Agnostic.com
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Married 39 years, father of two, business owner, amateur astronomer, engineer, veteran, choral singer, analyst, school teacher, native Californian.

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Its been proven that Jesus did not exist. So why hasn't Christianity collapsed yet?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 27, 2018:
It has been proven? Really? How? In what universe do you claim to be able to prove (in the classical sense of the word) that a mythological being does not exist? Please provide your thesis or proofs.
Chris Hedges is a man worth listening to. Where are we headed as a country? [youtu.be]
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 27, 2018:
Mr. Hedges is worth listening to? The man who gave us the term, 'the cult of science' and wrote the book, 'I Don't Believe in Atheists?' Seriously?
This post is for a debate. What caused the universe?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
Our universe is roughly 13.7 billion years of age, but there may be an endless number of universes that predate, or even coexist with, our own. There is, it seems to me, an infinite regression / succession of causes and effects, which do not require an 'uncaused cause,' or deity. This only raises the question as to what caused its existence, and if there is one thing we are able to ponder, it is the impossibility of a first cause or a last effect. And yet, as my avatar, who was a Deist, believed, even if there were an almighty entity that created the universe and its laws, it clearly has moved on to other things, and takes no interest in our daily existence. The laws which guide the universe, including the steady chain of causes and effects, have never been interfered with or broken. If science has shown us anything it is that miracles exist only in our imaginations.
I was just listening to Terry Gross interviewing Derek Black, former white nationalist on Fresh Air.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
This TedTalk is one of the most incredible stories I've ever heard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSH5EY-W5oM
The Comics Section: Conspiracies and Hypotheticals - TheHumanist.com
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
This awesome exchange is at the core of all superstition, religion and conspiracy theories: Jesus: "So where do conspiracy theories come from?" Barmaid: "I don't know. Maybe there's an evolutionary advantage in being hard-wired to detect agency, whether it exists or not, and we generate a lot of false positives?"
Decisions, decisions.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
I choose pornographic memes.
Have you ever started a conversation with a person who seems normal enough until the topic switches ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
"Delete that shit right now 'HOE?'" What century are we in?
An interesting quote by Alan Watts "There is no fate unless there is someone or something to be ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
Reading this quote of amorphous vaguery evokes feelings of ... Jell-O.
You are not responsible for anybody else's happiness.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
Agreed, if by 'responsibility' we mean accountability or a moral trust. But our goal should, in my opinion, be a net contribution to the happiness of others, as opposed to a net extraction (or depletion) in service of only ourselves. In the words of one of my favorite thinkers, that 'Great Agnostic,' Robert Green Ingersoll: "Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so." So, while we may not be 'responsible' for any particular individual's happiness, we can nevertheless be an influence, should they be receptive.
I noticed everybody I've met recently is always looking for something to gain that happiness or ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
While the 'pursuit of happiness' is what we might call an American, if not universal, right, I am of the opinion that true happiness comes not from consuming, but from contributing. I have for years now appreciated the wisdom of Robert Green Ingersoll, that 'Great Agnostic' of the 19th century, who stated: "Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
Asking for the thoughts/opinions of others here.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
Having been raised in a conservative protestant faith, experienced baptism by immersion, and a rebirth of a kind, I can offer the following: 1. I didn't "run to religion" as an escape--it was all I had known. 2. The "reality of life" exists within the cocoon--those who are born again and accept Jesus know that we are all destined for heaven, and that this world is a mere way point. That was my reality! 3. When you are brought up in the faith, you don't need your religion to erase a past--unless of course, you've backslidden, and need to be reclaimed. I can't tell you how many re-baptisms I witnessed as people who had rebelled and led a wild life only to be filled with guilt and regret, and thus returned to their faith and were baptized a second time. 4. Newish fashion or fad? I trust you're kidding? When you do a little research you find that these practices and beliefs have been around for millennia!
Is the universe God?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 26, 2018:
What role does gender play in pantheism? If there is a force with intention behind, and a part of, all that exists, why refer to it as male? Such a force would seem unlikely to be equipped with male genitalia.
Creationism for Dummies
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 25, 2018:
It's a trick ... that's just the paper cover! Open it, and this is what you'll see:
Power of prayer?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 25, 2018:
As Dan Barker has so eloquently noted, "Nothing fails like prayer."
Values from facts?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 25, 2018:
I would assert that facts inform, but do not determine, our values. Values are inherently subjective, and while facts may call our values into question, facts alone cannot determine them.
