:23 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: A_perfect_lady
What we do have that animals don't have is imagination. It gives us our ability to create order, and also to destroy on a large scale.

I think that atheists love having the benefits of a God fearing people, but want to deny the responsibilities of acknowledging the Creator's existence. In the response above the only reason given for not acting like barnyard animals is imagination. IOW, creating order for a groups benefit.

Do atheists believe the behavior of Hitler, Stalin, or Mao was acceptable? They believed they were acting in the best interests of their group. Condemnation of mass killing would be inconsistent with a belief that we are just the sum of our biological parts.

If all that makes us different from the rest of the biological world is our imagination why wouldn't might make right?

76 posted on 01/04/2011 9:35:27 AM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: wmfights
I think that atheists love having the benefits of a God fearing people,

Not really. Witness the Middle East. Lots of God-fearing people there, and what advantage are they to anyone? As for might making right, it usually is accepted that it does, although people rarely admit it. Christianity gained a foothold in the 5th century through might, via the emporer Constantine (if I remember correctly.) The winners of wars tend to write the books, explaining why it was morally preferable that they win.

Look at the Old Testament: The Hebrews slaughtered the Canaanites, took the land, and lo, their might was evidence that their God was right (apparently.)

77 posted on 01/04/2011 9:39:50 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: betty boop
Well, you have a tendency to try and group atheists and then draw a circle around the group. Then you try to characterize them as a group, and develop a description of their thought processes which you then declare irrational. Of course it's irrational, it's your own invention. Atheists are not a group, per se. I'm certainly not a member of any atheist group. If you want to argue with me, that's fine, but argue with ME, not some French mathematician that I don't give a rip about.

And remember, I don't have to prove anything because you can't prove a negative. You can't prove unicorns don't exist, you can only indicate that you've never seen one. That doesn't mean you must accept their existence until someone proves conclusively that they cannot possibly exist.

78 posted on 01/04/2011 9:44:45 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: betty boop
Your "simplest answer" — "the world is what it is" — is a non-answer.

I should add that it's not a non-answer, it's simply an answer you don't like or accept. What you're saying is, "I don't like that one, come up with another." But no matter how elegantly you put it, it's still kind of a childish response.

79 posted on 01/04/2011 10:02:13 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; r9etb; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom
I should add that it's not a non-answer, it's simply an answer you don't like or accept. What you're saying is, "I don't like that one, come up with another."

That is precisely what I am not saying. "Like" or "dislike" is not the standard I advert to.

Evidently you are firmly committed to relativistic thinking. I am saying that relativistic thinking is non-thinking, for it lacks a ratio, or a standard of truthful judgment.

Or as the classical Greeks and the later Christians would put it, it has no Logos. It leaves us in a situation where one man's opinion is just as good (or bad) as any other man's. In consequence, for any given man's opinion to prevail in society is a matter of power, not of truth.

This sort of reasoning — or better, refusal to reason — not only disorders, isolates, and ultimately alienates the human person from Nature, but also disorders the society in which he lives.

You can call that "a childish response" if you like. You're entitled to your "opinion." But you are not entitled to make up your own facts about the truth of reality. Which can be empirically discerned if one would but make the effort.

Heraclitus (c. 600 B.C.) had this to say about the matter:

But though the Logos is common, the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own. [2]

Those who are awake have a world one and common, but those who are asleep each turn aside into their own private worlds. [89]

Those who speak with the mind must strengthen themselves with that which is common to all.... For all human laws nourish themselves from the one divine [i.e., Logos] — which prevails as it will, and suffices for all things and more than suffices. [114]

Although this Logos is eternally valid, yet men are unable to understand it — not only before hearing it, but even after they have heard it for the first time. That is to say, although all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos, men seem to be quite without any experience of it.... on the contrary, [they] are as forgetful and heedless in their waking moments of what is going on around and within them as they are during sleep. [1]

It is not meet [i.e., fitting or proper] to act and speak like men asleep. [73]


80 posted on 01/04/2011 10:47:12 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: A_perfect_lady

The circumstantial evidence is there, if you have eyes to see it.


81 posted on 01/04/2011 10:47:46 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: betty boop

If by “one man’s opinion is equal to another’s” you mean that no one will judge either one in the afterlife, you’re right. But if you mean that their opinions will have equally advantageous results for humanity, then no, you’re wrong. But you don’t need a God to tell you the difference between a happy, thriving culture and a pile of murdered bodies. Do you? I don’t.


82 posted on 01/04/2011 10:52:39 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: MHGinTN
The circumstantial evidence is there, if you have eyes to see it.

I know a lady who has circumstantial evidence that suggests that a certain A-List celebrity has been having an affair with her for years, using false names and disguises to "test" her love. She has one photograph of herself standing next to him in what is clearly a fan venue. She has a schedule of his visits that has been carefully crafted not to conflict with any of his public appearances. She has a "hypnotist" who helped her uncover the "truth," and she has a child with eyes kind of like his.

