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Shyone last won the day on August 28 2010

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About Shyone

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    Archeology, Ancient history, Medicine and Music
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    Physician, 56 years old, atheist for 20 years+

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. I suppose this forum is as good as any. I haven't been here for a while. I went on vacation without computers or telephone, and when I got back, I found that there wasn't any pressing need to resume what I had been doing other than work, love and relax. I'm in a good place now, meaning that I am satisfied with what I think I know, how I think, and how I deal with life. I have no angst, bad memories or anger issues. For the "Big Questions", I am content to leave the answers unsolved knowing that it is at least possible that the answers will be known eventually. I won't solve them by debate, and they don't affect my life in any conceivable way. There is evidence being collected continuously, and I will wait to see if my own ideas are vindicated or refuted, but I won't suffer regardless of the results of that research. I find that when I put myself in situations where I disagree with someone, it creates feelings that I'd rather not experience. I don't thrive on conflict. Whoever wrote, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" (Alfred Lord Tennyson) may have the gist right, but there is not much reason to make friends when I have all of the friends and love I need. Losing new friends over matters that are fundamentally trivial to me is worse than never to have had those friends at all. But I won't say that I'll never be back. I may need advice, conversation or diversion some day. I still follow religious issues in the news - religiously. And I am better informed than I would have been had I not had the experience of being a member of this site. Who knows what the future holds? For the present, I'll say goodbye, good luck and best wishes for all.
  2. !!!! Welcome back. It's great to hear that you are both alive and well. You were missed, and fretted over, a bit. :)

  3. I'm alive and well, living the quiet life and enjoying a little free time.

  4. Shyone, where art thou shyone? We haven't seen you on this site for so long. Are you ok? We miss you. I hope you are ok. :)

