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(Vanity) Musical Thoughts: Metaphysical Musings From A Christian Music Video
grey_whiskers | 02-08-2013 | grey_whiskers

Posted on 02/08/2013 5:37:02 PM PST by grey_whiskers

Recently I was watching a YouTube video of Phil Keaggy. For those of you who do not know -- (which is to say, almost everybody) he is a Christian songwriter and guitarist who is a legend among guitarists; there are rumours floating around that Jimi Hendrix once called him "the best guitarist in the world."1 What is interesting is the comment threads which show up on YouTube under many of his videos. Generally one or two Christians will show up, with comments like "This is what Heaven must sound like" or "Praise GOD for Phil Keaggy's gift." Then usually, one of two things will happen: either other guitarists will show up, and say "Shut up and let us listen to the music" or "Yngwie Malmsteen / Van Halen / Leo Kottke / name your own" is better. Or, the atheists will show up and start ragging on the Christians.

And so it was here. A couple of days ago, one of the posters led off with the following gem:

"see above fairy tales" .... No thanks, enjoy being indoctrinated by a cult based on the ramblings of drunk arab sheep herders from a time when selling your daughter seemed like a great idea. I don't have a problem with you so please don't take offense. I would honestly be happy for you if you realised that you are wasting your entire existence."

And another poster, further down, wrote :

Nope Stop trying to shove religion down our throats and just listen to some music with out bringing up god or jeebus.

followed by

Do a Youtube name determines my Intellect? the fact that you believe In a magical man In the sky who hates gays,Nonbelievers and pretty much anything, Kind of says It all.You're the kind of people who are slowing down the human race.

Do I detect a trend here? "fairy tales" and "magical man in the sky" tend to be stock insults, and used by atheists. The words are pejorative, to be sure, but more tellingly, what are the values communicated by the words? As Christian Blogger and SuperIntelligence Vox Day reminds us, we reveal our values in attacking others. So it's fairly obvious, that to the mind of the atheists, religion is a crutch, a holdover, which has been rightly supplanted by science, and it's about time. And it is this thought that I take as the jumping-off point for my essay.

Let us begin by comparing and contrasting two well-know quotes.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -- Jesus, in Matthew 17:20

Note the following points: Arthur C. Clarke is bragging, not only that technology works, but that, boy does it *ever* work. Jesus, on the other hand, is promising that one CAN move mountains -- but only under certain conditions.

And this is an important ingredient. Recall that C.S. Lewis, noted Christian author, was a professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford, then Cambridge. He wrote in his book The Abolition of Man:

I have described as a `magician's bargain' that process whereby man surrenders object after object, and finally himself, to Nature in return for power. And I meant what I said. The fact that the scientist has succeeded where the magician failed has put such a wide contrast between them in popular thought that the real story of the birth of Science is misunderstood. You will even find people who write about the sixteenth century as if Magic were a medieval survival and Science the new thing that came in to sweep it away. Those who have studied the period know better. There was very little magic in the Middle Ages: the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are the high noon of magic. The serious magical endeavour and the serious scientific endeavour are twins: one was sickly and died, the other strong and throve. But they were twins. They were born of the same impulse. I allow that some (certainly not all) of the early scientists were actuated by a pure love of knowledge. But if we consider the temper of that age as a whole we can discern the impulse of which I speak.

There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the wisdom of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious—such as digging up and mutilating the dead.

If we compare the chief trumpeter of the new era (Bacon) with Marlowe's Faustus, the similarity is striking. You will read in some critics that Faustus has a thirst for knowledge. In reality, he hardly mentions it. It is not truth he wants from the devils, but gold and guns and girls. `All things that move between the quiet poles shall be at his command' and `a sound magician is a mighty god'.3 In the same spirit Bacon condemns those who value knowledge as an end in itself: this, for him, is to use as a mistress for pleasure what ought to be a spouse for fruit.4

Now this is quite a lot to take in at one go, but the essential elements are these:

1) People wanted power: both magic and technology strove for a time to deliver that power, but technology worked, and magic didn't.

2) In the centuries since that time, by accident or by on purpose, the impression has been left on people that everything but naturalistic science is "superstition" and that people used to believe in it before science set them free; and that the proof that science is better is that it works; in fact, religion is only for the losers, for those without any way to help themselves, it is a last gasp, a final (futile) resort.

People tend to lump prayer in with magic because the results seem to be inconsistent. But the reality goes deeper than that.

Bear with me for a change of pace while I use an analogy from the world of sports. If you went back in time and stood on the baseball diamond next to Brooks Robinson in his prime and tried to vacuum up line drives down the third base line; or if you tried to pitch like Nolan Ryan; or if you tried to run for long yardage like Adrian Peterson two things would happen. First, you'd get hurt. Second, you'd fail.

Does this mean that sports are magical, or that legendary sports achievements are mythological? After all, you tried to reproduce the results yourselves, and you failed.

No, it means that you weren't paying attention closely enough. Science is not reproducible -- except if you follow the instructions carefully. This is why we have experiments with controlled conditions, and why scientists are careful when reporting results in a journal to specify the methods, materials, and experimental apparatus, setup, and conditions. And since (as far as we can tell), science is "mechanical" and operates without respect to the individual, one person running the experiment is just as good as another.

