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Chatter / Re: TED
« Last post by Mr. Blackwell on Yesterday at 10:22:13 PM »
My wife shared this with me just a few minutes ago. She's awesome.

General Religious Discussion / Re: The most harmful religons
« Last post by BibleStudent on Yesterday at 10:19:56 PM »
Yep, I know. But YOU then went on to use the "we can't really know anything bullshit argument, so that, my dear fellow, is on you and you alone.

How can you "really know?" That is what I am asking. Absent being in a position to "really know" that is applicable to anyone and everyone, it is just a subjective opinion.

Also, I'm not so sure I'm buying the sincerity of your disgust. After all, you are a pro-choice, right?
I am[1], and I fail to see how that has anything to do with my disgust at your use of dead children to promote an asshole argument the implications of which you seem to not fully grasp. I'll give you a hint - you help me more than yourself using this approach. [/quote]

I'm still trying to determine why your subjective opinion is the correct one and someone who holds an opposing view is incorrect. Who determines that?

I don't think there is any such thing as "objective morality" the way you are using the phrase, but even if I did accept that such a thing did, in fact, exist, why would I accept YOUR doctrine over any other, aside from it's predominance in the part of the world I live in? ALL morality is subjective, the way YOU are using the terms, and essentially, well duh.

I have not introduced any doctrine. In fact, as I've been stating all along, whatever my doctrine is is not relevant. I am simply interested in knowing what the basis is for determining whether a certain religious practice is harmful when two opposing subjective views are present.

Morality is an ever evolving social construct BS. In THIS part of the world, we generally agree that allowing children, who lack the legal autonomy to self-determine, to die because their parents refused to provide routine medical care is morally fucking wrong - that's why you see so much negative press about it in the not lunatic fringe media.

That's how morality works BS.

"Morality is an ever evolving social construct." Okay. But, we're still back to square one and that is who gets to decide what harmful religious convictions evolves and what doesn't? I mean, this is the part I just don't get. Even if you can gather a large group of society to agree on certain issues, no matter how you slice it or dice it, the conflict is between subjective opinions and there is simply no way to definitely know which is correct and which isn't.

 1. Huh, I would have thought that particular snipe was beneath you.
Even if you're someone who subscribes to natural origins for everything, religion has been beneficial:

“In the last 10 or 20 years on many fronts, there’s been a change in thinking about religion, where a lot of neuroscientists have been saying religion is totally natural. It totally makes sense that we’re religious. Religion has served a lot of important functions in developing societies.”

I seem to recall reading this type of naturalistic/scientific explanation on more than one occasion.

So, you can dismiss the article if you have determined that it is slanted or biased but I think it likely contains much truth even from a scientific standpoint.

Do you have any recommendations on what religion I should subscribe to, to attain these evolutionary effects? There seem so many of them. I'm thinking something shamanistic and ancient, but the documentation seems poor.

The main thing is for there to be singing and rhythmic motions for endorphin release. I'd like one with a high priestess who dishes it out for healing purposes.
Chatter / Pilots view, landing at Queenstown Airport in New Zealand
« Last post by shnozzola on Yesterday at 08:45:12 PM »

General Religious Discussion / Re: Biblestudent - I bet it DOESN'T say that.
« Last post by velkyn on Yesterday at 07:52:52 PM »
I've found the last article in the list "Allen E. Bergin, "Values and Religious Issues in Psychotherapy and Mental Health," The American Psychologist, Vol. 46, No. 4 (April 1991), pp. 394-403"

A decade of work by Bergin and others is reviewed and synthesized concerning two broad issues: (a) the role of values in psychotherapy and (b) the relation of religion to mental health. Trends have changed and there is now more professional support for addressing values issues in treatment. There is also more openness to the healthy potentialities of religious involvement, and therapists themselves manifest a new level of personal interest in such matters. Cautions and guidelines for dealing with such issues are considered in both empirical and clinical terms. The multifactorial nature of religion is documented, and healthy and unhealthy ways of being religious are described. Suggestions are given for including education in values and
religious issues in the training of clinicians so that the vast population of religious clientele may be better served.

What is very odd that the Heritage paper makes this claim
Allan Bergin, a research psychologist who received the American Psychological Association's top award in 1990, summed up the impact of Religion in his acceptance address: "Some religious influences have a modest impact whereas another portion seems like the mental equivalent of nuclear energy."

That quote is from another person, not Bergin.  That is a quote from Marks, I. M. (1978). Behavioral psychotherapy of adult neurosis. In
S. L. Garfield & A. E. Bergin (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (2nd ed., pp. 493-547). New York: Wiley. and cited by Bergin in the paper referenced to.

In many ways, religion is surprisingly like psychotherapy and the studies thereof. The overall, average effects are generally positive, although not dramatic; harmful effects of some influences detract from the overall outcomes and counterbalance the positive effects of other influences; general positive effects are mediated by principles common to the different approaches, but specific effects of specific procedures produce enhanced outcomes not usually attainable by common factors alone; and, finally, it is often difficult to identify the positive ingredients and their efficacy because of poor measurement, design, sampiing, definition, and specificity (Garfield & Bergin, 1986).

