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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.
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 '' 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... []
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?
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.
Inside the government.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
I was not aware of this fact. Another example of the 1950's "Red Scare" hysteria like McCarthyism and adding 'In God We Trust' on our currency. :-(
Ezekiel 23:20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Ah, but the next verse is even more ... um ... titillating: "So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled." Ezekiel 23:21 (NIV)
I'm Agnostic. Not an atheist... Did you come to the right place?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Wow! Where did you get the idea that atheists believe in "absolutely nothing?" The definition of an atheist is one without a belief in a god, or gods. But there's so much more to believe, after that. Many atheists are fond of saying that the only difference between a Christian, Jew or Muslim (for example) and them is that they disbelieve in one god more than the believer. These believers are, in one way of thinking, 99% there! But an agnostic, on the other hand, focuses on knowledge, and most agnostics readily admit that they have no knowledge supporting the evidence for a god, and may in fact never attain such. The funny thing is, agnostics do not live their day-to-day lives much different than atheists, as both do not rely on supernatural support for their subsistence, nor do they credit or blame a deity for natural phenomena or the achievements or disasters caused by man. I was reluctant to admit my lack of belief in a deity--troubled by the teachings from the years of my Christian upbringing. So I called myself an agnostic for years. But I eventually came to the realization that they're just two sides of the same coin. I am no less open minded now that I've embraced the label of atheist, and I hope you can come to see the validity of this point of view.
We hold these truths to be self evident.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Fantasy indeed!
Religions: More harm then good?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
Having finally rid myself of my religious upbringing, and felt for the first time, utterly liberated and able to breathe deeply, my answer of 'more harm than good' is hardly unbiased. But I would be willing to compromise with the religions of the world and perhaps give them a pass, if they all would do just one thing: wait until children are of voting age, or at least the age of consent, to introduce the concept of religious faith.
When and why do people become atheists?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 6, 2018:
When they see the harm that people do in the name of religion. When they cry out to God and hear no answer. When they understand how stories become myth, and myth becomes legend, and legend becomes reality. When they realize that if they were born in Baghdad or Bangkok or Dehli they'd believe something else, and think it just as true. When they investigate the universe, with its vastness and intricacies and find no fingerprint of the supernatural. When they see the endless suffering on this planet, especially by innocent children, and realize that a supreme being could have prevented it, and see no evidence of a master plan. When they study their holy books, and find them flawed and imperfect, no better or more advanced than the men who wrote them.
How can supposed religious teachers not know even the basics of other large religions or atheism, or...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
When it comes to parochial schools, “religious teachers” may be too religious to be of good use. The best comparative religion teachers are often well-versed, secular nonbelievers, who are able to understand religion as mythology, view the so-called holy books as fiction, and willing to identify repeated and overlapping themes.
I've been watching animal videos most of the evening. Please, enjoy some owls. :) []
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Strigiformes are my favorite order of birds, and the music by Chris Zabriskie is too chill for words. Thanks for sharing this!
How does one go about being a polite atheist?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Growing up I was taught to 'hate the sin, not the sinner.' Today I strive to 'hate the belief, not the believer.' Almost all engagements on religion appear pointless, as they bear little fruit--at least, not at first. But it is possible to plant seeds, as the believer will always remember with fondness, that nice nonbeliever who treated them as a person, and didn't behave at all like they were expecting.
Every one has their heros , or at least people they look up to.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Thomas Jefferson is high on my list too. Clearly we'd be better off with his version of the Bible (with all the miracles redacted)! And were it not for his efforts, my avatar--another Thomas--might have died in a French prison!
What ever happened to single minded positions??