Athletics, however, is only somewhat reproducible: it is mechanical, to be sure, but one of the conditions involved (if not pre-conditions) is skill. As Danny Glover said in the movie Angels in the Outfield, "There's this thing called talent. You guys don't have it." In order to reproduce athletic results, you need to have talent. And discipline, and practice. And then more practice. And even then, the results are not perfect. An all-pro batter only gets on base one-third of the time. Reggie Jackson pointed out that his 2,000 career strikeouts meant that he spent the equivalent of four full seasons doing nothing but "swing and a miss."

So it is with faith.

"And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them." Mark 6:5

(The mountains stayed put.)

And even *with* faith, God may say, "No," because He happens to have other plans: remember the Garden of Gethsemane:

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39)

Therefore, one of the differences between technology and faith, is that since faith is personal, and not merely mechanistic, you can't guarantee results. Whereas technology relies upon observable, discovered, repeatable regularities in the behaviour of the natural universe; and taking advantage of them.

But the other difference is more subtle. Since technology *is* impersonal, as the large corporations have discovered while offshoring jobs, the physics and the engineering of a manufacturing process work whether the factory is in Toledo or in Harbin. Furthermore, once the formula has been discovered, the blueprints built, all of the accumulated knowlege of how to leverage nature's workings can be applied immediately: and the machines and factories and cars, and the knowledge imbued in their workings, endure even after the original discoverers have died. It is not as though each person born has to *rediscover* fire, and gravity, and calculus, and classical mechanics (or the horse collar or the cotton gin) in order to enjoy the immediate benefits of past discoveries.

But with faith, since it is a personal discipline (think of Brooks Robinson!), each person *must* start at the beginning, from the ground up. I can pray for you: but I cannot "Vulcan mind meld" my faith over *to* you.

Which means that there is an accumulation of applicability, of efficacy, of technology, over time, which is widely diffused among individuals, which is not necessarily seen in prayer.

But there are two other important differences.

Since prayer is a petition to God, and God can work miracles (whether by interfering with nature without our knowledge, or by truly *breaking* or *suspending* the laws of nature) -- when prayer works, it is not limited to the discovered laws. It truly can "move mountains" -- or change entire kingdoms, or the course of history.

And the other difference, is that prayer is not designed, we are explicitly told it was never meant, for personal power. That way lies Faust and the Occult. Think of the difference between the Three Rings of Power forged by the Elves (power to retain all things unstained; this they have gained, with sorrow) vs. the express purpose of the One Ring -- to capture and ensnare all.

Technology, though it can be used for good, always contains the possibility of being used for evil, to control other people. Witness the trench warfare and poison gas of World War I up to the atomic bomb; or even the ability of the government to spy on you using sophisticated telecommunications and electronics.

Returning to The Abolition of Man C.S. Lewis pointed out that "what we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. "

Whereas, by definition, the power of prayer *is* that of self-denial, as witnessed by Gethsemane. "Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt." This is the very opposite of the "will to power" which countenances or demands abominations such as digging up the dead: and it is opposite in its effects as well, for Gethsemane did not result in an exhumation, but in Resurrection.

And the Stone itself was rolled away.

1 I tracked that rumour down as far as (IIRC) the Feb. 1975 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, in an article on "Jesus music" or somesuch. The rumor has been squelched by a number of sources. But he *is* off-scale versatile -- speed, melody, techniques from using an E-bow on an album all the way back in 1978, to volume swells with his little finger on the volume knob, to jaw-dropping looping, and intricate finger-picking. He does it all, with superlative technique.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Religion & Culture; Religion & Science; Theology
KEYWORDS: metaphysics; philkeaggy; sciencevsreligion; whiskersvanity
Cheers!
1 posted on 02/08/2013 5:37:14 PM PST by grey_whiskers
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To: grey_whiskers; neverdem; SunkenCiv; Cindy; LucyT; decimon; freedumb2003; ...

Fretting about the bird cage on religious topics...

Warning: Explicitly Christian. Atheists should only proceed if they wish to be annoyed.

Enjoy the music at the link.

Cheers!

2 posted on 02/08/2013 5:43:46 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

I couldn’t agree more.

And atheist’s agree too.

Robert Jastrow (September 7, 1925 – February 8, 2008) was an American astronomer, physicist and cosmologist. He was a leading NASA scientist, populist author and futurist.

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Robert Jastrow.


3 posted on 02/08/2013 5:50:38 PM PST by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Awesome post, just what I needed to read this Friday evening. Thanks!


4 posted on 02/08/2013 6:43:48 PM PST by Weirdad (Orthodox Americanism: It's what's good for the world! (Not communofascism!))
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To: grey_whiskers

“And the other difference, is that prayer is not designed, we are explicitly told it was never meant, for personal power. That way lies Faust and the Occult.”

This bears repeating, since we have some Christians today who are chasing “prosperity” through prayer. That’s not a good road to start traveling down.


5 posted on 02/08/2013 6:49:21 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: grey_whiskers

That was great, thanks for posting! :D


6 posted on 02/08/2013 7:05:49 PM PST by To Hell With Poverty (Ephesians 6:12 becomes more real to me with each news cycle.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Since prayer is a petition to God, and God can work miracles (whether by interfering with nature without our knowledge, or by truly *breaking* or *suspending* the laws of nature) -- when prayer works, it is not limited to the discovered laws. It truly can "move mountains" -- or change entire kingdoms, or the course of history.

