The Undiscovered Country

totus_tuus
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The Undiscovered Country

In a recent discussion on another thread, I was asked by Ronin-dog to explain my fear of death in light of my Christian belief in a life after this mortal one.  I hought this might be a good subject for a thread of its own.  Now that I've begun writing, I realize that the interest might be mine alone, since the materialist viewpoint is that death is it, that nothing follows this physical existence except oblivion.  So, this may end up being a pretty short discussion.

Let me bgin by saying that I fully realize that any testimony regarding the existence of an afterlife is totally apocryphal, colored by emotion, and with some compelling scientific explanantions.   My purpose here is not to examine the evidence of an afterlife, but to explain my faith in such, and how that belief governs my actions.

Oddly enough, Ronin-dog's question caught me in the midst of a re-reading of Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical letter, Spe Salvi, that is, On Hope, so this is a subject I've been pondering a lot of late.

Let me begin with a favorite Shakespeare quote, and we'll see where that gets us.  It is from Hamlet's famous soliloquy in Act III, scene I (JCgadfly, if you're readin this I'm sure you know it well, since I've heard that every actor dreams of playing Hamlet, LOL)...

"But that fear of something after death, the undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than to fly to others we know not of?  Thus conscience does make cowards of us all..."

There you have it.  I suppose, like Hamlet, my faith in this promise is somewhat less than perfect.  This may be all there is.

Further, like Hamlet, I have no idea what awaits me on the other side.  I have no guarantee that I've been saved.  There is no "once saved always saved".  I'm going to stand before a just Judge and called to account for what I have done, and what I have failed to do.  Believe me, I know the kind of life I've led up to this point, and I've been anyhting but what I've been called to be.  I have a lot to do to atone for my faults and I prefer to put off that Judgement for as long as possible. 

There's my start.  I'm thinking on this more, and will post again as other thoughts occur to me, or in response to other questions of insights as they're posted.

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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That Star Trek sequel

That Star Trek sequel sucked.


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Science?  Did you say

Science?  Did you say science?

Please refute the following.

NDEs, afterlife, and purpose

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 To be honest, I don't even

 To be honest, I don't even know what you're saying. You don't know what's on the other side, but you don't know if you're saved, but you know that you'll be judged ...

I don't even know if I'm capable of getting it any more.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Quote:I don't even know if

Quote:
I don't even know if I'm capable of getting it any more.

You know, Will, one of my biggest challenges in the last decade has been that the more I learn, and the more I practice logic, the harder it becomes for me to even attempt to put myself in a theist's mindset.  The arguments are so uncompelling that I literally don't know where to start trying to imagine believing them.   At every turn, I'm faced with the same brick wall.  I simply can't imagine being convinced by that.

Of course, intellectually, I know the answer is that it isn't reason at all.  When I believed, it was an emotional belief.  When I lost the desire to be emotionally sated, religion literally lost all appeal.  This doesn't make it any easier to empathize with theists, but at least I know what flipped the switch in my brain.

 

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transference

totus_tuus wrote:

There you have it.  I suppose, like Hamlet, my faith in this promise is somewhat less than perfect.  This may be all there is.

Further, like Hamlet, I have no idea what awaits me on the other side.  I have no guarantee that I've been saved.  There is no "once saved always saved".  I'm going to stand before a just Judge and called to account for what I have done, and what I have failed to do.  Believe me, I know the kind of life I've led up to this point, and I've been anyhting but what I've been called to be.  I have a lot to do to atone for my faults and I prefer to put off that Judgement for as long as possible. 

There's my start.  I'm thinking on this more, and will post again as other thoughts occur to me, or in response to other questions of insights as they're posted.

 

What is your point here? Seriously, I am not attacking you, just confused as to this post's purpose.  This is supposed to be an articulation of your faith that is"to explain my faith in such, and how that belief governs my actions." If you say you have no idea about the existence of life after death, but then say a few sentences later that you are going to be judged by a "just judge" for your life's actions, then you have just contradicted your own presupposition. If you don't know exactly how the supposed system of judging is going to work, but know you will be judged in an afterlife, then you have already assumed that:

1. there is an afterlife

2. there is a just judge who will mete out justice(punishment and perhaps reward?)

3. you assume that you have done bad things in this life that will necessitate punishment

4. you fear this punishment and would like to extend your trial date as far as possible into the forseeable future to avoid said punishment

5. this fear of punishment informs your personal philosophy of eternal justice leading you to wonder if atonement for your perceived bad deeds will grant you immunity from judgement

6. it is fear of this punishment, not a rational justification for doing good, that is your primary motivation to change your moral modus operandi

7. you are still having philosophical questions about the plausibility of sin transference and salvation

 

I would suggest reading actual arguments concerning the utterly ridiculous ideas of sin, sin transference, and salvation from sins. By asking these questions, I think you may be onto discovering the benefits of rationality. The fact that you have not taken these contradictory ideas as given, but are consciously trying to understand them makes me want to encourage you to study and learn about the topic you have brought up. Good luck and may you find the path of reason.

I would start here as a jumping off point on your journey to grasping the totality of these concepts atonement of sin through sacrifice

 

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


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totus_tuus wrote:"But that

totus_tuus wrote:

"But that fear of something after death, the undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than to fly to others we know not of?  Thus conscience does make cowards of us all..."

There you have it.  I suppose, like Hamlet, my faith in this promise is somewhat less than perfect.  This may be all there is.

You have two separate likely causes of your fear of death. The first is expressed as "This may be all there is." You are considering by this thought that you have been misled by religion and it's beliefs. If this is true, then it means you are wasting your time here pursuing activities that have no real benefit to your journey. You perhaps could make better use of your time now instead of using it for a statistically unlikely possibility of an afterlife. Your sub-conscious mind tells you these things and it seeps into your conscious thoughts. This causes the fear of death you have expressed. That and all humans have an extremely strong sense of self-preservation thanks to evolution. As an atheist, I know that this life is it. I don't exactly fear death, not like when I was a practicing Catholic. There was a time when I was not and that time comes again when I die. Death doesn't bother me as much as being old and in pain will. Most theists call this weak faith but it isn't, it is your logical rational mind telling you sub-consciously that you are following an illogical path in you conscious actions. I maintain faith in religious beliefs are illogical and counter productive to your goals of a productive life. There are many arguments that people will put forth regarding religion has beneficial effects and helped develop our modern world. Whatever, but that isn't the point here. You can spend Sunday working on a new invention, a book, rebuilding your house, or sleeping in. The money you give to your church could pay for your children's college fund, go to Idol Gives Back, or provide cash for new areas of interest. There is always the cost of alternative use to consider whether it be money or time when considering anything. When you are a believer you spend time and money on it thus removing its use for your own productivity. These points are all included in your thought, "This may be all there is".

totus_tuus wrote:

Further, like Hamlet, I have no idea what awaits me on the other side.  I have no guarantee that I've been saved.  There is no "once saved always saved".  I'm going to stand before a just Judge and called to account for what I have done, and what I have failed to do.  Believe me, I know the kind of life I've led up to this point, and I've been anyhting but what I've been called to be.  I have a lot to do to atone for my faults and I prefer to put off that Judgement for as long as possible. 