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
I'm of two minds about this topic. ;-)
The need for religion, not God came up today.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Ah, yes, the utility argument—religion is useful, so it must remain. It serves a purpose for the masses, albeit inconsistently, and answers troubling questions, replacing them with even greater questions in the guise of the mysterious. But we haven’t always had religion. Organized religion arose during the Neolithic Revolution, as cultures transitioned from nomadic hunter-gatherers to agriculture and settlement. Imposters who called themselves prophets, oracles and priests claimed unique authority, and the compliant and ignorant were subdued. And in nearly every nation or empire, the altar supported the throne, and the throne endowed the altar. But we now know, if we know anything at all, that the doctrines, creeds and dogmas were of purely human invention, and that the pompous pretenders who go by the title of ‘clergy’ and who have the gall to assert a special calling, know nothing more about the infinite than do we, the so-called laity. Religion is a sham, its comforts are a placebo and its promises are hollow, and worst of all, it continues to slither around the halls of political power, seeking advantages for itself, and in return, obtaining justification for its very existence.
Human Sacrifice: The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Jephthah, and he offers up his daughter as a ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
The Bible makes clear, over and over again, that the smell of burning flesh is 'an aroma pleasing to the Lord.' Kind of makes you wonder if the Lord liked it so much, does he miss it today? No clearer example of the immorality of God exists than the story of Jephthah's daughter! Why, after all, didn't the Lord intervene in Jephthah's daughter's situation, as he had for Isaac? Is it because daughters are of lesser value, compared with sons? It was a careful rereading of the Bible, and passages such as are found in Judges, which led me to conclude that no God worthy of the designation would have been responsible for such brutality and atrocity as are chronicled here!
What did the organic chemist say to the philosopher? i think ergot i am.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
If a tree falls in a forest, but there's no one there to witness it, does it decompose?
It's been a few months now, but what are everyone's thoughts on the Sam Harris vs Ezra Klein ...
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
I've long held that data sets are separate and distinct from the conclusions drawn from them. In listening to this discussion, it appears (to me at least) that Klein is arguing less from an intellectual (or data-driven) point of view, than is Harris. In fact, Klein's assertions rely less on statistics, evidence and analysis, in my opinion, then they do on emotional (third rail) concerns. That is my opinion, and I could be wrong, but we miss the point when pondering which 'combatant' should be declared the winner, don't we? After all, what are the data backing Charles Murray's research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of his conclusions? And, what further investigation and data collection is warranted here? Some have argued that the very topic does not warrant any additional research, but how scientific is this assertion? Science is, after all, color blind. Finally, Harris is attempting to get at a more basic question, namely: What is happening on college campuses in the U.S. where invitations to speak and even honorary degrees have been rescinded, based entirely on the reaction to campaigns, which often involve ad hominem attacks by an outspoken minority of students? What is actually happening on college campuses, particularly those which once championed the First Amendment?
Curious about others' path toward atheism.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
I agree with your point about comfort and lack of pretense. In fact, I am able to breathe deeply and freely now that my religious past is but a speck in my rear view mirror. I was somewhat rebellious in my teens, and dared even to make light of my faith. For which I later felt guilty, and decided to take Pascal's wager, and doubled down on faith. It took me decades to find my way out of the labyrinth created by my religion, but the seed of my doubt, and the first of many subjects I would confront the so-called Creator with, is the Problem of Evil.
The many sides of Eddie Izzard | The Saturday Paper
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
During my religious transition from doubt to eventual abandonment, comedians like Eddie Izzard, George Carlin, Dave Allen, Ricky Gervais, Jim Jefferies and Lewis Black helped lift my spirits. Laughter is, very often, the best of all medicines!
A near death problem.
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Your story is both inspirational and motivational--an MBA for 'shits and giggles?' How I would love to have someone like you at my company! By the way, Oprah Winfrey spells her name with an 'h.' ;-) Peace!
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future!..
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Indeed! I see you too are a follower of the great American Yogi, the philosopher who so famously observed, 'The future ain't what it used to be.' --Yogi Berra
So,religious people actually,find the word atheist offensive,why?