But she's just a schizophrenic. The fact is, if you WANT to believe in something magical, you construct a fantasy world that is difficult to disprove. Then you just stand your ground and argue your head off. It doesn't make you right, but it does keep you occupied, which for some people is reward enough.

83 posted on 01/04/2011 10:57:17 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
You can't prove unicorns don't exist, you can only indicate that you've never seen one.

That's a red herring, a straw man argument, A_perfect_lady. Whether or not unicorns exist is entirely beside the question. It hardly seems to be an urgent question from my point of view.

But if you want me to hazard an answer, I'd say that unicorns both (certainly) do and (possibly) do not exist. Certainly they exist in the human imagination; i.e., in the arts, in literature, etc. — the unicorn historically/culturally is a symbol of purity. What you are really asking is whether they are physically tangible. And I don't know the answer to that. All I can truthfully say is: I have never seen one.

I don't "group" atheists. If there is a "group" for atheists, it is something atheists self-select into. I don't force them into it.

84 posted on 01/04/2011 11:00:17 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: betty boop
I am so happy you finally answered me simply, without jargon, and without quotes from people I couldn't care less about. Using your own clear language makes it much easier for me to understand your point.

Now here's my point. If I am trying to get you to believe in unicorns, it makes no sense for me to demand that you must prove they don't exist or you must believe.

85 posted on 01/04/2011 11:03:58 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
But you don’t need a God to tell you the difference between a happy, thriving culture and a pile of murdered bodies.

Notwithstanding, His Truth [Logos] alone is the difference between "a happy, thriving culture" and "a pile of murdered bodies."

Cultures — societies — that produce piles of murdered bodies historically have all been atheist ones.

Do you think our present-day American society is a "happy, thriving" one?

86 posted on 01/04/2011 11:05:21 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: betty boop

Nonsense, God-fearing muslims slaughtered the Armenians, God-fearing Hebrew tribes slaughtered the Canaanites, God-fearing Spaniards took out entire cultures in the Americas... come on. God-fearing muslims, are in fact slaughtering people briskly at this very moment. You may disagree with their grasp on what “God” wants but you can’t deny they think He’s up there.


87 posted on 01/04/2011 11:11:09 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
If I am trying to get you to believe in unicorns, it makes no sense for me to demand that you must prove they don't exist or you must believe.

I have never asked you to believe in unicorns. And as to what you believe, all I can say is this:

It's not my job to "tell you" what to think or believe regarding present matters, or any other matter. My job is to show you where to look if you want to go find out for yourself.

Moreover, "proof" is a term relevant to mathematics and logic only. But we are speaking of neither here.

88 posted on 01/04/2011 11:11:37 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: A_perfect_lady
Do you fancy yourself an intellectual? ... Can you tell me what yellow is? Do you have the ability to stand outside of time and explain for me what yesterday was or is or shall be? ... Your condescension isn't accomplishing anything in the way of discussion. But I'm sure it feeds your needy ego. And yes, that is a personal observation based upon your posts to this thread. BTW, what is 'a perfect lady'? Is that any different from 'a perfect bitch dog'? ... I would bet even money that your response is 'yes there is a big difference'. In affirming that there is a difference (a huge difference, beyond the obvious physical characteristics) you refute your own silly circular reasoning.

You have a pleasant day, ya heya

89 posted on 01/04/2011 11:15:29 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: betty boop
So what you are telling me is that if I look at things the same way you do, I'll come to the same conclusions you have. Well, sure. So? I don't look at things the same way you do, searching for answers and making up ones that seem plausible given the conclusions I hope to maintain. You start at the end and work backward. You start with the goal that everything must support what you hope is true: a benign God who will one day reward you. Then you develop answers to life's questions that won't clash with your already-established conclusion.

Hey, go ahead and do that, you and Heraclitus, and C.S. Lewis. I'm not going to. I think it's a waste of time and energy.

90 posted on 01/04/2011 11:19:57 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
You may disagree with their grasp on what “God” wants but you can’t deny they think He’s up there.

But it is God "up there" who commands them to do these things? Maybe they are simply using God as an excuse to perpetrate purely human crimes, to "sugar-coat" acts of purely human libido dominandi and moral turpitude.

Certainly I believe that is the case with Islamic Jihadism.... I also believe that to have been the case WRT the Spanish conquistadors....

The case of Israel is seemingly different. But I would leave the elaboration of that issue to Jewish scholars, not having the competence myself.

91 posted on 01/04/2011 11:23:44 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: MHGinTN

And now you’re upset. Yellow is a color on the color spectrum. Yesterday was 24 hours ago. You believe in things that are not real and now you’re mad because I think you’re silly. You have a nice day, too.