Faith demands the believer to acknowledge the believer's god to be omniscient, all-knowing. The believer, by implication of the acknowledgement, has to believe that this god also knows the wants, feelings, needs, desires, intents and goals of the believer. So you have the believer and the believer's omniscient god as two entities, with no need for any "lines of communication / petition" (a.k.a prayer) between them, due to the quality of omniscience. What does this render prayer into? Redundant nothingness. And religions that demand it? Self-contradictory nonsense.

Enjoy your weekend!

7 posted on 02/08/2013 7:06:24 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
That's because you're thinking mechanistically, as though prayer were merely a lever with a particular moment arm; instead of terms of a once-sundered, now restored relationship.

It is not merely symbolism, nor metaphor, nor simile, to refer to God as Father.

Cheers!

8 posted on 02/08/2013 7:20:31 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Faith demands the believer to acknowledge the believer's god to be omniscient, all-knowing.

Christian belief begins with the presumption of an omniscient God, which is based on extrapolation of the physical evidence of the nature of the universe: the evidence is insufficient to prove nor disprove with certainty, which is why one may have faith in a God, or have faith that the universe is as it is totally by chance.

The believer, by implication of the acknowledgement, has to believe that this god also knows the wants, feelings, needs, desires, intents and goals of the believer. So you have the believer and the believer's omniscient god as two entities, with no need for any "lines of communication / petition" (a.k.a prayer) between them, due to the quality of omniscience.

This is not true, on at least two levels. First, while the Christian believes that God already knows what we need before we ask, the Christian also believes that God commands us to ask--not for God's benefit, but for our benefit. For example, I already know most of my daughter's needs; does that mean she does not need to ask me, not for my benefit, but for hers?

Second, as in the quote above, prayer is not only petition, but communication--or, to be more accurate, communion. My daughter not only talks to me; she talks with me, a two-way communication, not only for the purpose of sharing information, but for the greater purpose of sharing relationship. The most important aspect of prayer is not what we say to God, but what God says to us: God already knows our needs, but we do not know the extent of God's nature or God's will, and the more we can experience that communion, the stronger our relationship to God.

Therefore, your dual assertion...

What does this render prayer into? Redundant nothingness. And religions that demand it? Self-contradictory nonsense. Enjoy your weekend!

...is twice incorrect. Prayer is the essence of a communicative communion with God, where we are given the opportunity not only of expressing our needs to a God for our benefit, but also of experiencing a dialogue that is a portion of a sensory and extrasensory communion. And there is therefore no self-contradiction. Whether it is nonsense or not depends on whether my "bet" that there is a God who desires a communal relationship with humans is accurate, or that your "bet" that there is no God is accurate. My experience, along with the nature of the universe itself, leads me to conclude that my "bet" is the accurate one. Which, by the way, is why I will indeed enjoy my weekend, and the eternity of which it is a part: not because I am wonderful, but because God is wonderful. And so can you.

9 posted on 02/08/2013 8:30:10 PM PST by chajin (Trustworthy,loyal,helpful,friendly,curteous,kind,obedient,cheerful,thrifty,brave,clean & reverent.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Whereas, by definition, the power of prayer *is* that of self-denial, as witnessed by Gethsemane. "Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt." This is the very opposite of the "will to power" which countenances or demands abominations such as digging up the dead: and it is opposite in its effects as well, for Gethsemane did not result in an exhumation, but in Resurrection.

And the Stone itself was rolled away.

Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dear grey_whiskers!

10 posted on 02/08/2013 9:03:22 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: grey_whiskers
Do I detect a trend here? "fairy tales" and "magical man in the sky" tend to be stock insults, and used by atheists. The words are pejorative, to be sure, but more tellingly, what are the values communicated by the words?

They demonstrate that nothing makes atheism as attractive as atheists do. See how happy, peaceable, broad-minded, and wise they are!

11 posted on 02/08/2013 9:46:43 PM PST by Lonely Bull
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To: Zeneta

What an amazing quote!


12 posted on 02/08/2013 9:58:47 PM PST by colinhester
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To: chajin
For example, I already know most of my daughter's needs; does that mean she does not need to ask me, not for my benefit, but for hers?

She wouldn't need to ask you if she believed you knew everything running in her mind. Since you don't, and since she doesn't believe so either, she has to ask you. If she truly believed you knew everything running in her mind as well as she did, then neither of you would find any purpose or meaning in asking. Because the need is invalidated by omniscience. Do you ask your heart to beat at X Hz when you are performing a strenuous activity? No. Would you enjoy asking your heart to beat faster, even though you believe your heart knows what it has to do better than you do? You wouldn't, unless you were insane (compare this with the previous comment of mine, the part about the pertaining activity being nonsensical).

Second, as in the quote above, prayer is not only petition, but communication--or, to be more accurate, communion. My daughter not only talks to me; she talks with me, a two-way communication, not only for the purpose of sharing information, but for the greater purpose of sharing relationship. The most important aspect of prayer is not what we say to God, but what God says to us: God already knows our needs, but we do not know the extent of God's nature or God's will, and the more we can experience that communion, the stronger our relationship to God.