This is a second part of your fear. Here you fear the wrath of a confusing god. Did the story of God and Jesus really come to you correctly? What if you were supposed to "give everything you have away and follow me" was literal? Did you? If not, are you going to burn for it? What if Paul incorrectly attributed Jesus as a Messiah and the Jews are right? Will Yahweh consider you worthy? So many possibilities how can you know if you got your life right to be saved. Maybe it's Allah you face, then what?

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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totus_tuus wrote:Let me bgin

totus_tuus wrote:

Let me bgin by saying that I fully realize that any testimony regarding the existence of an afterlife is totally apocryphal, colored by emotion, and with some compelling scientific explanantions.   My purpose here is not to examine the evidence of an afterlife, but to explain my faith in such, and how that belief governs my actions.

So as a side question, if you believe accounts of the afterlife are coloured by emotion, etc., do you think that a belief in an afterlife is grounded in the same sorts of emotions?  If not, why not?  If so, what effect does that have on the validity of the belief?

Quote:

Let me begin with a favorite Shakespeare quote, and we'll see where that gets us.  It is from Hamlet's famous soliloquy in Act III, scene I (JCgadfly, if you're readin this I'm sure you know it well, since I've heard that every actor dreams of playing Hamlet, LOL)...

"But that fear of something after death, the undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than to fly to others we know not of?  Thus conscience does make cowards of us all..."

There you have it.  I suppose, like Hamlet, my faith in this promise is somewhat less than perfect.  This may be all there is.

So at least part of your fear of death is fear of the unknown.  I can understand that.  Have you read the book Variable Star, by Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson?  There is a good description in there about the basic conservative/liberal dichotomy (meaning not just politically).  He argues that the basic split is how people feel about the future; liberals are excited by it and conservatives are scared by it.  Your explanation lends some support to the idea.

Quote:

Further, like Hamlet, I have no idea what awaits me on the other side.  I have no guarantee that I've been saved.  There is no "once saved always saved".  I'm going to stand before a just Judge and called to account for what I have done, and what I have failed to do.  Believe me, I know the kind of life I've led up to this point, and I've been anyhting but what I've been called to be.  I have a lot to do to atone for my faults and I prefer to put off that Judgement for as long as possible. 

There's my start.  I'm thinking on this more, and will post again as other thoughts occur to me, or in response to other questions of insights as they're posted.

 

From this, it sounds like the other part of your fear is that given your beliefs, you must assume that 1) an afterlife exists and that 2) your current existence is sufficiently distasteful to the god of your beliefs that your impending afterlife will probably be less than pleasant.

Do I have this right so far?

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Quote:So at least part of

Quote:
So at least part of your fear of death is fear of the unknown.  I can understand that.  Have you read the book Variable Star, by Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson?  There is a good description in there about the basic conservative/liberal dichotomy (meaning not just politically).  He argues that the basic split is how people feel about the future; liberals are excited by it and conservatives are scared by it.  Your explanation lends some support to the idea.

Heinlein knew intuitively what has been proven empirically now.

The Authoritarian Specter  

The Authoritarian Specter by Robert Altemeyer (Hardcover - Nov 15, 1996)

Conservatives and liberals (non-political) do see things that way.  Not surprisingly, conservatives are overwhelmingly religious, and liberals are generally resistant to any kind of fundamentalism, even if they adhere to a moderate religion.  Incidentally, most of the worst people in history you can think of were conservative authoritarians.

Once you read this book, if you want to be really scared, read this one:

Conservatives Without Conscience  

Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean (Hardcover - Jul 11, 2006)

Dean takes what Altemeyer demonstrates and applies it to the current political climate in the U.S. and citing very specific historical facts to back up his case that our entire government is being run by authoritarian double highs, which are literally the most amoral people in the world.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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pauljohntheckeptic

pauljohntheckeptic wrote:
 You have two separate likely causes of your fear of death. The first is expressed as "This may be all there is." You are considering by this thought that you have been misled by religion and it's beliefs. If this is true, then it means you are wasting your time here pursuing activities that have no real benefit to your journey. You perhaps could make better use of your time now instead of using it for a statistically unlikely possibility of an afterlife. Your sub-conscious mind tells you these things and it seeps into your conscious thoughts. This causes the fear of death you have expressed. That and all humans have an extremely strong sense of self-preservation thanks to evolution. As an atheist, I know that this life is it. I don't exactly fear death, not like when I was a practicing Catholic. There was a time when I was not and that time comes again when I die. Death doesn't bother me as much as being old and in pain will. Most theists call this weak faith but it isn't, it is your logical rational mind telling you sub-consciously that you are following an illogical path in you conscious actions. I maintain faith in religious beliefs are illogical and counter productive to your goals of a productive life. There are many arguments that people will put forth regarding religion has beneficial effects and helped develop our modern world. Whatever, but that isn't the point here. You can spend Sunday working on a new invention, a book, rebuilding your house, or sleeping in. The money you give to your church could pay for your children's college fund, go to Idol Gives Back, or provide cash for new areas of interest. There is always the cost of alternative use to consider whether it be money or time when considering anything. When you are a believer you spend time and money on it thus removing its use for your own productivity. These points are all included in your thought, "This may be all there is".

Good to see you again pauljohn, thanks for joining us.

To clarify a couple of points.

First, I think fear may be a bit much ( not a whole lot, but  a bit much) of an overstatement.  Apprehension, perhaps, like that we face when confronted by any unfamiliar experience.

Second, dark nights of the soul, periods of spiritual dryness, are not uncommon even amongst the staunchest of believers.  That's what all the ballyhoo was about when Mother Teresa's letters were published.  But such experiences have been documented by religious writers, contemplatives and mystics for at least hundreds of years, so much so that one writer, St John of the Cross actuall wrote a book chronicling his "dark night of the soul". 

Lacking definintive proof of the existence of God, I must say that the possibility does exist that theism is a mistaken premise.  I would say, however, that argument sfor God certainly make His existence plausible, and my emotional (eek) bent is definitely inclined towards belief.  Any argument that emotuion does not and should not play a role in our decisions is hogwash.

As far as deconverting, thanks but no thanks.  As tempting as you make those Sunday mornings inventing a better mousetrap sound, I'll stick with spending it with friends, family and my Eucharistic Lord.  I, for one, am a much better person under the influence of religion than I am without.  I've tried life both ways, so I know.

With the mess of kids I've got, there's nver money for anything anyway.  Most of what I give to the Church is in the form of time and labor, and then mostly in the pursuit of her social justice agendas.

Time presses me right now.  I'm going to have to adress the second half of your post later, but I wanted to get something on here before you thought I'd bailed on you. 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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More sinned against...