What do you say to people who say you can’t have morals without god?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 25, 2018:
I ask them, 'Please describe the god-given morals,' and then together we proceed to pick them apart. Every moral truth found in the Bible has an historical antecedent, and every moral shortcoming is conveniently ignored! At some point, it may be admitted that humans, and none other, are responsible for our moral codes.
I was sitting on an airplane this afternoon and got the chance rewatch Contact for the first time ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 25, 2018:
Absolutely! I remember when this film came out ... and I will never forget the scene where Jody Foster is on the gantry of the Japanese machine, looking down on the spinning gyros. Sagan had it right, if we are all that there is when it comes to "intelligent" life, it sure would be a waste of space!
This is Africa ! Translation,:- "On the way to a barbeque"
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Wait, is that a Holstein? Best milk cow ever! What's she doing there, poor thing.
“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Ignorance is bliss.
Dedicated religious persons are extremely dangerous, they are ready to kill you to prove that a ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Only the most dedicated from a very small number of religions would kill, it seems to me, in order to prove that their God is superior. A search of the data, collected by many organizations, on the number of religiously motivated murders and terror attacks reveals the unsurprising fact that the vast majority of perpetrators claim Islam as their faith and that they acted in accordance to that faith, and that the victims of such attacks are more likely to claim Islam as THEIR faith.
Cooperation is contagious
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
It would seem nearly self-evident that we would not be here were it not for the propensity—perhaps genetically triggered—to cooperate. A survival benefit would most certainly be conferred upon the group that functioned more effectively as a unit, rather than a collection of self-serving individuals. And so it’s reasonable to assume that, while we retain much of our ‘selfish’ genes, we are also predisposed, on the whole, to identify ways and means to work together to prevail, if not thrive. In fact, the survival benefit may be the highest for the group in which the individual is subservient to the community. And yet, there are cases where the group dynamic overcomes the survival instinct, as may be found in mass suicides, which may be ideologically / religiously motivated. From Masada to Jonestown, the instances of large groups choosing self-destruction over an external threat, actual or perceived, while rare, point to a ‘bug’ in our firmware, as it relates to the survival vs. cooperation (or group identity) instinct.
Do you donate essential medical fluids from altruism, or from a financial perspective?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
The people who work in the mobile vans that come to my workplace in Silicon Valley every quarter, or so, have never once indicated that my donation of a pint could be remunerated. I'm curious, why is it allowed to pay someone to donate blood? We are, after all, DONATING! I've never been paid, never heard of anyone who I know having been paid, and find it rather 'twisted' to be 'incentivized to dontate.' Apart from a glass of orange juice and a sugar cookie, my only 'payment' comes from knowing that someone in need of my rather common blood type (A positive) will someday benefit.
Anybody else familiar with the story of the Catholic / Orthodox schism?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
I'm not that familiar with it, but as I recall it was more a political power struggle than it was a religious conflict. The every day layperson probably didn't care, at least initially. The destruction of Knights Templar is a subject that I have read about extensively, but this came suddenly on October 13, 1307 (it was a Friday). The East-West schism to which you refer occurred centuries earlier.
Do christians and ppl of all religions really do believe what is written in their so called holy ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
We should probably all be grateful that the majority of adherents ignore or discard (and thus do not believe) much of what their holy books say they should do. Nearly all pick and choose, which only serves to prove the point that our morals do not come from a book.
I'm far from a christian, but of all the versions of Jesus I ever came across, the ones of him as a ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
All the versions of Jesus, from the gentle, meek and mild to a ripped carpenter who led a revolt and 'came not to send peace, but a sword,' are made-up characters out of a made-up character. We have nothing in the historical record upon which to even base the existence of this person, much less his characteristics. I agree with @genessa, better to recognize a leftist musician who gave us one of the most beloved socialist anthems, This Land is Your Land, than to identify with someone who may never have existed.
Who do priest confess to about their sexual abuse?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Should be obvious, to bishops, who confess to cardinals, who confess to the pope ... in other words, they're all in on it!
Why are we here ?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
For the nonbeliever, there can, of course, be no answer to this question. I like to fall back on the philosophy espoused by Neil Peart, my favorite drummer, who wrote: "Why are we here? Because we're here Roll the bones Why does it happen? Because it happens Roll the bones Faith is cold as ice Why are little ones born only to suffer For the want of immunity Or a bowl of rice? Well, who would hold a price On the heads of the innocent children If there's some immortal power To control the dice?"