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
I was raised to believe that the word 'atheist' was equivalent to Satan or the Devil. All atheists, according to my Christian schoolmasters and church leaders, were agents of evil, damned to destruction by fire. The very word was a trigger for fear and hostility, and especially guilt for anyone who dared doubt the 'evidence' for a god. To many Christians, the reason it is an affront to deny the existence of their god is that their very identity is closely interwoven with their religion. But this is well known. So my question then is this: why does it seem so hard for many nonbelievers (who may never have been part of a religious upbringing) to understand and empathize with those who remain 'under the spell' of Christianity? Do you not recognize thought control when you see it?
Hey Nike!!!
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 5, 2018:
Protest is honored right in this country, and should be protected. How many remember the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City? We watched with jaws dropped as gloved, black fists were raised from the medal podium during the National Anthem. And yet, most seemed unwilling to confront the source of Smith and Carlos' protest. Today, the same howls and cries are heard in response to legitimate public protest--unpatriotic, un-American, dishonor, etc. How little we seem to have advanced in the past 40 years!
(Possibly) a new type of galaxy discovered. []
p-nullifidian comments on Sep 4, 2018:
A ring model for galaxies--with multiple rings, even? Fascinating! Thank you for sharing this.
Neil deGrasse Tyson continues to deny he’s an atheist despite also saying he does not believe in ...
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 29, 2018:
Atheism is not a political party, movement or system of belief. Those of us who self-identify as atheists are pleased to recognize others who share the same values, but the label isn't as important as the way one conducts themself.
Wow Driving around Virginia (USA) and lost count A LONG time ago of how many churches I've seen...
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 29, 2018:
And yet Virginia is somewhere in the middle, according to Pew Research, when it comes to religiosity. One must peel away to the next layer of that onion, and examine religiosity by county. Fairfax county, for example, is probably a lot different than some of the neighboring counties. Even in my state of California, one can find regions of religiosity, and more mega churches (with 2,000 or more attendees at each service) than in any state. Think of what passing the offering plate means in one of those churches!
What is your Idea about the "SUPREME BEING"?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 29, 2018:
If there were a supreme being, it/she/he is infinitely above us in it/her/his evolutionary development. Can we humans be flattered by the worship of a bacteria? And do you honestly think that the purpose of our lives is only made manifest through the recognition and adoration of some unseen, unheard and indefinable entity, with which we share nothing in common? That is, unless of course you believe the anthropomorphized fictions of religion?
Transitional turtles.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
We may sometimes forget what sets of circumstances need to occur in order for a creature to become a fossil. The overwhelming majority of animals no doubt decayed naturally, their flesh devoured, their bones scattered, and their very atoms cast into the four winds to be recycled into other living things, including us. To focus on an insufficient fossil record is a red herring, as we clearly have plenty of evidence (geological, biological, paleontological, genetic, embryological, biochemical, climatological, etc.) to support the concept of gradual change over time--in other words, evolution.
I hope you can read this, John McCain's last words from his last book.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
If there were such a thing as a "soul," John McCain's conscience informed the "soul" of his party, and we can only hope that a renewal of cooperation, civility and collaboration is in his party's future, thanks in no small part, to the example of this maverick politician. The party machinery has bequeathed to us our present nightmare--our current reality. And yet, with more mavericks and fewer party faithful (on both sides), cooperation, civility and collaboration could become more palatable. Until then, all we seem to have are zero sum games and wars of extermination on Capital Hill, enabling the Executive to dominate the agenda.
