Santa V God

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tao_Equus, May 10, 2008.

  1. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Yeah, somehow "ruling over" seems to imply less than all encompassing preeminence. As if the Ruler has derived status from wresting power away from near equal rivals. Or as if the Ruler rules from some specific location and must extend it's authority out and away from itself, consolidating power through the expansion of it's franchise, it's "brand."

    Chris
     
  2. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    No I have not. All I have done, at worst, is poorly used language to explain myself. And I posit that you are as aware of this as I am. Without these, "patently corrupt institutions" to put the individuals on the pedestals very likely they would have faded to the footnotes of history, if they were remembered at all. Iconographical versions of texts copied from other texts narrated by someones uncles uncle 100 years after the death just do not impress me.

    Tao

    Tao
     
  3. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    As far as I am aware there has not been one scientifically confirmed case of miracle healing. Many subjective claims. No evidence.

    Tao
     
  4. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    ..........O.K. <shrug> -- I disagree, but at least that makes a little sense, if not much. It just strikes me that, at the least, the accounts we have of such figures are somewhat more detailed and circumstantial with a more identifiable historical milieu than anything purportedly biographical about Santa Claus!

    Of course, I don't take any of the later texts surrounding the rather fanciful details on Buddha's death, or the passages covering Jesus's post-crucifixion appearances, which most modern scholars take as being clearly a later stratum than Jesus's actual sayings, with as much seriousness as the early texts of Buddha's actual sermons or the parallel Jesus sayings themselves in both Matthew and Luke -- just to recall two examples where rigorous modern scholarship is essential to removing the chaff from the wheat.

    But cases like that do not cancel out the curiously cross-referencing nature of earlier and extremely different, discrete texts confirming more mundane and credible biographical details duplicated in the earliest strata of the earliest accounts surrounding all six or seven of these startling communicators.

    Sincerely,

    Operacast
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Yes we explored the impact of psychoactive chemicals on the human psyche in the development of religion in neolithic times. I don't recall coming to the same conclusions on the matter. I think you are still evading a crucial point of circumstantial evidence, that of widespread cross cultural cohesion on the subject. I still fail to see how many multiples of differing cultures, races, even species within Homo (Neandertal) could come to remarkably related conclusions, particularly when the experiences I have had and have had related to me of psychoactive chemical experience shows an extremely wide variety of expression. To argue that all exposed to the same substance have the same "trip" is a bit like saying every child handed a box of 64 crayons will all draw substantially the same picture, which is quite evidently *not* the case.

    Please do. I think you will end up finding it will provide the same scientific verity that G-d does within the brain...that is, proof of one ultimately leads to proof of the other, biochemically speaking. I'll be happy to point to scientific findings to support this, if you would like to see them:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/creationism-intelligent-design-evolution-or-6115-2.html
    particularly posts #26 and 30

    Not quite. "G-d" in the sense of an old grey beard in the sky floating around on a cloud with a handful of lightning bolts looking for some hapless n'er-do-well to strike, or some essential equivalent, is a symbol. Symbols do not have to be factual to make sense, they simply have to convey a message. I can go into a long litany of "why is G-d represented as this here and that there," but it would cloud the issue here. Cultural relevance is the shortest way to explain. The explanation is about something that is inherently unexplainable, at least in totality. What I find so intriguing is why we collectively still seek this unexplainable "IT" that we all seem to intuit on one level or another if there is nothing really there, and have done so as far back as humans have been making tools and carving stones and painting ourselves in ochre and carving egg shells and painting cave walls. And burying our dead with honors.

    Ummm, Tao, are you aware that an eminent atheist, Stephen J. Gould, made the very same claim? By the way, he was an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist by trade.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding, as I have been using this term a bit recently. I have been using it to denote the spiritual aspect of reality.

    Since science can't hold, dissect or analyze spirit, nor submit it to tests, I doubt the claim that science can study, confirm or deny the spiritual aspect of reality. The closest I have seen, and even then this is conjecture on my part, is quantum mechanics. Particularly the subject of neutrinos.

