Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sure footing in slippery times

Stocks in a tailspin every other day. Jobs in jeopardy. Home values slipping.

Fear.

You can hear it in anxious conversations at the next table in the restaurant or around the coffee pot at work. It's not a hurricane of panic, just a rising tide of worry that relentlessly erodes our sense of security.

How can we stand? Where is the rock that provides stability in uncertain days? The Federal Reserve? A fat 401(k)? Family? Friends? Fate? Our own heroic efforts?

Those of us who walk the spiritual path are likely to respond that God is our foundation, our footing in slippery times. It's a matter of trust: We trust God to bring us through life's challenges. It's not that we expect to escape storms; we just rely on the promise that we don't navigate through them alone.

We trust. Or we try to, anyway. It's usually not long before we lose faith or patience and try to take matters into our own hands again ... with predictable results.

Much of our desperate grasping for security is an attempt to gain or maintain control over our circumstances. Ironically, giving up our illusion of control is the only real way to achieve peace in the chaos. It allows us appreciate the joys and opportunities of present circumstances, rather than living in fear of what lies ahead.

How do you cope with anxious times? What part does spirituality play?

408 comments:

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pornstudent said...

There doesn't have to be either a "desperate grasping" or "giving up our illusion of control." I'm not desperate and there is a lot I am in control of.

pornstudent said...

I deal with anxieties by doing what I can to make things better. I think of the worse that can happen, which is usually never as bad as first imagined. Spirituality plays no part in it.

Iztok said...

"We trust. Or we try to, anyway. It's usually not long before we lose faith or patience and try to take matters into our own hands again ... with predictable results."

Exactly! You look both ways when you cross the street. When you take matters into your own hands (look both ways), you are usually safe, when you don't (you act on faith) you are endangering yourself and exposing yourself to being run over.

Iztok said...

Wow, this is really appropriate... staying in my hotel book and picked up Bible from the night stand and opened it up. Ezekiel 4.

I go read... fun bread recipe in Ezekiel 4:9 "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof."

Then I was shocked... Ezekiel 4:12 "And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight."

I mean, WTF? What kind of guidance is that? Bread with human excrement? Thanks, but no thanks!

When I thought it can't get weirder I finish reading Ezekiel and in 4:15 I spot a brilliant advice from God: "Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith."

Wow take cow's shit instead of human one when baking bread! I bow down to God's wisdom! What an excellent idea!

Makes perfect sense and I believe now! How can one not to when receiving such a great and wise advice from God! Makes me follow advice of someone who is so wise to suggest eating shit.

j. said...

What I find so irrational is how the faithful expalin their circumstances after a disaster(like a hurricane)or bad situation happens to them. They often state that they do not know God's will but he must have some greater plan for them by letting or orchestrating this bad situation to happen TO THEM or to others.

Instead of seeing that things like weather phenomenon like hurricanes are impersonal patterns of nature which happen through the law of atmospheric physics,many people impart supernatural responsibility to these events.

Don't they realize how self-absorbed and narsissitic this type of rationalizing is? It's an example of this "it's all about me" attitude (an attitude which they supposely despise in the immoral).

It is the self-absorbed idea that the movement of storms and such all revolve around YOUR LIFE and if YOU survived and another did not it is because God picked YOU out special for safety and another for death.

Why do so many choose to worship such a vile,partisan and frankly illogical(imaginary)deity?

Pete said...

I like to pray when I'm anxious. It puts things in perspective and that could make a difference in whether the decisions I make are the best ones. After I make the best decisions I can, I pray some more so that no matter what happens, I am doing God's will.

Micah said...

What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Anonymous said...

Iztok,

Baking with dung isn't that uncommon. As fuel, not an ingredient.

In India, it is cow's dung that is used for fuel.


-anon1

Anonymous said...

The best way to cope is to have a sensible long-term strategy (even, perhaps, an exit strategy) along with some short term tactics to help cushion the blows.

You have to use the old noodle the best you can.

Don't go down without a fight.

Do not lay down for the slaugter.

Despite what some good books may tell you, we are not simple sheep waiting to be shorn.

And remember how you got screwed over, so it won't happen again.

Right now a lot of people are asking for your trust who are not worthy of it.

What we're seeing now is a big lack of confidence in our financial systems, well deserved.

The con-men can't con you without your confidence in them, so they're worried now that confidence is falling.

Sell on rallies.

I don't hear the fat lady singing, so it isn't over yet.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

And don't forget:

Trust, but Verify.

-anon1

The Heretic said...

I've become increasingly bitter.

The same guys who made those risky and foolish decisions that impacted my retirement savings are the same ones who reaped $39.43 billion - that's billions, folks - in year-end bonuses last year. I understand it's not unusual for those on Wall Street who sell the most bonds or stocks to take home $500,000 -$1,000,000 just for screwing things up in this nation.

And now, we taxpayers are going to spend billions bailing them out! It's madness. We should be suing those brokers and putting liens on their Long Island estates to make pay for their "rescue".

With the market bouncing up and down by hundreds of points daily, it has reached the point where playing craps in Vegas is a better deal. At least one has a chance at the lottery, keno, blackjack, etc. My grandkids have more sense than the idiots in New Yawk.

I think we're back in Old Testment Days. God sees the evil men and women are doing in their greed and worship of mammon, and has decided to punish mankind. Unfortunately, He hasn't distinguished between the guilty and the innocent.

Next scam: Fund UNCC football so we can raise millionaires to "play" schoolyard games at the professional level, rather than alternatively allocating those dollars and salaries to better mankind in general.

