Tag Archives: religion

Why I Ran From the Atheist Crowd

Really I’m just using this as an excuse to put something out there. And what I am posting is a response to someone on Mr. John C. Wright’s site that answered me 11 days after my comment. I thought my response good enough that I would hate to see it lost in the sands of a retired blog post. Although I had to hold back because I don’t think my interlocutor is well versed in philosophy, history, theology, science, technology, logic or common sense.

First her first parlay was in response to this post

…and she writes:

Did you ever wonder why so many new, innovative, especially high-tech things that you find helpful in your life are created by teams of people who predominantly hold views opposite to yours, and find your views generally distasteful? Go to Google campus, or Amazon, or Intel, pretty much any high-tech producer – do you think you’ll find there mostly conservative crowd? Does it make you give up computers, cell phones, internet? Perhaps the whole “conservative” thing has its downsides?

To which I responded:

Hold it. Are you saying that if you hold, for instance that marriage is between one man and one woman, or that Christ died on the cross for man’s sins, that that man will be too what? Stupid, slow, uncreative, non-innovative to work in high tech, to acheive or excel in such a field? Are you attempting to establish some sort of causal link here or are you blowing gas? And what about that exceptions? Are they the ones that manage to hide their drooling in front of the high-tech lefty hero boss-boy? Or are they, somehow, perhaps miraculously, still able to perform despite their retarded ideas?

I had honestly thought after posting this that I had actually made of error in interpreting what her meaning was. Surely, Bob, you can’t think she would mean something like that? Perhaps she is merely asking why he doesn’t quit these other marvels of modern technology since such sectors are comprised of, she says, leftist and liberals.

I leave aside the fact that just because Jeff Bezos comes out for dumb idea #42 doesn’t mean the entirety of Google is behind dumb idea #42, nor necessarily the majority.

And everyone knows, should know, that businesses and corporations are hardly the test for any sort of stand on any social issue. They follow the breeze. If a majority decided to start putting minority X into ovens for extermination, you would suddenly see a bunch of brand new manufacturers of ovens. Introducing the Google 50,000 BTU Bone-Roaster!

They are no better than politicians – and no different in this regard.

Anyway, turns out I was wrong. My interpretation of her comment was right all along. You religious, you Continue reading

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This is Fun

So I’m into the preparatory part of N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God. This isn’t a popular presentation but a scholarly one, so you have some thirty or forty pages of groundwork to go through: preliminaries, questions posed, general thesis, approach to objections, parts and chapters described, etc, etc.

But what fun! I know none of this stuff. Almost zero. I mean I have read the Gospels and Acts and pinches of other works (although my reading of the OT is still sparse – I mean come on, I couldn’t get through the leavened bread! what is the big deal about yeast!?). But how the Jews and pagans viewed resurrection in general? I don’t know.

In general, an atheist tends to not pay any attention to anything having to do with religion, or, spends time attacking it while still knowing nothing about it, or, knows something about it and attacks it, or knows about it and doesn’t attack it (that’s a rare specimen). I was the first. I never looked at any of it for the same reason I never sought out a biography on Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.

It is like joining a murder mystery. But this one is two thousand years old, and, apparently, the victim got up and walked away three days after the event. Beat that Law and Order!


New Acquisition

I’ve become kind of fascinated with the resurrection subject. Seems the most in-depth book I could come across is NT Wright’s Resurrection of the Son of God (it’s a nice 740 pages in length as well!). Of course I should seek a case for the prosecution as well. Having a hard time pinning one of those down. And I have a hard time pinning down mature books on either side of the aisle. Seems all too frequent either one is written with the ease expected of an audience that is already on one side of the argument or the other.

Now a few years ago it would have been unthinkable for me to become interested in such a subject. But since I indulged in a philosophy for years from a woman who claimed to have come up with it in her first memory of herself…well, what’s a little resurrection?