I have a problem comprehending the concept of 'sin' at all. It seems to me that sin, an action which offends god is on its face an absurdity. What could possibly offend a cosmos spanning super intelligence? On the one hand, theist paint a picture of a being so far 'above' human values and thought, that he (it) can scarce be imagined, little less understood. Yet they credit him with all too human value judgements. God seems to be all too preoccupied with genitalia for one thing. Another is that he seems very insecure, needing constant ego stroking, and if one fails to stroke that cosmic ego, one risks eternal punishment. We have the weird notion that somehow, this massive super intellect wants us to ignore logic and rational thought, and make a virtue out of faith, which is arguably defective reasoning at best.

The kicker to all this is that any number of these 'sins', both of commission and omission are validation of eternal torment. Heck, you don't have to actually DO anything, you can burn in hell because tales of a jewish virgin born zombie who flies off to heaven seem unlikely to you...

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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shikko wrote:So as a side

shikko wrote:
So as a side question, if you believe accounts of the afterlife are coloured by emotion, etc., do you think that a belief in an afterlife is grounded in the same sorts of emotions?  If not, why not?  If so, what effect does that have on the validity of the belief?

I beleive that any decision we make, or that any belief we hold can be colored by emotion.  I don't see where that invalidates that decision, or renders that belief invalid.  So, yes, I think that belief in an afterlife, and theism in general can be colored by emotion.  Please note, that I say "colored" by emotion, I do think that there is enough rational evidence of a deity to make that belief a rational proposition.  Kelly's blog article on the positive effects of anger is an perfect example of this.

Quote:
So at least part of your fear of death is fear of the unknown.  I can understand that.  Have you read the book Variable Star, by Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson?  There is a good description in there about the basic conservative/liberal dichotomy (meaning not just politically).  He argues that the basic split is how people feel about the future; liberals are excited by it and conservatives are scared by it.  Your explanation lends some support to the idea.

No, I havent read the book, but an interesting proposition.  I think of myself as a pretty conservative fellow.  Although I think some of my stands on political hot topics would surprise folks.  For example, I am ardently pro-life, but at the same time opposed to capital punishment.  I  support the war in Iraq now (although I was less than enthusiastic in the beginning), but at the same time espouse the rights of "illegal" immigrants (to a degree).  I try to base my political views on the ideals of basic human dignity.

Quote:
From this, it sounds like the other part of your fear is that given your beliefs, you must assume that 1) an afterlife exists and that 2) your current existence is sufficiently distasteful to the god of your beliefs that your impending afterlife will probably be less than pleasant.

Do I have this right so far?

Somewhat.  But I think I need to expand a bit on the concept of sin.  Not only do I fear the judgement of a just God, but I realize that I have done things which are an affront to the basic dignity of human persons, not only the dignity of others, but the dignity of myself.  

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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Louis_Cypher wrote:I have a

Louis_Cypher wrote:
I have a problem comprehending the concept of 'sin' at all. It seems to me that sin, an action which offends god is on its face an absurdity. What could possibly offend a cosmos spanning super intelligence? On the one hand, theist paint a picture of a being so far 'above' human values and thought, that he (it) can scarce be imagined, little less understood. Yet they credit him with all too human value judgements. God seems to be all too preoccupied with genitalia for one thing. Another is that he seems very insecure, needing constant ego stroking, and if one fails to stroke that cosmic ego, one risks eternal punishment. We have the weird notion that somehow, this massive super intellect wants us to ignore logic and rational thought, and make a virtue out of faith, which is arguably defective reasoning at best.

God desires all men to live in dignity.  Sin is not only an affront to God, but sin is also those actions which offend the dignity of the human person.  It is a misuse of our gift of reason, or the gift of sexuality, or any other gift of this creation (ie, the plundering of the planet).  That's what God finds offensive.   Rational thought is not an offense to God but use of the discoveries made using that rationality to ends which deny the dignity of His creation is offensive.  Liberty is the right to use that creation in accordance with His will, that will being the improvement and well being of creation.  Liberty is not license to use creation to whatever end we wish.

Further, salvation is not based on faith alone.  There are those who honestly cannot bring themselves to believe, but who live in accordance with the intentions of God nonetheless.  Faith makes it easier, I'm sure, but is not the sole yardstick by which men will be measured.

All too often, I think that people look at Christianity through the prohibitive lens of the Ten Commandments and forget about the positive expression of those Commandments in the Beatitudes.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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Hi Totus_tuus, thanks for

Hi Totus_tuus, thanks for responding to my question.

I always thought, especially being a catholic, that if you confessed your sins and loved Jesus you were guaranteed of being saved.

I understand the emotional response, this is why many theists can't let go, but it is actually very improbable that there is a god at all and I think if you look closely (without your emotion) as if it wasn't your religion the probablility of christianity being true is 0%. (this goes for all of the other religions too).

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
This is a second part of your fear. Here you fear the wrath of a confusing god. Did the story of God and Jesus really come to you correctly? What if you were supposed to "give everything you have away and follow me" was literal? Did you? If not, are you going to burn for it? What if Paul incorrectly attributed Jesus as a Messiah and the Jews are right? Will Yahweh consider you worthy? So many possibilities how can you know if you got your life right to be saved. Maybe it's Allah you face, then what?

I fear the wrath of a just God. 

As for the other concerns, they really aren't.  This is where I use the historical record to make my decision.  If there is a Creator God, then the Jewish Scriptures relate a story most matchable top science to describe our Universe and its creation.  That Jesus Christ was His divine Son and founded one Church for the salvation of mankind is also something that can be seen from that same historical record.  I have the guidance of that same Church established by Christ for the salvation of souls to live by.

Islam is a Christian heresy,  a late arrival based on Nestorianism, run amok.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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ronin-dog wrote:Hi

ronin-dog wrote:
Hi Totus_tuus, thanks for responding to my question.

Hi, Ronin.  No problem.

Quote:
I always thought, especially being a catholic, that if you confessed your sins and loved Jesus you were guaranteed of being saved.

If I confess my sins with a firm purpsoe of amendment, yes, they are forgiven.  This doesn't give me license to continue committing the same sins over and over again and not change my ways.  Further, my sins are forgiven, but, as my sins are to some degree a reflection of something less than ideal love (whether towards God or towards my neighbor) I'm am still liable for the damage thay have caused.  Also, just as not every crime against human laws does not merit a life sentence, not every transgression against God's laws merits eternal damnation.  There's a hell of a difference between an 8 yoear old kid snatching a cookie when mom's not looking and serial murder.   While I amy not be damned for those sins I have had absolved through confession, I will be called to account for them.  Hence, the Catholic doctrine of "purgatory".

Quote:
I understand the emotional response, this is why many theists can't let go, but it is actually very improbable that there is a god at all and I think if you look closely (without your emotion) as if it wasn't your religion the probablility of christianity being true is 0%. (this goes for all of the other religions too).

I disagree.  While Thomistic arguments do not prove to a certainty the existence of God, they make it seem to be a reasonable proposition. 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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totus_tuus wrote:First, I

totus_tuus wrote:

First, I think fear may be a bit much ( not a whole lot, but  a bit much0 of an overstatement.  Apprehension, perhaps, like that we face when confronted by any unfamiliar experience.

