Up Front by Emma Hart

Read Post

Up Front: The Missionary Position

212 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 Newer→ Last

  • BenWilson,

    Only if you want it to be. But I've got Bendon covered....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    So the wine was good?

    Yes t'was.

    Oh Ben Ben Ben.
    There are so many fallacies in this statement, I just dont know where to start and sorry I dont have time at present to go over them so, I'll just have to leave you to ponder them further.

    Or it could be completely inadequate for the task. It's a possibility. If you really have a scientific mind then you have to countenance it.

    Could be, but lets give it a chance.
    Enquiry into the workings of the human mind in a scientific way, starting with the Vienna school I suppose. That is now virtually dead in the water, except for New agers who still like to quote Jung.

    So 80 - 100yrs? It only really kicked off when Freud and Jung made it to the US where a gullible populace awaited eager to fill their leisure hours wondering about themselves. Not an auspicious start.
    Psychology has languished thru most of the last 2 decades, if it's ridiculed in sitcoms you know it's screwed.

    Evolutionary Psych well could be still born if it overreaches itself, like the various therapies dreamt up by those Austrian Herr Doctors.
    And so far this has been the case, most writings of EP's is excretable. As I said speculation, educated of course but there's just no way any of it can be backed up. But let people put their thoughts into words I have no objection to this and it's a start.
    Lets not reject possibilities before they have been explored.

    Because clearly the religious explanation, that a supernatural being blessed us in with this marvellous gift and we should all just have faith cause he might be back one day (I dont buy into Pascal's Wager), is crap.

    Just as Theists seem to think they have all the answers, I've noticed Atheists do too.

    You observations are probably based on the ?atheists you know, not a good platform.

    To take a strong position on the non-existence of God is to give a lot more of a shit about God than agnostics do.

    So you would think of yourself as an "I dont give a shit agnostic".
    I have no objection to talking to anyone about anything. I am not dogmatic, but I do require more than just a persons's say so or unsubstantiated quotes from an old book. And I have had people resort to threats of eternal damnation because I dont believe as they. So if my position is strong in the face of such language, so be it.

    To wish to explain all of creation on terms that humans can handle is something that both Evolutionists and Creationists share.

    The explanations are different and this does make a difference.
    There is a huge difference between Evolution and Creation. They are not equal and competing theories.
    Only Creationist wish to explain ALL of creation "on terms that humans can handle". But that explanation is woefully inadequate. And all societies have creation myths. Are all of them right? All of them wrong? Or all of them wrong except one? Which One?
    And I am happy to say I have no fucking idea about a lot of things.

    It can be hard sometimes to accept that both are just theories, one is just older and more discredited than the other.

    How are you using the word theory?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    andin, I already said I favor both Evolution and Atheism as positions. I'm just not dogmatic about them. I'm not quite ready to commit to the idea that Evolution can explain everything about the human mind, because so far it has not. It is a possibility that it never will, and if you are not dogmatic you have to accept this. I have no objection to attempts to explain, in fact I think that generating these ideas is a vital part of the process of discovering truth, and that it is a highly worthy pursuit. But something being a highly worthy pursuit does not mean it will be a successful pursuit.

    It seemed to me that you were taking the position that evolution will absolutely certainly be able to explain it one day, which seems like a very bold claim, going well beyond the evidence.

    I imagine that I have a far more inclusive view of the word science than you do. Again this is because I don't want it to become a church. To that end I have no qualms about saying that people who theorized about creation in the ancient world were scientists. Having a theory is better than no theory at all, even if it is a totally wrong theory. At least it gives you something to disprove.

    What stands in the way of scientific progress is not bad theories. It is the dogmatic insistence on the truth of theories, backed with power to stop other research.

    To that end I would say that the science of inquiry into the workings of the human mind has been going on in a highly systematic fashion for thousands of years. Theories have been proposed, discussed, debunked, refined, etc, probably since people began talking. The modern science of psychology built on this, and made fantastic progress in some areas for a period of time. The audacious idea that the mind could be studied as a biological process opened whole worlds of inquiry. But it is fallacious to see that which is progressing more rapidly at one time as the certain way of the future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    I guess I'm what people call a strong Atheist. (I like the term "radical atheist" as used by Douglas Adams. I also like the way he stated that he didn't so much "believe that there is no god", but was in fact "convinced that there is no god".

    I am the same. I am sure that there is no god. Principally because I can see no evidence at all that there is one.

    I am perplexed when I am constantly reminded that many (obviously intelligent) people do believe in a god. I do not understand why they do. The best explanation that I have come up with is that they are unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge that after you die you will cease to exist.