Are we all basically selfish apes?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
Brilliant post ... is this a dissertation? ;-) In all seriousness, while I clearly am not an anthropologist, I don't believe selfish apes would necessarily have had a survival advantage over cooperative (even self-sacrificing) apes. In fact, there are indications that group cohesion suffers when the dominant behavior involves 'self' over 'group.' Incidentally, I am not a big fan of Machiavelli, as you might assume. Briefly, I found your Exhibit B very intriguing. While I recognize that the development of the whites of the eye (and associated muscles enabling movement) could support an agenda of deceit, it could just as easily support survival. For instance, a physically dominant group lacking the ability to indicate their intentions without turning their heads, would be at a disadvantage when confronting a group who could, with a mere glance, collaborate on defensive maneuvers and countermeasures. Finally, I agree with your conclusion. Namely, that nature would have selected for functional groups and the pooling and transmittal of useful knowledge. But let us consider one final factor, or modality--self sacrifice (i.e., martyrdom). An inherently selfish (and likely cowardly) group would be at a disadvantage when confronting an interwoven group dedicated to the long-term survival of the community. A group with a 'warrior-like' ethic, in which individuals were ready and willing to sacrifice themselves for the survival of their group, could most certainly prevail over the inherently selfish ones.
If god really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him. -Mikhail Bakunin
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
Nice! This quote (which is new to me) would seem to be the other bookend to Voltaire's famous (and ironic) statement: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
Do priestly classes know God's Word better than God self.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
Theology, or metaphysics, is a fraudulent field of study, religion is a sham, and the clergy know all this. They’ve spent quality time behind the curtain, and are well aware of religion’s pretense. They know suckers when they see them, and continue to succeed in convincing millions that they have a unique channel to truth and enlightenment, knowledge of the divine about which the layperson is, to his/her misfortune, bereft. From their exalted (and physically elevated) position, these con artists and charlatans go by many titles: rabbi, priest, imam, prophet, pastor, evangelist, etc., but there is one thing of which we may be certain: they know absolutely nothing more than any other human being about the actual nature of their deity or the so-called mysteries of creation.
My dog Puck died today.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
I'm so with you on this, and am sorry for your loss. Our rescue dog is not doing so well either, and we're not sure how much longer she has. But she's still the most gentle, loyal friend we've ever known. When I was at the vet with her just a few weeks ago, I saw this sign and just had to capture it. So true, for dog lovers like ourselves.
What damage has social media caused to the individual?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 28, 2018:
I am in the camp of 'net harm' caused by social media. Former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya's conversation about the medium he helped start is refreshingly blunt. What does it tell you when a guy who became a billionaire from the site he helped start doesn't use it and won't let his children use it either?
Confrontation with a Flattard.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 27, 2018:
For the first time in my life I met and engaged with a flat earther, here on this website. I was accused of not having an open mind. When I told her that I spent a good portion of my career in satellite operations and space launch, I never heard from her again. I'm of two minds on the whole notion of engaging the fringe. I mean, if the batshit is that deep, do you really want to wade into it? In any case, if the world were flat, I'd sure enjoy living on the edge! ;-)
Some Of The Oldest Ice In The Arctic Is Now Breaking Apart : NPR
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 24, 2018:
As a kid growing up in the 60's, I remember my grandfather and his brother (my great uncle) sitting on the porch talking ad nauseam about the weather. In an era when the weather was less extreme than what we see today, it seemed to be their favorite topic. Nowadays, it appears that, while the weather is front page news, half of us don't want to confront it, in terms of what it might mean for our future. Our elders believed that our climate, and even the local weather, was what God deemed it to be. Even insurance companies made policies which excluded "acts of God." What's up with that? I mean, how does an insurance company insure an atheist? In any case, we are long past the point for discussion about the weather. However, in a democracy, an ignorant or intransigent electorate will often send a representative that is poorly equipped to confront these issues. Democracies in which the majority are poorly educated and distrust science are, perhaps, the most vulnerable.
From Aeon on the Stoic philosophy of dealing with loss.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 24, 2018:
It would seem an impossible task to 'fully appreciate' anyone or anything, until confronted with the reality that the chance for further appreciation--in person, at least--is gone. And even then, 'full appreciation' is an ideal, that is never fully realized. Am I wrong? I am one who believes that the agnostic author of Ecclesiastes was correct in stating that there is a time, or season, to mourn. And when we do mourn for the loss of one dear, it isn't a sign that we failed to fully appreciate them, rather, we mourn what their absence means, in terms of a lost future. No more interactions, conversations, hugs, smiles, exchanges, and so many other opportunities, now lost to all who knew, or might have known, the departed, not to mention the individual him/herself. It seems to me that religions and philosophies that seek to confine, redefine or diminish emotions, often do so without recognizing the value of our broad spectrum of feelings, both at the individual and group level. Rather than attempting to become Vulcans, let us better understand how and why we emote, and seek to balance rather than to suppress.