Understandable as you mention in your other post to Shikko of things that are an affront to human dignity. Catholicism however teaches that all of your sins are forgiven so if you accept its teaching you have nothing to fear, if it's true.

totus_tuus wrote:

Second, dark nights of the soul, periods of spiritual dryness, are not uncommon even amongst the staunchest of believers.  That's what all the ballyhoo was about when Mother Teresa's letters were published. 

It's hard to say what was in Mother Teresa's mind, none can no for sure either way. Doubts were expressed but who can say what she really thought. The letters give a complete different view of her outlook.

totus_tuus wrote:

Lacking definintive proof of the existence of God, I must say that the possibility does exist that theism is a mistaken premise.  I would say, however, that argument sfor God certainly make His existence plausible, and my emotional (eek) bent is definitely inclined towards belief.  Any argument that emotuion does not and should not play a role in our decisions is hogwash.

Emotion does distract everyone in the decision process and religion does its best to inject as much of it as possible. There is far less emotionalism in the Catholic Church than in Evangelical churches in my own personal experience. Perhaps that is why you are comfortable with it. There is still the problem of acceptance of the views handed to you by others. I realize you see them as extremely knowledgeable with hundreds of years of theological support. I don't agree with someone doing my thinking for me like the Church. I understand you do. That probably adds to your apprehension.

You seem fairly tolerant of the views of atheists from what I have seen so far. As you say you were once in the non-belevers ranks. Perhaps this ticks at your mind as well. Clearly my years of religious training pops up in my mental processes and makes itself known to me. Though I ignore the clearly baseless dogma as ficitional.

 

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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
Understandable as you mention in your other post to Shikko of things that are an affront to human dignity. Catholicism however teaches that all of your sins are forgiven so if you accept its teaching you have nothing to fear, if it's true.

True.  And I do discuss the idea of confession in my reply to ronin-dog as well.  I won't rehash it here otjher than to say that to blieve I'm a shoo-in for salvation would be presumtuous.   Further, I must hope to be able to persevere in my faith.

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It's hard to say what was in Mother Teresa's mind, none can no for sure either way. Doubts were expressed but who can say what she really thought. The letters give a complete different view of her outlook.

I haven't read her letters yet.  It's on my to do list.  I've only heard excerpts, but there is no doubt in my mind she experienced the "dark night of the soul" so aptly described by St John of the Cross.  At one point she experienced a very deep sharing with Christ for a short period of time.  Then, for forty years nearly nothing, yet throught that spiritually dry period, she persevered.

Quote:
Emotion does distract everyone in the decision process and religion does its best to inject as much of it as possible. There is far less emotionalism in the Catholic Church than in Evangelical churches in my own personal experience. Perhaps that is why you are comfortable with it.

I agree that emotionalism is less prevalent in Catholicism, though not totally absent.  Nor should it be.  The robust thinkers of the Catholic Church further attract me.  Historically, I have to cite John Henry Cardinal Newman, who said that to be "deep in history is cease being Protestant."

Quote:
There is still the problem of acceptance of the views handed to you by others. I realize you see them as extremely knowledgeable with hundreds of years of theological support. I don't agree with someone doing my thinking for me like the Church. I understand you do. That probably adds to your apprehension.

How many really new thoughts do you suppose there are?  How many theses do you think you or I are capable of formulating?  I must admit that you are correct, many things that I think, most things that I believe are the thoughts of others.  But how uncommon is that really?  You, I presume, believe that the earth is round, that it revolves around the sun while rotating on its axis.  Is this something that you devised on your own?  Or is rather something you were taught, and to which your will has assented?

So it is with the philosophy which guides my life.  The Church and I see alike that there exists an objective truth.  The Church has the wealth of thought on which to draw, and the resource of time on which to ponder how our actions complement or oppose that truth.  I don't always have that luxury, which is not to say that I do not think.

Quote:
You seem fairly tolerant of the views of atheists from what I have seen so far. As you say you were once in the non-belevers ranks. Perhaps this ticks at your mind as well. Clearly my years of religious training pops up in my mental processes and makes itself known to me. Though I ignore the clearly baseless dogma as ficitional.

Thanks (I think].  I try to be tolerant of others.  I don't know your full stroy, or how you came to lose faith, but I can certainly understand those who have done so for a multitude of reasons. 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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totus_tuus wrote:I fear the

totus_tuus wrote:

I fear the wrath of a just God. 

I see little in the way of 'justice' in the judeo/christian god image. More of a petty tribal chieftain with unlimited power.

totus_tuus wrote:

As for the other concerns, they really aren't.  This is where I use the historical record to make my decision.  If there is a Creator God, then the Jewish Scriptures relate a story most matchable top science to describe our Universe and its creation. 

The universe didn't come into existence in one day.

Life, fully formed, didn't come into existence in a period of 3-4 days.

The Earth is not the center of the universe.

The Sun, moon and stars are not afterthoughts, created and placed in one days time.

The hebrew creation myths bear absolutely NO resemblence to any modern science.

totus_tuus wrote:

That Jesus Christ was His divine Son and founded one Church for the salvation of mankind is also something that can be seen from that same historical record. 

Salvation from what? A mythic hell? An eternal torture chamber made at the whim of a sadistic and monstous god of bronze age barbarians? And you count on salvation from a pathetic little lunatic whose highest accomplishment seems to be getting himself lynched?

Sad, and frankly, ridiculous in it's truest meaning.

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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Louis_Cypher wrote:I see

Louis_Cypher wrote:
I see little in the way of 'justice' in the judeo/christian god image. More of a petty tribal chieftain with unlimited power.

Lemme ask this, do you really think the world as it is now is the best it could possiby be?  Or do you think it could be better?  If you think this is as good as it gets, why?  If you believe it could be better, what fuels that belief?  From whence springs that which Abraham Lincoln called the "angels of our better nature"?

Quote:

The universe didn't come into existence in one day.

Right.

Quote:

Life, fully formed, didn't come into existence in a period of 3-4 days.

Correct.

Quote:
The Earth is not the center of the universe.

True

Quote:

The Sun, moon and stars are not afterthoughts, created and placed in one days time.

Yes.

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The hebrew creation myths bear absolutely NO resemblence to any modern science.

To the same extent that Tolkien's saga of Middle Earth bears no resemblance to the struggles of the earth we know.  Yet his commentary on  the battle between good and evil, the temptations to use evil in the pursuit of good, or the benefits of hope for humankind are clearly to be seen.  The Creation account of Genesis is meant to illustrate that a God created the Universe, that the crowning achievement of that Creation is Man.  It demonstrates that the universe was created over time, in stages with each stage dependent on the previous, that Man is an intentional creation whose formation was guided by God.  It's not a science text.