    In the words of Monty Python "...you come from nothing. You're going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!". Some people seem to think that if there is no life after death, then it is impossible to be happy. It didn't seem to stop the Pythons (as nicely summarised here).

    Obviously I am conflating "belief in God" with "life after death", but as Rob Hoskings stated :

    It seems to me that most religions seem to take three very distinct questions and bung them together.

    How did the world get here? What happens when we die? How should we live our lives?

    It's also interesting that many religious people seem to think that if somebody thinks the answer to the second question is "cease to exist", then their approach to the third question will be uncaring, selfish hedonism. This is palpably untrue.

    I'd be interested to hear why you think that there is (or might be) life after death.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • liam,

    @Emma:

    Posted at 3:28PM on 6 Mar 09.

    A friend of mine put it like this: atheism is not a religious belief any more than not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    I have always put Not-Applicable or N/A on forms which query my religious status. Religion, for me, is something other people do. I have no emotional concept within me that allows me to understand what religion is to one who has religion.

    I don't answer either atheist or agnostic as both those are words that seek to define something within the context of religion - something I have no concept of, so cannot describe myself in that context.

    To me it's the same as putting a question like "What WoW guild are you", and giving me a list of choices like richmen, poormen, beggarmen, thief, other (specify), I think guilds are wrong, I think guilds don't exist.

    Just to be clear, to me asking me what religion I am is *exactly* like asking how I fit into WoW. I've never played WoW, I wouldn't know if there are guilds in it or not - so I'd answer N/A.

    My two missionary experiences:

    1. When I was in secondary school a couple of Morom boys came to the door and talked to my mother for a short while as I lurked and listened. I commented on what they said after to my mother, and she said I should have talked to them, that I could have convinced them that they were wrong. I pointed out that I couldn't try doing that as I had nothing to offer to replace their belief system. I think that was a disappointment to my mother (my parents actively regected religion).

    2. I was waiting across the street from the local Deka waiting for my then G/F to finish work. Next to the wee urban-park there was a trailer of missionaries from a new-wave fundamental church that had come over from a neighbouring town to bear witness. About when they wrapped up for the night a guy I was at school with in the 3rd form sat down beside me. He had been one of the party crowd. Well, apparently he had found his god, and it was much better than all the other things he had found when he was at school. When my G/F arrived he finished his sermon and went on his way. One of the people from the other town, who had born witness earlier, came over and *sympathised* over what I had just had to listen to!

    I think my Sydney Scientology story doesn't fit the 'missionaries' thread....

    Here in the US South, I just don't mention religion, and I duck the question if it's in my direction. It's a scary place to be sometimes, and there are people who will damn well make religion applicable to you!

    Cheers, Liam

    NC, USA • Since Oct 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Is N/A somehow different from "None"?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I'd be interested to hear why you think that there is (or might be) life after death.

    This is an interesting one. Brent, I am interested in hearing any of your near death experiences, and how you feared. Did you think: 'No worries, nothing is going to happen" or did you do what ever it took to keep your head above water (metaphorically speaking).

    Or have you ever experienced suicidal ideation?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    I'm not quite ready to commit to the idea that Evolution can explain everything about the human mind, because so far it has not. It is a possibility that it never will, and if you are not dogmatic you have to accept this.

    Evolution only explains how we got this mind. Explaining its workings could take eons or never, who knows not me.
    So I guess we agree.

    It seemed to me that you were taking the position that evolution will absolutely certainly be able to explain it one day, which seems like a very bold claim, going well beyond the evidence.

    Um no, not taking that position or being that bold.

    I imagine that I have a far more inclusive view of the word science than you do.

    Now thats a bold claim.

    Again this is because I don't want it to become a church.

    Im guessing here but you saying this because you see theist's and atheist's as two sides of a coin, ying and yang? Yet you say you are an atheist but of a different stripe?
    Im completely nonplussed as to why you say this.
    Are you trying to insult me or something. I find it bizarre.

    To that end I have no qualms about saying that people who theorized about creation in the ancient world were scientists. Having a theory is better than no theory at all, even if it is a totally wrong theory. At least it gives you something to disprove.

    And I thought the usual descriptions for people in the ancient world who theorized about creation was priest, shaman or holy man. But if you want to think them scientists go ahead.
    And I thought that once a creation theory was um created. Its creators didnt try to prove or disprove it, they just passed it on to the next generation.But I'll never know I wasnt there.

    Nice chatting ciao.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So I guess we agree.

    Not sure yet :-)

    Im guessing here but you saying this because you see theist's and atheist's as two sides of a coin, ying and yang?

    Hardcore ones, yes.

    Yet you say you are an atheist but of a different stripe? Im completely nonplussed as to why you say this.

    I'm, softcore. I think there is no all powerful and benevolent God, but there could be any number of gods which don't fit one or other of those adjectives. Furthermore, I'm not convinced when the Argument From Evil is refuted with "It's not for us to know God's divine plan". But equally, I find the ability of Evolution to explain absolutely everything, given a good enough story, to be a weakness rather than a strength sometimes. There is almost no way the general theory could be refuted. So my conviction on the non-existence does not have the diamond hardness of most Atheists.

    Now thats a bold claim.

    Heh, I'm always happy to be proved wrong on those - they're just to get the ball rolling.

    Are you trying to insult me or something. I find it bizarre.

    Nope. Just discussing the topic raised. No insults intended.

    And I thought the usual descriptions for people in the ancient world who theorized about creation was priest, shaman or holy man. But if you want to think them scientists go ahead.

    Cheers. You left out "Philosophers", btw.

    And I thought that once a creation theory was um created. Its creators didnt try to prove or disprove it, they just passed it on to the next generation.But I'll never know I wasnt there.

    My guess is that like most mythology they are constantly built upon, and what seems silly at the time is just not used and eventually forgotten. And you only have to read ancient works about science to see that they looked for proof and disproof of the ideas a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    You left out "Philosophers"

    Starting in Ionian islands and then on through troublesome relationships with religions that were around over time, so I kinda left it out on purpose.

    Cause thats when the idea of proofs started to appear. And so the distinction between the religious and the scientific started to appear.
    And proving something evidentially such as a supernatural being, is foreign and I would say impossible, for a religion. And probably a non starter if you wanted funds from the church.

    Cheers

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Starting in Ionian islands and then on through troublesome relationships with religions that were around over time, so I kinda left it out on purpose.

    I'm not one to discount the vast array of ancient philosophers who weren't Greek, just because I haven't particularly studied them. But of the Greek ones, you'll find if you actually read them, that the basic assumptions they started with were begun by the theories of the culture that they lived in. They were the kind of things that humans are likely to come up with as the first shot at explaining things. Very often the second shot, and many subsequent ones, would seem equally absurd to us today. But they were progressing. To even be paying attention to trying to explain the movements of the cosmos was a good start. At some point, one of the theories, whether it contains references to supernatural beings or not, starts hitting nearer the mark, and real progress is being made.

    Believe it or not, it was actually the scientific observations of Aristotle that created a great deal of the difficulties for the Catholic Church in accepting the idea of Copernicus, that the Earth moves. It was not much to do with the Bible and supernatural beings, and everything to do with the fact that parallax could not be observed at the time. Certainly they erred in oppressing Galileo for his beliefs, but I don't buy fully that the oppression was religiously motivated. It had a great deal to do with 'who owns the science?'. The Church thought they did, and certainly they had the bulk of the scientists of the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Yeah, lucky a snippet of Aristotle's writings survived to have that influence.
    Thanks Ben.
    Oh and people who use the word inclusive send a shiver down my spine.

    Dear Ms Emma Hart

    You overcame your Kiwi reticence to mention the subject of religion. Thanks.
    Isnt it funny that most of the people who turned up to comment profess no religion. I guess it says something about the readership of Public address.
    Well there was the one catholic, the resident PA supposed contrarian the dear luv, he was out of here quick.

    It is an awkward subject mainly I think, because when it is talked about, it goes to the very heart of what goes on in our minds it isnt really about gods. I dont find have difficulty with that as a subject but many people do.

    It is a private domain usually, until something goes wrong in the world we all live in. Then it is of vital importance that we open up I think. But it is a counter intuitive thing to do for many. And when times are tough, as they surely will be for the next couple of years in NZ and with a crew of ninnies holding the reins of Govt, dialogue and introspection just dont figure.

    So I guess Brian Tamaki and his ilk, must be rubbing his hands with glee. They have an identifiable target -atheism, people hurting and a govt they can cosy up to.
    Is this a perfect storm, I hope not.
    And remember follow you own rule, if someone mentions god change the subject quick.
    Thanks again anyway very brave of you.
    A

    PS
    It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Richard Dawkins gets when he appears by video link (chicken) at the upcoming writers, is it a conference. I cant remember off the top of my head.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Isnt it funny that most of the people who turned up to comment profess no religion. I guess it says something about the readership of Public address.
    Well there was the one catholic, the resident PA supposed contrarian the dear luv, he was out of here quick.

    From the tone portions of this conversation have taken, even the most reasonable, patient, tolerant religious person would have required a great deal of courage to participate. Far more courage than it took for me to write this, which was pretty much 'none'.

    And yet it was still more patient and reasonable than most internet discussions on religion.

    I'm still a big fat hippy incense burner, though.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    ... yournear death experiences, and how you feared. Did you think: 'No worries, nothing is going to happen"

    From my experience in situations where I could die, my thoughts in these situations is usually some variant on "Well, this is going to hurt." Sometimes bulked out with "Hey, that sky is really blue today" (I have a clear recollection of thinking both these thoughts the first time I was hit by a car). I'm still pretty convinced that "This is going to hurt" is going to be the last thought I'll ever have.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yeah, lucky a snippet of Aristotle's writings survived to have that influence.
    Thanks Ben.

    I'm sure if he didn't say it, it would have been rediscovered, since it was a very compelling scientific argument. I point it out to counter your apparent claim that there was no science going on back then, because it was religiously motivated. I think there's little doubt that a great deal of the work of the Pythagoreans was religiously motivated and yet they made enormous advances in some sciences. They also reputedly drowned someone to hush up the discovery of irrational numbers - in doing that they were wicked fools.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    (I have a clear recollection of thinking both these thoughts the first time I was hit by a car).

    Shivers, you mean getting hit by a car is you recurring theme? I only nearly get drowned from time to time.

    I'm still a big fat hippy incense burner, though.

    My pants are held up with bailing twin.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    big fat hippy incense

    But how can you tell it was made by large hippies?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Shivers, you mean getting hit by a car is you recurring theme?

    Not particularly recurring, but it's happened a few times. To be honest, I've had about as many accidents while taking evasive action to avoid being hit. You get used to it after a while.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Not particularly recurring, but it's happened a few times. To be honest, I've had about as many accidents while taking evasive action to avoid being hit. You get used to it after a while.

    I've been lucky when riding personally, but my dad on the other handhas had more than his share of car versus bike accidents. Just plain ol' falling off (evasive or otherwise) is almost a non-event for him now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Most of my action thrillers seem to happen out on the high seas. I've dismasted my boat for the time being. Thats probably the equivalent of taking the engine out of the car.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Bike, not car, sorry my bad. 12 hail marys.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    12 hail marys.

    How 'bout twelve Bloody Marys? It is Friday.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    A few weeks ago I was proceeding up the hill towards my castle when I was accosted by two overly clean cut young guys who attempted to foist some 'literature' upon me. Whereupon I began my uber materialist ultra Darwinian hard core atheist proselytising speel on them. They were satisfyingly stunned and responded by trying to give me the 'literature' again. I walked away turned around and wished that they 'walk in the light of reason and knowledge'.

    Billy Graham Jr was in these parts a couple of years ago and expressed bemusement when informed that this is a post-christian country. Though in our case it is more a reaction to having been excessively priest ridden in the past. There are a lot of reused churches here. At the bottom of the aforementioned hill for eg the building with tallest local spire has an Indian restaurant in the ground floor and a snooker hall above. Also it is notable that the suburbs built post about 1955 have no churches. There is no church up the hill here for eg, the remaining in religious use ones are all in the old part of the place as are the reused ones. There are no churches in the new estates that have been sprouting all over the good agricultural land.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From my experience in situations where I could die, my thoughts in these situations is usually some variant on "Well, this is going to hurt." Sometimes bulked out with "Hey, that sky is really blue today"

    You guys are so articulate with your near-death experiences. Any time Death has clearly been in the room with me the closest my brain could have got to vocables would have been 'you're fucking kidding me', and more honestly, something with no vowels.

    Billy Graham Jr was in these parts a couple of years ago

    Again, reflexive 'gnrgghh'ing. A few years ago, we had a massed family reunion. The organisers seemed to feel it necessary to have some kind of religious service. Okay, I thought, I'll be able to duck out with the kids before they start. But no, there was no chance for anyone to leave, and we stood and listened in gathering horror as a cousin of my mother's proceeded to talk about when Billy Graham was here and how great he was, and how the country had totally gone to pot since the fifties. Only the knowledge of how much it would embarrass my mother stopped me gathering up my children and storming out.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    How 'bout twelve Bloody Marys?

    And twelve How's Your Fathers? Elvis Costello album wasn't it?

    You guys are so articulate with your near-death experiences. Any time Death has clearly been in the room with me the closest my brain could have got to vocables would have been 'you're fucking kidding me', and more honestly, something with no vowels.

    I gurgled the one time I thought my number was up, but that was because I was caught in a rip at a west coast beach. The fact it was New Years Day and I was hungover didn't help my clarity of thought.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.