Your faith in your god to know your heart in and out, your intents and feelings, renders unnecessary the need for this mental / verbal / physical communication because by the repercussions of your faith, you ought to be 'spiritually' connected, and believe that you are so, whose lines of communication are superior to anything you do as a substitutionary activity to pretend to give a physical aspect to this 'communication'. Since a believer believes this to be the case, the unnecessary and self-contradictory nature of prayer becomes self-evident. To put it in simpler words, does the faith of a believer weaken when the believer falls into a coma? What about when the believer is in subconscious states, such as during deep sleep? If the answer is no to either, then my point remains validated.

At best, you can plead for a deistic god with your arguments, no more. The type that does 1 Samuel 15:3 is totally repulsive to me. Add to that, the prayer fluff, and the falsehood becomes unavoidably evident. Do you find this verse difficult to accept, even if you eventually do?

Oh, and I enjoy my weekends. My weekdays, too. After all, we live only once, and eternity is a fantasy. About half of all natural conceptions end up in spontaneous abortions where the mother isn't even aware of it, usually. Such is the nature of life.

13 posted on 02/09/2013 12:10:41 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: grey_whiskers

It’s just fluff to hide the self-contradiction. If you enjoy it, more power to you!


14 posted on 02/09/2013 12:12:14 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Enjoyed your writings. I saw Phil Keaggy perform at my Church in the 80's and remember talking to him, but I don't remember what about. Profound distinctions from C.S.Lewis.

Also, faith is believing and therefore must spring forth from the deep and clear well of truth. Many who pray hold tightly onto their false beliefs which impact the way they perceive and understand, and therefore impede the purity of their faith. By the beliefs that they tightly hold onto which are not true they muddy their ability to have strong faith.

The Church of God is multi divided with all people holding the central truth about salvation through Christ, but not agreeing on many other important truths. One Church or belief system may believe certain things right and certain things wrong, and others believe wrong about other certain things and right about other certain things. Often adherents are adamant and proud about what they think is their corner on all truth. Few admit that they may hold to things that are not true. I doubt that at this present time very many Christians have and hold all important truths correctly.

Since faith, which is correct believing, is wedded to truth, our false beliefs impede it from working as it should. When God's people seek Him for truth, and stop relying on their denominational prejudices for their personally derived understandings of truth, then truth will flourish. We need to study The Word of God carefully and prayerfully before Almighty God, seeking and asking Him to show us what is true.

Also, the Bible says that faith works by love. How many Christians really walk in God like love as we should? How can faith work, if it works by love, if we do not love one another as we should?

I liken faith to the airplane. For ages man did not know how to fly so he often believed it impossible. Because man could not fly didn't make it impossible. When we finally learned how to fly we began to be able to fly on a regular basis. When Christians finally learn to find truth out from God through His Word, learn to love each other with fervent love, and learn to commune with The LORD on a continuous, love filled and intimate level, then our faith will become powerful, and will flourish as it should.

The one thing that is often missed about faith is that faith is asking God. It isn't a formula, it is a person, the person of God. We cannot manipulate God, but must purely ask Him. Whatever it is that we are asking Him for has to come from Him. It will come from an act of His will. It will come from His power to perform it. It is all of Him. Like getting saved, all we can do is ask. We do not have the power to bring it about. The power does not in any way originate from ourselves.

_______________________________________________

Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness. 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 11:36 If thy whole body therefore [be] full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

15 posted on 02/09/2013 12:35:38 AM PST by Bellflower (The LORD is Holy, separated from all sin, perfect, righteous, high and lifted up.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Thanks, I enjoyed that. I think the simile of athletic competition is quite useful: each person in his relationship with God starts with himself, the totality of his own unique person, and then adds his effort and discipline to all the grace God provides.


16 posted on 02/09/2013 2:47:08 AM PST by Tax-chick (Watch out for spiders.)
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To: James C. Bennett
No. Quite literally, more power (and glory, and honor) to Him.

It's just a completely different -- well, I wanted to say ansatz, but that's not quite right; nor is schwerpunkt -- "approach" maybe? -- than the one you're used to.

And all the intellect in the world will not suffice to internalize it: it is not a model, but a relationship.

While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad." (Acts 26:24)

Cheers!

17 posted on 02/09/2013 3:33:52 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: James C. Bennett
The type that does 1 Samuel 15:3 is totally repulsive to me.

So it is your own private intuition which rules.

Tell me then, since all sentiment and moral values are usually held by atheists to be epiphenomena, a swirling of cerebral biochemistry in response to cultural trends, coupled with instinct -- and sifted by the imperfect, impersonal sieve of survival value over time and populations --

since death comes to everyone anyway, and natural selection operates without pity to kill individuals and populations alike --

where's your beef?

Cheers!

18 posted on 02/09/2013 3:41:08 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Tax-chick
and then adds his effort and discipline to all the grace God provides.

Yes: I can pray that God gives you grace (we are commanded to pray one for another), and God can and does give you grace, but I cannot personally imbue you with it.

(1 Cor. 3:6).

Incidentally, (hint hint), read 1 Cor. 9:24.

Do you know how "crestfallen-making" it is, to think that one has come up with a wonderful analogy to explain this, only to realize you have been scooped by the New Testament itself?

God has a wonderful sense of irony -- what a gentle way to give me a little humility.

Cheers!

