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oneilmccord
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Hello everyone.

 My name is O'Neil and I'm from Portland Oregon USA. I have purposely chosen not to label my belief/idea system as I find it extremely restrictive in my mental evolution. What I mean to say is that as soon as you label yourself, whether you proclaim yourself an atheist, theist, christian, or anything as it were, you begin to restrict your ability to perceive and understand things that go against what you have said yourself to believe. I am not saying that I believe in nothing nor am I saying that I believe in anything, for both is actually true and false at the same time.

 

Here is an example where the idea of believing in nothing and believing in everything, both at the same time is beneficial... It is a common idea, many believe it to be factual (but can we, with our physically limited perceptive capabilities, actually know if something is truly factual?), that existence (time, space, or anything you can think of and beyond) is infinite. And, since existence is infinite, anything that can exist has, does, and will exist as well as has, does, and will happen and keep happening an infinite number of times. Furthermore since the space/time-line, I think I just made that up, is infinite everything whether conceivable or not does exist all at the same time and at different times as well. So, with the flexible idea of believing in everything and nothing, you are able to believe in the possibility of everything existing including the possibility of the existence of deity's and the possibility of the lack of existence of deity's.

 

I am not the best at putting my thoughts into words, so if anyone has any further ideas about what I have said then please speak up so we can converse on these ideas, or of someone can point me to the correct place in the forums where similar ideas have been brought up I would appreciate it. 

 

Another thing I hope to accomplish here is finding out why, apart from the instinctual need for the feeling of belonging, people label themselves.

 

I would be extremely grateful to anyone who directly responds to this greeting...


Atheistextremist
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Hey there One-cord

 

Look, we are mostly agnostic atheists. We believe that there is currently insufficient evidence to accept assertions for things that are not demonstrably possible, including supernatural deities.

Setting this aside, the label 'atheist' is less of the enclosure you imply than a reflection of a tendency to approach all things with an open mind, seeking empirical truth. That by no means suggests we might think anything and everything is possible, including magical and supernatural things, whatever those things might be, but we're open to learning new things based on what we can actually know.

When we get into epistemology things tend to start going a bit grey around the edges. Questioning the basis of how we know we know tips us into philosophy in the absence of adequate neuroscience and in this place I tend to agree with Wittgenstein that things that are not science are nonsense. Others here may have other ideas but that's my thinking.

I tend to feel yours is a position that allows equal scope to things both possible and impossible. Such positions are hard to rationalise. There is some knowledge about what is real that must be accepted in order to live in this reality, in order to have structured thought and truth sense, even to survive through acting on knowledge of concepts that inform predictions.

There are truths that can be demonstrated to be factual regardless of the layers of reality (atomic structure, for instance) that lay behind them. The existence of atomic reality that I cannot perceive does not alter the fact I am sitting on a soft lounge with a cushion under my elbow. Truth is multi-faceted but this does not alter the fact we can have facets of provable knowledge about a thing. 

There are philosophically deep waters when you start undercutting the central structure of epistemology itself, suggesting that because our eyes don't see IR, because they focus only a single small point, because our noses are limited, our hearing limited, that we can thus have no cause to believe the sense data our senses do consistently provide. And I think these deep waters are mostly silly.

I think truth can be known and using the tools and electronic and other sensing devices at our disposal, and using words and symbols as a means to hold truth in a steady state - longer than our short term memories might allow - we can pin reality down with increasing accuracy. I do agree that some truths support your initial scepticism of sense data but they don't support a position of extreme scepticism.

So sure, for some people white appears yellow, brown is green, a particular chemical is sweet to one person, to another it's sour. But these variations can still be known and don't completely unhinge what we can know about reality and how we can know it. They are a product of biochemistry and the variations can be predicted and its genetic channels understood. 

As an ordinary person with a more than normally ordinary mental capacity I like Bertrand Russell's triple point that for the average person we can say firstly that if the experts all agree then the opposite position is uncertain, secondly that when the experts are not agreed neither position is certain, and thirdly that when all experts hold no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion then a person should suspend their judgement.