    I certainly agree there are differences between G-d and Santa, but I think both (as traditionally presented) are charicatures, and culturally stylized symbols. They are both symbols pointing to something realized but unseen.

    I think there is a underlying parental love symbolism with G-d, even in the bloodlust and vengeance aspect, it is always to protect "His" (culturally focused) children. Santa is a bit more broad spectrum, but still essentially an expression of the love concept, in the cultural context of the birth/death/rebirth cycle of Paganism.

    What? Removes G-d as a credible proposition? I beg to differ, good sir.

    If I am reading you correctly here (and elsewhere) it seems the argument offered is that if a portion can be shown faulty, that fault extends to the whole. In secular terms, this is broad brush stereotyping. "One is lazy, so they are all lazy. That religion has some issues, so all religions have issues, therefore G-d doesn't exist." That is not logic, and it is not logical reasoning.

    If you look at my contentions on G-d throughout my history here, you will see I do not argue from "the top down" with the assumption that G-d exists. I argue from the bottom up, building my case from circumstantial evidence, predominantly outside the boundaries of religious texts. I pull from psychology, anthropology, biology, history and assorted other scientific fields.

    So what's the argument?

    We have been here before, you and I. How can you say there is no G-d when you clearly see there is a G-d? But you don't want to call it G-d, so it doesn't exist? Or it does exist, but it isn't G-d? Because you say so?

    "Atheist" is just another label. Labels are irrelevent. Besides, you act more like an agnostic anyway, which to my way of thinking is far more respectable.

    All who consume grain in their diet labor under a schizophrenic hallucination. I would guess that probably includes virtually every hero of atheism, past and present. Point being, civilized humanity has been laboring under this so-called schizophrenic hallucination for several thousand years. Indeed, civilization is predicated on this grain diet induced schizophrenic hallucination, without which we would all still be chipping stones into arrowheads. So the argument here is just a bit daft.

    I'm with you and Wil on this Chris.

    Some references:
    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/dialogue-sparked-by-dawkins-delusion-6048.html

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/juantoo3s-comments-in-proofs-for-3481.html

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/the-five-ways-of-aquinas-6056.html#post80509
    specifically post #12

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/dawkins-inspired-discussion-from-youtube-6049.html

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/word-of-god-6039-7.html
    especially post #91
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2008
  6. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Without exception the active chemical compound found in the plants and fungi that have been used to induce a trip is the same alkaloid. To give you a more easily understood example it does not matter whether you drink Tia Maria, beer, wine or fermented Yak milk, drinking will induce the same experience of euphoria, confidence, poor coordination and unconsciousness as more is drunk. The same thing with hallucinogens, the experience is the same. Part of a shamans job was to administer a sufficient dose to insure a full blown trip which is as powerful an experience as drinking a pint of whisky right down and having it all hit at once. I have done both so I make the analogy with some authority ;) The psychology, mood and immediate environment of the tripper will bear a notable effect on the experience he/she enjoys/hates, same can be said with alcohol. But the experience is still the same. This is shown in an article you linked to once yourself: Health & Medical News - Magic mushrooms hit the God spot - 12/07/2006



    Please forgive me if I dont take the bait at this time, (its purely a time issue).






    Nope. I have not got round to reading Gould yet and I am not sure I will anytime soon. My 'must read' list is now a catalogue and this infernal machine that I stab away at is seriously cutting into my book reading time.


    Its one of these words that has a strict dictionary definition and a popular usage definition that are not the same thing.

    If it cannot be seen, weighed, measured, dissected, tested etc etc etc..... does it exist at all?




    Not a portion my friend, the whole structure. As a mirage in the desert fades to sand you cannot expect to find a glass of iced tea still remaining.


    I would like to say that I do the same and have reached a different conclusion.