I go back and forth between not believing in a God and wishful thinking that there is.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 24, 2018:
You are hardly alone. Many of us who have left the faith of their childhood have expressed similar sentiments. The author, Julian Barnes, is noted for having said, "I don't believe in God, but I miss him." I kind of felt the same way as a kid about Santa Claus. "...spending an eternity in a heaven or hell based on how you lived your life sounds like a crock of shit." What's an even greater crock of shit is that the Christian tradition allows for one who's lived their entire life as a criminal, rapist and murderer a free pass into heaven, so long as they confess, prior to death. It is quite natural to fear death, and as we near it, to 'rage against the dying of the light.' But when one considers the state of one's consciousness, prior to birth, death is very much the same thing. "Wtf is the point of existence." Quite honestly, when one gives up on the concept of heaven or an afterlife, one is free to make the most out of this life, and make good decisions for those who come after. I have come to the point of view that it is the very belief in a paradise or the hereafter that diminishes the importance and meaning of this life. After all, when a person views this life as a waiting room for what's to come next, how vested are they really in this world? The point to our lives is what we make of it, not what others dictate.
I’ve been very involved in my local town hall.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
I think you've probably already figured out by now that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is a good resource, but the larger question, for me at least, is how hard up are you? Are you willing to go to the mat on this one? Do you have kids or a spouse who would be drawn into this? And to what extent is your livelihood dependent on your community? Do you wish to retire there? Do you have any allies in this fight, or are you the sole champion? It's your call to make in this struggle, but go into it with eyes wide open, would be my advice. Peace.
So you mean that God knows all my problems too well even before I have them, yet requires that I ...
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
Too many paradoxes in orthodoxy ... which is what caused me to doubt in the first place.
Happy Thursday to all ?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
Yes, let us remember the mighty Thor on his day! ;-)
Isn't funny that each religious church believes that their form of religion is the only true one?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
"An eternity seems like a very long time to be worshiping a god." If there were a god, would it really need (or even care about) the feckless forms of worship from beings so beneath it? Why is worship, the very thing that no person should give to any one or any thing, considered virtuous? Do I want my children to worship me? And what does it say about a father who does? Worship is dread and fear and awe, until we dare to look behind the curtain and realize how foolish we were. If there were a heaven, it would, in my view, be populated by those whose knees are no longer dusty and who stand erect, looking directly at whatever is before, never bowing to any being, mortal or divine. If that describes hell to some, so be it--it doesn't exist either.
Why is it so difficult for people to accept facts over fiction with regard to religion?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
Facts? Does not religion offer, in so many cases, an alternative set of facts, found in their holy books, doctrines and creeds? Your last point is key, in my opinion, as most people who argue for the validity of their particular religion forget that what they believe is, for the vast majority of adherents, simply a factor of geography, and that had they been born in Delhi, Riyadh or Bangkok, instead of Birmingham, they'd practice, and likely defend, an entirely different system of belief.
If you are now an atheist, what other supernatural oddities, if any, did you used to believe in?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
It was a relatively easy step, upon realizing that I'd lost belief in religious thinking of all kind, to recognize that there can be no such thing a miracle. If, after all, we live in a natural universe, there can be no interruption by any supernatural agency that breaks the steady chain of causes and effects.
"Income inequality not gender inequality positively covaries with female sexualization on social ...
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
According to the abstract, "Income inequality positively covaried with sexy-selfie prevalence," but the distribution of sexualized imagery across income demographics isn't stated.