92 posted on 01/04/2011 11:23:57 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: betty boop

The fact remains that those murderous societies are not/were not atheists. So believing in God obviously does not necessarily enhance one’s moral sophistication.


93 posted on 01/04/2011 11:25:28 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
I don't look at things the same way you do, searching for answers and making up ones that seem plausible given the conclusions I hope to maintain.

Actually, my method — such as it is — is inductive: I don't start with a conclusion into which I want to fit selective evidence, as if the truth of reality were some kind of Procrustean bed.

I'd say that is the sort of thing the folks who cling to "the machine metaphor" are doing. And they have to rule out entire sectors of reality to do it.

Me, I'm happy to let the Creation — Nature — "explain herself." And "Nature" includes human nature.

94 posted on 01/04/2011 11:30:33 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: A_perfect_lady
Nice try! No, I don't have enough respect for you to be mad over some fluff you consider intellectual posting.

You use definitions held as convention, by the developed society, yet you think yourself so clever that you can play word games? Is there a difference in 'a perfect bitch dog' and 'a perfect lady'? Of course there is. A perfect bitch dog has no comprehension for societal convention in order to define 'yellow' as you tried to do. A perfect bitch dog does not read a clock and conclude that 'yesterday' was 24 hours ago. And you don't know if yesterday still exists, any more than you know if tomorrow yet exists. You reason based upon 'convention', agreed upon definitions. We all do.

Being a Southern Gentleman, I am old enough to know that a perfect lady doesn't play word games designed to be insulting in order to try and appear clever. You're not important enough or clever enough to get me angry. I am however amused by you. If you were able to rise to Christopher Hitchens' level of nihilism, I might could even find discussion with you to be a pleasant mental exercise.

It is not often that one witnesses such a circularly functioning mind as you exhibit. You have to work hard to achieve nothingness. And denial becomes the river upon which you float your leaky dingy. Have you figured out yet that you probably don't know all there is about this universe in which you currently dwell? Has it yet dawned on you that there are aspects to reality which Science has yet to define? ... Or have you such limited sight that you think it has all been discovered? Closing the far end of the observation tube nets you only a darkened spot.

95 posted on 01/04/2011 11:40:17 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: betty boop
Well, I haven't had to rule anything out. I look at the world, I see what is there, I deal with what is there, and I don't concern myself with invisible entities that other people believe in. And all I want is that they not insist I deal with their imaginations either. Particularly using tax payer money or government force. Hey, if the military wants to OFFER spiritual guidance, go on ahead. I was in the military for four years active duty and seven years reserve. I know that a lot of people have mental problems, and "spiritual" problems, and if it makes them feel better, go ahead. I only draw the line at mandated "spiritual" guidance. And don't spend too much of my tax dollars on it.
96 posted on 01/04/2011 11:42:21 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; YHAOS; iowaguy1972; xzins; wmfights; metmom; r9etb
So believing in God obviously does not necessarily enhance one’s moral sophistication.

"Faith without works" — the latter understood as acts consistent with God's moral law — "is dead." (So says James, 2:20.)

People can always find excuses to do what they want to anyway. But they will be held to account for this. If not in "this" world, then in the "next."

Of course, you don't have to worry about this, do you, A_perfect_lady? You obviate the entire problem by denying a "next" world altogether.

And if the world does not have a "beyond," you'll be "safe" from such an accounting; i.e., for thoughts and deeds you commit in this one.

Good luck!

97 posted on 01/04/2011 11:44:57 AM PST by betty boop (Seek truth and beauty together; you will never find them apart. — F. M. Cornford)
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To: MHGinTN

I know anger when I see it. Calm down and stop trying to get me equally angry, because you are wasting your time. The world is what it is. Deal with it ... or make up elaborate metaphysical endgames peopled with angels and demons, gods and monsters. Give them names and personalities. Add a few dragons, if you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I think of you the same way I think of Scientologists and astrologers, but that needn’t impact our ability to ignore each other.


98 posted on 01/04/2011 11:47:56 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: betty boop

And you don’t have to worry either, about ever having to realize you lived more of your life in a fantasy world than in the real one. Because when you’re dead, you’re dead. You’re gone. You’re not lying there in your coffin thinking “Well, THIS sucks!” So live in whatever world you want to construct. Like the lady who thinks the celebrity sent her a message just the other day, by wearing certain shoes in the paparazzi photo, it all makes sense to her. The evidence is there if you just look at it right. He really does love her! Sure! As long as she doesn’t do anything to me, I don’t care.


99 posted on 01/04/2011 11:52:26 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: A_perfect_lady
;^) Projection is a word for more than merely showing films. Try not to get too upset, ya heya.
100 posted on 01/04/2011 11:53:04 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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