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Everything posted by Astreja

  1. When I hear Christians talk about persecution, it often has a tone suggesting that the persecution of fellow Christians is somehow more significant, more urgent, more tragic than persecution of people from non-Christian groups. If you shrug off the pain of someone outside your clique, it should come as no surprise at all when people shrug at your pain too. Suffering is suffering. Any cruelty to anyone diminishes us all.
  2. It doesn't have to be exactly the same. No city remains the same. The older part of Tyre has been found, and there are people living in the newer part. The prophesy is therefore null and void, and can just be ignored.
  3. No, I don't think that hell is even remotely probable. Neurology indicates that our awareness is dependent on brainwaves of specific frequencies (generally alpha and beta range, starting to fade into drowsiness when you get to theta waves in the 4-7 Hz range, and anything slower than that is associated with unconsciousness. I see no way for people to be conscious after death. And to briefly address the questions you raised in another post, I was indeed an agnostic polytheist with a special interest in Norse culture. About a year after writing the Ex-timony I linked to, I asked myself this question: "Would I testify in a court of law that Oðinn was real?" The answer was a firm, unequivocal "No, I would not." At that moment I became -- and still remain -- an agnostic atheist. I also spent about 15 years exploring various types of Buddhism, but in the end I mostly discarded that because the supernatural elements just didn't resonate with me. I do practise mindfulness meditation, which really doesn't belong to any particular creed or worldview and has no innate mystical elements. My current label for myself would be something like "Agnostic atheist humanist Stoic who meditates now and then and enjoys celebrating Old Norse festivals."
  4. I am of the opinion that if such a place as hell did exist, no one is safe. No one. It would not matter how fervently you believe -- a god that would create a hell is simply not to be trusted. It could simply banish anyone, even the most devoted follower, to eternal punishment simply on a whim. The reason that hell does not frighten me is that I embraced the possibility and turned it to my advantage. In 2007 I took a vow to go there on purpose to minister to anyone imprisoned there. It's been 12 years and I have not rescinded that vow, nor do I intend to. Fear can only protect you against real things that you can actually do something about. Fear coupled with helplessness can only lead to pain.
  5. Christopher, think back to earlier in your life. What are non-religious things you wanted to do when you were younger? I've found that to be a fairly dependable starting point, and in fact my top three current avocational activities (music, writing and astronomy) are all things that I enjoyed in my pre-teen years.
  6. He's definitely a troll. He whines about ad hominems, but IIRC he was the one who started in on the insults. Probably pleasuring himself while fantasizing about making as many people as annoyed as possible.
  7. Check with your local library. They might have some of his books available for loan.
  8. Thanks to everyone who did watch the video and took the time to comment on it. I've got an unusually low tolerance for BS, and my boss would have looked at me funny had I put my fist through a perfectly good 23" flatscreen monitor.
  9. Sorry, but no. The length of the video is not relevant. I simply am not interested in watching it. Perhaps ask your "Christian friend" to sign up here to tell us why he or she finds Hovind convincing, if you are unwilling to do so.
  10. I am not planning to watch Hovind's video. Kindly sum up his key points in text form. I give it a 95%+ probability that it's a PRATT (point refuted a thousand times) and that it is not up to the Ex-C standard for evidence. (My own standard, by the way, is that I require a physical encounter with any purported god-like being, in the physical world. I reject all scripture and all apologetics, as they are mere philosophizing and not actual evidence.)
  11. I'm going on the optimistic track -- my paternal grandmother lived to 102. I'm slated to retire in three years (just turned 62). Yes, we do have social security, but it won't finance everything I want. I take music lessons, pay membership fees for two concert bands and an astronomical association, and like to go to the symphony and the ballet.
  12. For me it would actually be a boost in disposable income, especially after I get to age 65 and get a whole bunch of additional tax deductions. I'm currently putting about $600/month into regular and retirement savings accounts, after taxes and pension deductions. That leaves me about $1600 from my take-home, which pays for gas, car insurance, house taxes, utilities and food with some left over. (House and car are both paid off.) Between my work pension and Canada Pension Plan benefits I've already got over half of that $1600 covered, so essentially I have to come up with $800 per month to maintain the status quo after I retire. (Maybe less than $800 -- I won't have to buy transit passes to get to the office anymore.) If I get my savings and investments up into the $250K range, that'll do it.
  13. The money is there for future needs -- salary replacement. Counting the money I've already saved, I'd still have $1M after spending $100K on stuff. At a withdrawal rate of 4% per year, which in an average stock market would keep most or all of the principal intact (because an increase in stock prices plus dividend payouts would put money back into the account), that would give me a $40,000 annual income for the rest of my life.