    Do the bacteria in my gut call me God? Are they aware of me? Am I aware of them as individuals? If the universe is a live entity it is as irrelevant to me as I am to the bacteria in my gut. The bacteria would effect no change by worshipping me because I could never know that they did. I do not believe the Universe is alive, what i said and very deliberately was that "I do not dismiss the possibility".

    Sorry buddy, I am thoroughly unrespectable in that case :p


    This is a wee pet theory of yours we have also discussed recently. Whilst I agree with you there have been incidences of ergot poisoning that have been the root of some historical events, I think you overplay the significance of it.


    Forgive my brief reply on this occasion Juan, I'm a bit busy today.


    Tao
     
  7. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    This is in reference to Shag-Egur of Lagash, a Sumerian principality. I meant to add that there are variant forms of his name:

    1) Lugal-Shag-Egur

    2) Lugal-Sha-Egur

    3) Lugal-Shag-Engur

    4) Lugal-Sha-Engur

    5) Shag-Engur

    6) Shag-Egur

    7) Sha-Engur

    8) Sha-Egur

    Also, apparently, Mesilim, the King of Kish, a neighboring principality, helped -- though himself a worshiper of a different deity -- Sha-Egur's local efforts in Lagash in consolidating the worshiping of Ningirsu in Lagash, as evidently a way of further stabilizing a peace that he (Mesilim) had helped broker between Lagash and Umma. Lots of cooks in this broth. The bottom line appears to be that, in the wake of a welcome peace coming to Lagash, Sha-Egur of Lagash felt this new deity Ningirsu was the friend of peace in Lagash and that obligated Ningirsu worship in Lagash.

    Operacast
     
  8. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    Actually, it happened for two or three generations in the Soviet Union. But that didn't seem to squelch worship. Still, the main reason why I would not depend on that "factoid" as evidence of deity's real existence is the simple fact that the culture that emerged out of the SU did not stress gentle caring treatment of all. Yes, it did stress equal treatment, but not love or altruism. This created an ethical vacuum where cultural phenomena like worship could still find a toehold.

    I would still wait, therefore, for an atheistic state in which altruism and love and gentleness were cultural givens springing directly from the atheistic doctrine. As I've said, that could still theoretically happen, even though it hasn't yet. If/When it does, I could then conclude that something other than deity is the common factor behind our incremental forward steps to increasing altruism, and I could discard deity as nonexistent.

    I would also redouble my efforts to ascertain what was really the common factor behind increasing cultural caring and altruism, if/when deity were discarded. That would still remain an urgent cultural search, because we are plainly staring down the barrel today of "perfect storm" conditions for the imminent extinction of all humanity within most of our lifetimes, through mutual insanity, mega-weapons, blind hate and reckless ecospheric destruction. Our global village is simply too small now to withstand hideous pressures like these. Once we bottle whatever has urged humanity forward to increasing "other"consciousness, empathy and altruism in the distant and recent past, we forestall the inevitable human extinction this current generation obviously faces. If we don't bottle these beneficent urges in time, we're doomed. It's that simple.

    Operacast
     
  9. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Opera,

    All I can say is that I am not going to hold my breath waiting for atheism to become the norm. Religion is simply too important to too many people for that to happen in the foreseeable future. What that future holds I dare not hazard to guess but I do not believe we face Armageddon. I can see a massive and horribly cruel depopulation. I think this may happen in our lifetime and will be an unnatural disaster, very possibly biological warfare. Maybe a few centuries from now the churches of that day will reverberate to the singing of Elvis songs and the preachers will wear sequenced jump suits and blue suede shoes. Hold up!! Thats already happening!!

    Tao
     
  10. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    lol check this killer out :D He's hitting his targets tonight :)
     
  11. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Considerably happier than I was before! :D:D:D

    How does one do an empirical test on a tenet of faith? Such tenets are religious truths, not testable hypotheses.

    It's very easy to raise questions about credibility. You know, cheap shots. But such a line of argument about the church or organized religion have any direct implications with regard to the validity of a God concept.

    Btw, by what criteria would you establish that a religion is "fake"? Ahem.:confused:;)


    You previously cited the "Beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in relation to religion. Is that what you mean by evidence here?