19 posted on 02/09/2013 3:46:19 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Oh, I always find that when I think I’ve had a clever and original insight, someone (or several someones) has already come up with it, expressed it better, and published it. I don’t mind: I just think, “Golly, I thought of this in my own head ... and look, I was right!”


20 posted on 02/09/2013 3:51:17 AM PST by Tax-chick (Watch out for spiders.)
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To: Bellflower
You speak wisdom.

Oh, and btw, you wrote

Whatever it is that we are asking Him for has to come from Him.

Speaking of Christian music, why does this remind me of Sixpence None The Richer? (whose name also derives from C.S. Lewis)...

Cheers!

21 posted on 02/09/2013 4:01:09 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Yes, private intuition, but not completely. Every individual reacts to situations based on instincts and conditioned learning. In human societies, that would be consensus rules that formed to keep the social order intact, more or less, so that the individual may accrue the benefits of being part of that society, and the society as a whole may benefit from the contribution of that individual. You wouldn’t have a tenth of the chance you had in surviving as far as you did, were you to have been a “lone wolf”, living a solitary existence. For you to enjoy the protections and benefits of society, you are expected to follow those consensus rules. Killing, murder, infidelity, etc. all promote factors which break down society, and lo and behold, you have disparate cultures independently forming similar rules on these topics (of course, with the “free love” era we are in, we are already seeing the effects of that violation in our own societies today).

Let me answer you by asking you this question: Were you totally, completely, utterly comfortable with 1 Samuel 15:3 as you chanced upon it? Is (or was) there anything inside you that made you find the verse troubling? If not, why not, and if so, why? If your god had granted you the power to edit, would you rather have preferred that the verse about this god-entity ordering a man to kill infants to have not been associated with that same god? Answer honestly.

As for the beef, it’s in my plate. Fifty percent, Grey_Whiskers. 50%. That’s how many human conceptions end up being spontaneously (naturally) aborted by the mother’s body almost always without her even knowing about it... that’s nature for you. In all its callous glory.


22 posted on 02/09/2013 8:14:55 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Didn't trouble me at all.

If God has the right to send people to Hell forever, then He has the right to kill them here.

For the 50% -- so what? What are you doing, since it bothers you so much, to advance medical research to the point that these short-term miscarriages never happen?

Nice try, though.

23 posted on 02/09/2013 11:26:58 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

I liked the quote by South Park’s Trey Parker.

“Basically ... out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah ... there’s this big giant universe and it’s expanding, it’s all gonna collapse on itself and we’re all just here just ‘cause ... just ‘cause’. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever.”

While he certainly isn’t religious himself, it certainly casts light on just how ridiculous the atheists’ position is, as well.


24 posted on 02/09/2013 11:31:01 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: grey_whiskers

LOL, not so fast.

You have no problem that the infants needed to be allowed to be conceived, by a supposed god which wanted them destroyed, not by its own efforts (which it could have avoided having to do so, by preventing their conception), but by the hand of a man, ordered to stomp, chop and slice babies as if they were scrub vegetation? I don’t believe you. Mind you, their short lives would also imply that they didn’t have any free will to exercise their options, as to whether they truly deserved “Hell” or not. If this god could foresee their eventual behaviour beforehand, then what was the point of their conception in the first place, and their premature destruction before they actually committed evil? If you don’t see a problem with the entire arrangement, I don’t have much to say other than that I assume you are lying (to yourself, and to me) about your level of comfort with it.

You would have to endure massive levels of cognitive dissonance almost to the level of what would classify as a psychological disorder, in order to “zone out” of the internal contradictions you are forced to deal with, here. On top of that, accepting such a god for its “recorded” behaviour would make it impossible for you to make a moral case against someone’s belief in, say, Allah. Since your version of god can do anything it wants (even contradict itself) then where is the limit? Nowhere.

The point about the spontaneous abortions was to highlight the callousness of existence, of suffering which has no meaning, no purpose. There is little that can be done to save them because their destruction was induced by the mother’s body due to mechanisms evolved which prevent her body from bringing these embryos to term - because of the risk they would eventually pose to the mother’s survival. Artificial intervention to force a body to continue a pregnancy to term which would have naturally been ended would involve causing more damage than good. Not to mention privacy violations because devices would have to be put in place in the mother’s body to detect such a fertilisation, as the mother herself is not aware most of the time.

Work your way through all this and let me know your thoughts.


25 posted on 02/09/2013 12:04:44 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
There's no point in answering your strawmen and attempted tu quoque.

Since you are an atheist, all you have is reason. And liver.

The laws of thermodynamics guarantee the extinction of all life: we know of know life anywhere except Earth, so focusing on life is actually an instance of the narrow, provincial "geocentrism" for which the medieval Christians were so roundly castigated.

And if all you have is probabilities, then you have no morality from which to declare "killing is wrong."

What you are doing is taking an emotional view, using it to try to bootstrap socially shaming arguments, and trying to bludgeon me into agreeing that Christianity is unaware of evil.

Which is absurd even on the social level, since the worldwide symbol of Christianity is that of a religious minority, an itinerant manual laborer under military occupation, who was betrayed by His friends, convicted by a kangaroo court of His culture, and executed under torture by the occupying authority, by a method so painful that its very name has become a synonym for "painful torture".

And even more absurd on a Theological level, for Christianity's tenet is that this Man is God Himself, come to partake in our suffering and death ("he has tasted death for every man") and in doing so, to destroy the ultimate power of death.