It's for embracing this last point that some people are labelled atheists. But outside the label, atheists are those people who generally expect a certain standard of evidence in all things (well, mostly). Such people believe they can say that what we should believe can be based on standards we apply to evidence of general concepts for which we hold principles that allow us to make consistent predictions. When it comes to matters of religion people who think this way are called atheists.

I think it's the polarity of the religious viewpoint that informs the perceived meaning of the word atheist. It creates a false dichotomy in which theism and atheism are seen as opposite positions of a worldview. This is false. Atheism simply reflects a general thought process that requires a weight of evidence for a positively held position and without that evidence, maintains a position of active observation. Ironically, there are times when all humans are obliged to think this way, some are simply more consistent than others.

You, One-Cord, are an atheist, define the arbitrary labels as you will.  

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 Welcome to the forum, well

 Welcome to the forum, well said AE, I enjoyed reading your post.

To touch on a few points, epistemologicaly speaking, empiricism is the only method of gaining information of any kind.  How you process that information internally is also dependent on you senses.  Rationalizing a concept has to be contingent on reality, otherwise it is just a brain fart.  

For example let's take two ideas that within their paradigm seem superficially irrational.  Einstein's space-time gravity explanation, and homeopathy.  Einstein noticed that his contemporary theory of gravity fails to predict a few observations, he gathers the empirical data, and then rationalizes a concept where space-time is warped in direct proportion to it's mass.  Homeopathy practitioners notice that the contemporary medical knowledge is less than inadequate, and rationalize the concept of fighting fire with fire, and water memory thing.  So far both processes are similar and continue to be so until you apply them to reality.  If the results are testable, falsifiable and independently verified, you have yourself a paradigm shift, otherwise you have a brain fart.

AE touched on the whole label thing.  I call myself an atheist because the term agnostic gives religion an equal foothold to critical thinking.  I find that to be intellectually dishonest and hence, I call myself an atheist to show that I find religion to be just one other irrationality.  Of course I allow for the fact that there may be some deity like being out there, but I'm certain that I have as much knowledge of such a being as anyone else professing some religion or other, in other words non at all but brain farts.  Until those brain farts influence reality, they will remain such.

I hope you have fun here. it's a good place to be if you're intellectually honest.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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I'm in Portland, too.  Nice

I'm in Portland, too.  Nice to meet you.

People label themselves as a shortcut.  I'm a woman.  A wife.  Mother.  Grandmother.  Old.  Liberal.  Atheist.  Student.  Unemployed............ and so on.

It isn't to limit myself, but to identify myself to others.  A quick and easy way to find common - or uncommon - ground with a stranger.  It is also a way to feel centered.  Female - check.  Married - check.  When you get old, sometimes CRS (can't remember shit) creeps up and then you have to find some way to remember who you are.

If one of my labels ever doesn't fit, I'll change it.  Labels are not always permanent - some are, some aren't.  But you can change any one of them at any time.  Get the removable kind from Office Depot:

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Welcome to the

Welcome to the forum.

oneilmccord wrote:
I have purposely chosen not to label my belief/idea system as I find it extremely restrictive in my mental evolution. What I mean to say is that as soon as you label yourself, whether you proclaim yourself an atheist, theist, christian, or anything as it were, you begin to restrict your ability to perceive and understand things that go against what you have said yourself to believe.

Do you believe in any god or gods?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Hi, and welcome.I am from,

Hi, and welcome.

I am from, and still live in, Australia, although I have driven by Portland...

We do not know if existence is infinite - it is not necessarily so.

Even if it is infinite, that does not mean everything that could possible exist does in fact exist, let alone exists in infinitely many copies. An infinite number of identical blocks of empty space, or copies of one particular galaxy, are just as logically possible to fill an infinite reality.

We cannot prove anything about reality, but by careful observation by as many different means as possible, we can establish with a useful degree of confidence many aspects of reality, which is all we need to build up an impressive model of reality that allows us to do some 'clever' things, like discuss such things with other people who we can't directly perceive, but seem to be real people, on the other side of what appears to be a roughly spherical object that we inhabit the surface of.