    All that's necessary to meet a "Beyond reasonable doubt" standard of evidence is that a reasonable person would believe it is so. How's that different from the subjectivity you just invoked in an attempt to challenge that a miracle has occured?

    There's "dazed and confused" and then there's deranged and bemused.:)
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Casual dismissal is not hitting targets...it is avoiding them.
     
  13. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    A religion is not a tenet of faith but a structured organisation of belief that has a beginning, policy and methodology that can all be studied independent of any faith.


    Is it a cheap shot? I think it a pertinent and valid question. Does a religion that can be demonstrated to have its origins in political expediency, who's doctrine has been heavily reworked and is of dubious authorship, and which becomes very rich and powerful by taxing its 'believers' be truly considered to be anything about 'faith' other than as a product to sell?

    As above, that it can be demonstrated that it was founded on and maintains ulterior purpose.



    I mean there is no proof anywhere that anyone has been cured by a miracle.



    We can agree on that at least ;)

    Tao
     
  14. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Of course they can. However, the issue that you advanced at the outset of this thread is that credibility issues with respect to believers, institutions, and doctrines provide a basis for casting aspersions on a G-d concept and, moreover, raise questions about the existence of G-d. For example in your Post #7 you state: "Everywhere we look we can see people making it up as they go along. I submit this is no different and just as much a myth as Santa Claus."

    Elsewhere you suggest that faith has about as much epistemic merit as belief in Santa Clause: "We force our young kids to believe in Santa by our lies and by a multiplicity of cultural reinforcements. Is not belief in God exactly the same thing?" You seem to be suggesting that faith is nothing more than a bogus cultural artifact.

    My response is merely that the issues that you raise about fickle believers, hypocritical institutions, and inconstant doctrines do not provide a basis for casting aspersions on a prevailing G-d concept. Nor do these things raise questions about the existence of G-d.

    Regarding your observation that "structured organization of belief " can be "studied independent of any faith," again I agree with you there, but where does that leave us with respect to the context of this thread? Most of the issues in this connection deal with credibility or moral valuations. I don't see how that has anything to do with personal faith.

    When you say these cultural forms can be examined "independent of any faith," that tells me that you see the distinction. So why bring it up? What is the relevance to the original "Santa V God" question that gave rise to the special moment of inspiration that led to your decision to start this thread??


    I must say these are interesting sociological/historical issues. But they have nothing to do with the validity of a G-d concept in particular or metaphysics in general. Sorry, don't mean to be fussy. :p:p:D:D


    Even if you established this motivational theory in substantial detail, it would not have any implications for he validity of a G-d concept in particular or metaphysics in general.


    The church has specific guidelines that they refer to when they make a determination as to whether a person's recovery was or was not a miracle. When they declare a miracle, it is because the case meets their standard of evidence. Maybe you disagree with their determinations. But I'm not sure how you'd challenge them without knowing exactly what criteria they are using.


    Righto. But you realize I don't necessarily disagree with your premises. I just disagree with your conclusions. You might have all kinds of "proof" about the vagaries of human nature and plenty of compelling cultural criticisms that show atheism in a positive light as compared to the bane of civilization called "religion." But again, none of this provides a direct challenge to a G-d concept in any way. Nor does it disprove the existence of G-d.
     
  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Yeah, what he said! Way to go Netti-Netti!
     
  16. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Ty Netti :)
    I believe we have already established that I cannot disprove God, I think I admitted that in big bold letters several pages back ;).