Upgrade

verbum-foundation

I got a cool offer to upgrade my Verbum software from version 5 to 6 for really cheap (comparatively). Not only is the software an upgrade but they bumped me up from Basic to Foundations. It comes with a bunch of material not available in Basic.

I got 3 additional Bibles, a host of Greek Interlinears (if only I could read Greek), the Clementine Vulgate (which I just bought hardcopy last week), 11 harmony and parallel books, 6 additional Biblical commentaries, (I noticed with version 6 they took Catena Aurea off Basic and onto Foundations so I gained nothing there), 3 more patristic period pieces, 9 additional books on medieval  theology.

Deep breath.

Eighteen more modern theology books including Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Cardinal Newman that I almost bought at the bookstore the other day. Seven more books on biblical study, 13 more books on spirituality (some good ones too), a couple more apologetic specimens (although I don’t usually read apologetics) the church documents I don’t care so much about since that is all available online (but in the program they link to a bunch of other stuff via searches, etc) the reference material is too much to even mention but you can find it here.

It also sports 27 different research tools whereas the Basic had 8 or so. I don’t even know what some of these tools even mean. It also comes with videos by Catholic Answers (a radio/video show) which can be lively and entertaining (and it cuts out the meandering questions by the call-ins and gets to the point) and videos by Father Barron (I’ve seen most of those though).

The only disappointment with the upgrade is the lack of history books. With Foundations you get one history book. I like to have a bunch of different histories. Of course, one could argue, these would all be pretty conforming to a “Catholic” narrative. I would agree, but there is also the Protestant narrative. There is the modern narrative that says fighting the Crusades was wrong (I strongly disagree!). There is the Gibbon narrative, Christians brought down Rome. There are all kinds of “narratives” and I haven’t heard the Catholic one yet. And I think I have a pretty neutral source in Durant’s works. Plus, being a natural sceptic (and a bartender to boot!) I tend to check things through pretty clearly.

One pet peeve of mine is some people will hear some item of knowledge, so-called, and then go parroting it around as fact. In the ear, out the mouth, no processing in-between. I say so-called knowledge because if you haven’t processed it, cross-checked it, thought on it, I don’t consider it knowledge anymore than getting a parrot to say “the sky is blue!” is expressing the parrot’s knowledge.

The only drawback to the software as a whole is – who has the time (outside of a seminarian or monk) to make use of 1/4 of the material and resources? I did the upgrade, but if I used 5% of Basic I’d be surprised.


A Couple New Acquisitions / And an Unusual Rant!

TFB

[Heh, I slipped into a rant against mega-churches and prosperity gospel, but I quite enjoyed myself and am leaving it!]

I have had the digital copy for this for a couple of months and I have read the first couple of chapters. The problem was I find it really hard to study in the digital format. Nothing beats being able to shuffle quickly between pages. I also have his more advanced Theology and Sanity. I read a couple of chapters of that last year but felt I needed a primer first. I was really impressed with the scope of his thought, the logical clarity of it.

It was not what passes for “theology” nowadays

joel-osteen

You can get Tony Robbins

images

for that and skip the God stuff if you are going to do something about getting that good life NOW that you know you deserve because… you know… you’re you… and you’re special because… you’re you…cuz’… ah hell, maybe your mother told you you were special, but maybe Dr. Spock Continue reading


A Very Dumb Article

I found what has to be the one of the dumbest articles I have read in awhile titled: Religion’s Smart People Problem: The Shaky Foundations of Absolute Faith.

It does not take too long to grasp the author’s bias. It is in the title of the article, the subtitle and in the first sentence. The bias excuses the continual run of error that start on the first sentence and run to the end of the article.

The article starts out with a question: Should you (general reader) believe in a God?

Answer?

Not according to most academic philosophers.

But that was not the question the academics were asked. They were not asked whether other people should believe in a god, but whether they themselves believed in a god. That may sound like a minor distinction and a trivial one since what one believes one also wants others to believe. At least that is what we believe is the general goal of anyone who believes in anything.