I'll address the last section of your post later.  Time's short right now.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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totus_tuus wrote:True.  And

totus_tuus wrote:

True.  And I do discuss the idea of confession in my reply to ronin-dog as well.  I won't rehash it here otjher than to say that to blieve I'm a shoo-in for salvation would be presumtuous.   Further, I must hope to be able to persevere in my faith.

Your OP suggested fear or apprehension though you know the Catholic Church's position. I understand your apprehension as there is no certainty with the God of Abe. Jesus made several statements that appear to have failed to come true, such as the variously told some of them standing there would not taste death before he returned. The Church interprets this to mean death in a different way by blowing smoke and using mirrors. The Gospels that include it seem straight forward to me. They die, he didn't come back, end of Jesus as the promised messiah.

totus_tuus wrote:

How many really new thoughts do you suppose there are?  How many theses do you think you or I are capable of formulating?  I must admit that you are correct, many things that I think, most things that I believe are the thoughts of others.  But how uncommon is that really?  You, I presume, believe that the earth is round, that it revolves around the sun while rotating on its axis.  Is this something that you devised on your own?  Or is rather something you were taught, and to which your will has assented?

If we didn't have new thoughts we'd be using carrier pigeons or scrolls to have this conversation.

There are new ideas of how things relate every day. I don't know about thesis' but I have been involved in several patents in my years in R & D.

Actually I know the Earth is round as I have been in an aircraft near 75,000 feet. The Earth's curve is obvious from high altitude. These things can be tested, observed, and you can do you own calculations to verify the theories. Many I did in my college classes.

totus_tuus wrote:

So it is with the philosophy which guides my life.  The Church and I see alike that there exists an objective truth.  The Church has the wealth of thought on which to draw, and the resource of time on which to ponder how our actions complement or oppose that truth.  I don't always have that luxury, which is not to say that I do not think.

The Church also suppresses ideas that contradict its position though not as successfully as it once could. The Church is no different than any other large corporation, it does what it has to do for survival. Verizon drops it cellphone charges to $99 unlimited. Sprint gives $89 unlimited or $99 unlimited calling, email, text, and Internet. Its a survival tactic. The catholic Church finally put services into local languages after nearly 1700 years. Other churches had been doing so since Luther. It was necessary in competition. Evangelical and others add flashy stages, rock, and night club lighting. They want to make your experience better so you come back and give cash.

 

Even with Jesus' clear statements in the Gospels, the Catholic Church was involved in murder in its' heretic hunting days. Popes called Crusades to murder infidels giving remission of sins for the killers. Over the years the Church has tried to divorce itself of the responsibility for these heinous crimes but they can't. I have never found anywhere in the New testament a command to go forth with convert, belief or die. So far the Church has never come clean on its responsibility for murder.

Now the Church protects the warped pervert priests from prosecution. So if the Church doesn't put a millstone on each pervert and toss them in the sea they ignore the Jesus of the Gospels. Instead they tried to hide them from prosecution. So much for the word of Jesus and the 10 Commandments.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Louis_Cypher wrote:Salvation

Louis_Cypher wrote:
Salvation from what? A mythic hell? An eternal torture chamber made at the whim of a sadistic and monstous god of bronze age barbarians? And you count on salvation from a pathetic little lunatic whose highest accomplishment seems to be getting himself lynched?

Salvation from a hell, yes.  That's the negative punishment, the absence of God's perfect love.  Furhter, there's the positive reward of a new heaven and a new earth, that is, Creation restored to the state it was meant to be

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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paujohntheskeptic wrote:If

paujohntheskeptic wrote:
If we didn't have new thoughts we'd be using carrier pigeons or scrolls to have this conversation.

Agreed.  My point, though, is that there are few new ideas, not none.  Nothing that you or I have discussed, none of the points we've made, are original thoughts formulated by us.

Quote:
Actually I know the Earth is round as I have been in an aircraft near 75,000 feet. The Earth's curve is obvious from high altitude. These things can be tested, observed, and you can do you own calculations to verify the theories. Many I did in my college classes.

Prior to your 75,000 foot flight you were a flat earther, then?  Or did you accept the things you were tauht prior to experiencing them yourself?  Are you seriously contending you have personally verified every concept and bekief you hold?

Quote:
The Church also suppresses ideas that contradict its position though not as successfully as it once could.

Which ideas does the Church currently suppress?  I'm not saying it hasn't happened in history, I'm just curious what ideas you think the Church is currently trying to quash.

I really believe the Chruch is much more progressive than you give Her credit for.  One would think that an organization so dead set against progress would be loath to establish the first universities.  You'd suppose that she would neglect to use her monasteries to copy, store and protect ancient texts. 

I will not deny that the Church has battled heresies, sometimes physically, through acts of war.  These heresies threatened not only the Church herself, but the development of a united Christendom.  It is the Church's staunch defense of orthodox Christianity which saved European civilizations from descending even further into the "dark ages" then it did.

Was the Inquisition a tragedy?  Yes.  Especially brutal were the Spanish and Portugese Inquisitions which were hijacked by the respective national sovereigns for state purposes.

Quite contrary to being tragedies, the Crusades, especially those against Islam, were no more than attempts to regain what had been lost to a vicious enemy, another Christian heresy which came out of the desert.  The Crusades were instrumental in saving Europe from Islam. 

The Church perfoms many services on behlaf of the poor, the sick, the disadvanted.  This requires money.  Popes in the previous century to relieve the suffering of two world wars.  Benedict XV exhausted the Vatican treasury to aid refugees and returning prisoners of war following World War I and Pius XII did nearly same following World War II, even committing his family funds to the effort.

That the Church, her representatives, or those engaged in enterprises sponsored by her have engaged in activities which reflect poorly on her I will not deny.  Nor do I find it suprprising that an organization founded for the salvation of sinful humans contains sinners.  I'd expect nothing else.

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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totus_tuus wrote:My point,

totus_tuus wrote:

My point, though, is that there are few new ideas, not none.  Nothing that you or I have discussed, none of the points we've made, are original thoughts formulated by us.

Discussion is how new ideas begin in the minds of individuals. Discussion cause those to consider new ways and ideas. As I pointed out I was involved in R & D in consumer products and in main frame computer systems. I have been involved in development of new ideas that you have in your home or that benefit your life. A small thing such as a smoke alarm which saves countless lives, I was involved with the development of new techniques over 30 years ago. I was also involved in hardware development of high tech main frame equipment for data storage. The low cost of data storage just didn't happen, we went down new roads. When I first began in the field of data storage, 30 megabytes were stored on a disk drive as big as your stove.

totus_tuus wrote:

Prior to your 75,000 foot flight you were a flat earther, then?  Or did you accept the things you were tauht prior to experiencing them yourself?  Are you seriously contending you have personally verified every concept and bekief you hold?

The point was it validated what I had learned. Yes others develop theories which are put in books, taught in schools such that each of us don't have to discover fire, electricity, evolution, and relativity on our own. Learning and storing knowledge is how we have progressed. Each person has the chance to use their abilities to add to this knowledge.