"Hey, honey! I'm going to play a demanding round of golf this weekend on the pro circuit so I can entertain the masses and bring home another million".

Anonymous said...

As our bumbling drunken fratboy of a president once said:

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again".

A full generation has passed since the last time this was done to us by a double Repub administration.

The S&L crisis was very similar.

We were also screwed by the Enron stuff in a similar manner.

We keep trusting and keep getting screwed by those who say let the free market run itself.

Just look the other way and all will be fine.

It's a lot like the priest sex abuse scandals.

Look at how this is being handled now.

It's like we are living in a dictatorship.

Even the Repugs are upset that King George didn't clue them in on this.

Not that HE actually knew what was happening...

-anon1

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iztok said...

Anon1: It might be true that it was meant as fuel (some translations certainly indicate so), however considering the following:

2 Kings 18:27, Isaiah 36:12
Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

Certainly weird to say the least.

No kings,

Iztok

Anonymous said...

Iztok,

There's a whole book devoted to that kind of stuff, The X-Rated Bible.

I just can't get too excited about it. Fairy tales are always weird.

Check out the Grimm Brothers or Canterbury tales.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Iztok,

Next time you check into a hotel, do what I used to do.

Take the Bible down to the front desk and tell them you don't want it in your room.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Iztok, if it's a Marriott, take the Book of Mormon back, too.

-anon1

Bob said...

And ask them if they have a spelling book you could borrow.

Bob said...

Of course, you have to buy it if you want to color in it.

Iztok said...

Bob, ko bos ti govoril in razumel stiri tuje jezike, potem pa komentiraj.

Bob said...

En jezik ni nikoli dovolj. But you should only use languages you understand.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, I don't understand why fundamentalist Christians - Southern Baptists,Church of God, etc. - don't buy into it.

I mean, a guy is told by an angel where to find a set of golden plates that tell about Christ's visit to the Indians. He uses two magic stones to translate them. Then when he's through, the angel hides the plates once more. What's not to believe about that, considering we have millions of people who literally believe in Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and so forth?

Who are fundamentalist Christians to claim that God only inspired a select few, not including Joesph Smith, Jr.?

Bob said...

The word "only" belongs after the word "inspired."

Gamecock said...

Amen Jane

We must keep our faith in God, who is never changing and always there for those that desire him. If we put our faith in men we will always be disappointed.

j. said...

Unless, it's your demi-gods...Reagan,Bush,McCain and Palin :)

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "We must keep our faith in God, who is never changing and always there for those that desire him. "

Hm.. I guess you haven't noticed the bi-polar disorder of your God (OT/NT)?

j. said...

The economic meltdown going on now with the nations financial sector is partially(because Democrats are not innocent either)the result of the hypocritical and greedy policies of the "faith and values" party who have smuggly told us that ONLY they know how to govern this country ever since their B movie actor-demi-god- Reagan,mindlessly and decietfully decalred war on the so called evils of government.

Ironically, instead of leading us with integrity and inspiring the best and noble in us as citizens, the GOP has brought bitter polarizing divisiveness,gutter level crassness and a legitimacy that it's ok to be self-absorbed with excessive indivualism at the expense of the social and physical health of our society.

With all their "effective" small government policies of the GOP we now have a national debt that could jeopardize us all and make us increasingly beholden to other countries to finance and cover for our lack of financial sobriety.

The GOP/libertarian clarion call is to privatize everything except when the rich are at risk of losing their profits. Then socialism is ok because we cannot let the grossly rich and obscenely irresponsible CEO's loose their average 344 times the average pay of the worker. We`must reward and rescue all those people who care more about being mindelessly entertained and immediate gratification then living responsibly as adults

What the conseravtives have done is to generously reward the liars and the greedy;excuse gross irresponsiblility and mediocrity all under the guise that they alone hold the moral high ground.


Expecting government to do everything for us is not practical or just, but neither is erecting a stacked economic system where the only thing that matters is that a few get obscenely weaalthy and powerful while the country that protects them goes down the tubes.

But since the GOP thinks that their imaginary Christian deity is only on their side, then I guess they expect he will save them from their mistakes by wisking them away to their supernatural nirvana just in time before everything meltdowns including our planet.

Bob said...

Somebody whisked away your spell-check, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

J.,

Dumocrats are definitely not innocent. They are complicit.

They mostly stood around with thumbs up rears while Repugs organized a gang rape.

If you go to fundamentals what we have is a system where our gov't panders to lobbyists and the lowest base instincts of the populace.

The Lobbyists tell gov what laws to write and our gov enables them while giving the populace pap to suck on.

We are living in a democracy of dunces.

People expect to be able to get everything they want immediately and other people are only too happy to give them a way to do it.

The banks are happy to give credit to fools as long as they can get away with it and charge them through the nose for it to mitigate "risk".

Our general population is basically too uneducate/stupid to understand what they are being roped into.

We have a 20% adult functional illiteracy rate yet think we are the top of the heap.

There is no telling how many people out there are unable to balance a checkbook or do long division.

People without HS diplomas are wondering why they don't have jobs and can't buy houses.


Well.... DUH!

We had a real edge after WWII and have been slowly losing our advantages.

The Repugs have been waving the religious issues in the faces of the right for at least a generation now to keep them in line.

But it has been and probably always will be about who gets your money while you're off doing other things.

-anon1

Gamecock said...

The Hoovercrats blame the current financial crisis on a lack of regulation, despite the fact that it was Clinton Era regulations that directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee mortgage loans to credit risky borrowers in the name of fighting supposed “institutional white racism.” So the loans flowed, egged on by an overabundance of non-salaried realtors and loan officers whose universe of potential customers were mostly credit challenged. The Hoovercrats now label the fruits of their regulations, “predatory lending” and were successful in enacting a major bailout of ARM mortgagees a few months ago.

