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(Washington Post)   Meet Sigfried Gold, an atheist who credits losing 110 pounds and saving his family with praying three times a day to a "spiritual being" he created that he named "God." "That's a big hole in atheist life. Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.'"   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 216
    More: Interesting, gold, complex question, flavors, appeal  
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5645 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Jun 2013 at 8:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-25 10:14:13 AM

BarkingUnicorn: "No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.


I'm familiar with Hindu meditation although Buddhist traditions are more my forte. You're reading a poor translation and compounding that problem by misinterpreting it. What Tilopa is aspiring to is not a lack of thought but rather absorption in a single thought. In the traditions of Vedanta this is usually absorption in contemplation of the unity of Atman and Brahman i.e. the soul and the divine ground of the universe.

Saying that this is not thought is like saying that a flute player is not playing while he blows a single, long, note.
 
2013-06-25 10:14:23 AM

untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.


It's not a religion. It's the opinion that the set of True Gods is a null quantity without qualities. How do you pray to [  ] anyway?
 
2013-06-25 10:14:49 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: "I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The 'Life Force' . . . may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work-the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls 'Forces' while denying the existence of spirits-then the end of our war will be in sight."

                                                                             - C.S. Lewis


Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.
 
2013-06-25 10:15:34 AM

bluefox3681: You see, that's the rub. Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."? Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


That's why most atheists only bring out the arguments against religion when someone attempts to proselytize us.  Yes, some atheists are dicks... but then a subset of most demographics are dicks.

I've been the subject of an attempted bus-stop conversion...  you can't expect me NOT to argue with the silly old lady.  However, if I were just standing at the bus stop and that same lady was just there waiting for a bus...  and I sneezed and she said "God bless you," I wouldn't turn on her demand to know why the writings of Paul are often valued over the what Jesus is recorded as saying in the gospels.
 
2013-06-25 10:17:02 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved
 
2013-06-25 10:21:36 AM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.


Try short prayers, in reps of 5-10. Take a ten minute confessional between sets. It's what my priest recommended and now the pounds are flying off!
 
2013-06-25 10:22:14 AM

Weaver95: I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved


Pagans are the hipsters of religion.

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-06-25 10:23:35 AM

Infernalist: bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.

I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


The ironic thing is that they don't realize that by mocking and tearing people down, they're being just as bad as the hardcore Christians they claim to be nothing like. It's the opposite of saying "God loves me and not you, you're going to hell!"

The atheists I know are every bit as sanctimonious and condescending as evangelical Christians.
 
2013-06-25 10:25:26 AM

Kinek: Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.


There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels
 
2013-06-25 10:26:32 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: Kinek: Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.

There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels


Contemplate this upon the tree of woe.
 
2013-06-25 10:28:42 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels


Yes! You know what it is, don't you, boy? Shall I tell you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger!
 
2013-06-25 10:30:56 AM

UrukHaiGuyz: Try short prayers, in reps of 5-10. Take a ten minute confessional between sets. It's what my priest recommended and now the pounds are flying off!


You're never going to get anywhere with that. What you need is HIIP (High Impact Interval Prayer). You need to pray has hard and as fast as you can for thirty seconds followed by a two minute interval of more relaxed contemplation. Repeat this for between five and ten repetitions. More experienced prayers can increase the prayer density by shortening the period of contemplation or increasing the length of hard prayer.
 
2013-06-25 10:32:14 AM

SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.


This has to be fake
 
2013-06-25 10:32:53 AM

BarkingUnicorn: SphericalTime:

What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

It makes perfect sense if you accept that the only reason people do anything is because it makes them feel better.  There doesn't have to be logic or consistency to it.


If you know it's a placebo aren't you wasting your time? People who believe in God do it because they believe it works, at least sometime. But then most people believe in God because they're told they do, not because they've seen their own burning bush.

'Of course there is a TheDavidTM! If there's no TheDavidTM then who created God?'

It's too bad I can't convince myself there's Everclear in my coffee. But then I have a dental appointment today and they hate when you puke on them.
 
2013-06-25 10:33:35 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Weaver95: I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved

Pagans are the hipsters of religion.

[25.media.tumblr.com image 400x496]


And agnostics are the undecided voters.

i.qkme.me
 
2013-06-25 10:35:19 AM
i44.tinypic.com

If there's a big hole in your life as an atheist ... maybe you're not an atheist?
 