“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
I am in complete agreement with this sentiment. It wasn't until I started to seriously doubt my faith, that I began to re-read the Bible, by book, chapter, verse and line ... and I grew more doubtful with each passage. I then found the writings (speeches) of Robert Green Ingersoll, that 'Great Agnostic' of the 19th century, who had these excellent words of advice: "All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention—of barbarian invention—is to read it. Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition—then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity." The Gods, 1873
I FINALLY GOT THE “STAY DUMB” ARGUMENT.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Excellent conversation ... your poor mom! I had a pastor once who became tired of my questions, and said, 'You just have to have faith that God has a plan.' I felt that his willingness to stop probing and remain ignorant was an irrational position. Later I came across this quote by Robert Green Ingersoll, whose lectures from the 1800's were incredibly insightful. “The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." The Gods, 1873 Insanity + Ignorance → Faith
Today I went to my neighbors baby shower.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
"Hey this is your thing not mine!" What a great motto, and my new reply to the imposition of religion, whether by individuals, public policies or laws, in our daily lives!
Can suicide be a part of God’s plan?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Seriously? There's a 'plan?' Well that explains it then ... clearly I missed the memo!
Out of all the the denominations of jesus following religions the mormons creep me out the most.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 24, 2018:
Having abandoned my faith some ten or so years ago, I have found that the further away I get from religion, the fewer distinctions of any significance do I see. As nearly all religious faiths have, as their foundation, superstitions and a belief in miracles--i.e., things that could not possibly have happened and are therefore falsehoods--what does it matter what the Mormons or any other 'brand' espouses?
Is the human embryo sacred or something special ?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
What about IVF or IVG? In the not-too-distant future, all human embryos may be conceived in a lab, and a sperm donor won't even be required, as stem cells can be used to manufacture sperm-like cells. A significant number of blastocysts may result from a single egg harvest, which may then be frozen indefinitely. These samples may be genetically screened for diseases and deficiencies, as well as analyzed for gender and other physical attributes, and perhaps even temperament or personality. The designer child is not that far away, and the unwanted blastocysts, sacred or not, will be discarded and destroyed by the millions. https://media.giphy.com/media/JRF85A7Bcl2YU/giphy.gif
I guess since he's "agast" everything is ok now. [mysanantonio.com]
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
I was 'aghast' once ... turned out I ate too many beans!
Was asked why I am agnostic and not athiest or religious.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
The agnostic states that he/she does not, and probably cannot, know whether or not a god exists. Meanwhile, the atheist states that he/she lacks any belief in a deity. One says they don't or can't know, the other says they don't or can't believe. And yet, in daily life, both conduct themselves in much the same way. Neither the agnostic nor the atheist relies on prayer or the supernatural to get through their day. Neither the agnostic nor the atheist accepts the orthodox religious views regarding the origins or age of the Earth. And neither the agnostic nor the atheist expects things to change on this planet unless men and women alone choose to effect such change. In short, when it comes to day-to-day living, the agnostic and the atheist are more similar than they might care to admit. When I encountered the speeches / writings of Robert Green Ingersoll, the so-called 'Great Agnostic' of the 19th Century, I found no philosophical difference between the atheist and the agnostic. Read for yourself, the essays "Individuality," "The Gods," and "Some Mistakes of Moses."
Many atheists groups on f/b advocate that they should be closed groups mainly because it's useless ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
When it comes to just about any social media platform I’m familiar with, most of the exchanges between differing points of view are void of civility and respect. As a result, the platforms become echo chambers of like-minded automatons. If a platform exists where the ideas are more important than the personalities, I'd like to know about it! In my opinion, ideas are like assholes, we all have one, and we’d all best drop the pretense and just put our ideas out on the table, and let the others bat it around and beat it up. In this way, the best ideas win. And that's all that matters, right? Not who put the idea out there, but which one was the best. Once we are able to divorce our egos from the ideas that pop into our heads, and can see them on that table as detached, ill-formed thoughts, perhaps we can advance beyond tribalism and our own self-admiration.
True Facts : Carnivorous Plants [youtu.be]
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
True Facts (zefrank1)! My favorite YouTube nature videographer!
History goes on whats next ?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
Growing up? We can always hope for that, at least.