For their part, McCain-Palin are out there blaming the Housing/Credit Crunch driven financial market crisis on “corruption on Wall Street.” This is too simplistic an explanation and too shallow a justification for “more regulation”.

While I would denounce Michael Douglas’s “greed is good” declaration in the movie Wall Street, greed is, and always has been since Eve bit the apple. And our system has been and is the best at channeling same for good and mitigating the bad as has ever existed.

The fact is that no amount of regulation can prevent speculative bubbles in a free society. And the alternative to a free society is the biggest bubble of all: tyranny and its attendant deprivation that makes one long for our relatively puny bubbles.

This is a basic lesson from that early Babylonian garden: without free choice, there can be no real prosperity. The Founders understood that for wealth to be created, people would have to risk failure, with the prize for success being to get to keep the fruits of one’s labor.

After man left gardens and started hiring them out to Winn Dixies, it became necessary for government to grow, so the argument of big vs. small government is moot. The issue is how big and whether governed by basic principles or moral hazard.

Clearly, Fannie and Freddie guaranteed too large a percentage of mortgage loans and their failure, combined with other factors including a weak dollar and high energy prices, has caused a crisis that we remain in the midst of. But I am confident that President Bush’s genius at Treasury, Henry Paulson, who lately has eschewed Sunday rest, based on Christ’s adage that the Sabbath was made for man, and not vice versa, to do the yeoman’s work of adjusting the Hamilton edifice for a changing world.

But one thing has not changed, as evidenced by the recent spectacular rise in the dollar: The United States is THE indispensable nation. The world can’t thrive without selling their wares here and investing their money here. The rise in the dollar started soon after Putin over-reached in Georgia. A dying mafia nation flush with lottery oil money counted on western euro weenies to counsel their eastern neighbors on surrender. But Bush put the US military on land and sea in Russia’s path to Tbilisi while the former slave states flew their Presidents to the Caucasus to give Putin the middle finger.

Russia’s stock market crashed. But they have Ossetia and the North Pole.

The world is voting with their money on America, while the Hoovercrats want to take money from Americans while denying them their own oil on the hope for a wind driven alchemy even Merlin the Magician couldn't conjure.

President Bush twice tried to get Congress to limit Fannie and Freddie. Pelosi refused.

John McCain tried to do the same. John McCain wants to drill offshore. Obama does not. McCain wants you and the businesses you work for and shop at to keep more of the fruits of their labor. Obama wants to raise taxes.

One day, the USA will fall. Greece and Rome fell. Eventually we will fall, and eventually I will die. But I’m not throwing my body in front of a semi to hasten the day.

For the world, we are too big to fail, but Obama, despite the role of non-accountability in the current crisis, wants to sell the idea that the government should ensure no one can fall. The last great such experiment ended with a wall falling near where his campaign began its descent in Berlin.

For Pelosi and Obama, the government is still too small to satisfy their gargantuan egos. But they are blind to America’s greatness, greatness too big to indulge their historical ignorance.

[update]

As discussed in the comments in my originally published version of this column at The Minority Report, Bush-Paulson-Bernanke are moving toward a more palatable permanent solution, albeit much more quickly than I imagined (necessitated by continuing world market jitters and to give banks to confidence to lend money again in the United States in order to avoid a deep recession or worse) following on the excellent panic prevention measures of three past Sundays and this week, as evidenced by the rallies in Asia and the DOW.

Yesterday, in an excellent discussion with DocJ and others, I said:

I agree that Fannie and Freddie, AS I SAID IN THE COLUMN, were too big and led to to the crisis, and that the eventual re-structure must be guided by our smaller govt principles and not THE bubble (socialism) that brought down the wall (Berlin - read Cuba if it helps) nor Hoover-like policies either.
The Paulson plan appears to be fashioned on the successful Resolution Trust Organization that acquired and re-sold the assets from the Savings & Loan crisis over a six-year period.

Finally, I said, and stand by:

The changing edifice [to which I referred in the body of my column above] [have been] the actions Paulson (and Bernanke) took weeks ago [and last night and pending] with respect to regulating the changed landscape of mortgage lenders and some of mergers.
The actions you [DocJ] cite, [are those recent ones] that I referred to as the panic preventions. Stability is important in a crisis and Paulson's Sundays' moves [and this week] have been to try and get us past the crisis without a deep recession. So far so good.

Yes, eventually, we need to reintroduce a MUCH larger possibility of risk so as to prevent reckless behavior.

But we will always have bubbles and we will always need govt as an umpire and to prevent crises that would cause great suffering across the economy from growing into deep recessions and Great Depressions.

[As Streetwise said:


Human nature is very dependable.
One of the main reasons we don't have them or haven't since the 30s is the learned lessons from Hoover and FDR re taxes and money supply and some of the shock absorbers built in which Reagan called the safety net for the truly needy.

I think it is good that the Democrat Congress is having to deal with this situation in the midst of this crisis with a Republican Administration now, rather than having time to hold witch hunt hearings while trying to build a Socialist State with a Maverick over periods of time of MSM ally propaganda.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Read it all

http://www.redstate.com/diaries/gamecock/2008/sep/18/paulson-panic-prevention-for-a-us-too-big-t/

Gamecock said...

And given the dependability of human nature and the inevitable effect on their institutions, we must always put our faith in

God.

j. said...

Gamecock,

Yes, using faith in fairytale powers and nationalistic mythology will always be used by those who refuse to think critically. They will always strain to find ways to justify not taking responsibility for their actions and guaranteeing perpetual infantile behavior.