  14. What would I do with a million dollars? Probably put $900,000 of it into my savings/investments accounts and retire three years early, and spend the remaining $100K on completing home renovations, upgrading my car (which just turned 16 this year) to a slightly newer one, donating to various charities, travelling a bit more, and buying the E flat sopranino clarinet that I've wanted for several years.
  15. I speak here from the POV of someone who spent a number of years studying magic and still wishes it were real (although I'm now convinced that if there is such a thing as magic, science is our best bet to find it). There are several very significant psychological phenomena in play when you muck about with things in the general category of "magic." One involves cultivating skills like visualization , concentration and willpower. In my opinion these all act upon the physical brain and help remodel it -- ideally, in a positive way. The mental power that you develop can make you more effective in dealing with real-world problems. The one aspect of the art that disturbs me is appropriately called "magical thinking" -- the idea that your thoughts, gestures and rituals are powerful enough to affect events at a distance and even bend the laws of nature into unlikely or impossible configurations. This is where you are most likely to crash and burn, to suffer disappointment, so if you do go down this path my advice is to guard your emotions: Keep a curious, experimental, almost playful attitude rather than intense hopes and desperate flailing. And in closing, here is my personal definition: Magic is the art and science of controlling the effects by controlling the causes.
  16. I think science denial is, first and foremost, a disease of the ego. People who can't be bothered to understand science -- something that is within the grasp of almost everyone who wants to understand it -- throw in their lot with people who see conspiracies under every rock and twig, because then they can pretend to be experts in something really, really special and secret. As a citizen scientist myself (primarily astronomy, but with a decent basic knowledge of just about all the sciences), with a dad who was an electronics engineer working in aerospace, and a brother working in genetics and immunology, I consider it an actual insult when people like Georgia show up and want to be taken seriously.
  17. No, that's not how it works, Georgia. You are presenting an utterly laughable point of view that strongly suggests you have an execrably poor knowledge of science. You do not get to present your fan-fiction-grade hypotheses on the same stage alongside theories that real scientists have supported with literally millions of man-hours of experimentation, calculation, testing and retesting. It's a damned pity that conspiracy-humping and willful ignorance doesn't usually translate into negative real-world consequences, forcing people to become more informed about Life, the Universe and Everything.
  18. How did we get here? Through biochemical processes driven by natural forces over billions of years, on a foundation of eternally-existing matter/energy. My purpose? Whatever - I - want it to be. A purpose that is assigned to you by anyone else, be it a god or a mortal, is part of their purpose rather than the entirety of your own.
  19. Technically, this is true. In about three billion years, the Andromeda Galaxy will collide with the Milky Way Galaxy and merge with it, probably with substantial disruption of the existing solar systems in this galaxy. And if that doesn't take out the Earth, wait another two billion years. Our sun is fated to become a red giant, and its boundaries will expand beyond the Earth's orbit and fry this cute little planet to a crisp. Eventually, and through whatever means, the atoms in our bodies will become part of something else that is not us, something that is no longer on this planet. As I see it, this is inevitable. Georgia, just to remind you, this is an Ex-Christian site. Scripture no longer holds any authority for the vast majority of us. I, for one, believe that your god is fictional and that life after death is impossible.
  20. I do not believe you. Your posts reek with contempt. You have set yourself up as the Designated Adult in the room, imagining that you have all the truth and we have none. You don't need to say that you hate atheists -- your behaviour is evidence enough.
  21. Nope. No evidence for any gods; therefore, IMO there has never been a "true word of God" in the entire history of this planet. I read the Bible over 50 years ago, without any interference -- just inquisitive me and your alleged deity. It never resonated with me, never appeared to be anything more than fables from a long-dead culture that bore little to no resemblance to my reality in Canada in the 1960s. If your god was trying to get a message through to me, the only part that got through was Matthew 25:35-40, and that sentiment is not exclusive to Christianity.
  22. And imposing your mythology on us is also using "Christ" to harm us. Therefore, by your own definition, you are not a True Christian.™
  23. For the record, this is now my ninth post in this thread. And here are just some of the childish, undignified things you have said on Ex-C: Grow the fuck up.
  24. I am bound by my ethics to give as good as I get. I only play nice with people who also play nice. If someone is insulting or threatening, they get it thrown back in their faces. You forfeited any claim to my respect a long time ago, and you're not getting it back until you cease and desist with the insults and start expressing yourself in a more dignified manner.
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