Missouri City Councilman Shuts Down Christian Bigot During Debate Over Equality | Hemant Mehta
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
Here's something to consider: What if the argument (associating pedophilia with sexual orientation) were being made by a Catholic priest?
EU to stop changing the clocks in 2019 | News | DW | 14.09.2018
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
It's only a matter of time, so to speak, before we abandon the entire notion of 'daylight savings time,' an experiment that has run its course. Quite frankly, I wish we'd all adopt GMT / UTC / Zulu and dispense with local time entirely. Time zones were created for commercial reasons, and time is, after all, relative!
Scientist Whose Male Boss Won Nobel For Her Work Is Giving New $3 Million Prize Away | HuffPost
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
I heard Dame Jocelyn Burnell interviewed on the radio last week. If ever there were a person I'd choose to emulate it is her. No pretense, no grudge, no regrets--just a dedication to good science. A brilliant mind and a life well-lived, devoted to understanding the universe, and not to seeking accolades. Were I her supervisor, I could not have accepted the honor without her--this was, after all, the late '60's, not the 19th century!
Greek Orthodox bishop repeatedly dunks tiny baby in water in ‘most violent baptism ever this is ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
Well, about the only thing that comes to mind after seeing this is, 'thank goodness he won't remember it,' and 'that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
Which God is best?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 21, 2018:
The one that leaves us alone and never bothers us (the Deist model)? The Universalist (all encompassing) model? The ultimate pacifist (the Quaker or Jain model)? Now, tell me, which God is worst? Let's begin with the Abrahamic religions, and go from there.
If I told you I had a Beautiful Mind would you understand what I am telling you.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
Yes ... what you are telling me is that humility is not your strong suit.
We say the ends justify the means... but if we poison the means, do we not also poison the ends?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
The word "justify" is the tell here. One needn't justify something that is incontestable. To justify something implies a post hoc rationalization, as opposed to a logical and well-considered decision and/or course of action. Isn't this fairly obvious and a relatively easy argument--the case here should be closed, should it not?
Why are people convinced the sense of self will exist beyond death?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
I have what you might call a ‘kinder and gentler’ perspective about the inspiration for an afterlife, which involves love and loss, as opposed to an egocentric extension of oneself. When you’ve lost someone you deeply love, and dearly miss them, you are open to any idea or philosophy that gives you hope that you will see them again. Love was what motivated our ancient ancestors to develop the idea of an afterlife. Later—much later—religion capitalized on this feeling, created a superstructure, and turned the whole thing into a reward and punishment melodrama. But the core fact remains, we miss those we’ve loved and lost, and we would do almost anything, including delude ourselves, for the chance to be with them again.
Biologically, we humans are forced to perceive an existence where we only have our limited senses to...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
I agree with @cava, we’ve developed sensors that detect information concerning phenomena about which we would otherwise remain unaware. But even if we can access or develop enhanced senses—whether through natural evolution, genetic engineering or artificial implants—we could never say that what we detect is all there is, even if all of what we do detect can be objectively catalogued. But the fact that our understanding is therefore limited, does not make our reality as a species ‘wrong,’ or untrue, unless you mean, ‘incomplete.’ All knowledge is provisional (quoting Popper) and we learn in a never-ending spiral continuum of reexamination, revision and change.
God doesn’t exist. Why or why not?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
The non-existence of anything one might conjure up cannot be proven, but that's a far cry from believing in something without evidence. (see Bertrand Russell's celestial teapot).
It is shocking how many people these days still think the earth is flat?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
I had assumed that Flat Earthers were the equivalent of Pastafarians, so I played along with the joke. I was not aware of people who genuinely believed in a flat earth until I came to this site, and engaged with one of them! I was, quite frankly, stunned when I was accused of having a 'closed mind' on the subject. Once I told her that I'd spent a good portion of my career in satellite ops and space launch, I never heard from her again!
Christianity: because you're so awful you made god kill himself... lol
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
Not only that, as Michael Shermer has so aptly noted, "God sacrificed himself to himself to save us from himself!" This is not a 'mystery' ... it is an absurdity!
What do you really believe.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 20, 2018:
You appear to have aroused the satin-worshipers! The silk wars are nigh!
Are there any female atheist activists?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
In my opinion, few can compare with the writing style of Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of a number of books including the well-considered "36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction," and who happens to be married to Steven Pinker.