Using religious dogma that we are the prodcuts of original sin is the convenient way to say "it's not my fault", it's just human nature, so lets design a economic system that will justify and give permission to our excesses and mindless actions.

And if those in power of our political party are decievers,liars and delusional we just make excuses for them instead of asking for real accountability.


anon1

I am in complete agreement that many of our problems are not just the fault of political ideology but the fault of all of us...the public and our failure to think and act intelligently about reality. Instead with are captivated by myths, delusions and impulsive desires that we think we deserve it all just beacuse we are Americans.

bob,

While I can appreciate your critiques of writing skills...
you are starting to sound like a grammer/spelling Nazi :)

Gamecock said...

There is no conflict between Christian faith and reason. In fact, the intersection of the two is the secret to western civilization's and esp the US's unique prosperity and tolerance in a world history rife with pagan tyranny and slaughter.

j. said...

gamecock,

I do not consider the idea that the US or any nation is singled out as privledged because of religious beliefs to be based on reason. It's another smug delusion and another way to divide humans up into us vs them.

We may have more effective ways to govern ourselves than some others but that does not entitle us to be insular and exclusive in our attitudes. From what I know about the Bible,I am not sure your Christian God would approve of such hubris either.

Gamecock said...

God would consider it hubris that we prosper partly because we attribute said prosperity to his influence?

You either need to study the Bible more of reveal God's telephone number.

It amazes the obsession of atheists with denouncing theists on this Sacred Space.

Not

God won't let you alone.

Bob said...

The American Revolution is an example of reason and Christian faiths working together. The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution are examples of reason working in opposition to Christian faiths. The smug delusion is to gainsay the difference.

Gamecock said...

Bob

"Brevity is the soul of wit" - Bill Shakespeare

You and Jane have it. I am in awe. You made one of my main nuggets of wisdom in such an effective way.

God bless

Bob said...

Brevity is wit.

Gamecock said...

Bob

LOL!

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "And given the dependability of human nature and the inevitable effect on their institutions, we must always put our faith in God."

I thought you guys believe God has the plan and this is all his doing anyway. So which one is it?

Gamecock said...

non-sequitur

Iztok said...

"The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution are examples of reason working in opposition to Christian faiths."

Hitler's acts are examples of faith working against reason.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, I am amazed that someone like you would even pay any attention to logic, considering you still believe in the "creation therefore Creator". So tell us do you not only selectively read your Bible but also pick and choose which logical statements to follow?

BTW: Why would it be non-sequitur?

A: God has a plan.
B: "dependability of human nature and the inevitable effect on their institutions"

If A is true then B is result of it.

Now if A is not true, then all bets are off.

Bob said...

Maybe it makes sense in Slovenian.

j. said...

The hubris I am talking about is the idea of exclusivity you attribute to this nation(or any nation)as special because we are considered a Christian society.

Why would a omnipotent God who supposely created a universe so large that we can only barely comprehend its size be so small minded,inferior and capricious that it plays favorites with nations that have only been around a picosecond in deep time?

I was involved with the simplistic notions you hold of a god in my youth. I grew out of your type of self-perpetuating immaturity and denial of reality a long time ago.
Your type of illusionary,flawed deity is not after anyone unless they are gullible and complacent enough to live in willfull ignorance.

Democracy, justice, fairness and reasonable ways to govern ourselves are readily available to minds not obssessed with supernatural myths

Iztok said...

Bob, and your value added is?

BTW: Who did the translation for you?

Gamecock said...

The exclusivity I attribute to the West and the USA is based on historical comparisons. Then I look at what contributed to their exceptionalism.

j. said...

I would imagine that many countries in their own times of ascendency,like for example England,thought they were exceptional and were without equal.
In my opinion what noble and principled characteristics we have had in the past are gradually eroding away in spite of our majority religious views.

However, I am not negating the fact that the USA is a better place to live then other nations who do not respect human rights and freedom.

And perhaps some of our religiousity has helped in making us this way,but the belief that only we have the absolute truth by adherence to Christianity is in my opinion unreasonable.

The characteristics that define us as decent and compassionate humans do not have to originate with belief in a higher non-verifiable power. Humans developed concepts of gods to explain things they could not understand in the past.

We are still a very young species in respect to the deep time that has transpired on earth. The more we understand biology and the universe the more we realize that the old stories we used to explain existence are not relevant.

The religious beliefs that our founders had when they formed this countty do not mean that the way they saw life is unchangeable. Just as biological evolution takes place so does cultural evolution otherwise we would still be living as primitives. In my opinion,it's time we leave behind these old ways of seeing the universe because they are incongruous with the realities that science is revealing for us. Also,these archaic beliefs are not adequate to resolve the problems that we face.

Religion has proved through history that it causes more divisiveness and hindrance to peace and knowledge in spite of the questionable good it may have done for some individuals.

Gamecock said...

You would imagine? when we have history. It doesn't matter what past civilizations thought. We have the facts. Even the Greeks and Romans and the Enlightened latter Euros that the secularists rightly point to for their principles can't compare to what the US has achieved in prosperity for the masses (see obese poor and the poor abroad clamoring to enter) AT HOME. and the people we have freed and empowered abroad. Hell, those Greeks and Romans never abolished slavery. And the enlightened never did crap for their neighbors.

We have history and even by the left's criteria, we are the exception to the rule. But of course, the left doesn't look at history. Rather, they look at fantasy utopias they think the better qualified bureaucrats could achieve and compare us to that.

pornstudent said...

