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Everything posted by Astreja

  1. Blah, only you can convince yourself that there's no god. I, however, am increasingly certain that there isn't. In particular, I find the god of the Bible to be a totally inept, inconsistent character whose behaviours betray the ignorance and personal agendas of the mortals who wrote the Bible stories. Unlike the gods of other mythologies, who occasionally serve as useful archetypes and role models, Yahweh has no redeeming qualities. And I don't think that a god dying (even temporarily) for someone else's "sins" is a very good idea at all. I believe firmly that everyone should pay their own debts, and therefore I reject substitutionary atonement unconditionally. There is also no justification whatsoever for eternal punishment of anyone. To cause someone to suffer unceasingly for eternity is an act of infinite evil. Do you really want to worship an infinitely evil god?
  2. No, I just express the same worldview in more than one way.
  3. Hei, SouthernSound! In no particular order: Bunny avatar = Close personal friend of the goddess of the vernal equinox. ("How are you gentlemen!! All your Easter are belong to Us.") Currently an agnostic atheist humanist Stoic who practices mindfulness meditation, and observes Old Norse holidays and festivals. Not a moderator, but I've been around here for years and years. Also a contributor to the main blog, although I haven't submitted any articles in several years. Is being an atheist reasonable? I don't feel that I have a choice one way or the other -- from childhood I've always found religious claims unbelievable, and at most was a Christian In Name Only (CINO) by virtue of infant baptism and having nominally Christian parents.
  4. You may have to set a strict boundary, and enforce it mercilessly: "Mom, I will not be discussing religion with you again." Literally hang up on her in the middle of a call if she breaks that rule, then turn off the ringer (or unplug the land line) so that it just rings and rings. You can also set up your e-mail to delete any messages with key words like "Jesus." And don't let her have unsupervised access to your children, either.
  5. I'm of the opinion that the root cause of an illness is ultimately grounded in physiological factors including biochemistry and genetics, but the mind does play a large role. High stress can really mess with the body by messing with adrenaline and cortisol, and rumination on problems can be absolutely devastating for quality and quantity of sleep. Woo-woo aside, I see a therapeutic role for such things as mindfulness practice as it can de-fang the kind of thinking that weakens our physical defenses.
  6. SR is so badly broken he can't even see how badly he's broken. Razzafracking anti-vaxx plague dog trapped in his own "I know something you don't" one-man circle jerk.
  7. I'm not your librarian, SR. Better the pain of facing the real world than the false comfort of religion.
  8. Yes. Here I am, because it's positively exhilarating to discuss with like-minded people the ongoing adventure of trying to liberate our fellow travellers from stupid, archaic ideas that have set humanity back many hundreds of years. I joined this site in 2004, and I intend to stick around.
  9. IMO, the Bible is an anthology of fiction. Given such obvious mythological tropes as 40-year road trips that never happened, a virgin birth, people coming back to life, a boat full of animals surviving a 40-day downpour and a Talking Snake™, I'm always baffled as to why adults take it seriously.
  10. You can't use the Bible to corroborate what's in the Bible. If that were so, I could simply write on a piece of paper "Today, June 18, 2021 at 10:32 a.m. CDT, Astreja K. Odinsdottir strangled Jehovah with his own pubic hairs and dumped his corpse into the sun," and it would have exactly the same veracity that you're claiming for your scripture.
  11. Easily explained by the placebo effect. Not even evidence for Christianity. First you have to prove empirically that gods exist. Then you have to link one of those gods to a "miraculous" event, and demonstrate that the god is also linked to Christianity. Good luck - you'll need it.
  12. Weighing in on the "balanced vs. unbalanced universe" question, I think that's a rabbit hole too far (and this "bunny" should know rabbit holes. ) My thoughts: Balance isn't necessarily a good thing, and imbalance isn't necessarily negative. In regard to marriage, per se, perfect balance is an elusive illusion. It would be nice if it were even close to a 50/50 split, but relationships in general are just too dynamic to settle for any length of time on some ideal balancing point.