Who is the most knowledgeable public atheist today?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
May we assume that, by knowledgeable, you mean intellectually brilliant, particularly in their fields of study (which are clearly not related to the existence of a deity)? If so, in addition to many of the individuals already mentioned, I would include Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, as well as Sean Carroll and Steven Pinker.
Being Jewish
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
My great grandfather emigrated at the age of 17 from Odessa, Russia (now Ukraine) in 1918. If he was a Jew, which my father suspects, he abandoned this faith, in favor of Christianity upon arrival in New York. Someday, perhaps, I may trace my ancestry, but from a religious standpoint, it matters not one iota whether I am descended from Jews or Gentiles.
About religion
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
To whom is Jesus Christ offensive? And in what society? If Jesus Christ is 'offensive' it is clearly a minority opinion in contemporary American culture.
Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion is banned in the Islamic States.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
Good intentions aside, it's probably best to reach out to the Richard Dawkins foundation, considering that your intent is to 'republish' copyrighted material ... think about it?
Can anyone give me the low down on dark matter I am writing a paper
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 18, 2018:
You're writing a paper on the topic of 'dark matter' and you appeal to a blog called 'agnostic.com?' Seriously? With all due respect, asking for the 'low down on dark matter' here would appear to represent, well, let's just say, a 'shot in the dark?' ;-)
God is the construct of society ,Philosophy is dead.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
God's a construct, philosophy's waning not dead (similar to @Dietl), there's no evidence for an afterlife, so it may as well not exist, and longing to know the truth is merely that: longing. Like @irascible I'm with you on 2 of 5.
How did you become an Atheist/Agnostic.etc?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
I began to feel twangs of empathetic dissonance seeing good and decent people who happened to hold different beliefs from me as totally unworthy of going to hell ... a good God wouldn't judge so harshly, I thought. That may have been the beginning of my rethinking of the attributes of God. But it was the problem of evil that broke the spell entirely, and opened my eyes, for the first time, to a life without God.
Iceland Raises Age Of Religious Consent To 21 | Andrew Hall
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
Watch out for Andrew Hall ... his work is seriously "Onionesque!"
Gag me with a spoon... [offers.pureflix.com]
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
From the mind of David A.R. White, founder of Pure Flix, a Christian movie house, and the director and movie producer for a number of Christian films / shows. There's a market for this stuff, or it wouldn't get made.
Dalai Lama says all religions are the same.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
Until seeing the recent video evidence of men dressed similarly to the Dalai Lama committing acts of violence and persecution against an ethnic / religious minority, I had thought Buddhism to be incapable of such intolerance. But seeing the hardline monks of Myanmar as they conducted ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, forced me to remember that religiously motivated violence can occur pretty much anywhere.
INTRODUCTIONS if you please.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
When leaving my Christian tradition, about 10 years or so ago, I came acros the Dalai Lama's book, The Universe in a Single Atom, a book on CD read by Richard Gere. I was immediately transfixed that a religious leader could be so positive about, and interested in science. I examined some of the teachings of Buddhism and hold high regard for many tenets, such as the Eightfold Path. But, I eventually decided to chart my own course, unencumbered by any particular discipline or set of teachings. As my avatar proclaimed, 'my own mind is my own church.'
Anyone else loves and appreciates cats?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
This is Bello ... he's 16. My daughter raised him from a kitten, but he's my cat now--my daughter's moved out, and her boyfriend's allergic!
What is an Anthropologist?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 14, 2018:
My daughter majored in anthropology, with an emphasis on indigenous societies—even got to go to the U.N. for a conference on indigenous issues. But then she went into nonprofits and is now going back to get her MPH, which seems, to me at least, more practical and applicable to the issues of the day.