Your opinion is inconsistent. I'm comfortable with mine.

26 posted on 02/09/2013 1:09:57 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Skooz
*PING* to YouTube video of Phil Keaggy in original article.

Cheers!

27 posted on 02/09/2013 1:12:52 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers
I love how you jump with calls of "strawman!" and other labels every time you find yourself unable to answer. I miss the "nice try" comments though, because they happen every time you know that I have you cornered. Regardless...

The laws of thermodynamics... ahem, if I may interrupt, there is no proof or theory available to us that tells anything conclusively about the ultimate fate of the Universe. The latest findings based on Dark Matter and Dark Energy lean towards supporting a Cyclic Model. All life (in the present cycle) may indeed be extinguished, not only by the laws of thermodynamics, but even by something as lowly as a meteor strike. Life can rise again, and fall again, with each cycle. Not quite as "geo-centric" or "narrow" as you might be wont to conclude, if the Universe does operate in cycles.

And if all you have is probabilities, then you have no morality from which to declare "killing is wrong."

Re-read my previous comment. I explained this, Ref: societal obligations. Self-preservation is survival. If an individual entity benefits in terms of survival from its physiology and its environment, the individual's self-preservation will correspond with the preservation of the aforementioned variables. For man, society forms a core part of his success as a species. Anything that breaks society down, harms man's survival in turn. Murder would be one of those things (coincidentally recognised more or less universally by disparate cultures as, ahem, immoral). Likewise, other things.

What you are doing is taking an emotional view, using it to try to bootstrap socially shaming arguments, and trying to bludgeon me into agreeing that Christianity is unaware of evil.

All I did was show you a self-contradiction in your adopted dogma. Too bad you feel you were being bludgeoned; that was not the intent. When you said you didn't experience any difficulty in accepting a divinity figure ordering a man to slaughter infants, I recognised you were lying. My mention of the same earlier was not questioning your acceptance of your god's plans that lead to the slaughter - that is a given, akin to how a believing Muslim sees no lapse in morality when his faith compels him to eradicate non-Muslims by the means sanctioned in the Quran - I was asking if you were comfortable with the slaughter itself. Are you admitting that you would have wanted those infants to be cut up, even if you had the choice/power to edit things, you being granted in advance the property that your edits wouldn't change the ultimate conclusion of the narrative? You implied you would, but the only people I know who are comfortable with slaughtering infants are psychopaths.

Which is absurd even on the social level, since the worldwide symbol of Christianity is that of a religious minority, an itinerant manual laborer under military occupation, who was betrayed by His friends, convicted by a kangaroo court of His culture, and executed under torture by the occupying authority, by a method so painful that its very name has become a synonym for "painful torture".

LOL, now you are resorting to the same thing you accused me of adopting: appealing to emotions. As if no human died a more painful death than crucifixion.

Bone cancer is excruciatingly painful, and lasts for years as the disease takes its course, and the ones suffering don't have the luxury of knowing for a fact that they can transcend death (because they know they aren't divinity). And even more absurd on a Theological level, for Christianity's tenet is that this Man is God Himself, come to partake in our suffering and death ("he has tasted death for every man") and in doing so, to destroy the ultimate power of death.

Just to remind, that 'Man' isn't the same 'man' as you are. Blurring the distinction does no one any good. The 'Man' knew he could transcend death, but 'man' doesn't. Important difference.

28 posted on 02/09/2013 2:41:40 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Life can rise again, and fall again, with each cycle. Not quite as "geo-centric" or "narrow" as you might be wont to conclude, if the Universe does operate in cycles.

It's cute. It thinks it knows science.

Have you noticed that thermo has been experimentally confirmed; but not only that, it gives its results even without relying upon the atomic model?

Whereas we have no experimental evidence to confirm cycles; it's still vaporware.

Re-read my previous comment. I explained this, Ref: societal obligations.

I read it. But it's pointless. Not as a pejorative, but a description of its relation to science. Science states that individuals and species go extinct all the time; whether localized short term changes in the environment such as a flood or famine, changes in the ecological niche (receding of Ice Age glaciers kind of helped do in the Saber Tooth Viking Kitty), or the Earth being struck by a whipped cream pie (Hugo-award winning Science Made Stupid, now unfortunately out of print), or yet again, the Sun following its evolution to Red Giant, or, longer still, the Heat Death of the Universe.

Life dies out.

So whence comes your insistence that "survival good, death bad" ?

You implied you would, but the only people I know who are comfortable with slaughtering infants are psychopaths.

Naah. You're failing to realize moral development over time. People did that kind of thing all the time back then: you can even find one of the Jewish prophets speaking to a messenger from a foreign king, "I'm looking at you odd because the Lord is showing me the devastation you will cause in Israel. Killing infants and ripping open women with child."

And the dude replies, "Who is your servant, that he should do this great thing?"

The prophet answers, "The Lord has shown me you will be the next King over Syria."

So the guy goes home, smothers the King of Syria in his sleep, and assumes the throne.

Or you have the quote in Psalms, "Woe to you, Babylon you devastator! Happy is he who does to you what was done to us! Happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against a rock!"

