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Everything posted by Astreja

  1. 50% Valkyrie, 50% barking mad Scot, and 54 years since my dad showed me how to use the hand-cranked drill in his workshop.
  2. Ah. Apparently I'm not a woman, then, because I've gutted two houses, torn down two ancient garages, built three porches, shingled a couple of roofs, hauled lumber, carried sheets of drywall up flights of stairs by myself, and am currently putting the finishing touches on my new home office. I have a strong kinesthetic component to my learning style, and I am extremely spatial. Been that way most of my life, and even got a final mark of 100% on grade 9 geometry (in-class mark plus Provincial final exam). I visualize better in 3D than in 2D, in fact.
  3. In my collection I have a lovely dagger that I acquired at a hunting/fishing store, of all places -- no modifications required. Over the years, though, most of my magical stuff has been homemade. A good way to make things like pentacles is to get a craft knife and some masking tape, and stencil a design onto a ready-made disk of wood from a craft store. The layout is geometrical rather than free-hand art (72° between points of the star = 360°), so that's one of the easier things to make. Still procrastinating on a wand that I've wanted to make out of a piece of ebony I bought over 20 years ago...
  4. You could start by asking him why a god would want to make things old. The simpler explanation is that things really are that old.
  5. And I think that the best way to fix the problems is to tackle them one by one, with social consensus and the aid of professionals from relevant areas (e.g. biology, sociology, etc.) We're still vastly better off than the pre-Enlightenment days when religion dominated Western culture and quality of life was in the toilet.
  6. I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The world is not uniformly horrible. There are a lot of dysfunctional human societies, but life in the western world wasn't always a cakewalk either. If you go back a few hundred years, a lot of things we take for granted such as clean water and warm houses were the exception rather than the rule. On the whole we're getting better, not worse -- it only seems like things are getting worse because bad news dominates the media.
  7. No faith whatsoever here. When I was younger I tried to play along, tried to give Christianity the benefit of the doubt to see if it would actually do anything, but never felt a single thing. I seem to be congenitally unable to do religious faith.
  8. I've already been through that exploration process, investigating occultism, Buddhism and Asatru over a period of several decades. My epiphany came when I realized that I had never in all that time wholeheartedly believed in any of it. I seem to have been born with a brain that has the "Yeah, riiight..." circuit stuck in the "on" position. The best I can do is pretend to believe, and knowing what I know now I would feel awful even attempting to do that.
  9. Astreja


    Nope. I wouldn't associate with someone like you IRL. Yes, it is rather exhilarating to verbally smack around people like you, who cheerfully dismiss whole decades of other people's experiences.
  10. Astreja


    Knott, the word ex-christian exists. We use it to describe ourselves. You have no say in the matter.
  11. You have to request access for the Spirituality forum. Send a private message to any of the mods.
  12. So what makes "evidence of things not seen" any less of an abomination?
  13. Not so. I have no conscious control over my standard for evidence -- things either make sense, or they don't. And wanting to believe doesn't necessarily mean that someone does believe. You're going to have to provide an example of "want to believe that which agrees with their life choices," because that makes no sense to me.
  14. Long-dead anonymous Scandinavians leaving books behind for people to read is vastly preferable to someone coming up to my house in person and trying to foist their particular worldview upon me, often with great rudeness and occasionally threats of afterlife harm.
  15. The problem with that "...the evidence of things not seen" bit is that people have varying standards for evidence. What a believer calls "evidence" usually evokes a "nope" from me -- it always feels like 1% conjecture and 99% wishful thinking from my standpoint, and it just isn't compelling to me.
  16. I've never been Wiccan, but there was a time when I was quite interested in Norse heiðinn beliefs. No one converted me. No followers of Thor chatted me up or rang my doorbell or handed me an Edda tract at the mall. It was the stories and the ideas themselves that attracted me, and in fact the only place I've encountered people who might have been followers (because they were wearing Thor's hammer or a valknut or some other Norse symbolism) was at the annual Icelandic Festival in Gimli. I didn't ask; they didn't tell.
  17. Rational arguments: No credible empirical evidence for gods or for people coming back from the dead. As for scripture, and apostolic tradition, all those demonstrate is that at some point in the past, people believed certain things. They aren't evidence for supernatural claims, merely evidence that people believed in supernatural things.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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."
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Check with your local library. They might have some of his books available for loan.
  25. 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.
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