2013-06-25 10:35:43 AM

Jack's Smirking Revenge: mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26

Psalm 11:16 for me.  Until I read that verse, I had no idea how many pleasures were at my right hand.  The weight loss is just a side benefit.


I see what you did there.

I'd just learn to eat with my left hand during "prayer."
 
2013-06-25 10:36:23 AM

Voiceofreason01: SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

This has to be fake


Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"
 
2013-06-25 10:37:39 AM
Alonjar:

As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Not me. I'd just "realize" that God hates me too.
 
2013-06-25 10:40:09 AM

Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.


There's a lot in your reply that I didn't  mean and don't  agree  with (the Golden Rule is often wrong, for instance).  But let's take "empathy."  What purpose does it serve?

Empathy is the ability to imagine how another is feeling.
Compassion is the urge to do something about another's suffering once empathy brings it to your attention.
Kindness is action taken in response to compassion.

Kindness creates social capital. One who helps others is valuable to others and will be helped in return when he needs it.  Kind behavior enhances the individual's survival prospects.

There are other behaviors that are effective at enhancing one's survival prospects, of course.  Sociopathic behavior is one.  In between lies a spectrum of behaviors mingling kindness and sociopathy.  Kindness taken too far leaves the individual without sufficient resources to survive.  Sociopathy taken too far leaves the individual without outside aid when it is  needed.

My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.  They  are miserable  because they don't employ all the means to feel better.

And it shows in every thread like this one.
 
2013-06-25 10:43:57 AM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.


i21.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-25 10:44:34 AM

Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated. It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.



How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?
 
2013-06-25 10:44:47 AM
Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist:Nobody says they can prove there is no god. The argument is that believers can't prove there is one, extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence and all that. It's not intellectually lazy or dishonest to assume something doesn't exist until sufficiently proven otherwise, or else it would be equally intellectually lazy to assume that a race of angry, tiny hobbits don't live inside everyone's lower intestines and cause gas.

Your worldview would accept gas-causing, gut hobbits as a likely possibility, correct? It must be equally as likely as a god, eh? Would be foolish to dismiss the idea out of hand.


The tiny hobbit example is pretty neat, and I'll run with it for a bit as a hypothetical.  Before people understood what caused gas, it's not much of a stretch that someone could've thought it was due to tiny hobbits living in your gut, burning food for fuel.  I'm sure a lot of people would think that was dumb.  And as you said, who could prove it?  Certainly when people were cut open, no hobbits were found.  But then as people gained more scientific knowledge, the hobbit theory is proven to not be quite as farcical as everyone thought.  It's not "tiny hobbits" but bacteria that live in your intestines, and through chemical digestion processes, gas is produced.  The idea, in essence, was correct.  The "tiny hobbits" just turned out to be different than expected.  Who's to say God isn't like that?  And who's to say as our understanding of the universe grows, we won't move further from belief in God, but closer to belief in God?  I personally don't think God and science have to be at odds.  I think it's silly and unnecessary that they are often portrayed as being at odds.

We're all in kind of a Let's Make A Deal situation.  The believer thinks God is behind door number 1.  The non-believer thinks there is nothing behind door number 1.  Nobody is going to know for sure until it's revealed, and even then, what's there may not be what either person expected.  The thing is, we're not likely going to have our proof one way or the other until the game is over.  You say that nobody says they can prove there is no God.  Likewise nobody says they can prove there is a God either.  At least not now.  A believer takes it as much on faith that there is a God as a non-believer takes it on faith that there isn't.  Both sides are taking it on faith until there is proof of their position.  A believer may not be able to prove that there is a God, but they all believe it's going to be proven when your frame of reference is shifted from life in this body to spiritual life.  What is proven may turn out to be very different from what is expected.

If we're looking for evidence to support our positions in the meantime, why not take into consideration the evidence provided by all those through history who have had near-death experiences (i.e. have played the Let's Make A Deal game and claim to know what's behind door number 1)?  They include the experiences of people who have spent their lives vehemently protesting there is no such thing as God, doctors, scientists, as well as believers and people who were just too young to have thought about it one way or the other.  With that group, they all claim the same things despite truly diverse backgrounds.
 