How can someone who believes in Heaven criticize anyone for having "fantasy utopias?"

porn student said...

People choose historical facts in order to support their views. I'm not enough of a historian to argue about how our society should progress based on world history; neither am I going to accept someone else's interpretation. We can work with what we have now--our Constitution, our economy, our world, our religions and what we want our society to be.

Iztok said...

"Rather, they look at fantasy utopias they think the better qualified bureaucrats could achieve and compare us to that."

Hm... someone who believes in another fantasy utopia called heaven? Wow, talking about people in glass houses casting stones here.

Just for comparison what Gamecock believes in while we talk about fantasy:

"That the world was created by an invisible deity, that He later impregnated a virgin who then bore a son who was His own father, that we have immortal souls and will live for ever in Heaven if we are good and love Jesus." (by Sam Harris)

j. said...

gamecock,

While history does give us facts as recorded often by those who were in the dominant power at the time (aka the "winners"), I am not impressed, as you seem to be with comparisons of who the best is and who is the worse. Your views seem to reflect and are perhaps associated with your web name; the paradigm that life on this planet is just like a football game of winners and losers(I am speaking of human culture not of ecological realities of nature)to see who can boast who is superior and shame who is inferior, at least for the moment.

Personally, I find such attitudes boring, immature, unproductive and divisive accomplishing nothing much, but to boost fragile egos.

I am not after fantasy utopias managed by nameless bureaucrats...I am for expanding intelligent rational discussion and promoting awareness in every human our shared responsibility as good stewards of this planet.

I am definitely for emphasizing personal responsibility(a conservative value) but on an enlarged basis that sees in context how our individual actions have consequences for all of life not just our own.

I am for promoting a real "pro-life" agenda that requires a much greater recognition of how we are all connected to life’s biological foundations that we degrade at our peril.

I am for trying the best we can to promote equitable and just policies that allow all of us to live in a sustainable way and with dignity and equal access to necessities.

I am NOT for more ineffective and monolithic government … I am for finding cooperative and collaborative ways to self-govern ourselves,after all WE are the government...it is not some evil and autonomous entity separated and existent on it's own.

First though,in my view,there has to be some ground rules. That is we must meet on some common level and use a common language.

That language should be based largely on recognized science, physical reality and rationality not on various and irreconcilable supernatural beliefs. You are of course free to have those supernatural beliefs,but when discussing and implementing the policies and basic structures of human society,these subjective values of whose God is “the truth” and so forth keep us from finding common ground to seek real world solutions.

That may sound biased in favor of secular ideas, but unless we come to the table with an agreed upon reasonable and non-partisan language we will continue to have chaos. In my view, the language of science and of the almost universal belief of human dignity and freedom is as close as we can come now to a common worldview.

Gamecock said...

We insisted on being our own God and were kicked out of the only Heaven on earth. Human beings are flawed. Too many liberals imagine (see Obama for instance) that with just the right structure and the right bureaucrats, we can make Heaven on Earth. History belies that fantasy.

Gamecock said...

I am not surprised to find ahistorical liberals doomed to repeat History's mistakes among atheists. The irony is that so many of you argue for "science", when it is you that ignore the results of the greatest experiement of all: human civilization

all is vanity

Bob said...

Query: Is religious divisiveness always a bad thing? Or even, on balance, a bad thing? True, the Thirty Years War was, in some respects, inconvenient. Mistakes were made. But the Reformation also led to revolutionary ideas like individual rights and popular sovereignty. The Bishop's controversy caused some hard feelings in the Colonies, but it gave rise to the popular notion that taxation without representation was tyranny. And would we have the same First Amendment rights today if the Baptists and other dissenters had not made such a distracting splash in our intellectual history back then? Indeed, would the Revolution have succeeded at all without the evangelical ministers who did so much to popularize it?

Value-added bonus re utopias: Does not the Twentieth Century teach that people who have the good sense to situate their utopias in another world are, on average, less apt to create a hell on this one? There are exceptions, of course, but, on the average, is this not so, learned friends? When illusions are all you have, perhaps it is best to preserve an honored place even for the eccentric ones. They temper the collective genius with humility and (gasp!) pluralism. Do we really want to try to reinvent that wheel with a half-baked, neo-Social Darwinism?

Iztok said...

"We insisted on being our own God and were kicked out of the only Heaven on earth. Human beings are flawed."

According to you this was all God's plan and Adam and Eve were actually designed flawed and basically framed for all this. Basically it looks like that we were put here so your God can be amused by our failures and watch us suffer.

And people like you wonder why we wouldn't trust such a vile being. After all even talking snake got it right while God didn't.

j. said...

Gamecock,

I do not agree that all is vanity.

We are flawed and so is religion and science but that is no reaaon to give up and place our hopes only in comforting supernatural fanatsies of redemption. After all everything we may believe as certain could be wrong :)

Human civilization for all it's faults has had it's successes and moments of sublime beauty right here on earth.

I do not have blind faith in science,I know it has made many mistakes,but I see the scientific method and critical thinking as one of the beat ways to approach finding a common language of understanding among flawed humans.
Science tries to find a common objective reality.

Science when used correctly most always leaves itself open to revision as more information comes available and to me and many others that is it's strength.

Bob,

I don't mind the religious bringing to the table values that we can agree on as reasonable and worthy. The problem arises when these religions battle over whose truth is the absolute truth, something in my view as unattainable from our vantage point.

What is scary though about those who only value supernatural utopias is that they may be ready to mindlessly sacrifice or hasten the end of humanity and all of life that is here now for fantasies we have no way of verifying.

To me this obsession on a supernatural paradise is in part an extreme rejection of personal responsibility or at least a benign neglect in the protecting the preciousness and awe of life right here.