As in psychotherapy, some religious influences have a modest impact, whereas another portion seems like the mental equivalent of nuclear energy (Marks, 1978). The more powerful portion can provide transcendent conviction or commitment and is sometimes manifested in dramatic personal healing or transformation. When this kind of experience is also linked with social forces, its effect can be extraordinary. Harnessed for good, this can be constructive, as in the links between religiousness and civil rights; yet spiritual phenomena have an equal potential for destructiveness, as in  funndamentalist hate groups. These divergent, yet linked, phenomena are not yet clearly understood.

Nevertheless, there is a spiritual dimension of human experience with which the field of psychology must come to terms more assiduously. If  psychologists could understand it better than they do now, they might contribute toward improving both mental and social conditions. In the process, they wilt have to understand evil much better than they do, for this appears to be a spiritual force as well. Sometimes it appears that evil is clothed in religious language, which makes matters confusing. Religion is multidimensional, and some aspects of what is labeled religion are clearly not constructive.

Despite such difficulties, I am heartened by the existence of a growing clinical literature that provides descriptive evidence of the usefulness of spiritual dimensions in enhancing change (Bradford & Spero, 1990; Lovinger, 1984; Malony, 1988; Propst, 1990; Spero, 1985; Stem, 1985; Worthington, 1989), including a renewed positive interest in religion among psychoanalysts (J. H. Smith & Handelman, 1990). Morris Parloff (personal communication, May 14, 1990), in noting these trends placed them in historical perspective by the following citation: A little philosophy inclineth men's minds to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.--Francis Bacon
(more interesting things about Bacon and his religion here:

This paper shows that religion does not always have a positive effect, which is at odds with the claims by the Heritage Foundation and BS. 
A steadily increasing body of evidence from the social sciences demonstrates that regular religious practice benefits individuals, families, and communities, and thus the nation as a whole. The practice of Religion improves health, academic achievement, and economic well-being and fosters self-control, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion.

Chatter / Re: "What are you listening to now"... take three...
« Last post by jdawg70 on Yesterday at 07:50:20 PM »
Splattering music here now because yeah. Probably some repeats from past posts. Whatever:

Artist: The Smiths
Track: What Difference Does it Make?

Artist: The Cure
Track: Plainsong

Artist: Joy Division
Track: Failures

Artist: Maria Taylor
Track: Cartoons and Forever Plans

Artist: Pulp
Track: Disco 2000

Artist: Shivaree
Track: New Casablanca

Artist: Amber Rubarth
Track: Good Mystery

Artist: Amber Rubarth
Track: Letter From My Lonelier Self know what just every fuckin' Amber Rubarth song.
Fair enough. Let us continue...

I, my father, and my second cousin have spent many, many years researching and plotting our family trees, and we count ourselves as having done well to get back to the 1600s: records become sketchy at best - a single fire in a church can effectively remove the only source of records for many generations.  So to be able to say unequivocally that there are NO ancestors of a particular kind in your family tree must have taken a phenomenal amount of work.  I would be most grateful if you would share your sources as they will help me out immesurably.

So, if you want to go that route with ancestry, my source is a controversial one: racial science. There is also a second source, history.

Now, with your claim that I have NO ancestors, the racial features would show up from other races if I did have ancestors from another area. However, mixing occurred with the Neanderthals, Denisovas, and Homo-sapiens, so no matter what, there is an extremely tiny bit of racial genetics of the 3 human races in everybody. Of the 3 races, every feature about me I have, (except for eye and hair color) is Neanderthal. The reasoning for the eye and hair color is from the mixing of the 3 races thousands of years ago. As I have said so many times with examples and evidence in other threads, there is a lot more to race than skin color, and all of it has to do with ancestry.

Agreed....sort of.  Learning from the positive characteristics of others - whoever they may be - is a good thing (given a certain definition of "positive" and "good", of course).  But why should my direct line ancestors be considered any better or worse as a source of inspiration than any other people? 

Because you are your ancestors. You wouldn't exist if it weren't for them. This reality doesn't mean to only look at your ancestors. This reality is saying that special attention should be given to these certain individuals because they can genetically tell you something about yourself other sources of inspiration can't. I am not advocating an "either or" position. I am advocating a general inspiration along with a genetic inspiration. "ancestors", per se, is not a guarantee of wisdom, or justice, or positive behaviours.  We must, perforce, accept that a few of our ancestors will be good role models, a few (sadly likely a few more) will have been bad people, and the vast majority pretty unnoteworthy.  As I've said, I can't trace my ancestry back more than a few generations - and I have precious little information about what they thought or believed or did. 

That isn't exactly a bad thing per say. When you lose track of your individual ancestry, you can still trace them through history. We have a lot of records on when and where which tribes migrated to at which points in time. Now, is this exactly static? No. Things change as more and more information comes along. You see this with science. You also see this (somewhat) with religion. But we do have record keepings from thousands of years ago, which you already know pre-date Judaism quite a bit.