My perspective, FWIW.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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I see nothing wrong with

I see nothing wrong with labels AS long as they are not treated as a priority. Being a decent human should be the top priority.

But it IS silly to day that if one believes in Jesus that they are not a Christian, and if one does not have a believe in any god/s that they are not an atheist. That is just absurd.

I think what we all can do is understand that just because one holds a particular label that label is not an accurate description of all the positions they may hold.

I have no qualms calling myself an atheist. That is merely my position on on issue. It does not describe my politics or my personal habits or hobbies or likes or dislikes.

For example. I am for gun ownership, but would not own one myself. I am for same sex marriage. I am a Redskins fan. But plenty of Christians can and do hold those same positions.

Other atheists are for banning guns all together. Other atheists are members of the NRA. A couple atheists vote republican. But again, so do many Christians.

But gain, it is silly to say that a person who believes that Jesus is the son of the  one true god, is not a Christian. And it is silly not to call someone who doesn't hold a belief in god/s an atheist.

I'd suggest instead of getting rid of labels, what you do is learn to do is treat people as individuals and address specific issues and specific claims and not treat the position and the person as being the same thing.

I am for getting rid of isms only in the sense of politics and worldviews. But why should I not say I am an atheist when that is what defines someone who does not hold a god belief?

What you are suggesting would be like trying to get rid of the difference between a motor cycle and a car because they are both transportation. Belief in a god and lack of belief positions people hold, not the person themselves.

If one likes riding motorcycles that does not make the person a motorcycle. If one likes cars that does not make the person the car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Well...

 I think I have finally begun to understand the labeling thing. If I were to label myself I would say that I am mostly agnostic. Do I believe in god or gods? It would be unfair to say that I don't because that would be like saying "guilty until proven innocent" or in this case "false until proven true",  and, inversely I cant say that I do because that would be saying "true until proven false". So, I think it's safe to say, like many others say, that I just don't know.


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oneilmccord wrote: I think

oneilmccord wrote:

 I think I have finally begun to understand the labeling thing. If I were to label myself I would say that I am mostly agnostic. Do I believe in god or gods? It would be unfair to say that I don't because that would be like saying "guilty until proven innocent" or in this case "false until proven true",  and, inversely I cant say that I do because that would be saying "true until proven false". So, I think it's safe to say, like many others say, that I just don't know.

 

For over 20 years, my husband said he was a militant agnostic - "I don't know and neither do you!"

Then he read this book.  Finished the last page, put the book down and said, "I'm an atheist."  Read at your own peril.

50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison in books and Kindle -

http://www.amazon.com/Reasons-People-Give-Believing-God/dp/1591025672/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309456801&sr=8-1
 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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oneilmccord wrote: I think

oneilmccord wrote:

 I think I have finally begun to understand the labeling thing. If I were to label myself I would say that I am mostly agnostic. Do I believe in god or gods? It would be unfair to say that I don't because that would be like saying "guilty until proven innocent" or in this case "false until proven true",  and, inversely I cant say that I do because that would be saying "true until proven false". So, I think it's safe to say, like many others say, that I just don't know.

"I don't know either way" is not a position. It can only qualify a position.

For example, one can think that there is a god, but not give it a name, and not be sure, but lean to that position. That is an agnostic theist. Not sure, but thinks there is a god.

Most of us here are agnostic atheists. We don't claim to know what future evidences might present itself, but our current position is that what claims have been made so far, are not credible therefor we hold no god belief. CURRENTLY.

Agnostic only refers to degree of knowledge, it does not address what you do or don't have knowledge of. It is NOT  a position itself, it is a description that qualifies your position.

It should only be used in front of theist or atheist, but not by itself.

Do you lean to a god or entity or "something" existing? Then you are an agnostic theist. A Christian is an outright theist.

And again, you can have an agnostic atheist. One who does not hold a belief in a god, but doesn't claim absolute knowledge.

I am BOTH an agnostic atheist AND and outright atheist.

I am only "agnostic" about the future because I haven't lived it yet. But I am currently an outright atheist on CURRENT claims of gods because none to date have any credibility.

This is always new to theists, and even laymen atheists new to the atheist community, but what I am telling you here a better way of defining one's position.