    But, (this being a debate forum the but is essential), we can look at the variety of ways mankind expresses its knowledge of what it calls God. When we do this we can attempt to figure out whether the notion of God is independent of man or a product of man. By looking at the plethora of different religions and the method of recruitment and the claims they make we can apply models to describe the behaviour of their adherents. Doing that we find that the vast majority of people are born into their religion and they learn it just as they learn to walk. Their concept of faith and what God is are defined by the particular religious group they were raised within. Hindu's in India, Catholics in Austria, Orthodox Greeks in Greece, Presbyterian's in Scotland, Muslims in Qatar, Buddhists in Thailand, Shinto's in Japan .... all define what God is by what their respective religion told them to believe. Critical independent 'believers' are probably rarer than atheists. The majority never question their faith it is so ingrained in them. The ritual of the particular faith becomes habituated to the point of meaninglessness. But all believe they are doing exactly what God or the Omnipresent has commanded they must to be assured the variety of salvation promised. As superstitious as those that believe Zelda the Astrologer is going to predict their winning Lotto numbers, they create portents and miracles to confirm their faith as valid. Nowhere amongst any of all these billions of faithful has one been told by God something new, something unique, that he could use to demonstrate he really exists as an entity. If God cannot even manage that then if he exists then he clearly does not care about us. Like we dont think about the bacteria in our intestines. And if that is the case any worship is a complete waste of time anyway

    I think i dont make a lot of sense here, but I just came home from a party...so its amazing i can type at all. But hopefully you can decipher what I tried to say. Which I think is if God existed he would not create such crappy religions, and that most people are sheep not thoughtful believers. So if the best God can do is Billy Graham, Iain Paisly, the Pope and the Ayatollah Homeini then he is a God of very poor taste in humans :p

    Tao
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    Tao, what do you think about this passage from the book of James?
    James 1:26-27
    26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.​
     
  18. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    That we do not need religion. We do not need God. And that we need to take responsibility and kudos for and encourage human kindness.

    Tao
     
  19. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    I do not know of very many religions that encourage human kindness but if they did they are murdering & hindering more than they are kind to. Religion sucks big donkeys...
    do you mean like those religions that put bumper stickers on their car that say HONK if you are saved? & HONK if you love Jesus? or the mary mother of god statue on the dash board? then they cut you off & give you the middle finger?:D


    I never saw any connection between a god & a santa. That to me is like putting the goose who lays golden eggs against someones god. To put the two ideas against each other is like saying you can't have green beans today because we are not having blueberry pie today. You would need to remove all fairy tales & rhymes, cartoons & movies/TV that are fiction, wouldn't you?

    & Disneys Mickey Mouse & magic kingdom would go out of business. Star Wars & sci fi would not exist. I feel childeren should be allowed to have their little imaginations for those few short gentle years & it does not matter who the characters are. They will find out soon enough that their religion is also full of a whole bunch of crap that makes no sense.

    I can see fairy tale vs religion but to pick & choose the characters should be everyones right & choice tp keep or discard.
    Being able to create fiction & imagination is a basic fundamental of human culture viewed by many as art & entertainment that somehow humans have a need for. perhaps we are just looking for some kind of peace & hope that things will get better? if not now then after we die? and maybe once a year santa does that for some people? I must admit that people are a little kinder during the holidays as long as you stay away from the retail reality- now there are some very mean & selfish people who will kill for their electronics.
    To live life in a society where only facts alone are allowed would be very dull & boring.

    When you say WE do not need God... you mean you do not need a god? but many others feel they do need a god. Someone else might say WE do not need Hollywood movies because they are not real & someone else might say WE do not need santa ....what that really means is- I do not need...

    now, I personally see nothing wrong with mommy kissing santa claus under the christmas tree & I see nothing wrong with mommy on her knees praying alone & with her children for them to be safe or if she does both.

    Both a god & a santa and the boogie man, bart simpson, mickey mouse, the wicked witch of the west or whatever characters, should stay. I do agree that the actual organized religions themselves can be tossed, as there are many versions of the santa- at least I have tossed them all. I view them as long, stinky, obnoxious, boring dogmatic imaginations, made up fairy tales pumped into childrens heads that go to never never land, of course (with exception to personal life spiritual type experiences that I have no reason to believe or not to believe).
     
  20. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    It means you are not allowed to have a god & you are not allowed to have a santa bring gifts to others unless you brag about it. :eek:
     

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