Was Thomas, my direct male ancestor who lived in Kent in the 1700s, a decent man?  A foul bigot?  Was he kind to his family, to the poor and sick?  Did he hoard his money?  Was he a devout Protestant?  An atheist?  Frankly, I have no idea.  I know when he lived, who his relatives were, and his occupation (at least at the point he married) - but that's it.  I can learn very little from Thomas - and that applies in general to the 21 gazillion other ancestors I have.

I know nothing about any individual - so the point, I presume, is to pick a "set" of presumed ancestors, and accept that their beliefs were of value and are the "right" ones to learn from.  You suggested earlier that Catholicism should NOT be considered valid IF one's ancestors were pure-strain inbred pagans - but here's the rub: I cannot be 100% positive (pending your sharing of sources) that every single one of my ancestors was of "pure" European origin (whatever that may mean), so it is perfectly possible that I could trace some of my ancestors back to Middle-Eastern (or other) origins - which would make Catholicism exactly as valid a positive belief as paganism (if we accept the "because ancestors" rationale).

Catholicism still wouldn't be valid because the Middle-Eastern people had their own religions very similar to the European religions BEFORE the Jews migrated into the Middle-East from Africa or Turkey (depending on which racial Jews you are referring to). So instead of Catholicism, you would have the Sumerian or Mesopotamian religions as an example of pre-Judaic Native Middle-Eastern religion. If you are Asian, Hinduism and Buddhism would be the comparative religion and of course we have the Egyptian religion in Africa.

Indeed, as I mentioned before, my children have Jewish ancestry on their mother's side.  So they, at least, definitely CAN claim that Judaism and/or Catholicism are perfectly legitimate ancestral heritages to follow and learn from.

That is true. You are right on this one.

Bottom line - the TL/DR point:  ancestry is too vague a reason for me to "embrace" paganism (notwithstanding the results of research I can carry out on your sources).  Certainly it presents no more compelling a reason for my children to embrace Paganism over Judaism, per se.  Unless there are factors I am unaware of, I cannot accept the argument of "you should embrace the beliefs of your ancestors" because as stated I have no way of knowing what those ancestors believed.

Well, I have found a lot more books and sources from my original debate post if you would like to have them?

We are able to know and understand what our ancestors believed. As pointed out, most of what we are talking about is revealed in the ancient texts, buildings, burial sites, artifacts, relics, and recorded events all throughout history.

(That, of course, is not to say there may not be other, valid reasons to embrace pagan deities - just that "because ancestors" is not a supportable reason, so far as I can see.)

I get this. The 3 desert faiths have taken away parts of religion in general that is tied to it, one of them being racial/genetics/ancestry. The reasoning for such is that Christianity and Islam are universalist beliefs, meant for everybody regardless of race or tribe or other ancestral attributes. Judaism however, is only meant for Jewish people. Judaism keeps this aspect of religion firmly entwined with it's beliefs instead of abandoning it. It places special interest on racial Jews while allowing some parts of it for Jewish converts. The way the Jews handle their religion today is how religion handled itself until the birth of Christianity and all religions afterwards.
General Religious Discussion / Re: The most harmful religons
« Last post by velkyn on Yesterday at 07:20:01 PM »

You have also not shown that atheism is illogical, just as you have yet to show that afairy-ism is illogical.  This why I don't think you have actually considered anyone's position at all since you keep coming back with the same old failed nonsense.  We've gone through the same stuff again and again, and you still think it has merit despite what you have been shown.,30326.msg717163.html#msg717163

ah yes, here we go, where BS Is asking me for logic and evidence, which I did (,30326.msg717191.html#msg717191) and we got to see BS run away again from providing evidence for his claims.  Now, exactly BS, how is this an answer to me asking you for that logic that you claim? 

You are invited to produce logic and evidence that disproves the logical deduction that a deity exists. This logical deduction is based on the initiation of a one-off event (Big Bang) which has rules governing the event in most if not all of its existential aspects, and which event results in the creation of a previously non-existing universe coming into existence and producing the development of intelligence, agency, and consciousness....that requires 1) power; 2) intent/agency; 3) intellect.....despite the overarching rule of constant decay (entropy).

There is a possibility I may be able to get the blog's author to review your response...because, near as I can tell, no atheist has ever taken him up on his challenge...and he has had plenty of atheists visit his site and engage in conversation with him. He was an atheist for 40 years.

that whole thread was a great example of where you failed repeatedly, BS.  Your last post was April 4 on that thread and you vanished without addressing many points.  SSDD. And my last response to your failures:,30326.msg717547.html#msg717547,30326.msg717547.html#msg717547
General Religious Discussion / Re: The most harmful religons
« Last post by velkyn on Yesterday at 06:58:56 PM »
Also, I never indicated that there is an absence of an objective moral standard. Actually, I do not believe I have said one way or the other.

that is such BS from BS.  in claiming to be Christian and an omnipotent god that is the only oen that exist and is the source of morality, you certainly have supported such an idea. 
Religion In The News / Re: ‘Allah’ Is Found on Viking Funeral Clothes
« Last post by velkyn on Yesterday at 06:55:17 PM »
Just curious if it was before Islam started.

pretty close to the same time from what I gather.  the Vikings interacted quite a bit with other cultures and both Christianity and Islam were busy converting at that time. 
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