Forget what pop culture says. This is much more specific and accurate.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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There are literally an

There are literally an infinite number of just barely possible things which could, in principle, exist, from whole swarms of 'gods', flying spaghetti monsters,  Bertrand Russell's famous orbiting teapot, to things we have not enough imagination to conceive of.

Why pick out one of these things, for which we have no evidence, whose attributes go infinitely beyond anything we have observed, and stretch logical justification to near breaking point, and give it any special consideration by saying "well we don't know it doesn't exist", and not think about all the other 'possible' but unlikely things?

We cannot 100% prove anything about reality, beyond the fact we exist, and the assumption of the primary laws of logic, without which we cannot say anything coherent about anything, so everything else is on some scale of probably existence, from Dennett's Vanishingly small, to almost complete certainty.

'God' is a concept which no longer has any power to explain anything, when considered alongside what we have come to understand from scientific study, and indeed is something that would only complicate any attempt to explain the way things are if proposed as a reality. Why give it any space in our model of the nature of reality at all, as other than a figment of our imagination? SpiderMan is more likely...

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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 Quote:I have purposely

 

Quote:
I have purposely chosen not to label my belief/idea system as I find it extremely restrictive in my mental evolution

 

 

"Badges!?  We don't need no badges. I don't have any stinking badges!"  Treasure of the Sierra Madre movie lines --

 


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:D

danatemporary wrote:

 

Quote:
I have purposely chosen not to label my belief/idea system as I find it extremely restrictive in my mental evolution

 

 

"Badges!?  We don't need no badges. I don't have any stinking badges!"  Treasure of the Sierra Madre movie lines --

 

 

Ha! I'm glad to see that we can still have a sense of humor when speaking of religion or the lack of.

Thanks danatemporary.


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Welcome to the forums.Hope

Welcome to the forums.

Hope you enjoy your time here. Expect to be challenged when you make claims and assertions. That's the deal around here...

 

oneilmccord wrote:
I have purposely chosen not to label my belief/idea system as I find it extremely restrictive in my mental evolution.

That must be a personal thing. I don't agree with your position.

oneilmccord wrote:
What I mean to say is that as soon as you label yourself, whether you proclaim yourself an atheist, theist, christian, or anything as it were, you begin to restrict your ability to perceive and understand things that go against what you have said yourself to believe.

Again, that must be a personal thing, because your assertion is patently false.

 

oneilmccord wrote:
 Here is an example where the idea of believing in nothing and believing in everything, both at the same time is beneficial...

Once again, a personal thing.

It's a non sequitur, and therefore a fallacy that believing in 'everything' is beneficial.

 

oneilmccord wrote:
 So, with the flexible idea of believing in everything and nothing, you are able to believe in the possibility of everything existing including the possibility of the existence of deity's and the possibility of the lack of existence of deity's.

I must have missed the punch line...

You've not demonstrated how it's 'beneficial', you've just nakedly asserted it.

As far as deitys are concerned.... the prime motivators in 'believing' are fear and hope.

1- Hope= That there is an afterlife.

2- Fear= That some 'thing' makes a decision as to who 'deserves' an afterlife, and who 'doesn't'.

 

Neither of those 2 reasons for 'believing' in a deity are 'rational'.

There are purely 'emotional', and completely 'irrational', as they are without precedent.

They are in no way an honest attempt at distilling knowledge, and understanding the actual mechanics of reality.

 

oneilmccord wrote:
 Another thing I hope to accomplish here is finding out why, apart from the instinctual need for the feeling of belonging, people label themselves.

Another 'personal' assertion.

You have a clear pattern of 'projecting'.

 

 

Personally, I don't have any kind of 'instinctual need for the feeling of belonging' to a 'group'.

That sounds completely infantile, to me.

Like the 'Ford' vs 'Chevy' crowd.

WTF?

 

Theists are patently stupid to not understand that they are the ones who have 'deviated', and assimilated into an irrational cult.

It's like how 'crazy' people think that 'sane' people are the crazy ones.

If someone use to ask me if I was religious, my answer used to be 'no'.