2013-06-25 10:45:26 AM

punkhippie: The most important step in the 12 steps is number 3, where you give you life and will over to your "higher power." The other steps reinforce and justify that abdication through a systematic cycle of self-criticism and self-hatred.


And that's what makes those things cults, or cult-like enough.


The planet Jupiter does not want my life and will devoted to it. It can't want anything. It's a planet.
 
2013-06-25 10:47:05 AM

BarkingUnicorn: They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.


Describe one.
 
2013-06-25 10:47:55 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Voiceofreason01: SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

This has to be fake

Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"


Uhh.. "Great Scott"? Or possibly "This is heavy, Doc."
 
2013-06-25 10:48:50 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.

There's a lot in your reply that I didn't  mean and don't  agree  with (the Golden Rule is often wrong, for instance).  But let's take "empathy."  What purpose does it serve?

Empathy is the ability to imagine how another is feeling.
Compassion is the urge to do something about another's suffering once empathy brings it to your attention.
Kindness is action taken in response to compassion.

Kindness creates social capital. One who helps others is valuable to others and will be helped in return when he needs it.  Kind behavior enhances the individual's survival prospects.

There are other behaviors that are effective at enhancing one's survival prospects, of course.  Sociopathic behavior is one.  In between lies a spectrum of behaviors mingling kindness and sociopathy.  Kindness taken too far leaves the individual without sufficient resources to survive.  Sociopathy taken too far leaves the individual without outside aid when it is  needed.

My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that ...


Cool.

Wanna hear my thoughts on what makes a person an sanctimonious asshole?
 
2013-06-25 10:49:22 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"


I like to exclaim, "Cheese and Rice!"
 
2013-06-25 10:50:42 AM

BarkingUnicorn: My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.  They  are miserable  because they don't employ all the means to feel better.


Being inclined to believe that you are observed at all times, even in the obvious absence of an observer, provides an evolutionary advantage. That doesn't mean that the observer exists, only that believing that an observer exists is adaptive.

What it comes down to is whether you value truth over feeling good. A person who values truth will eventually recognize that there is no demonstrable supernatural dimension and that there is no evidence for an omnipresent observer. A person who values feeling good will believe in the first supernatural entity they are introduced to that meets the need for an omnipresent observer.
 
2013-06-25 10:52:35 AM

cameroncrazy1984: Uhh.. "Great Scott"? Or possibly "This is heavy, Doc."


I can't ever say "Great Scott" without immediately following it up with "Brainiac is stealing the entire city"!
 
2013-06-25 10:53:15 AM

Infernalist: I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.  Then he would go off on what was wrong about those religions, and religion in general.  It was embarrassing and sometimes dangerous; I pulled him out of bars several times when he was about to get decked.  We had many a lively debate, drunk and sober, about my own beliefs (or what I pretended to believe for the sake of  argument).  I found them amusing; my redheaded friend turned the most hilarious shades of apoplexy and I delighted in amping him up.  But eventually, I just got tired of his shiat.
 
2013-06-25 10:53:23 AM

Infernalist: bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


Here's a comment I made just yesterday on this very topic: Yes, atheists may come off as douchebags, and there's a good reason for it. The TL;DR is this: atheists are a minority group, and need to advocate their cause in order to effect change, otherwise they will be ignored and nothing will happen.

I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


That's probably because you've misinterpreted something.

If all the arguments for the existence of god or the supernatural are shown to be either false, irrational or unprovable (and no more likely to be true than any other given mythical explanation like a flying spaghetti monster), then you're at the same base state as atheists.  The expectation then is, as a rational being, you would NOT believe in it, and would need some scientifically valid proof or argument which necessitates the existence of or intercession by supernatural agencies.

In other words, if an atheist can get you to agree that your arguments are all flawed or unreasonable, you are now an atheist.  That, or an  idiot irrational.  The atheist advocate is ever optimistic that the people they speak to are eventually proven to be intelligent enough to understand that.
 
2013-06-25 10:57:07 AM
Ah, a 12-stepper. Worst plagiarised fan fiction since Joseph Smith.
 
2013-06-25 10:58:15 AM

BarkingUnicorn: You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.


Nobody likes a prosthelytizer. Did your friend go around on Saturday mornings, knock on people's doors, and tell them the good news that there is probably no such thing as a god and that they can stop worrying about going to hell?
 