I disagree with this. I can firmly state that when I was an atheist, I did not hold that therefore others should be also. And it was not a charitable stance on my part, I sincerely thought that some people needed such a crutch for their weakness, whatever that may have been. Another part of it was charitable. Atheism is grim, correction, serious atheism is grim. There is the modern eat drink and party on dude, there is no god and if your liver gives out at 50, fuck it, who cares, atheism. Brain dead atheism, libertine atheism (the atheism that serves the purpose of libertinism).

Atheism is grim for the philosophically minded, the sort of person who thinks in wide abstractions. Such a thing is for the abnormal.

And on that note, back to the academic philosophers. Why should one care what an academic philosopher thinks about the existence of a god (switching now to God)? The article presents the naked fact that, out of a survey of 931 academic philosophers 72.8% of them responded atheist. Why did they respond atheist? That is an end position, what are the premises? Simply stating that they do means as much as saying Continue reading


Hilarious Religious Programming

This ties in with my last post but in a contrary way. I can take someone like Fulton Sheen seriously, I cannot take the late night kooks on television seriously. And anyone who does, please, wake up.

I usually have the television on softly in the background as a noise backdrop because I am up until 7am while the wife usually goes to bed somewhere between 9 – 10pm. So I have it on so I am not tiptoeing through utter silence. Anyway I usually have it on the ion channel until 4am when I will change it to Hallmark for their Frasier/Cheers run.

At 4am the hucksters of the Inspiration Ministries come on. They are the tools that spend most of their time encouraging you to “sow your seed” SEND YOUR MONEY, take a leap of faith with God SEND YOUR MONEY. One time they were selling some oil that was supposed to have these powers and whatnot.

Their main preacher looks exactly like you would imagine a shyster to.

mike_murdock-heretic

Go ahead, plant your $1000 seed and God will send you a harvest!

Anyway, so I am rushing to the television to throw this crap off. Their intro is a brazenly corny rock/gospel travesty to the ears and I get the giggles whenever I see it. The other morning I find that I am too late – the man is already asking for my seed (bet he won’t be asking that when he lands in prison – yoink!).

But off in the top left hand corner is the biggest piece of American style religious hooey I have ever witnessed.

THE SALVATION TRACKER!!

Yes folks, this is a Google Earth (TM symbol, please) style map with a circle on it that is hovering over buildings on its way to find the lucky person to be saved by God. You too can tune in to see if the Holy Spirit is perhaps hovering over your house about to save you!

I damned near split my sides when I saw the thing! Salvation tracker – seriously?

Are they purposely mocking their victims and asking for their money at the same time? Do they have such a low opinion of the gullible (I have no other word for someone who would give these people a dime)? Are they simply mind jarringly stupid? Ah, Bob ye may be onto something there!

If anyone out there wonders at the scoffing or snorts of derision they receive because of their faith, thank these guys and all the corny American televangelists before them.


That Amazing Logic

I admit I get addicted to the arguments over at Strange Notions. And sometimes I hear some doozies, here is one from this discussion.

In response to the following:

The ten commandments are only a restriction on freedom to one that does not wish to be truly free or a fully flourishing human being 😉

Comes the retort:

So you claim. A Muslim would define a fully flourishing human being very differently. As would an atheist. Yours is only one voice among thousands – and one that causes anguish and suffering for many.

I’m not concerned with the original response, and I do not agree with it. For commandments 4 -10, sure, but I would not accuse a Hindu or a Shintoist an American Indian of not wanting to be truly free or a fully flourishing human being because of the first three items.

But I do find it illustrative to bring to focus the two alternatives he does bring to bear against Judeo-Christian belief. Perhaps the person would back away if he knew the implication of his sentence. Islam does not cause anguish and suffering for many? That is merely a matter of the daily headlines.

But it is the inclusion of Continue reading