  5. I see such an effort as an "experiment" in reality. Locate the supposed Jesus, wind the clock forward and backwards. Was the guy that visited John the Baptist in prison the same guy crucified? Where was he born? Find the guy crucified at passover that most closely matches Jesus; track back and forth and see where he was borh, parents name, ministry, followers' names, etc. Kind of likc having innumerable surveillance cameras throughout the area with sound. Zoom in and see what Jesus whispered to whom the night before he died. Follow the soldiers and the people that were at that dinner before he was executed. Like the two speeches by Herod, we would wind up most likely with multiple people, or at least lots of details that didn't match. But the Christians would be scrambling trying to maintain what they could, even as they watch the edifice of biblical text crumble before their eyes. "Look! Jesus spoke some words kind of like that!" Biblical archeology is a sad attempt to get back to a historical figure, but as we know with historians, the person behind the story is only an interpretation, if not an invention. Next time we use the time machine, let's do the following: 1. Record Herod's speechs in proximity to the event. 2. Present Josephus with a transcript 3. Ask Josephus why the transcript doesn't match either of his versions of the speeches (and it wouldn't).
  6. How do you know that (to the bolded), that this doesn't happen? My and even very well respected people on this site would declare otherwise. Does the Bible not say seek me and all these things will be added? Is it on Bob's timetable? And what is time compared to infinite time or timeless? YET, you people of such words conclude that the possibilities don't even exist. I think you are missing the point. He is saying that there is no universality of the communication, not that you don't think you have some kind of communication. Essentially, he is laying out how the message should be, not how you think it is. Hindus don't get that revelation, nor Buddhists, nor Jainists or Sikhs. Nor atheists. There shouldn't have to be a holy book at all that could be mistranslated, edited, or different from one religion to another. There should be an unequivocal message to all people everywhere at all times if there were a real omnipotent and omniscient god. Or even a half assed one that could at least communicate. Instead, we have multiple sects, denominations, religions and even individuals with their own messages. Multiple sacred texts that, aside from the problems of the individual texts, don't agree with other sacred texts. It's a mess!
  7. That would be far out (so to speak), indeed. Even so, it would depend upon the message. And, it would be conceivable that some advanced non-deific life form could have figured out a way to form an optical illusion as you described to make us aware of their presence. I would search for the logical and rational explanation for the phenomenon and would not automatically attribute it to Bible-god. Excellent point! And you are absolutely right. When anyone experiences a miracle, the rational approach is to seek a natural mechanism and, in the absense of one, to conclude that "we don't know."
  8. Personal interpretation of what? Personal subjective experience? If God is immutable and his truth is unchanging, and he successfully communicates with his people, then their interpretations and conclusions and explanations and teachings would be consistent. Yet they are not. I think I made that point well enough. However you could also apply Occam's Razor. What is the simplest explanation that fits the facts? That people have their own ideas? Or do we have to add an actor -- God -- to explain this? And do you really want to do that, given that you'd be saying God gives varying information to different believers? Yes, personal subjective experience. God being immutable would not necessarily mean we would all interpret Him the same. How can you even go there? Without quoting scripture, you know that god is supposed to be unchanging - not himself, nor the message which was for "all men". If there is no universal message, but rather a patchwork of messages that are different from church to church or person to person, then it is more likely that these "messages" originated in the persons themselves rather than any external being. The message I get, for example, is that Jesus is dead and never resurrected. If you get a message that's different then the messenger is lying or confused. And, if we are to be the messengers to one another, then the message is truly confused: 2Corinthians 3:2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
  9. Oh, I don't mean to sound that credulous; I was just hypothesizing. Even as a Christian I was doubtful of personal experience. My sect actually taught against it (we were not charismatics and believed that miracles "are not for today"). The furthest we ever went was speaking of "impressions" or hunches and the like and ascribing them to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And personally I never trusted THAT, simply because I could never distinguish it from wishful thinking. I once had to consider what I would call a miracle, and the best thing I could come up with was if the stars were to arrange themselves to spell out a clear unequivocal message that everyone could agree upon - and the chinese saw it as chinese, and the russians saw it as russian, and the americans could see it as spanish. Um, for the ones that speak spanish. English for some others. But no one would look up and say, "you're seeing things." Come to think of it, that would leave out the blind people - or maybe even they could see this. THAT would be something. Anyway, the universally verifiable nature of this phenomenon, unequivocal message, and persistence. Would that do it for you?
  10. I hate to sound close minded, but I would even doubt personal experience. Even my own. If I don't completely lose my mind, a trip on LSD, hallucination, delusion, seizure or other similar experience that is not independently verifiable by others would certainly not be the ticket to absolute confidence it seems to be for many Christians. Recognizing that the "mind can play tricks on you" makes even personal subjective experiences open to question. What if you had a vivid dream where your second wife came back and slapped you upside the head? What if you had been drinking? What if you were alone when it happened?
  11. Part of my problem is that I saw Christianity as the top of a pyramid resting on two pillars of the NT and Judaism. Judaism rested on the single pillar of the OT. When the OT fell, so did the NT and Judaism, and God fell into the abyss along with everything else. Without God, belief in Jesus' divinity would be nonsensical. So the closest thing that comes to an argument that is "pro-Jesus" has been some of the cosmological arguments that fail because they are ultimately arguments from Ignorance: "We don't know where all of the matter in the universe came from, so it must have been God." By the time they have stripped god of all of the abilities he had in the Old Testament, leaving an invisible, immaterial being that isn't anyplace special and doesn't really do much physically (or otherwise), there wasn't enough left to call a god.
  12. God doubted God? Sheesh. This sounds like what Dan Dennet calls a "Deepity." From what I recall, a "deepity" is an author or speaker's attempt to sound profound when, in fact, they are spouting nonsense. I think the most common word for this is "bullshit." I can see theologists cringing when they read this. "Omniscience!" And then reconciling it with the "separation" that Jesus experienced as a human. Like, maybe Jesus lost some of his superpowers as a human because of the kryptonite of flesh. But he retained enough to speak of the end of the world, his death and resurrection, and his betrayal. Hmmm. Deepity, deepity, deepity. All is Deepity. (to paraphrase Ecclesiastes)
  13. According to this article, and a new book called "Almost Christian", teenagers are being taught a "mutant" watered down version of Christianity and they aren't sufficiently passionate about their belief. The solution? According to the author: I thought that this quote shows some of the confusion that Christians have about Christian doctrines, and not only the kids: God doubted God? Sheesh.
  14. Nicely conveyed I agree. I think our perceptions can be different, and the inferences we draw from them can be different. And inference is a private, subjective process. These days I always think about understanding here, and how so alike understanding is to the semi-formal idea of a model, and anticipation. We perceive (objective -> subjective), we reason (a subjective process) and we predict (a projection: subjective -> objective). I think we utilize these predictions to guide our behavior. I think if the nature or organization of a thing is complex then it may admit multiple models (understandings) and they could all be accurate within limits. You may look upon someone and understand them differently than I do, and we could both be “right”. I tend to believe that I don’t really “know” the world I live in, I have only limited understandings of some of its aspects. I think through perception, reason, and prediction our imaginations manage to mirror segments of causality. Reminds me of a song, "[i've Looked at Life From] Both Sides Now." The conclusion of the song was that they really didn't know life (or clouds) at all. Well again, I think our understanding of the world may be woefully impoverished, but it must not be too bad because we each successfully navigate this world utilizing the predictions we make about it. Very well said. Food for thought.
  15. I looked at that one too. I was really tempted, since I'm a doctor, but I figured that in the short run food would be more important and, if I were really sincere about donating to Doctors witout borders, I'd volunteer my time and energy rather than money. Not much chance of that given my current situation, but maybe some day... Sadly, I have little medical background (I'm certified in CPR and First Aid, that's it), so the most I can do for Doctors without Borders is to send money- It's different from the Red Cross, and I know what they tend to need is medical supplies more than anything, so it's still a worthy cause. And now that I actually can donate money myself personally (because of my age, I'm now old enough to own a credit card), I'll be more likely to donate directly to a charity organization when something happens. I also try to donate Blood when I can- I haven't this summer yet because I've been iron deficient, and then I got put on new meds, so I want to wait to adjust to the meds before I try again. I know colleges run blood drives, so I'm going to try and get to a couple this year. There are indeed a lot of good organizations. I looked at several, but some were more interested in support for their general operation than for any specific relief, and I felt a little uneasy about that. I used to donate blood as well, but after I returned from Desert Storm I couldn't for a long time, and I'm still not sure of my status because of the Anthrax vaccine I received and now some medications I'm taking. Blood for the young, money for the old. such is life.
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