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

Vanity is when one thinks this universe was designed just for us.

Vanity is when one thinks we have personal deity that intervines for us.

Vanity is when one thinks there is a God that is perfect and has a plan for all of us then we pray to him to change his perfect plan just for us.

Vanity is when one desires to be worshiped. (Ooops... sounds like God is vain.)

Iztok said...

Pastafarians seem more effective against Fred Phelps church then bike riders. Had Westboro church packing in no time.

http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2008/09/way_to_go_matie.aspx

Way to go!

j. said...

iztok

In agreement with you on what is vanity.

And if it is all vanity then why do the religious in this country and elsewhere even get involved with politics,social organizations or charities to change things? Since it's all vanity and Jesus will be back to redeem his bride soon why spend so much time and effort trying to make this a better more loving humane world?

Isn't that naive vanity also?

Bob said...

Yes.

j said...

"Yes"

So in the words of a my former fundamentalist minister from the
70's(on what he would do if he did not have Jesus)let's "just suck up the world like an orange" :)

Been there...done that. No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Two quotes keep popping up in my mind:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

-Benjamin Franklin

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still f------ peasants as far as I can see.

John Lennon, Working Class Hero


-anon1

Bob said...

J:

Then proceed on the naive belief that Nature wants Herself to be preserved and cherished, even though all evidence indicates that She doesn't care one way or the other. But don't pretend it's not all vanity and a striving after wind. You don't get to live in non-absurd universe.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that you probably cannot regulate speculative bubbles out of existence, it sure doesn't help when no one is watching what is happening.

Rules are necessary to make the game as clean as possible.

Not much point in having rules if the "full faith and credit" of the US gov't.

We've been had again.

We can only hope that more sovereign investment funds help bail us out for a larger piece of our future.

You bet your a$$ that empires rise and fall. What happened to the British Empire is now happening to us.

Whoever gets in office the next few terms will have to raise taxes or keep adding to the tab, resulting in even higher taxes later.

They are saying $700 Billion right now, but like most gov estimates, you can bet that is low.

The AIG deal was structured in such a way as to be potentially punishing to AIG if something isn't done by the company to straighten up.

That may work out.

The mortgage mess is still speculative, but primary risk has been shifted to the taxpayer.

It's the price we pay for being asleep at the wheel.

The final result either way is less for any and all needed investments.

And we can all go back to sleep now, safe and secure in the afterglow of knowing that drunken fratboy just got a new credit card in the mail.

Party on.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Meant to say:

Not much point in having rules if the "full faith and credit" of the US gov is no longer in the hands of the governed. Our taxes were raised without any representation.
I thought we fought and won that war before.

Anonymous said...

Local Republican Rising Star.

Here's the kind of conservative values inspired by our current national Repub ticket on the local level.

York County Repub councilman Paul Lindemann up for re-election.

http://www.heraldonline.com/109/story/830146.html

Arrested for Drunk Driving. Third time in 10 years.

Couldn't recite alphabet past letter "W" (Dubya).

Can't count backwards from 32 to 29before screwing it up.

Certain he'll be re-elected.

Cites Palin as inspiration.

Quote from article:

-----
Asked about his re-election prospects, Lindemann said his bid for a second term has been helped by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Her nomination came under scrutiny amid the disclosure that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant, and allegations that she improperly tried to have her former brother-in-law fired from his state job.

"People have started to recognize that everybody who's running for political office is as human as those sitting back home," Lindemann said.
------

Such wonderful inspiration from the top of the ticket for this up and comer.

We need to watch out for this guy, he's only 29.

I'm sure there is a bright future in Repub politics for him.

He's probably already "found" Jesus, but he needs a big public "conversion" to make the jump to the nationals.

He's definitely not perfect, just "forgiven".

Again and again and again.

For an example of "sure footing in slippery times" be sure to watch his DUI video.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Gamecock said: “And the enlightened never did crap for their neighbors.”

What? Are you telling me that those enlightened rational and radical liberals who gave us the Constitution and our freedoms of and from religion, didn’t do crap for you or I? The same type of men and women whom you would likely categorize as left-wing, pinkie-commie-hippie-secular humanists have done everything to progress this world. The right-wingers you worship have done their best to retard or revert.

If it hadn’t been for left-wingers, you and I wouldn’t be here today. Our own liberal-thinking ancestors – liberal at least in regard to their own religious beliefs – would have been burned at the stake by the stay-the-course, stay-in-control right-wing conservatives of the majority religion.

Left-wingers bring needed change. Jesus was a left-winger. George W. Bush just turned into a left-winger last week by essentially endorsing a huge federal intervention into the control and bailout of our most recent right-wing capitalist fiasco.

Left-wingers rule. Right-wingers drool. PROGRESS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot the link to the DUI video:

http://www.heraldonline.com/includes/vmix/player.php?ID=2198477&GENRES=00001643

Enjoy.

This guy gets to have his trial delayed until after the election.

What a deal.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Lindemann sounds like part of the American Taliban that is in control of much of the Afghanistan of America – South Carolina.

He probably likes Palin because if she can dodge the inqueries into her practices and behavior, he figures so can he. Otherwise his attitude toward women would more closely reflect that of the American Taliban: keep them barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

Gamecock said...

Bob, the answer to your query is an obvious yes, esp after you brilliant and succinct history of same as per the Christian west.

porn student said...

gamecock,

History isn't science, human civilization isn't an experiment and "doomed to repeat History's mistakes" is a cliché.