  13. And sometimes (and this has been my experience) one goes in with the best of intentions and discovers something about the partner that would have precluded marrying them if that trait had been known up front. "Difficulty" is not always fixable, and there is no virtue in suffering solely for the sake of maintaining a broken situation. "Love is only love until it's gone," I once wrote in a song.
  14. I always though "Hocus Pocus" was a fun song, but now I'm in awe - didn't know that the yodeler is also the keyboard player. That is not easy to do (I know, because I used to play keyboards and sing). On the subject of modern art, I'm actually a fan (faves include Lawren Harris. M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt and a few others). Not a fan of lazy art such as blank canvases or silly-ass "installations" with random objects strewn about haphazardly.
  15. My feelings on marriage: It is a human institution, not a divine one; however, I grant that many people see it as having spiritual aspects. Marriage vows are a contract between two individuals. Any action that violates the terms of the contract (e.g. infidelity) automatically nullifies it, and then it has to be renegotiated from that point forward. It is at the sole discretion of the aggrieved party to decide whether it's worthwhile continuing with the relationship. Falling out of love is a valid reason to end a relationship. If you can't bring all of yourself to the marriage, if your heart isn't in it anymore, if it feels like an increasing burden with no reasonable prospect of improvement, ending it is probably kinder than hanging on for years and years. If you don't want to get married, don't. Don't take those vows unless you intend to keep them.
  16. No, the technology just has to detect something rather than nothing. It doesn't have to be "objectively true"; it just has to be plausible. (As things stand now, I'm utterly baffled why anyone over the age of 5 or 6 actually believes the arrant nonsense in the Bible - it's always seemed more than a bit "off" to me.)
  17. We need some sort of testable evidence. Without it, we have absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe you. To convince us, you have to meet our evidentiary standards rather than yours. Science has developed instruments capable of detecting signals that human senses cannot perceive. We can't hear radio waves, but they're there. A similar advance in god-detecting technology is required.
  18. My exposure to Vietnamese culture doesn't extend much beyond phở, bánh mi and sweet, strong coffee, but when I saw the name Quan The Am Bo Tat I knew immediately that it was the Vietnamese name for my all-time favourite Bodhisattva Guanyin. I'd be more likely to see her, too.
  19. My first thought: A soaring bird (something like an eagle rather than a dove or other small bird). Second thought: Broken chains and shackles lying in a pile. No ancient symbols spring to mind at the moment.
  20. Trust your gut on this one, ZenPaladin. If the idea of going to see your father fills you with negative emotions - feeling of dread, anger, queasiness - respect that and don't go. This person threatened to kill you, and you owe him nothing.
  21. I have four general categories of giving that stay relatively constant from year to year: Medical charities, animal protection, food and shelter for the homeless, and arts groups. About half is set up through payroll deductions and the rest tends to happen in the spring and late fall. Not many opportunities come up for interpersonal giving, although I have gone that route on a couple of occasions.
  22. I say "no" to absolute free will. Our decisions are informed not only by our conscious minds but by our unconscious ones as well, and tend to be reactions to external circumstances and events. There are a lot of constraints in play. (And as I see it, the only thing that makes the universe non-deterministic is randomness. Only when the universe itself doesn't know what it's going to do next is there a possibility of more than one path forward.)
  23. Hopefully she stuck the landing on the turtle and didn't get trampled by one of the elephants.
  24. Did anyone examine the bills? They could've been counterfeits. It's not a matter of needing money. Quite frankly, I think money is an excellent idea - it enables us to store up our work and get compensated for it whenever and however we want. Much better than raising a flock of chickens and trying to exchange a hen for a pair of shoes. You must also live in a rather warm climate. If I had tried to live in a tent in Winnipeg in mid-February, when the wind chill was approaching -50C, I would have almost certainly died. And there is no fucking way that I would put any trust at all in a mythological "father" that tossed its first two kids out of Eden, drowned virtually all the people and animals on the planet, allowed Satan to torture Job in order to win a bet, and finally set Jesus up to be executed.
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