Of course I haven't tested every single theory or principle, I accept past practices in most cases without testing. Though if there is doubt, it is possible to do. Each person has questions about specific things that cause them to delve further into understanding of its nature.

Quote:
The Church also suppresses ideas that contradict its position though not as successfully as it once could.

totus_tuus wrote:

Which ideas does the Church currently suppress?  I'm not saying it hasn't happened in history, I'm just curious what ideas you think the Church is currently trying to quash.

Currently the Church considers research into DNA, stem cells, and genetics are wrong and sinful. See:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/125676.html

The Catholic League goes to great extents to suppress any derogatory information against the Church. See:

http://www.population-security.org/23-CH15.html

The Catholic Church for hundreds of years maintained a forbidden book list, which ceased in 1967. See:

http://news.monstersandcritics.com/europe/features/article_1070798.php/Vatican_opens_up_secrets_of_Index_of_Forbidden_Books

and:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum

The Church also suppressed views of its own priests and theologians in recent times. John Paul II was involved in suppressing or silencing at least 100 of his own. See:

http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=1119

 

 

totus_tuus wrote:

I really believe the Chruch is much more progressive than you give Her credit for.  One would think that an organization so dead set against progress would be loath to establish the first universities.  You'd suppose that she would neglect to use her monasteries to copy, store and protect ancient texts.

I previously told you that I have a graduate degree from a Jesuit University so I am clearly aware of the Church's support of education. Many things were not allowed to be discussed in my classes by individual professors based on their interpretation of the Church's rules. Of course similar attitudes occur ed in the public university where I received my undergraduate degree as well. The Church is not necessarily against progress, but wished to control the process if possible.

The preservation of texts was also done by Islam. In some cases documents were not preserved as they were primarily against the Church.

totus_tuus wrote:

I will not deny that the Church has battled heresies, sometimes physically, through acts of war.  These heresies threatened not only the Church herself, but the development of a united Christendom.  It is the Church's staunch defense of orthodox Christianity which saved European civilizations from descending even further into the "dark ages" then it did.

 

My point to you was this was completely against the teaching of Jesus. The Gospels do not contain the command to kill others to spread the word. No, it says to turn the other cheek. So the entire Inquisition of all forms was contrary to the teaching of Jesus. The Catholic Church has no recourse in scripture to grant it the right to shed blood at all. The scriptures specifically say that God will judge, not man.

totus_tuus wrote:

Was the Inquisition a tragedy?  Yes.  Especially brutal were the Spanish and Portugese Inquisitions which were hijacked by the respective national sovereigns for state purposes.

They should have never even been allowed by The Church as it was completely contrary to the Gospels and early Church tradition.

totus_tuus wrote:

Quite contrary to being tragedies, the Crusades, especially those against Islam, were no more than attempts to regain what had been lost to a vicious enemy, another Christian heresy which came out of the desert.  The Crusades were instrumental in saving Europe from Islam.

Similar to the Inquisition, the Church violated its directive from Jesus by authorizing the murder of others. If the Soul of the sinner is its only concern how does grabbing land save the soul. Palestine could be claimed by many at the time, but certainly not Europeans who were not Jewish. The Greeks of the Byzantine Empire still had claims based off of the Roman conquests but not the Catholic countries of Europe. Arabs and Persian had a far better claim to the land than English, Germans, or Spanish who had no claim at all.

The Crusades in Palestine did not save Europe from Islam. The wars in the Balkans and the Iberian peninsula did.

 

Consider your justification is one American Indians could use to expell all whites and blacks from North America. If they perceived (probably rightfully) we were the vicious enemy who siezed their lands and demanded we leave, are you planning on leaving?

totus_tuus wrote:

The Church perfoms many services on behlaf of the poor, the sick, the disadvanted.  This requires money.  Popes in the previous century to relieve the suffering of two world wars.  Benedict XV exhausted the Vatican treasury to aid refugees and returning prisoners of war following World War I and Pius XII did nearly same following World War II, even committing his family funds to the effort.

Such is their directive from Jesus of the Gospels.

Pius XII is another story. As the secretary of state Bishop Eugenio Pacelli he signed the concordat with Hitler in 1933. This removed criticism from the Church of all activities of the Nazis. If Catholics had protested his actions murder of Jews may have been prevented. After the war claims were made he was involved in smuggling Nazis and hiding them at the Vatican. As Ayn Rand said, any compromise with evil only evil gains.

totus_tuus wrote:

That the Church, her representatives, or those engaged in enterprises sponsored by her have engaged in activities which reflect poorly on her I will not deny.  Nor do I find it suprprising that an organization founded for the salvation of sinful humans contains sinners.  I'd expect nothing else. 

Except the Popes are supposed to be the Vicar of Christ God's right hand man on Earth have shown themselves to be some of the most vile men ever.

It isn't any one action of the Church that is less then stellar, its' the continued trend of immoral activities, suppression, control, traditions of ignorance, and lack of criticism of its failure.

In the late 18th century are you aware the Church condemned the United States for its freedom and its democracy? Pius IX if memory serves me correct looked unfavorably on the U.S. I think he was the same pope that developed the concept of papal infallibility which is limited to faith and morals (see Vatican Council of 1869-1870).

 

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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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totus_tuus wrote:In a recent

totus_tuus wrote:

In a recent discussion on another thread, I was asked by Ronin-dog to explain my fear of death in light of my Christian belief in a life after this mortal one. 

Well, I think it's obvious that religion is a psychotic symptom due to excessive fear of death. If you observe Christians on average they seem very obsessed with safety. A fine example of that is the little old lady driving to church on Sundays. Always very slow and careful.

Now if you were old and you new for sure the instant you died you would be in the most ecstatic of paradises with a young body once again, wouldn't you be driving fast and recklessly because even if die you know you're going to a way better place? But you don't see this behavior because Christians don't really believe. Religion is all about lying to yourself.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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totus_tuus wrote:shikko

totus_tuus wrote:

shikko wrote:
So as a side question, if you believe accounts of the afterlife are coloured by emotion, etc., do you think that a belief in an afterlife is grounded in the same sorts of emotions?  If not, why not?  If so, what effect does that have on the validity of the belief?

I beleive that any decision we make, or that any belief we hold can be colored by emotion.  I don't see where that invalidates that decision, or renders that belief invalid.  So, yes, I think that belief in an afterlife, and theism in general can be colored by emotion.  Please note, that I say "colored" by emotion, I do think that there is enough rational evidence of a deity to make that belief a rational proposition.  Kelly's blog article on the positive effects of anger is an perfect example of this.

I should have spoken more directly.  I took what you wrote to mean that you believe people's afterlife accounts are solely social conditioning and not actual experiences thereof.  What I was asking was based on that; is belief in an afterlife despite all evidence that it does not exist, predicated on emotional need of believers?  I understand that faith dictates that it does exist, but it is nothing more than that: a dictum; offered without a shred of physical proof, and a mountain of evidence on the con side.  It seems as if that belief is nothing more than gee-wouldn't-it-be-nice for when things are bad.