It's easy to find a historical fact to support a view (eg, since human sacrifice was common among religions, we should discourage the belief in a god or gods so that citizens aren't tempted to murder each other.) This is why your comments about Greek and Roman history to support your Christian views aren't convincing. If you could reference a peer reviewed journal that supports your claims, I'd pay closer attention.

j. said...

bob

I am not aware I implied that "nature" desires to be cherished and saved.(However we are a part of nature so we should want to be preserved and cherished!)

As far as we know "inanimate" matter has no cognizance(like a rock for instance...I know, I know...we don't understand how matter has created consciousness but that's another subject)

I am saying that preserving the natural world or cherishing it's ability to sustain life is in our best interests and what we as cognizant beings should be doing.

The human brain has created the subjective values we have placed upon this little segment of reality in this corner of the universe, but that does not mean we ignore the human behaviors that could jeopardize the quality of our mutual existence.

There is nothing absurd about appreciating and preserving the biological systems that produced us and keep us alive.

Would you prefer a society based on nihlism?

porn student said...

A little history: Bush told us we had to invade Iraq because Sadam had weapons of mass destruction. He lied.

Now he wants $700 billion to buy and sell bad mortgages. Do we trust him? Nah.

Or he didn't lie, just made a big mistake. Do we trust him? Nah.

He's a Republican and wants us to vote for McCain. Do we trust him. Nah.

Yeah, we can learn from history.

j. said...

A thought experiment:

Leaving aside the belief in the reward of everlasting spiritual life after physical death in heaven or punishment in hell, if we had two systems of thought (two religions) to choose from and they both produced the same outcome which of the following two would be more logical and emotionally rewarding to follow?:

Religion A: Humans are inherently evil because of original sin, can only be redeemed by belief in a certain God, and will always fail if they do not believe in the absolute dogma of this religion, even if this dogma is based on unverifiable concepts. The things that predominantly influence their basic behaviors are the belief that a supernatural power called evil exists and makes them do evil. Truth comes in only one flavor with this religion. There is only one way you can be “saved” and only certain ways you can live morally in his religion. They believe human history is a circular track record of fatal flaws that cannot be overcome through acquired cultural knowledge. Adherents after being accepted into religion A. gather often and are encouraged to do good through charity and good works and be examples of morality and ethical behavior. The reward or incentive for this good behavior is to avoid punishment by the God they worship and so use fear to instill obedience. Religion A starts with a negative emphasis and fear and some positive feedback to produce a positive outcome.

Religion B: There is no presumption that humans are inherently good or bad,they are the products of biological evolution and the cultures they grow up in and may have genetic predisposition or chemical imbalances that explain some behaviors. There is no belief that a supernatural power controls their life for either good or for bad. They come together in voluntary groups with no pre-requirements of acceptance of an absolute dogma; they do wish to adhere to the endless and open-ended pursuit of reason based on best available evidence. They incorporate diverse ways to approach livable truths. They are also expected to be responsible for their behavior and encouraged to do good works and make life on this earth a better place for all as with Religion A. The rationale for their good works is not based on worshipping a God but from acquiring empirical and historical evidence based on demonstration that doing good has beneficial effects for both giver and receiver. Fear of punishment is not used to instill a reason to be good but rather through incentives that doing and being good has it’s own rewards to oneself and to the society they live in. Religion B starts with a positive or neutral emphasis without fear and uses positive feedback to achieve a positive outcome.

Anonymous said...

J.,

Here's the "moral" problem with Christianity in a nutshell.

They keep "forgiving" without reforming.

As long as people have that mentality we will keep getting screwed.

Check out the economic concept of "moral hazard" (which you see a lot in the financial news lately).

Basically, if you keep bailing out people who screw up you are enabling them to continue screwing up, thus the "moral hazard".

Exhibit A is the way Repubs have screwed up our economy several times with their "free market", or I should say "unwatched market" crap.

S&L bailout last generation.

Fannie, Freddie, etc. bailout this generation.

Exhibit B is Paul Lindemann.

3 time DUI.

Keeps getting off the hook only to do it again.

Self-assured, cocky, arrogant to the point of making me, personally, want to puke.

He knows he's on the winning team in SC, no matter what a loser he is.

Wouldn't be surprised if he prays every day and is certain that Jesus has a place for him when he dies because he's a "believer".

He's off the hook.

Got his Repub membership and "Get Out Of Hell Free" card.

Feels "entitled" to forgiveness.

Nothing else really matters.

So who cares what everyone else thinks?

Go forth and "sin" again...

-anon1

j. said...

anon1

I agree that our nation has become a place where we reward and almost idolize greed and irresponsibility and the party of "faith and values" has made it a art form lately, but to be fair no one of any ideology is entirely blameless.

Bob said...

J:

Does Religion B exist?

Anonymous said...

J.,

I'm not a big believer in the "we're all guilty" position.

I personally had very little to do with our economic meltdown when compared to Greenspan, Gramm (and his financial handlers at our major banks and investment firms), for example.

I think members of the Green Party are less responsible than those of the Dem and Repub parties.

We can't blame this on the Russkies, the Iranians, Al Qaida "In Iraq", or Finland, either.

The big financial industry has been licking its chops for years trying to get its hands into everything at one time.

One cookie jar wasn't enough, they wanted several.

They wanted to mix banking, investments, and insurance in one big, opaque, glop of goo.

They got what they wanted and loose oversight as well.

No one knows if what is being proposed now will prevent further serious market seizures.

We could go back into a tailspin next week without anyone having a clue as to why or what the next source of fear will be.

Best case scenario is a fairly stable but sure downward coast for the next few years vs. an immediate seizure and lockup of markets.