But, you know, this kind of thing still happens quite often in the modern, civilized, enlightened 20th century: as the diary of Japanase troops who invaded (IIRC) the Philippines talk about "we came across a pregnant woman today. We stuck our bayonets her huge belly and skewered her like a piece of meat." (Try the Time-Life series on WWII for that quote.)

Or, for that matter, the infamous Rape of Nanking by Imperial Japan, which was so bad, that John Rabe, the official representative of Nazi Germany to Imperial Japan, became horrified to the extent that he wrote a personal letter to Adolph Hitler appealing for clemency on humanitarian grounds.

Or the Holmodor, where official testimony before the US Congress of survivors related people eating their own children -- which was also prophesied, and happened, in the Old Testament.

Or the practice of under Mao's terror of decapitating a family member then forcing the survivors to sleep in a bed with the remains.

Or the Palestinian terrorist who attacked a family and hacked them to death including infants; or the other one who came across a dad and his four-year-old daughter, shot the dad to death first, and then picked up the girl and bashed her head in against a rock, so the last thing she remembered was the death of her father before her eyes.

If I really thought death bothered you, you'd be complaining about these more recent examples, rather than the GNUatheist approach of "OOH, look, I found this bloodthirsty God on an atheist site and I'll cut and paste and humiliate this Christianist because I know his Bible better than him."

The problem with this, is the same as with the other supposed gotcha of "why doesn't God heal amputees?"

They are both reduced cases of theodicy, relying on novelty for emotional impact.

It's not working.

LOL, now you are resorting to the same thing you accused me of adopting: appealing to emotions. As if no human died a more painful death than crucifixion.

No, it's easier than that. You thought you were going to wow me with suffering, because to you, Christianity is just SWPL, so I would be horrified if I knew what the world was "really like."

I just showed how your central contention was based on a chronic *mis*understanding of Christianity. You tried to pretend that if you came up to me and made a big scary face "BWUHAHAHAHAHA" I'd shit my pants and run. Which is funny, because a generation or so ago, the big fad among atheists was attacking Christianity as merely being a crutch for those who were hopeless in this life -- opiate of the masses and all that; the exact opposite of the current fad of accusing Christians of being spoiled and indifferent.

I guess the KGB-type controllers behind all your organizations figured out that it wasn't working, and also figured nobody would notice if they suddenly did a 180 on their accusations.

You atheists are too stupid to notice; as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, it begins to look as if no stick is too weak or absurd with which to try to attach Christianity.

If death bothers you, great. It's supposed to...but there is nothing in scientism which justifies this belief; whereas Christ came down and was resurrected to defeat death. You're barking up the wrong tree.

Incidentally -- as far as killing children, it's the atheist Peter Singer who advocates killing unwanted healthy children after birth at the mother's whim.

Suck on that.

Jews *used* to kill, but only within strict geographical boundaries; Christians killed, to counter hundreds of years of forcible conversion and invasions from Islam, then began pissing matches with each other (note, for the nonce, the Christians outgrew it from within, whereas the Muslims haven't even had anything corrsponding to the Reformation); Atheists began killing with the French revolution, then the Russian revolution and have left everyone else in the dirt in terms of body count: and if you read the exhortations of the Socialist and Communist leaders, you will find that they openly and continuously speak, almost in terms of sexual lust, for torture and death. And their deed follow them.

Similarly with the Muslims.

But that's not allowed to get mentioned, because shut up, because you're only supposed to prove your open mindedness by attacking Christianists.

You remind me of the Film Actors Guild from Team America:

Nice try.

29 posted on 02/09/2013 7:58:26 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Ah, rats, I thought it was going to be about Phil Keaggy.


30 posted on 02/09/2013 8:02:17 PM PST by cornelis
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To: grey_whiskers

Thanks for the ping!


31 posted on 02/09/2013 8:29:07 PM PST by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: grey_whiskers
 

Have you noticed that thermo has been experimentally confirmed; but not only that, it gives its results even without relying upon the atomic model?

Whereas we have no experimental evidence to confirm cycles; it's still vaporware.

Your point being? Relativity took approx. 50+ years to confirm experimentally. The Dark Energy / Dark Matter findings are barely half a decade old, and their ramifications on the older models are not so easy to brush off under the carpet, so much so even the famed Cosmological Constant is under consideration for revision. So... no sale. And by the way, the Cyclic Model does not conflict with Heat Death necessarily (Baum-Frampton Model, 2007).

I read it. But it's pointless. Not as a pejorative, but a description of its relation to science. Science states that individuals and species go extinct all the time; whether localized short term changes in the environment such as a flood or famine, changes in the ecological niche (receding of Ice Age glaciers kind of helped do in the Saber Tooth Viking Kitty), or the Earth being struck by a whipped cream pie (Hugo-award winning Science Made Stupid, now unfortunately out of print), or yet again, the Sun following its evolution to Red Giant, or, longer still, the Heat Death of the Universe. Life dies out. So whence comes your insistence that "survival good, death bad"?

Quite simple, really. Survival implies the preservation of the mechanisms promoting life. Survival has necessitated evolutionary mechanisms that force pain to be felt when survival is threatened - a hard-wired encoding relegating survival as "good" and death as "bad". The models that didn't hard-code this way, failed for obvious reasons, validating the importance of survival to life. You ought to try harder than this.