Quote:
Quote:
So at least part of your fear of death is fear of the unknown.  I can understand that.  Have you read the book Variable Star, by Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson?  There is a good description in there about the basic conservative/liberal dichotomy (meaning not just politically).  He argues that the basic split is how people feel about the future; liberals are excited by it and conservatives are scared by it.  Your explanation lends some support to the idea.

No, I havent read the book, but an interesting proposition.  I think of myself as a pretty conservative fellow.  Although I think some of my stands on political hot topics would surprise folks.  For example, I am ardently pro-life, but at the same time opposed to capital punishment.  I  support the war in Iraq now (although I was less than enthusiastic in the beginning), but at the same time espouse the rights of "illegal" immigrants (to a degree).  I try to base my political views on the ideals of basic human dignity.

I, for one, would like you know how you square your belief in "ideals of basic human dignity" with supporting the war in Iraq, but that will be getting too far off topic.

Quote:

Quote:
From this, it sounds like the other part of your fear is that given your beliefs, you must assume that 1) an afterlife exists and that 2) your current existence is sufficiently distasteful to the god of your beliefs that your impending afterlife will probably be less than pleasant.

Do I have this right so far?

Somewhat.  But I think I need to expand a bit on the concept of sin.  Not only do I fear the judgement of a just God, but I realize that I have done things which are an affront to the basic dignity of human persons, not only the dignity of others, but the dignity of myself.  

Ay yi yi, who hasn't found things in their past for which they feel remorse?  I can think of a few situations in which I was a right bastard, despite feeling my actions were justified at the time.  I feel both remorse for having done these things and determination to not do them again.  That just means you are actually interested in becoming what you see as a better person, not a reason to fear the inevitable end of your collection of biological processes.

Because I am alive, I am going to die.  I accept this as inevitable, and since it is unavoidable, I see no need to get execrised (exorcized? ha!) about it.  I don't look forward to it because I enjoy living, but it seems analogous to hoping against hope that the wine bottle won't get emptied during a great dinner.

 

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EXC wrote:Well, I think it's

EXC wrote:
Well, I think it's obvious that religion is a psychotic symptom due to excessive fear of death. If you observe Christians on average they seem very obsessed with safety. A fine example of that is the little old lady driving to church on Sundays. Always very slow and careful.

I think what you observed with the little old lady driving to church is a function of age, not of religion.  I know that I cringe watching my boys participate in risky activities which I myself engaged in as a youth. 

Quote:
Now if you were old and you new for sure the instant you died you would be in the most ecstatic of paradises with a young body once again, wouldn't you be driving fast and recklessly because even if die you know you're going to a way better place? But you don't see this behavior because Christians don't really believe. Religion is all about lying to yourself.

Do you think?  Or is it possible that in the Christian view, life, being a gift from God, is not ours to take anymore than it is within our power to give it?  God will call us in His own time, not on our schedule.  Catharism, a medieval heresy, actually ascribed somewhat to your view of suicide.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:Of

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
Of course I haven't tested every single theory or principle, I accept past practices in most cases without testing. Though if there is doubt, it is possible to do. Each person has questions about specific things that cause them to delve further into understanding of its nature.

I agree enthusiastically.  Time does not allow the testing, the deep cconsideration of each and every precept we accept to be true, hence, we often accept the thinking of others as, if you will pardon the pun, gospel.

Quote:
They should have never even been allowed by The Church as it was completely contrary to the Gospels and early Church tradition.

You and I are pretty much in agreement here as well.

Quote:
Similar to the Inquisition, the Church violated its directive from Jesus by authorizing the murder of others. If the Soul of the sinner is its only concern how does grabbing land save the soul. Palestine could be claimed by many at the time, but certainly not Europeans who were not Jewish. The Greeks of the Byzantine Empire still had claims based off of the Roman conquests but not the Catholic countries of Europe. Arabs and Persian had a far better claim to the land than English, Germans, or Spanish who had no claim at all.

The Crusades in Palestine did not save Europe from Islam. The wars in the Balkans and the Iberian peninsula did.

War is not prohibited Scripturally.  The right of nations to defend themselvs is reserved.  Read the wole Gospel, not one verse.

The period 700AD through nearly 1600 AD is one long struggle against the aggression of Islam.  It is, perhaps, a struggle we are witnessing the renewal of today.  The wars in the Balkans and in Iberia were fought in the name of European Christendom and were not separate events from the Crusades, but merely episodes in the same vast struggle.  The Crusades were an offensive phase in a defensive war.  They bought breathing space for a Europe besieged from the north, south and east.  Had the Crusades been successful, if the Crusaders seized damascus and severed Islam into two halves, we would most likely not be facing the threat that militant Islam poses to western civilization today. 

Quote:

Such is their directive from Jesus of the Gospels.

Pius XII is another story. As the secretary of state Bishop Eugenio Pacelli he signed the concordat with Hitler in 1933. This removed criticism from the Church of all activities of the Nazis. If Catholics had protested his actions murder of Jews may have been prevented. After the war claims were made he was involved in smuggling Nazis and hiding them at the Vatican. As Ayn Rand said, any compromise with evil only evil gains.

The Concordat guaranteed the rights of the Church in the Reich and time after time was violated by the Nazi government.  These violations prompted numerous objections on the part of the Vatican and resulted in the condemnation in the Encyclical Mit Brenneder Sorge by Pius XI, largely authored for his signature by Eugenio Pacelli.  That's only the beginning of Pius XII actions opposing Fascism, which is probably good fodder for another discussion.

Gotta run right now, more later.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


Louis_Cypher
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Beach Sandles...

totus_tuus wrote:

Louis_Cypher wrote:
I see little in the way of 'justice' in the judeo/christian god image. More of a petty tribal chieftain with unlimited power.

Lemme ask this, do you really think the world as it is now is the best it could possiby be?  Or do you think it could be better?  If you think this is as good as it gets, why?  If you believe it could be better, what fuels that belief?  From whence springs that which Abraham Lincoln called the "angels of our better nature"?

I don't think our better nature is the result of magic performed by a monstrous desert demon you call god. I see it more as a result of culture, and evolutionary adaptation to the need to keep the tribe together. We are 'good' simply because it's the only way a tribal/herd species CAN survive.

This is what you said...

totus_tuus wrote:
As for the other concerns, they really aren't.  This is where I use the historical record to make my decision.  If there is a Creator God, then the Jewish Scriptures relate a story most matchable top science to describe our Universe and its creation. 

And this is what you said when I called you on it...

totus_tuus wrote:
To the same extent that Tolkien's saga of Middle Earth bears no resemblance to the struggles of the earth we know.  Yet his commentary on  the battle between good and evil, the temptations to use evil in the pursuit of good, or the benefits of hope for humankind are clearly to be seen.  The Creation account of Genesis is meant to illustrate that a God created the Universe, that the crowning achievement of that Creation is Man.  It demonstrates that the universe was created over time, in stages with each stage dependent on the previous, that Man is an intentional creation whose formation was guided by God.  It's not a science text.