Can a person believe in evolution and the Bible at the same time?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
My vote of "NO" implies an acceptance of the voracity of the Bible by the Christian, irrespective of the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways in which it has been interpreted. Apart from all the stories of miracles that directly impinge on science, including biology, the two primary foundational beliefs that, as a Christian, I once found at variance with evolution are a) the story of Adam and his fall, and b) the concept of a soul, that may exist outside of our corporeal bodies. a) If we accept evolution, we know that humans are evolved from earlier hominids, and lower forms, and that this process took place over millions of years. Knowing what we now know from anthropology, genetics and paleontology, to name but three disciplines, the story of the first humans found in Genesis simply cannot be true. And yet, it is this very story that binds Christianity. According to Paul, it was Adam’s original sin that called for the Plan of Salvation. And yet, from an evolutionary perspective, it is as foolish to attempt to identify when the first sin was committed as it is to identify when the first human male was evolved. The very reason for Christ’s sacrifice is obliterated by evolution. No Adam or Eve, no sin, no sacrifice, no atonement—no Christianity. b) Secondly, most Christians accept the notion that we have a soul—Catholics and others even consider it a ‘divine spark’ or ‘sacred.’ But from an evolutionary perspective, how and when did these souls arise? Were early souls unsuccessful? Did they, like George Carlin’s Frisbeetarian souls, rise only a few feet and get stuck on the roof? Were early souls able to live for only a few hundred years following the destruction of their hosts? Did Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons and Australopithecines have souls? Did Lucy have a soul and is it still wandering the African plains, 3.2 million years later? Or is Lucy in heaven with God and Jesus, along with the souls of all the other ‘good’ hominids? Unless the Christian wants to believe that God interfered one day, and spliced in a ‘divine spark’ or soul to his chosen Adam and Eve, the entire non-existent science of soul evolution contradicts Christian teaching. Again I ask the Christian evolutionary biologist: how were souls evolved?
Why do I absolutely hate religion?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
Your experience is far worse than mine, and makes me feel sheepish to admit that I share your loathing for religion. It is not necessary or even helpful to harbor shame, however. In the end, from the point of view of an atheist, and even the agnostic, religion is not about a god or gods, but about the leadership and members who practice it. It is they who failed you, not religion itself. I blamed God for years before I finally realized he wasn't there to defend himself or accept the blame.
Where are you on the bridge?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
I'm on a different bridge now--at the helm of the ship of my own mind, where religion has no place. As my avatar proclaimed: "My own mind is my own church," and "The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
In the Abrahamic religions Saturday is the Sabbath. Did they forget?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists most certainly 'remember the Sabbath day.' Note that the Italian word for Saturday is 'Sabato,' which is based on the Latin. It's easy to forget that the 4th commandment was quite explicit: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) Last time I checked, the week ends on the 7th day (Saturday) and begins on the 1st day (Sunday). The question is, where in the New Testament did Jesus, who was a practicing Jew, change the day of worship to Sunday? Not that any of this really matters, mind you!
Albert Einstein believed in the pantheistic god of 17th century rationalist Baruch Spinoza.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
I worry that we sometimes place too much emphasis on celebrity opinion, and in particular, a famous person's views outside of their acknowledged area of expertise. Having read several biographies on Einstein, I feel safe in saying that we wouldn’t want to consult him for advice on marriage and family. In that vein, why is it that a genius in physics is shoved into the position of being an authority on religious belief, a subject that, by its very nature, can claim no legitimate experts, nor depth and accuracy of examination?
Raised Atheist or left a religion?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
I was raised a Christian with a fundamentalist tilt (anti-evolution, anti-homsexual, no ordination of women, etc.) but finally de-conveted in my 50's. The baggage was very weighty, but once it was thrown overboard, I was finally liberated. As a result of being brought up in such a faith, and memorizing large portions of the Bible, I now see the Bible for the sham that it is, and am likely biased in my views. Namely, that the Bible is a worthless piece of trash, and religion has, on the whole, been a net negative.
Is it just me, or r there a lot of people on here that are really taken with their own ability to ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
I resemble that remark! ;-)
"(University of the Witwatersrand) The earliest evidence of a drawing made by humans has been found ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
These scratches don't work for me as art, but then I'm just not into abstraction. ;-)
What I have to say about religion, or about politics is.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
Whaaat! You like Coke AND Pepsi? Ever tried a rum & Pepsi? Doesn't work! ;-)
The Catholic God is so needy, you know, "Love me, OR GO TO HELL"
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 13, 2018:
As if anyone could be commanded to love, especially under threat! Just goes to show how little he knows his own creation.
Capitalism works on much the same principle as evolution.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
With the understanding that capitalism, as it is practiced in various countries, can look and behave very differently, what principles of capitalism do you associate with evolution?
This is exactly why I can’t deal with most Christians!!! Someone posted this on Facebook and had ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
I knew him once, or at least I thought I did. But he was a terrible friend--he kept hiding, and was never around when folks really needed him ... especially the little kids who he was alleged to have adored.
Educated women are sexy!
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
I too am a sapiosexual, and don't need jack boots to rise to the occasion, so to speak.
Will things in the world continue to get better?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
Is this a scientific question, or a philosophical one?