2013-06-25 10:58:25 AM

give me doughnuts: How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?


I was taking materialism to the extreme that Barking Unicorn did... where literally there is nothing but matter and energy.

I'll definitely grant you that the vast, vast majority of materialists happen to care about stuff and what you bolded is consistent with materialism, but if you were to distill materialism down to the most basic description, what other people think or feel doesn't really matter.

Only sociopaths would follow this belief system.
 
2013-06-25 11:06:48 AM

rubi_con_man: Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.

I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.


I don't believe the NY Jets are going to win the Super Bowl.  Am I now an NFL franchise?  Or have I just founded a new religion?
 
2013-06-25 11:09:24 AM
Wow, there's 2 of them in the world.

CSB
I went to college with someone who was born in an atheistic household and never had any inclination to be anything other than an atheist. He began "praying to no one" as an experiment in his freshman year and enjoyed it so much that he created a daily schedule of prayer times "to no one in particular" and found it to be the most fulfilling experience he had ever had in his life. He believed it was much better than when he had tried yoga for a year.
 
2013-06-25 11:11:36 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: "No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.

I'm familiar with Hindu meditation although Buddhist traditions are more my forte. You're reading a poor translation and compounding that problem by misinterpreting it. What Tilopa is aspiring to is not a lack of thought but rather absorption in a single thought. In the traditions of Vedanta this is usually absorption in contemplation of the unity of Atman and Brahman i.e. the soul and the divine ground of the universe.

Saying that this is not thought is like saying that a flute player is not playing while he blows a single, long, note.


Well, I don't read Sanskriit so I won't challenge your interpretation of it. Holding a single thought in one's mind to the exclusion of others is a different practice; call it "meditation" if you wish.  It is prayer to me; the practice amplifies the selected thought's power.  But filling one's mind with one thought is little different from filling it with many thoughts.

I have learned to let thoughts arise and float away without thinking new thoughts about them.  When thought-bubbles cease to rise, the pond of the mind becomes still and clear. One can then perceive the bottom of the pond, where lies Enlightenment.

Or something.
 
2013-06-25 11:12:49 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Alonjar: traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years.

????


I'm speaking of the clan, and the village/tribe.
 
2013-06-25 11:14:38 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: "I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The 'Life Force' . . . may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work-the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls 'Forces' while denying the existence of spirits-then the end of our war will be in sight."

                                                                             - C.S. Lewis


Wait.  That's Lewis, but it's his character Screwtape, the demon from Screwtape Letters.  Let's be honest about context and things when quoting famous Christian philosophers/ theologians.
 
2013-06-25 11:15:46 AM

BarkingUnicorn: the practice amplifies the selected thought's power


Delusional obsession is a good thing, now?

Generally speaking if you're having trouble moving on to the next thought, you should seek professional help. If this is coupled with a deeply held belief in magical sky-beards, you should do the world a favour and get medicated ASAP... the voices are not our friends...
 
2013-06-25 11:18:41 AM

The One True TheDavid: CheekyMonkey:

So, basically, some atheists are as confused and stupid as some believers.

He's not really an atheist. Atheists don't pray, not even to something they made up.

Fantasizing about some "supernatural something" and calling it (a) god is how most religions started. Moses did it; you can too.

As for me, I hereby announce that I'm The One True TheGod. "When I pray I find I am talking to myself." You are too. But you farkers oughta pray harder to blast your prayers past the music of the spheres that's ringing in my ears.

It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.


Yeah, that's what I meant.  In the same vein, there are plenty of "Christians" and "Muslims" who don't actually adhere to the teachings of Christ or Mohammed, and I would posit they they aren't really Christians or Muslims.

\I can call myself a tomato, but that doesn't make it true
 
2013-06-25 11:19:05 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.

Nobody likes a prosthelytizer. Did your friend go around on Saturday mornings, knock on people's doors, and tell them the good news that there is probably no such thing as a god and that they can stop worrying about going to hell?


Nah, he was usually hung over past noon. :-)

He was a helluva pool player, though, and supported The Innocence Project, LGBT rights, and other things of which I heartily approve.  He also kicked bums off the stoop of the house we lived in, a big ol' mansion carved into several apartments. I told him to knock that shiat off, too; they weren't doing any harm.