However, the analogy is apt in one sense, both books are works of fiction.

 

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


pauljohntheskeptic
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totus_tuus

totus_tuus wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
Similar to the Inquisition, the Church violated its directive from Jesus by authorizing the murder of others. If the Soul of the sinner is its only concern how does grabbing land save the soul. Palestine could be claimed by many at the time, but certainly not Europeans who were not Jewish. The Greeks of the Byzantine Empire still had claims based off of the Roman conquests but not the Catholic countries of Europe. Arabs and Persian had a far better claim to the land than English, Germans, or Spanish who had no claim at all.

The Crusades in Palestine did not save Europe from Islam. The wars in the Balkans and the Iberian peninsula did.

 

War is not prohibited Scripturally.  The right of nations to defend themselvs is reserved.  Read the wole Gospel, not one verse.

The period 700AD through nearly 1600 AD is one long struggle against the aggression of Islam.  It is, perhaps, a struggle we are witnessing the renewal of today.  The wars in the Balkans and in Iberia were fought in the name of European Christendom and were not separate events from the Crusades, but merely episodes in the same vast struggle.  The Crusades were an offensive phase in a defensive war.  They bought breathing space for a Europe besieged from the north, south and east.  Had the Crusades been successful, if the Crusaders seized damascus and severed Islam into two halves, we would most likely not be facing the threat that militant Islam poses to western civilization today.

You might quote the verse then where Jesus tells the Apostles to kill others to spread the Gospel, as I can't remember ever reading it. The discussion in Luke to sell their clothes to buy swords isn't it. Neither is the comment in Matthew where he said he came not to send peace but a sword.

My argument against the Crusades directed at Palestine by Urban II is it was sanctioning murder of non-Christians. Jesus never told them to kill others to spread the Gospel. He clearly told them the Father was the judge not man. He told them in no uncertain terms to turn the other cheek. The Christian martyrs executed by the Romans held this position that they could not kill or fight back per the directive of their savior. Urban II did fight back and used the Catholic Church to sanction murder. He went against the words of their savior. Read Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:38-48.

I don't take issue with war to stop invasions at all, rather I take issue with hypocritical concepts of the Church. The other Crusades directed at heretic Cathars and enemies of the pope's family are even worse.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


totus_tuus
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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:You

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
You might quote the verse then where Jesus tells the Apostles to kill others to spread the Gospel, as I can't remember ever reading it. The discussion in Luke to sell their clothes to buy swords isn't it. Neither is the comment in Matthew where he said he came not to send peace but a sword.

LOL.  "Show me where it says this, but you can't cite the verses where it says this."  That's OK

"Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar..."  Certainly the perogative to wage war belonged to the state in the frist century.  War requires, if not the consent, at the very least the complicity of the population.  Jesus didn't put any exceptions into his statement regarding what Christian citizens were liable to render to the state, his teaching was obviously inclusive.

Quote:
I don't take issue with war to stop invasions at all, rather I take issue with hypocritical concepts of the Church. The other Crusades directed at heretic Cathars and enemies of the pope's family are even worse.

I readily admit that there have been episodes of misbehavior by Popes.  The Church was founded by Christ for the salvation of sinners, therefore it is no surprise that sinners should be found within its ranks, even at the highest levels.  That excesses occurred during Crusades is undeniable and regrettable.  Such things happen in every war however.  it's a risk associated with humans attempting to apply controlled violence.

Is it your contention that the Crusade against the Cathars was a simple slaughter of peaceful peasants?  I think it was an insurrection against the established government, backed by the arms of rebellious nobles who smelled personal profit and gain by supporting that insurrection.  Do governments have the obligation to defend the state against internal insurrection as well as against external threats?  I think so. 

 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


pauljohntheskeptic
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totus_tuus

totus_tuus wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
You might quote the verse then where Jesus tells the Apostles to kill others

"Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar..."  Certainly the perogative to wage war belonged to the state in the frist century.  War requires, if not the consent, at the very least the complicity of the population.  Jesus didn't put any exceptions into his statement regarding what Christian citizens were liable to render to the state, his teaching was obviously inclusive.

What I asked was basically did Jesus tell his disciples to use force to spread the Gospel? The comment about render to Caesar (Matthew 22:19-23) was regarding money and things of this world. It's a real stretch to take that to mean war. The Jews had been exempted from serving in the Legions by Julius Caesar in May of 48 BCE and that exemption was in place during Augustus' and Tiberius' reigns when Jesus was alleged to have lived. The words of Jesus seem clear to me. Turn the other cheek and do good unto your enemies. How this is misinterpreted to justify war I don't see. Other things he says is to Love your neighbor as yourself do not support killing.

totus_tuus wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
The other Crusades directed at heretic Cathars and enemies of the pope's family are even worse.

I readily admit that there have been episodes of misbehavior by Popes.  The Church was founded by Christ for the salvation of sinners, therefore it is no surprise that sinners should be found within its ranks, even at the highest levels.  That excesses occurred during Crusades is undeniable and regrettable.  Such things happen in every war however.  it's a risk associated with humans attempting to apply controlled violence.

Is it your contention that the Crusade against the Cathars was a simple slaughter of peaceful peasants?  I think it was an insurrection against the established government, backed by the arms of rebellious nobles who smelled personal profit and gain by supporting that insurrection.  Do governments have the obligation to defend the state against internal insurrection as well as against external threats?  I think so.  

You are somewhat fuzzy and in error on the Cathars. In the region of greatest concentration in Languedoc there was little authority by any king. The closest would have been the Count of Toulouise who had no control over the area. Many of the nobles and most of the people were believers in Cathari ideas. There were over 1000 perfects, those who had achieved the state of being fully initiated and many more believers. The 1208 Inquisition against them was not the first attempt to suppress their beliefs it had been more or less relentless since 1179. I suggest you read a book or 2 on the Crusades especially the Albigensian Crusade such as The Crusades by Jonathan-Riley Smith or even some of the works by Norman Cantor. Clearly the Catholic website NewAdvent is very biased in this matter and you should read non-Catholic histories for somewhat of an objective look. Your contention that this was a rebellion against an established government is in error. Even if it was so, which it is not, the United States is a country where the people rebelled against established authority as well. So do you think England still has the right to exterminate us all?

This discussion is somewhat drifting from your original intent of the fear of death though all these issues are related to having faith in Jesus as the savior. It seems to me many Christians haven't heard or understood what Jesus actually said. Or they just ignore them and go about in selfish pursuit of power and control of others. My complete objection to the Crusades is on the basis of it was against the words and commands of Jesus in the Gospels not to mention the unknown at the time concept of freedom of religion . The fact that religion is used for power and control over people is one of my major complaints against the Church. As you are part of the Catholic Church I maintain you have the blood of those murdered in the name of Jesus on your hands too. Therefore you should fear death as you may pay for the sins of complicity. After all if God can hold you as a sinner for Adam and Eve he surely can do so for all those that were murdered in his name as well by the Church you so esteem.

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.