Homeopathy
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
Steve Jobs might still be alive had he not delayed scientifically proven treatments, when diagnosed with a rare, but treatable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead, he tried 'alternative medicine' (juices, acupuncture, 'spiritual healers' and other things he found on the internet) for nine months before finally listening to his physicians. By then, the cancer had spread.
The source attribution effect, or : Tribal thinking trumps reason
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 12, 2018:
Source bias is as old as language and tribes—we are inclined to accept input from those we trust, and reject information from those we distrust, even when the details are essentially the same. And tribalism has worsened in recent years, as reflected in politics, the media and college campuses, for example. However, it must be admitted that this study focused on aphorisms, which are basically adages, clichés or truisms—more opinion than statement of fact. Thus, it might be more accurate to say, 'MY tribal thinking trumps YOUR tribal thinking,' as opposed to 'reason.'
"Reason divides and separates, belief and mysticism unite.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 10, 2018:
I disagree. Reason gives us the Calculus. Can it be said that there are British, American, Indian, Arabian or Chinese mathematics? Is not Calculus the same, no matter the country in which it is studied? The beauty of science is that it proves--whether in Bangkok, Baghdad, Singapore, Dehli, Tokyo, London or Boston. The problem with so-called belief in what may be called, the metaphysical, is that cultural bastardizations are inevitable.
With any luck, this is a welcoming invite from a liberal planet, inviting those of us who are ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 10, 2018:
Seriously? There is an assumption that technologically advanced alien species are inherently benevolent, but this assumption is not logical.
One of the key differences between man and other animals is other animals adapt to their environment...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 10, 2018:
We forget sometimes that our animal friends are also engineers, not merely adapting, but modifying their local environment. Consider, for example, the evolutionary leap for the first beaver to fell trees in order to construct its dam and habitat.
If we have life after death, why is it ingrained in all creatures to do anything to avoid death?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 10, 2018:
All creatures? Only humans, and a subset thereof, believe in an afterlife. And even then, there remains in the minds of many, a good deal of doubt. Consider this: were it not for the instinct to fight in order to survive, we would not be here. It is easy, at times, to bask in the warmth and luxury of leisure, and to contemplate such ideas. But we are evolved from ancestors who dwelt in a world of continual predation, and whose every waking moment was dedicated to survival. Even if there were an afterlife, I hope that each one of us, when the time comes, would 'rage against the dying of the light.'
Can science and religion be reconciled?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 10, 2018:
As you know me fairly well by now, Matias, you can expect that I might disagree. On the whole, I consider religion and science to be at odds with one another, if for no other reason than the means by which each arrives at factual claims about the universe. The epistemology of religion is fatally flawed. When considering a statement of fact made in the teachings, doctrines, revered books and dogmas of any religion, one simply needs to ask, does the statement or claim in any way impinge on science? I’m quite willing to consider a religion which is devoid of the following terms and, as such, doesn’t endorse or believe in them: sacred, worship, miracle, holy, pray, divine, faith, sanctify, sin, heaven, hell, prophecy, clergy, laity, deity, just to name a few. Find me a religion, Matias, that doesn’t have these negatives, and I might be interested. Until then, in the words of my avatar, ‘My own mind is my own church’ and ‘The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.’ In my religion of one, there is no need to reconcile with science!
Did anyone hear about this?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 7, 2018:
Chances are this would not have happened had their T-shirts read "Atheist" or "Ex-Christian" ... anything with the word Muslim in it becomes a 'third rail' issue.
I am into the Hippocrates` maxim : Make food your medicine, and make medicine your food.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 7, 2018:
Many medicines are extracted from nature, as are a good number of mind-altering narcotics. Similarly, there are many naturally occurring toxins and carcinogens. Nature is neither positive nor negative. It kills just as easily as it cures, and neither weeps nor rejoices in the process.
One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 7, 2018:
...and carry on ;-)
You can have all the faith you want in spirits and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 7, 2018:
"Faith only take you so far..." Faith, in the humble opinion of this nullifidian, takes you nowhere! Faith is born of two hideous parents: insanity and ignorance. Insanity because it requires that one ignore reality--in fact it requires that you accept a proposition in direct opposition to the evidence! Faith is a vice, not a virtue, it is credulity incarnate, pure delusion. Consider the definition of faith offered by St. Paul: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Just let that thought make its way into your brain, and detonate! The 'substance of hope?' The 'evidence of things not seen?' Who are we kidding here? In what other realm of day-to-day existence would any sane person even tolerate such ignorant lunacy? Faith no more, and we're all better off.