Meaning 'no', I've not assimilated into that group.

That doesn't 'put' me in another group.

Although now, I make it a point to tell people that I'm an atheist, because it's become perfectly clear to me that these irrational beliefs no longer can be condoned as being 'benign', even among moderates.

They are deeply flawed fundamental thought processes with which to build a method of viewing reality and our fellow 'man' (sic).

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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...tired... :)

 Goodness gracious! I've been reading through quite a large number of threads here and I must say it is quite exhausting. I think I'd better relax with some Minecraft, cartoons, or a fiction novel. Discussing things that have no direct answer can often be a big waste of time, but not always. Therefore I will be back soon to read more and change my mind again and again.

 

Thanks everyone.


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cj wrote:I'm in Portland,

cj wrote:

I'm in Portland, too.  Nice to meet you.

People label themselves as a shortcut.  I'm a woman.  A wife.  Mother.  Grandmother.  Old.  Liberal.  Atheist.  Student.  Unemployed............ and so on.

It isn't to limit myself, but to identify myself to others.  A quick and easy way to find common - or uncommon - ground with a stranger.  It is also a way to feel centered.  Female - check.  Married - check.  When you get old, sometimes CRS (can't remember shit) creeps up and then you have to find some way to remember who you are.

If one of my labels ever doesn't fit, I'll change it.  Labels are not always permanent - some are, some aren't.  But you can change any one of them at any time.  Get the removable kind from Office Depot:

 

Woohoo for Portland! Watch out for the Hipsters though, they are better than us Eye-wink

That's very funny by the way, post-it's Smiling


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oneilmccord wrote:Woohoo for

oneilmccord wrote:

Woohoo for Portland! Watch out for the Hipsters though, they are better than us Eye-wink

That's very funny by the way, post-it's Smiling

 

I try - or maybe that is, I'm trying. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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How would you reply if I

Very well.

Do you believe in invisible unicorns? 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Hello, I now became a member

Hello, I now became a member of this community here and I would love to be a part of it. Just enjoy the environment here

[Mode edit: You are welcome to join the conversation, Kevin, but spam links are not allowed.]


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I don't see how you can

I don't see how you can avoid labels? You come across as well intended and a bit new -ageish.

I don't hold a belief in a god or gods, that makes me an atheist. Why should I avoid that word, and why do you assume it restricts me from considering new data that may come along?

I will only say that labels should not be a priority in our species, but to say we should never use them, is a utopia.

There is no way around humans using language and words to describe the world around them. There is no way to avoid the fact that we are a social species and we flock to like minded people.

I think you are a bit in denial of what processes happen in evolution. Social groups are going to happen.

I only agree that humans should see themselves as individuals. But I see nothing wrong in using a word to describe one's position.

I do not think calling myself an atheist hinders me in the least. But my silence certainly did, and it did not help me improve the ignorant communities I lived in until I became open. Once I did, people saw that my atheist TO THEM did not have to be a priority TO THEM, and because I was open, they finally saw me as just another individual who happened to not believe in a god.

I don't think silence helps anyone. I think the issue of the existence of a god needs to be out in the open. You look at societies like Iran, and even Germany under Hitler, those were monochromatic societies whose solution to social problems was to use government force to silence dissent and disagreement.

The progression of our species depends on pluralism and the protection of dissent and disagreement and is a good reflection of evolution in biological diversity.

When you say we shouldn't use labels, IT DEPENDS. We shouldn't use labels ignorantly or out of hate and bigotry. And we should make them the focus of the species, other than to get others to recognize that they are not the only label on the planet. Other than that, we should treat our fellow humans as individuals.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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We absolutely do need

We absolutely do need labels. Every 'noun' word is a label, so we don't have to describe something in detail every time we want to refer to it.

The only question is being careful in making sure we use the 'correct' label, ie which word has a commonly understood meaning which reasonably accurately matches the nature of what we are referring to.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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oneilmccord wrote: Goodness

oneilmccord wrote:

 Goodness gracious! I've been reading through quite a large number of threads here and I must say it is quite exhausting.

Then maybe Tupperware parties might be more your speed...

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris