Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rising every time we fall

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela

Sometimes I think the secret to a good and fulfilling life is simply that: rising every time you fall.

It's as true for the entrepreneur pursuing profit as it is for the alcoholic trying to stay sober. As true for the surgeon making life-and-death decisions as it is for the child learning to ride a bike. We all fall - we all fail - sooner or later. It's what we do afterward that shows our character.

Most people who seriously attempt to follow the spiritual path take on one or more disciplines: structured prayer time, charitable giving, meditation, retreats, self-examination, study of scripture, fasting, worship. Sticking with a discipline adds depth and substance to your spirituality.

But often our good intentions go the way of New Year's resolutions, and what the hymn writer called the "sweet hour of prayer" becomes 10 seconds of "Now I lay me down to sleep."

What then?

Sometimes a particular discipline needs to be set aside for a time, either because it has become unrelentingly dull and meaningless or because you're making it into an idol, a substitute for God. But more often you simply need to rise, shake off the dust and take it up again.

When I do this, I invariably find it to be a happy homecoming, not a dreary duty.


Anonymous said...

The entrepreneur and surgeon Jane mentions face serious monetary consequences, perhaps other punishment as well, whenever they fall...or fail. It’s notable that we only expect them to show character. What about us?

People have no qualms about placing their trust in man-made equipment or modern surgery. They climb aboard a complex but relatively fragile airship. It soars to over 30,000 feet. They hop in a car and speed along at 80 mph. They hop on a table to risk death for “routine” liposuction surgery. Then something goes humanly wrong and things crash.

But no one faults the passengers or patients for taking such a tremendous risks. Our secular laws don’t require that they or their families live up to the consequences of their risky actions. Some mitigating points may be argued, but not the ones that examine guilt in the spiritual sense.

We just say get a lawyer and sue the heck out of the airline, car manufacturer or surgeon for tempting us to think we will always beat the human odds.

When someone forces another to use something, or do something against their will, such as a drunken driver, then we say that the burden of consequences show fall on the perpetrator. But humans dealing with humans or just being around other humans should know by now that there is no guarantee we are all going to act godly at any given time. Yet rarely do we see any victim or their family turn the other cheek.

What’s wrong with we humans ALL showing some character by accepting the consequences of our and others’ foolish actions. Isn’t that what God would expect?

Iztok said...

"What’s wrong with we humans ALL showing some character by accepting the consequences of our and others’ foolish actions. Isn’t that what God would expect?"

Isn't it all God's plan anyway?

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying my meditation/prayer time in the mornings and it's gotten to be something I do spontaneously throughout the day (while waiting at traffic lights or during commercials). The words I meditate/pray have changed a lot over the years. I don't use most of the Christian words as I did in high school, but many of the thoughts are the same. I find some words and thoughts from other spiritual traditions enlightening, challenging, relaxing and empowering. And, of course, there are many thoughts and words of my own. So, may I suggest, making the practice we return to different in some way from what it's been.

Iztok said...

Some people just enjoy life instead.

Jane Pope said...

In case anyone's curious but hesitant to follow an unknown link, Iztok is referring you to a news story out of Columbus, Ohio, about atheists having a "de-baptism" ceremony with a hair dryer.

Iztok: For me and for many others, spiritual practice IS what makes life more enjoyable. That is why we are in this discussion. If you wish to write about your own spiritual life - even apart from any sort of religion - you are welcome to do so. But please stop making disparaging remarks about other people's experiences.

Everyone: It is not the purpose of this blog to convert (to a particular religion OR to atheism) but to share. We really can learn from one another, despite our differences. Thanks.

Iztok said...

Jane, how is that disparaging? People had a wonderful time with de-baptism. I was just sharing a newspaper article about their life experience and spiritual path.

Here is a better one about the same event (I wanted to post newspaper article as more neutral but since you've invited to show other peoples experiences here it is):

Danbo59 said...

Izzie, why don't you petition The Charlotte Observer to start your own blog and abandon this one?

Anonymous said...


It's frustrating, isn't it?

Iztok still hasn't presented, as requested by me in Jane's last topic, his or anyone else's proof that there is no God.

If he had starred in that Kevin Costner movie, they would have called him "Dances-Around-The-Question". He does anything to evade answering mine.

Jane feels we can learn from him, but I think he should follow the adage "If you can't put up, shut up."

Anonymous said...

Iztok: Your remarks are disparaging and rude. I think Jane should ask you to not comment on her blog.
Everyone: Sorry for the times I've been rude.

Anonymous said...

You refused to cooperate when Jane asked you to not make disparaging remarks. If you didn't understand (hard to believe), you should have simply said so. Instead, you offered a link to a site that is worse than the first. This is why you should be asked to no longer comment.

KED said...

Thanks for the wonderful question. Like the first anonymous poster I too set aside about half an hour daily to read (Christian books and the Bible), pray and commune with the Lord. I find that a day started in this manner always helps me to maintain an attitude of thankfulness, praise and worship through out the day. Many nights I will sit down with a guitar in hand or at the piano and just play and meditate on the events of the day and the goodness and bounty shown to me and my family. What a great close to the day no matter what has happened.

And yes I have fallen, multiple times in many different ways. I have faced temptation and fallen into the trap more times that I even care to admit. But I find that the more I seek God, the less temptation comes to seek me.

I have failed to pray, went my own way, and struggled against the turmoil’s of life on my own. Yet time and time again, I come back to the place of peace and forgiveness because I am always welcome there. Always, no matter what I have done…or not done.

And afterwards I get myself up, dust off and move forward in the direction God has set for me. Perseverance applies in the Christian life as well as in the entrepreneurial life. We just have to be willing to listen closely and be willing to go wherever He leads.

Bob said...

Checked out the de-baptism site. Pretty lame. Nobody was even naked. Not that you'd want any of them to be. Sheesh. If that's what passes for blasphemy these days, I am tempted to lead a different life.

Iztok said...

Anon: "Iztok still hasn't presented, as requested by me in Jane's last topic, his or anyone else's proof that there is no God."

Anonymous, this request is so stupid that it doesn't warrant a true answer but I will try.

There is no way anyone can prove universal negative. Onus is on you to prove God exists. You don't believe in Santa Clause (I presume) anymore yet you don't have any proof he doesn't exist. You don't believe in Invisible Pink Unicorn despite the fact you can't prove she doesn't exist. And we can go on.

Anonymous said...


Another disparaging remark, "Anonymous, this request is so stupid..."

Besides, it's a good request. It demonstrates, as you admit, that science can't prove something doesn't exist. Science and human logic are limited.

"Onus is on you to prove..." This isn't a science class and we're not concerned about who has the burden to prove something. A "burden of proof" shouldn't even come up since this blog isn't about proving what we believe or disproving what others believe.

Atheists would do better if they accept the limits of their thinking. Theists don't need proof of God or a scientific defense of it.

Bob said...

God is being.

The Heretic said...

Pornstudent, you hit the nail square on the head. Well stated. Great comments! We need more of that in this blog.

Bob, can you expand on your remark that "God is being?". Do you mean God is everything and everywhere? I believe God is both immanent AND transcendental, but that it's not within our capability to know when He is which.

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

The Tyson Foods' poultry processing plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee is no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day but would be instead giving a paid day off in conjunction with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Christian beliefs are being sidelined in the workplace and schools, but now another faith is being given special consideration.

And the fall of our country continues.

Bob said...


I was suggesting that "I Am" connotes "being," rather than "a being" with characteristics like immanence or transcendence. So I wouldn't says God is in everything. I would say that God is the "is" in "Everything is."

Iztok said...

eye_dee_ten_tea, so what if factory decided to celebrate another religious holiday? Is it ok to celebrate Christmas and Easter but not ok to celebrate some other religious holiday? Is it not that both Muslims and Christians believe in the same omnipresent tyrant that somehow sheds love on the chosen ones? You merely disagree on simple details yet both believe in something without evidence.

Pornstudent, how is pointing out that Emperor has no clothes disparaging? It would be discouraging if I would claim that Emperor has no clothes when in fact he would. But deceiving others that he has clothes when in fact he doesn't, that is OK? So much for moral relativism.

Danbo59 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danbo59 said...

Hey, Izzie -- the Tyson plant is trading off a secular holiday for a religious holiday. One would think you'd be a bit more perturbed over this. Oh, but I forgot, as long as it's not a Christian holiday that's being "imposed" you're OK with it. Why not move to Iran where you will be more comfortable?

Here's a better idea -- why not hold your very own de-baptizing ceremony? You can add more symbolism if you stand in a tub of water while doing it. Then, firmly grasp the hair dyer....

And remember, these remarks are not disparaging.

Anonymous said...


Your reply has nothing to do with your disparaging remark, "Anonymous, this request is so stupid..."

I take it that you don't mind being disparaging and that you think it helps your cause, and that you think your cause is more important than actually communicating with others or how Jane wants you to act on her blog.

Maybe it would help if we knew what your cause is. Something to do with truth? With love?

Anonymous said...


Can you tell I'm being nicer than I used to be? I'd like us all to be nicer. Your first paragraph was OK and had a good point except for "Oh, but I forgot" and "Why not move to Iran where you will be more comfortable?"

The second paragraph wasn't nice.


Bob said...

Iztok wants everyone to believe that colors exist outside the mind, notwithstanding a complete lack of evidence for this ancient superstition.

Iztok said...

pornstudent: "Your reply has nothing to do with your disparaging remark, "Anonymous, this request is so stupid...""

How is that a disparaging remark? Asking anyone to prove universal negative is just plain stupid. It is just like me asking to disprove Invisible Pink Unicorn doesn't exist. It just can't be done and asking for something that can't be done is simply stupid.

Anonymous said...

Hi! It’s just me…stupid Anonymous.

Izzie, if, as you say, “there is no way anyone (human beings) can prove universal negative”, then I’d start to worry if I were an atheist like you. If you can’t prove there isn’t a God because of the limitations of scientific inquiry, then why am I wasting time on this blog listening to a complete and utter idiot like you?

One of us is stupid. It’s not me.

Bob said...

All Iztok ever really says (over and over and over) is that there is a relatively low probability that an Invisble Man in the Sky exists because there is currently no evidence that an Invisible Man in the Sky exists. He is unable to deal with any other concept of God. He can't deal with the concept of God as being. He can't deal with concepts like transcendence or immanence. He can't find an atheist blog on those subjects, and emergency e-mails to Professor Dawkins have gone unanswered. Ask him what evidence he has -- apart from his own subjective experience and the self-reported experiences of others -- that colors "exist" in the "real" world. On second thought, don't bother. Irony isn't his strong suit either.

Anonymous said...

Are your comments having the effect you desire? Is it enough for you to disrupt this blog with your heckling?

Bob said...

He thinks it's his deary duty.

Anonymous said...

Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin, God can be anything you want Him to be.

He's the quarterback of the ultimate fantasy football team.

Lao Tzu said...

To know that you do not know is the best.

Anonymous said...

Jane, you have nailed one of the main themes of my late beloved hometown pastor's ministry. NEVER give up. When we fail, we simply ask Christ to help us up and go at it again. God is doing a work in us. It is a process.

Anonymous said...

You people are one step away from wearing towels on your heads and riding on a camel.

I stopped believing in the tooth fairy long ago. Some people just hang on forever.


J. said...

There may be some entity that we humans have termed God (as one of many names) but as Iztok and others have posted we have no objective "in-common" proof that every person can share in as tangible evidence. Every mind has its' own unique conception of what it believes is God but has no presentable evidence to point to as real proof as one would have with lets say a objective scientific experiment.

As for me I remain an agnostic because since we live in a universe that is incomprehensibly huge and perhaps infinite and since our planet and human experience only occupies a minute part of it, we have no personal experience of other parts of the universe to be able to say with certainity that we know "the absolute truth" and it is encompassed by our own personal brand of religious or philosophical belief.

Every concept, every belief, every conceit we assume as truth has only been conceived from the vantage point of one small speck of matter called earth in a cosmos that we just barely know yet.

I think one of our biggest stumbling blocks is our insistence on certitude when if you seriously look at the physical universe constant change and new information is all we see around us. The universe evolves just as we and every other living thing as well as inanimate matter has done for billions of years.

The universe will go on with or without us.

For me I see humanity as part of incredibly rich and complex web of existence which while we may not know if it has a "purpose" it is enough to learn and experience life and physical reality as it is.

It is not as I might wish it to be by creating comforting fantasies of some supernatural entity overseeing and contolling my existence which in a way is a form of self-absorbed narcissism.

j. said...

In addendum:

All that I said above... just as the universe appears to be ... is provisional and subject to revision as new data comes available! :)

Bob said...

God is not an entity. God is being.

Anonymous said...


What is wrong with wearing a towel on one's head or riding on a camel and what have same to do with tooth fairies?

are you an anti-arab bigot?

Iztok said...

Bob: "God is not an entity. God is being."

Every being is an entity.

Gamecock: anonymous was saying that none of you have any proof that tooth fairies don't exist thus you believe in them I guess (considering stupid requests from some to prove god doesn't exist). Same goes for Zeus and other gods that you can't disprove either thus by the same twisted logic one should believe in them.

About the towels, nothing wrong with towels, after all we do have an annual Towel Day when one should wear a towel.

J.: Well said. I used to be an agnostic but then figured out why bother considering the lack of any real evidence. We can't say for certain that Russell's does or doesn't exist, however most if not all of us would consider it doesn't despite the fact that there is a very small (and I mean very small) chance that it actually exists. By strict mathematical definition I too would be agnostic but for the same reason as Gamecock, Jane, DJ, Danbo and others are atheists when it comes to myriad of other gods I am atheist when it comes to all of them. We can list hundreds of possible gods humans know or knew and most if not all of us don't believe in majority of them (despite that we can't prove they don't exist). Some of us just take it a step further. After all, why pick and choose?

Iztok said...

Wonder how those who have "faith" would argue with these "faithful"?

They actually seem to have first hand experience one can't argue? It seems that many experience the same thing people described here with their religion so I guess it must be true.

j. said...


Thanks for the comment. I can see your point of just putting all choices aside but for me,because for lack of complete information...I have to say I just don't know.

I have been a Christian believer, even a fundamentalist and a new age searcher but have found religions lack a foundation in objective reality,at least as we can test it.

More importantly, I feel a lot of religion as well as our obssession and fascination with materialism(consumerism) has become a convenient way to live in denial and presents a dangerous distraction from accepting personal responsibility over what our species is doing to the future sustainability of this planet.

I doubt that a supernatural "being" is going to save us from our willful ignorance of biological and ecological realities. Humans have become a force which like geological forces alter the earth in physical ways. Geologists now call this the Anthropocene age

The earth in some manner will continue with or without us, but we are making choices everyday through our culture and economic lifestyles of whether living conditions will be amenable for all of us and all other species(that we have not forced into extinction)

j. said...

Just another note to thank Jane for tolerating the diverse views that are posted in these comments.

By the way if you have not read it there was an excellent essay on tolerance in the Observer opinion pages on August 12 by guest writer Mary Cunningham. She also emphasizes that none of us are capable of having certainty or knowing all the truth and believing we do has led many horrific tragedies in history.

Bob said...

God is not a being. God is being. Being is not an entity.

Anonymous said...

God was an invention by ancient man because they could not understand the things around them. Today there are many things we still do not understand. But there are many, many things that we now do. Things that scared our ancestors to death. Things like earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, plague, comets, the sun, the moon, etc., etc.

The biggest thing that a lot of us currently cannot understand is how people go on to believe in such nonsense.

Lennon had it right..... Imagine.

j. said...


In the dictionary I find that both words "being" and "entity" are closely related in a semantic sense and philosophically but I think I understand your preference. In any case,at least for me,that distinction you make is a subjective assertion which I cannot verify. I have no way to physically test if"being"is God...or if God is a being or entity.

Bob said...

If you define God as a being, then it is an empirical question as to whether that particular being exists or does not exist. If you define God as being, you confound the question, "I am"-style. My apologies to Mr. Webster for messing in his house.

j. said...


It still may be an empirical question if being or all of existence (ie. matter and the mystery of consciousness)is seen as God. How is this testable?

Maybe it will be in the future, but at this point it would seem that God would have to make an apperance to all of us that would unequivocally confirm "his" existence.

Anonymous said...

Can you redefine something into existence and still have it be the same?

j. said...

Maybe it's like quantum mechanics. You cannot be certain of a particle's speed and location at the same time. Perhaps defining God exactly is impossible because being/existence is like an enormous electron cloud?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and so what good is it?

What "moral authority" would an electron cloud have?

Danbo59 said...

Izzie writes, "Wonder how those who have "faith" would argue with these "faithful"?"

Easy, Izzie. First, they're wrong because the Bible itself tells us that when Christ returns he will "come in glory," not come in obscurity as this snake-oil salesman has come. Second, this idiot said he realized who he was after being a policeman as an adult. Jesus Christ was always (and is always) self-aware of who and what He is. Christ knew precisely who and what He was from in all stages of His life on earth. He didn't wake up one morning and say, "Oh, I'm the Son of God."

By the way, the poster of the video, in trying to dissuade others from believing in this heretic, makes some blunders himself.

1. The poster references Mt 24:26, but forgets to make it meaningful by quoting Mt 24:26-27, "So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,' do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." In other words, when Christ returns, all will see Him -- not just a few.

2. Then he butchers Proverbs 3:5 in saying, "There is only one source for total truth. That is the Bible." How can Proverbs mention "The Bible" when the Bible wasn't written yet?! What Proverbs 3:5 says is, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not."

Another interesting clue to this false messiah is his sixty (60) commandments. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments (and the multitude of laws that followed) into one (1) -- The Great Commandment. Now we are to believe that Jesus has returned to replace that one (1) commandment with sixty (60)?!? Preposterous.

j. said...


Agreed. My feelings about moral authority are that morals and ethics are simply agreed upon rules of conduct that humans have developed over time through trial and error and for self-preservation.

When we take ownership of what we have created then we can assume responsibility for it, instead of attributing authotity to some amorphous place and being that we can not quantify or qualify. I see that as a part of our maturation as a species just as most of us no longer attribute supernatural powers to physical processes like volcanos, comets, earthquakes etc.

Anonymous said...

Does putting the label "God" on a slippery definition mean you've defined "God"?

Why not call it "God*" with a footnote?

Anonymous said...

I think we invent and re-invent gods to suit our purposes for the moment.

The perceived value is in the brand name, not the actual contents.

Anonymous said...

Gamecock teaches that we should let God be God, and he is smarter than I am. God says "I am" in one word. I read that as "being." How does one prove that being exists? I'm guessing there's something existential about it. But I don't know.

j. said...


Exactly...there are so many subjective personal interpretations of what God is it would require an huge section of footnotes to explain and we would still not have an agreed upon definition.

Bob said...

That was me. I screw up when I'm being profound.

Anonymous said...

We could all use my definition.

j. said...


Which anonymous one was you?...your last was witty though:)

Bob said...

That was me again. Man! Now even I'm confused.

j. said...

Will the "real" anonymous identify himself? :)

The Heretic said...


Your comments in this blog are a refreshing change from the usual War of the Words between believers and unbelievers, or even from the occasional friction here between various Christian denominations. (I have yet to find anyone posting to this blog who claims to be anything but a Christian, atheist or agnostic).

Someone who used the name Lao Tzu opined earlier “To know that you do not know is the best.” If he or she meant that is the best stance to take when contemplating God, I tend to agree. While I currently believe there is a Supreme Being or Supreme Force that is responsible for our being here, and that it has some purpose for us in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know its nature, and therefore my definitions and opinion keep evolving as science moves more of the unknown into the known side.

I always thought that was a safe stance to take. But you seem to have a stronger brand of agnosticism, and therefore probably a safer stance. When the strongly defined “sides” in this blog start bickering, at least you can unconditionally state “I don’t know”, and stay above the fray.

The problem seems to be that once we swear firm allegiance to a god via baptism, circumcision or whatever agreement might be proposed, or once we state that we absolutely don’t believe in a God or gods, it’s sort of like becoming a die-hard life-long fan of our favorite college football team. When fans of another god, or fans of the non-god persuasion, start the usual human “my view is right” harping, one is forced to take a defensive position. We feel you can’t abandon our team despite its record. Same for atheism. Once we take that firm stand and opine, we can expect that the other teams will have a “Let’s Kick the Atheist” party in this blog.

Major religions and non-believers have certainly made it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to open up a sincere dialog to find, prove, disprove or define God or the spiritual when they think they already have all the answers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with The Heretic. With so many good reasons to dislike other people, there is no need to bring religion into it.

Iztok said...

"God says "I am" in one word."

Well we all can say the same thing: "I am". We would not be wrong because we are. (Descartes said it nicely too: "Cogito, Ergo Sum")

j. said...


Thanks for the kind compliments and your intelligent and thoughtful critiques and views.

I have had my moments of very strong biases also and still do but as I have "aged" I realize more and more that I do not know as much as I thought was certain about life and the universe at large.

For that I can thank my explorations of science and cosmology(and philosophy) which I value with the humanities as some of our greatest acheivements.

I believe that we must try to find answers that are based on objective reasoning and have commonality to all of us not just to various sects and partisans.

After all when we get past the veneer of culture and biases, we are all humans with the same basic needs, There are some of us in this world though that still maintain that only they have the answers and resort to force or coercion to emphasize that.

If we are going to survive as species, I sincerely think we are going to have eventaully get past this "only our team matters" mentality. I don't see how a future population of 9 to 10 billion will survive in peace and health if we don't start embracing more cooperation and seek what is good and common to all of us. To me and many others nature is telling us loud and clear that the path we are on is un-sustainbale.

I believe that science and reason are two ways that we can find common ground if we can just accept that subjective philosophical beliefs are the domain of the individual and not to be forced upon all of society.
I know that is a huge challenge and I am not naive; it is not going to be easy, but what other choices do we have if we wish for our children to inherit a world that is livable and free.

Anonymous said...

Witty or witless, I'll lay claim to:

August 13, 2008 10:48 AM
August 13, 2008 11:05 AM
August 13, 2008 11:23 AM
August 13, 2008 11:31 AM


Anonymous said...

You're off the hook. Those weren't any of the witty ones.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Should Anon's use of bigoted towel head/camel anti-arab rhetoric be tolerated?

yes, so long as we can distinguish one anon from another

Such rhetoric should also be denounced by Christian people. This Christian people so denounces.

Any joiners?

Iztok said...

"Such rhetoric should also be denounced by Christian people. This Christian people so denounces."

Such rhetoric was in the same line as bigoted stance of most Christians against homosexuality. Do I hear denouncing such bigoted stance from same Christian people?

Yet one is true choice, another (homosexuality) is not as homosexuals are "made" that way. (Just a reminded one can't really separate homosexuality from homosexual as one and another are connected in same way as Christian and Christianity are connected.)

Or is bigoted stance of most Christians against homosexuality OK because some book tells you so yet bigoted stance against wearing towels on your head and riding camels is not OK?

I personally think that any condemnation of homosexuality is despicable. It is not their choosing nor is it illness.

Anonymous said...

Sam Harris

End of Faith

Danbo59 said...

Izzie wrote, "I personally think that any condemnation of homosexuality is despicable. It is not their choosing nor is it illness."

Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.

The Heretic said...

Anon at 11:32 8/13/08 said "Gamecock teaches that we should let God be God, and he is smarter than I am."

I know Gamecock is smarter than me, but how did you learn that he's smarter than you?

j. said...

As a excercise in trying to find commonality what could Danbo59,Gamcock and Iztok do in this forum discussion to reconcile their seemingly disparate philosophical positions? Any ideas?

Danbo59 said...

J said, "As a excercise in trying to find commonality what could Danbo59,Gamcock and Iztok do in this forum discussion to reconcile their seemingly disparate philosophical positions? Any ideas?"

Reconcile them to what?

j. said...


To try to find a way to get past your differences and biases and find at least some agreement(commonality) on something (like homosexuality for instance) instead of non-productive polarization and building walls of seperation.

Iztok said...

j. answer is simple. Danbo, Gamecock and others are all atheists when it comes to hundreds of other gods. Basically the difference is that I just don't pick and choose.

Bob said...

So what's the matter with you that you can't make up your mind?

Iztok said...

Bob: "So what's the matter with you that you can't make up your mind?"

What is the matter? There is simply not enough evidence for any. Absence of evidence seems to point to evidence of absence. When no evidence is present to substantiate something I find it more intellectually honest to say so then to do wishful thinking and hope something is there. I don't find any issues with no afterlife. Life here is what I am looking forward every day and work for every day. I would rather do the work then lose time praying, at least one is sure that results of hard work can be seen. I am not arrogant to think that there is a being that created this waste universe just for us. Universe humbles me to think that as humans we are just insignificant speck in time and space.

j. said...


I agree with you that realizing that there is more unknown about the universe than we think we know for certain can hopefully inspire a expanded sense of humility and awe.

I feel, as you may also, that it is hubris to the infinite degree to believe that an observable universe which is at least 14 billion light years in time/space dimensions was just put here for humans.

I recognize though that when the conditions our lives here on this planet so overwelm us, it is hard to see "outside" to the larger context of the universe. It is not something that probably most of us on this planet think about daily because it is not part of our everyday experiences.

However this larger context is real and I believe we all should try to consider this when we are making definitions about the totality of existence,belief and philosophy.

Danbo59 said...

J wrote, "To try to find a way to get past your differences and biases and find at least some agreement(commonality) on something (like homosexuality for instance) instead of non-productive polarization and building walls of seperation."

They're welcome to adopt my attitude toward homosexuality at any time.

For the thousandth time -- homosexuality is wrong, it is a sin, it is contrary to God's plan for creation. Homosexuals are God's children; therefore, they are to be treated with love, compassion and respect due every other child of God. But it does not justify their actions.

There is a difference between the alcoholic and alcoholism; between the murderer and the murder; between the homosexual and homosexuality. The first are people, the second are behaviors.

The Heretic said...

I take a mixed stand on the homosexuality issue raised earlier.

In secular matters, such as in our every day life under government, I feel as Iztok does. All are, or should be, equal under the law. Any condemnation of sexual orientation is not only despicable; it should be illegal.

But in sectarian matters, like it or not, that same condemnation is and should be permissible. I may not personally agree with religious groups who take that stand, but they have the right, protected by the Constitution, to discriminate as they see fit according to how they view mankind’s relationship to their view of God.

The problem arises when we attempt to mix secular and sectarian.

As regards J.’s wish for all who comment here to find commonality and get past the polarization that often turns into quite a battle, this may not be the place where that is possible.

But I noticed in today’s Observer (Local section, page 2B), that Charlotte’s Gay and Lesbian community announced its annual service awards. Those will go not only to gay advocates, but to such notable local religious leaders as Stephen Shoemaker, senior minister at Myers Park Baptist Church, and Rabbi Judy Schindler of Temple Beth-El. Those two are the very first recipients of the group’s “Bridge Builder” Award, given to “straight” allies who are honored for improving life in the ENTIRE community.

J., here is evidence that folks can reach that common ground.

j. said...


I agree that a person,a human being should be respected apart from their behavior but should be judged appropiately for their behaviors if that behavior causes harm to others.

But I notice you prefaced your comment with an aboslute conviction that ONLY your view is correct and others are welcome to see it your way or be wrong.(I assume)

I think we can find commonality on the first part about respect for the individual as a human but your second part about knowing that homosexuality is wrong from God's standpoint is still a subjective position that other than your very personal beliefs,have as far as I know,no objective or outside way to test as valid. A strong bias against such behavior may feel viscerally correct and "normal" but that does not validate it as an absolute truth.

You are using a subjective yardstick that is not common or accepted to all of us as humans beings so it lacks(in my view) universal(worldwide) recognition as true for all.

j. said...


I appreciate the information about the bridge building.

And though I might feel uneasy about it I can recognize that in religious communities that excluding behaviors in their commmunities they find objectionable is their right.

Danbo59 said...

The Heretic wrote, "Any condemnation of sexual orientation is not only despicable; it should be illegal."

Disagree! Condemnation should be illegal?!?!?!? No way. What are you advocating now, the Thought Police?

Dicrimination based upon sexual orientation should be illegal, though, where it regards Constitutional rights. [Note -- No one has a Constitutional right to eat/smoke/be-free-from-smoke at a private restaurant/bar.]

Danbo59 said...