I had a talk with a Theology Professor Though I am still currently struggling with my ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 7, 2018:
Q: What is theology? A: The study of the 'great mysteries' to be found in the myths, legends and falsehoods called scripture. Q: What is a Doctor of Divinity? A: A degree showing that the recipient knows more about the unknowable (i.e., nothing) than the average person. Q: What is a theologian? A: A verbal prestidigitator.
Is Safetyism Destroying a Generation? - Quillette
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
The very question exaggerates the problem. Destroying a Generation? Hardly! And though I enjoy Jonathan Haidt's work, I find this title to be utter hyperbole! Not all campuses eschew critical thinking and view the conflict of ideas as inherently dangerous or unhealthy. Similarly, not all students--I have two children in college today--require trigger warnings, safe spaces and the serene monotony of unanimity. Most students resent coddling faculty and have grown weary of helicopter parenting, and have come to the awareness that it is only through the exchange of ideas that a better one--sometimes diverging from both original ideas--will become apparent. That said, I find limited benefit in rehashing failed ideas, including those involving racial superiority or stereotypes, unless it is to remind ourselves of our darker past.
Where the Mind Goes Energy Flows Results Grow
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
It is illogical to state the obvious.
The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Wit, it seems to me, is a quality that is both envied and held in contempt. Wit can involve wordplay, irony, satire, sarcasm and even cynicism. Personally, I find the cynic rather dull and brooding. When I think of wit, names like Shakespeare, Voltaire, Twain and Wilde come to mind, men whose religiosity was almost certainly below average. But I am also reminded of Tennyson's line, "Too much wit makes the world rotten."
They held my ex mother in law's funeral at the church. ?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Examples such as this are why people are writing into their wills what should (and more importantly, should not) be included in their memorials. Why should it even be that funerals and weddings be hijacked by clergy as opportunities for making a sales pitch or a plug? The lesson here for each of us is to dictate, well in advance, our wishes regarding our memorial / celebration of life. If you are sensitive to the greater good, perhaps you won't allow your service to be hijacked by the pitchmen and hucksters who wear special collars and robes, even if it means assigning the job to someone other than family! We each have the opportunity to dictate these things, and some choose to do so, while others are less proactive, as may be seen in the examples of two recent well-publicized funerals. Aretha Franklin's family was apparently dissatisfied with the eulogy at her funeral, while John McCain's memorial was what he and his family wanted, and included many things, such as intimate recollections and a prominent middle finger to Donald Trump. We are the designers and creators of our own epitaphs.
How can some evangelicals justify being anti-semitic when Jesus himself was Jewish?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
It's easy. Antisemitic Christians blame the Jews for their rejection of Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy—the Messiah. They champion Christ as a rebel against the Jewish establishment, the Sanhedrin, for which he was executed. So, while Christians identify with the Hebrew birthright, as chronicled in their Old Testament, and consider themselves as sons and daughters of Abraham, the antisemitic camp despises the Jews for their effrontery and prosperity. Please understand this, however. Many Evangelicals find common cause with the state of Israel, under the premise that Jerusalem represents ground zero for armageddon, which these believers look forward to, per the final book of the Bible—Revelation.
Can You Be Good Without God
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Sorry, I couldn't get past the first paragraph, and decided to abandon the article. Contributor Brandon Withrow misses the entire irony behind Voltaire's statement, when he asserts: "'If God did not exist, then we would have to invent him,' said the French philosopher Voltaire. His point: that without a divine being to check right and wrong, any number of atrocities are possible and could go unpunished." Say what? The very point of Voltaire's statement is that God, in fact, was invented! The tired argument asserting the need for an authoritative figure to 'help us' determine the difference between right and wrong no longer holds weight. We have read God's so-called holy books, heard the vapid sermons and witnessed with horror the alleged moral authority of religion, and its leadership.
I can clearly remember my mom praying (and I’ve heard others say this too) that if her children ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
This sentiment evokes the fear-driven prayer so many have repeated: "and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." If the goal is to get to heaven, and this life is merely a 'waiting room' for the afterlife, how much value is placed in the present? Or even, the near future?
Arguing your way into heaven.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
What is meant by 'can't be "measured" directly?'
This may be my last post, have fallen in arrears , may have power disconnected soon, after my ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Peace and long life.