Naah. You're failing to realize moral development over time. People did that kind of thing all the time back then: you can even find one of the Jewish prophets speaking to a messenger from a foreign king, "I'm looking at you odd because the Lord is showing me the devastation you will cause in Israel. Killing infants and ripping open women with child."

And the dude replies, "Who is your servant, that he should do this great thing?"

The prophet answers, "The Lord has shown me you will be the next King over Syria."

So the guy goes home, smothers the King of Syria in his sleep, and assumes the throne.

Or you have the quote in Psalms, "Woe to you, Babylon you devastator! Happy is he who does to you what was done to us! Happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against a rock!"

But, you know, this kind of thing still happens quite often in the modern, civilized, enlightened 20th century: as the diary of Japanase troops who invaded (IIRC) the Philippines talk about "we came across a pregnant woman today. We stuck our bayonets her huge belly and skewered her like a piece of meat." (Try the Time-Life series on WWII for that quote.)

Or, for that matter, the infamous Rape of Nanking by Imperial Japan, which was so bad, that John Rabe, the official representative of Nazi Germany to Imperial Japan, became horrified to the extent that he wrote a personal letter to Adolph Hitler appealing for clemency on humanitarian grounds.

Or the Holmodor, where official testimony before the US Congress of survivors related people eating their own children -- which was also prophesied, and happened, in the Old Testament.

Or the practice of under Mao's terror of decapitating a family member then forcing the survivors to sleep in a bed with the remains.

Or the Palestinian terrorist who attacked a family and hacked them to death including infants; or the other one who came across a dad and his four-year-old daughter, shot the dad to death first, and then picked up the girl and bashed her head in against a rock, so the last thing she remembered was the death of her father before her eyes.

If I really thought death bothered you, you'd be complaining about these more recent examples, rather than the GNUatheist approach of "OOH, look, I found this bloodthirsty God on an atheist site and I'll cut and paste and humiliate this Christianist because I know his Bible better than him."

The problem with this, is the same as with the other supposed gotcha of "why doesn't God heal amputees?"

They are both reduced cases of theodicy, relying on novelty for emotional impact.

It's not working.

LOL @ "moral development over time." Suddenly, an "absolute, universal" standard of the "divine" becomes as flaccidly impotent as the vagueries of human consensus-based morality.  Divinity tells Saul to slaughter the infants, the natural repulsion to such acts (because they don't promote social cohesiveness, ref: social evolution) sees slaughter as wrong, and the likes of you scream, "Oh, that's the effect of moral development over time!" 

Please.

It becomes hard to tell one from the other, ultimately - because both are the products of the human mind, contradicting the qualities of absoluteness.

You've cleverly avoided answering me, though, about your choice if you had the power to edit without distorting the overall theme of the narrative. That was the crux; all else is fluff to avoid addressing that.

No, it's easier than that. You thought you were going to wow me with suffering, because to you, Christianity is just SWPL, so I would be horrified if I knew what the world was "really like."

I just showed how your central contention was based on a chronic *mis*understanding of Christianity. You tried to pretend that if you came up to me and made a big scary face "BWUHAHAHAHAHA" I'd shit my pants and run. Which is funny, because a generation or so ago, the big fad among atheists was attacking Christianity as merely being a crutch for those who were hopeless in this life -- opiate of the masses and all that; the exact opposite of the current fad of accusing Christians of being spoiled and indifferent.

I guess the KGB-type controllers behind all your organizations figured out that it wasn't working, and also figured nobody would notice if they suddenly did a 180 on their accusations.

You atheists are too stupid to notice; as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, it begins to look as if no stick is too weak or absurd with which to try to attach Christianity.

If death bothers you, great. It's supposed to...but there is nothing in scientism which justifies this belief; whereas Christ came down and was resurrected to defeat death. You're barking up the wrong tree.

Incidentally -- as far as killing children, it's the atheist Peter Singer who advocates killing unwanted healthy children after birth at the mother's whim.

Suck on that.

Jews *used* to kill, but only within strict geographical boundaries; Christians killed, to counter hundreds of years of forcible conversion and invasions from Islam, then began pissing matches with each other (note, for the nonce, the Christians outgrew it from within, whereas the Muslims haven't even had anything corrsponding to the Reformation); Atheists began killing with the French revolution, then the Russian revolution and have left everyone else in the dirt in terms of body count: and if you read the exhortations of the Socialist and Communist leaders, you will find that they openly and continuously speak, almost in terms of sexual lust, for torture and death. And their deed follow them.

Similarly with the Muslims.

But that's not allowed to get mentioned, because shut up, because you're only supposed to prove your open mindedness by attacking Christianists.

Lose the hyperventilation. You've lost yourself in irrelevant tangents. Even the Japanese became a docile, lamb-like society from what they were famous for, during WW2 - disproving the exclusivity of the "civilization over time" effect you tried to play out above. As for those "attacks", they've swept the length of the spectrum through the ages, precisely because the arguments are valid.

Two centuries ago:

"What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because of suspected heresy? Remember the Index Expurgato-rius, the Inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter, and the guillotine; and, oh! horrible, the rack! This is as bad, if not worse, than a slow fire. Nor should the Lion's Mouth be forgotten. Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?" 

- John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814.

 

You remind me of the Film Actors Guild from Team America.

And you, a card-carrying member of the same?

:^)

 

 

32 posted on 02/10/2013 7:46:12 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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