Did you see Trump's interview with Fox News yesterday? If so, what are your thoughts?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 23, 2018:
Trump asserted that if he were impeached, the market would tank. If anything, his actions--tariffs, erratic geopolitical threats via Twitter, etc.--have impeded economic progress. Although, I must admit to not being all that sanguine when it comes to the idea of President Pence.
Is there such a thing as "cultural theft"?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 22, 2018:
By the way, @Matias, I think you meant 'cultural appropriation,' as opposed to 'theft' ... am I right?
I just had a discussion with a man claiming that he was a warlock with magical powers.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 22, 2018:
Why on Earth would any sane person wish to hold a discussion with an insane one? Next!
Is there such a thing as "cultural theft"?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 22, 2018:
I tend to agree with you on this one, Matias. People forget that, unlike one's physical characteristics, culture is a choice. If you or I appreciate a particular type of music or food, learn how to reproduce it accurately, and even profit from this knowledge, we are not appropriating anything, but are rather expanding its audience. A few years back when this topic was first making a splash, I found this YouTuber's video on the subject most enjoyable. Peace.
Do you think that information can be destroyed, or do you think that it is a permanent component of ...
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
"Do you think that information can be destroyed, or do you think that it is a permanent component of the universe’s anatomy?" Information is stored in records. Can records be destroyed? By all means. The library of Alexandria, the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the destruction of Memory Alpha by the 'Minds of Zetar,' ;-) Great losses can occur, and without back-ups once the data is lost, it is lost forever. But this only relates to our attempts to gather, store and analyze information. Phenomena, discoveries and observations of fact are necessarily dependent on an observer. We are the recorders of all information we collect, produce and disseminate. However, it seems to me that the universe would continue and function just as it does today, even if our entire planet were destroyed by an asteroid.
How dare the pope ask ordinary Catholics to atone for child abuse? []
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
Perhaps this was Francis' way of opening the door to a 'flattening' of the Catholic Church? If, after all, so-called 'ordinary Catholics' are to be held to account for the abuses committed by their elders, then the only reasonable response on the part of the parishoners is to re-define the order and to re-construct the lattice work of authority, introducing making the Catholic church more 'congregational' and less hierarchical. Just a thought.
Field Museum of Natural History during a private party.......
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
Love the Field Museum! Made periodic sojurns when my son was attending DePaul. Chicago's a great town!
Do you believe in dreams?
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
A loaded question ... belief in dreams?
Religious people are members of a contemporary "Cargo Culture".
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
I tend to agree with my colleague, @Matias on this one. Cargo cults were a phenomenon of World War II, which enveloped aboriginal peoples, relatively unknown to the West at the time. With no understanding of technology, it's easy to see how these islanders came to regard, in the words of Arthur C. Clarke, this "sufficiently advanced technology" as "indistinguishable from magic." And here, it's important to emphasize the linkage between superstition, magical thinking and religion. The cargo cults are a relatively recent development. But were they to remain for many centuries, an entire superstructure of formality (or a creed) might be developed, as has been the case with all religions. No religious faith was fabricated in a relative vacuum overnight from whole cloth. So the common thread, in my opinion, between the cargo cults in the South Pacific and their counterparts belonging to the so-called established religions, is superstition, or what may be termed as a reliance on magical thinking. As one of my favorite thinkers of the 19th century, Robert Ingersoll noted: "[E]very religion has for its foundation a miracle—that is to say, a violation of nature—that is to say, a falsehood." The Gods, 1878
Byron, and so lovely.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
Thank you for bringing this lovely poem to our attention. I'm a choir geek, always looking for good choral settings of the best prose our planet has to offer. Here's how I was introduced, or perhaps reintroduced, to Lord Byron's immortal lines, by the wonderful British composer, Paul Mealor. Peace.
I've been a fan of the show ' the Atheist Experience ' for about a decade.
p-nullifidian comments on Aug 21, 2018:
Apart from behavior, the caller's arguments are made all the more weaker by the recent revelations in Pennsylvania.
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