J wrote, "But I notice you prefaced your comment with an aboslute conviction that ONLY your view is correct and others are welcome to see it your way or be wrong.(I assume)"

Not only do you assume incorrectly, you are mistaken. I don't recall saying anywhere that only my view is the correct one. I can believe that it is, but I haven't said/written that.

Bob said...

Absence of evidence also is evidence of deus absconditus, no? If you believe in that, you could really get Danbo's goat. Try it and see.

The Heretic said...


You're correct. We certainly have freedom of speech in this nation. One can condemn homosexuality all they want in either the secular or sectarian worlds. What I meant to state was:

In secular matters, homosexuals deserve equal protection and consideration under the law.

Danbo59 said...

The heretic said, "In secular matters, homosexuals deserve equal protection and consideration under the law."

Agreed, wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

The right to marry is an equal-protection right. D'oh!

j. said...


I am sorry. I assumed wrong. I "read" into your second paragraph an implication that was not there.

Iztok said...

Danbo: "There is a difference between the alcoholic and alcoholism; between the murderer and the murder; between the homosexual and homosexuality. The first are people, the second are behaviors."

I agree. As I said, Christians are OK in my book. It is Christianity that is the issue. Nothing against people, just behaviors. Religion is simply not natural. If God existed and wanted us to be theists we would be born as such, when in fact we are born atheist. On the other hand homosexuality is not learned (as religion is), people are born that way.

Iztok said...

"they have the right, protected by the Constitution, to discriminate as they see fit according to how they view mankind’s relationship to their view of God."

As long as they don't get tax benefits nor tax payers money and don't push their believes on others in any way (i.e. killing etc...) I don't care what they do in private.

Once they receive public funds, like bigoted Boy Scouts of America, then they should make a decision. Either stop discriminating or stop asking for taxpayers money and benefits.

I also don't like those who come knocking on my doors now and then asking me if I've heard "the good news" or crap like that. If it is so important, give me your address and I will stop by when it is convenient to me.

Iztok said...

bob: "Absence of evidence also is evidence of deus absconditus, no?"

Sure it can be. But since this simply says you can't know ANYTHING about god then why claim to know anything? If you take this kind of stance, then I agree. Nothing can be known or claimed about such an entity so anyone claiming anything is just plain making things up.

Which is my stance at the beginning anyway.

Bob said...

But you don't have bingo.

The Heretic said...

"As long as they don't get tax benefits nor tax payers money and don't push their believes on others in any way (i.e. killing etc...) I don't care what they do in private."

Yep, I agree with that, too. I've no problem what folks do in their own household, their privately-supported school or in their church, as long as you are not breaking secular laws (i.e., sacrificing virgins to the volcano, or forcing 13-year-olds into polygamous marriages).

Of course, in a sense, our individual income tax laws often subsidize or benefit many households with public tax money. The Earned Income Credit and additional Child Tax Credit come to mind. So we may have to rethink that restriction.

"I also don't like those who come knocking on my doors now and then asking me if I've heard 'the good news'... ".

I also find that practice very annoying, if not downright aggressive. A few months ago, when the recent upswing in neighborhood crime was in the news, I asked a city councilman why there is no local ordinance to ban door-to-door solicitation, period. (Would-be tree surgeons, gutter and siding salesmen and painters also are intrusive.)

My reasoning was that door-to-door solicitation is also a great way for a thief to scope out who is usually home or not, so why not
eliminate that practice?

The city attorney's office emailed me that such "Green River" ordinances are usually unenforceable for Constitutional reasons. Apparently we'd be curtailing rights related to freedom of speech, among others in the Bill of Rights.

They suggested I put a "No Soliciting or Trespassing" sign on my lawn. Not that it would deter the bold, but that I'd have a better chance of having them prosecuted for trespassing. Yep, all I'd have to do would be to stay home 24 X 7 to look for violators, call police, and hope they came in time to nab the intruder.

So, what I suggest instead is waiting for the "missionary" to get a short way into his or her spiel so one can verify the ourpose of their visit, then invite them inside, have them sit down, then launch into a wild-eyed tirade:

"I'm glad you. Let me tell you about the Great God Morlock and how my sacrifices to him are saving the world!!! Have you accepted Morlock? No, No, No. Come back here and pray with me to Morlock!"

Should work every time and provide good, clean entertainment as well.