People are complicated.  Yin contains Yang, and vice versa.
 
2013-06-25 11:22:46 AM

what_now: So.. I'm fat because of god? That's good. I was blaming laziness and beer.


No, you're fat because of the lack of god. Didn't you read the article? Or were you too lazy to even do that? That's ok. With the miracle diet you don't need to do anything but pray. Go ahead and sit on the couch all day eating fatty, salty foods, with the miracle diet you don't have to get up or stop eating those foods you love! Results may vary.
 
2013-06-25 11:24:46 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Well, I don't read Sanskriit so I won't challenge your interpretation of it. Holding a single thought in one's mind to the exclusion of others is a different practice; call it "meditation" if you wish.  It is prayer to me; the practice amplifies the selected thought's power.


In practice, there is little difference between contemplative prayer and some forms of bhakti yoga which is the yoga of devotion.

But filling one's mind with one thought is little different from filling it with many thoughts

Meister Eckhart would disagree.

I have learned to let thoughts arise and float away without thinking new thoughts about them.  When thought-bubbles cease to rise, the pond of the mind becomes still and clear. One can then perceive the bottom of the pond, where lies Enlightenment.

There is still the perception of the "bottom of the pond" as something distinct from the perceiver. Most mystic traditions, both east and west, would tell you that you have not experienced truth until you have erased the distinction between the perceiver and the perceived.

Other than that, what you've described is a basic zen meditation intended to clarify the impermanence of thoughts, emotions, and finally of self.
 
2013-06-25 11:25:09 AM

Mercutio74: give me doughnuts: How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?

I was taking materialism to the extreme that Barking Unicorn did... where literally there is nothing but matter and energy.

I'll definitely grant you that the vast, vast majority of materialists happen to care about stuff and what you bolded is consistent with materialism, but if you were to distill materialism down to the most basic description, what other people think or feel doesn't really matter.

Only sociopaths would follow this belief system.


At it's most basic description, materialism is the idea that nothing exists but matter, energy, and the interactions between them (at least, that's how I see it).
I really don't see how that could lead to the idea that other people's thoughts and feelings aren't of any importance. I'm missing something here.
 
2013-06-25 11:26:14 AM

nulluspixiusdemonica: BarkingUnicorn: the practice amplifies the selected thought's power

Delusional obsession is a good thing, now?

Generally speaking if you're having trouble moving on to the next thought, you should seek professional help. If this is coupled with a deeply held belief in magical sky-beards, you should do the world a favour and get medicated ASAP... the voices are not our friends...


You are an example of my original observation:  shallow, closed-minded, unaware, miserable and seeking company in misery.

.
 
2013-06-25 11:26:33 AM

give me doughnuts: Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated. It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.


How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?


This. Bottom line is they're both self-centered, the second just acknowledges cultivating good will with others to keep them as a resource. Religion is the perfect tool for sociopaths.
 
2013-06-25 11:28:56 AM

give me doughnuts: At it's most basic description, materialism is the idea that nothing exists but matter, energy, and the interactions between them (at least, that's how I see it).
I really don't see how that could lead to the idea that other people's thoughts and feelings aren't of any importance. I'm missing something here.


Like I say, I don't really believe in that definition, it just seemed to be what Barking Unicorn thought of it.  I think materialism as a basis for understanding of the universe is on good solid footing, but if you take it as all there is to know, it's lacking.

Luckily for us, it doesn't exist in a vaccuum we have philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory etc, etc, to fill in the gaps and make a complete belief system.  I was just making a point that if Barking Unicorn finds materialists to be terrible people, he must be using a very, very basic definition of materialism... one that excludes how humanity actually behaves.
 
2013-06-25 11:32:53 AM
Man whatever. I am a former non-denominational minister. I was a die hard believer who led prayer meetings, led worship for groups of over 1000, put out Christian CD with my Christian bands - all of this for 25 years. Let me just tell you something: this guy is not an atheist. He's a Christian, who doesn't like tithing, or going to a church, but is too scared to take the full atheistic plunge and walk away from it all because he and his family might wind up in hell for all eternity if he doesn't acknowledge God in some fashion so he still prays. Jeez dude. Go get fat, drink some beer, and enjoy life. The evidence is in our favor.
 
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