But you can be pretty sure we will save the skins of rich bankers since an ex-Goldman Sachs guy is now at the helm.

This plan keeps growing every day.

At first Paulson was only going to rescue US financial firms, now it could be anyone in the world.

Paulson's one of those millionaire bankers that probably contributed heavily to the current problem.

Goldman Sachs has lobbied heavily for deregulation and privatization of Social Security.

Paulson's probably going to get a blank check to "fix" the problems he helped cause.

And, to top it all off, he's a Christian Scientist.

-anon1

KED said...

I never ceased to be amazed at the directions these posts go. What begins on faith then covers politics, history, education and everything in between. Quite a journey!


What also amazes me is how so many are here to denounce faith and the beliefs of we followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have no faith or belief in God then why participate in the posts? No matter what you say or how you belittle people of faith, we will continue to believe that God exists and rules the world. That we are children of the most High God and that he loves us no matter what we do or say. And that He loves you too, no matter what you say or think about Him.

porn student said...

j.

About Religion B:

"No pre-requirements of acceptance of an absolute dogma..."

Aren't "be responsible" and "doing and being good has its own rewards" dogmas?

"They are also expected to be..."

Who's doing the expecting? Other people? Is there a God?

Being emotionally rewarding is the main draw of Religion A. Most believers in A aren't afraid of punishment.

Take away the "responsible" and "expected to be" phrases and Religion B would be OK. But why call it a religion?

Iztok said...

Ked: " No matter what you say or how you belittle people of faith, we will continue to believe that God exists and rules the world. That we are children of the most High God and that he loves us no matter what we do or say. And that He loves you too, no matter what you say or think about Him."

See this is the key (see bold above). Some of us put trust in evidence instead. I will give you an example. I know evolution exists, I know gravity exists. I think that evolution theory is the best known explanation of evolution. I know what it would take for me to be convinced that evolution is not true (a fossil of mammal in pre-Cambrian sediment for example). I know what it would take for me to be convinced that gravitation is not true (objects falling up). I know what it would take for me to be convinced God exists. A simple thing called evidence. Is it too much to ask from omnipotent being to provide some real evidence?

porn student said...

KED,

I and many others used to be Christian but aren't any more. We experience many things in life and our beliefs change. No matter, I'm glad you feel loved.

I'm drawn to Sacred Space because I like thinking about my existence.

Gamecock said...

KED, you and Bob and I and the non-atheists can have meaningful discussions and witness to the pagans at times. We just have to wade thru the mire on this site, much as we do in real life.

Obviously, these atheists are here because they hear that still small voice of God. They know God exists. The Bible, esp Paul and CS Lewis explain it well how all know God. Some keep the noise up so they can't hear him, but they hear.

And that they are here at this site is proof that God has not turned his back on them yet.

I pray for Iz, PS and the unimaginative anonymi that can't even think up a stage name, thus making it impossible to carry on any extended discussions.

Must be what George Foreman's kids e-mails are like.

In fact, given all the anonymi, I stopped ridiculing Pornstudent's name.

At least he isn't anonymous#24538...

j. said...

I am just here for the beer :)

No,gamecock,actually I am not here because I hear that still small voice trying to pull me back in.

I am not a hard atheist as you and danbo59 keep calling me but a skeptic and agnostic.

These discussions are more of a intellectual exercise for me and others here to present alternative views to the beliefs that you and others here feel should be above scrutiny.

Christianity and Islam have great influences over the politics and workings of our societies. True believers should expect to be challenged and not assume that just because they live on faith that they are above critique.

I am not convinced that the type of traditional and literal god you worship is real. If a god exists I don't believe he/she/it would be the capricious and flawed cartoon like character that most religions present.

The universe is much more complex and sophisticated than these simplistic ideas can explain. Those ideas belong to past ages when we knew much less about physical reality and as time goes by are less and less relevant to the issues and challenges we face for our survival.

bob

No religion B. does not exist but could and would replace religion A. and have similiar results with the proper fine tuning.

pornstudent

Thanks for the critique. The expectation would be from the consensual values that are agreed on to conduct a civil society, much like we use now in doing as little harm as we can to each other.

I think being personally responsible is one of the basic values that is necessary for a workable society.

I just called it a religion as an exercise. I am not sure what one would call secular organizations that would take the place of traditional organized religions.

But since religion has it's great socializing appeal then a secular group with a similiar structure could draw in those who want to feel that they are a part of a group with a greater purpose.

Anonymous said...

I post anonymously to keep the Moonies from finding me.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, the New World Order, too.

-anon1

Bob said...

Iz:

How do you know gravity exists? Maybe massive objects just curve space-time.

Iztok said...

Bob: "How do you know gravity exists?"

Bob, feel free to disagree with existence of gravitational force and prove it to us. Jump from the highest building in Charlotte w/o parachute or bungee cord (or anything similar). My knowledge says by jumping off the building will land you on the ground due to gravity. Feel free do demonstrate us otherwise.

BTW:

A: Force is required to change speed or direction of movement of an object.
B: Apple falls of a tree.

So since apple changed speed when detached from a tree it was influenced by a force to do so.

Bob said...

Force? You believe in forces? How primitive.

Iztok said...

Bob: "You believe in forces?"

No I don't believe in forces. Believing in forces would be just plain stupid. (No need to believe when you can observe the evidence.)

Apparently you are about to demonstrate how gravitational force doesn't exist and jump from the tallest building in Charlotte. Let us know when will you show us your demonstration so we can all observe and at the end (posthumously) present you with the Darwin Award.

Bob said...

That motion occurs within a predictable range of probabilities hardly establishes that any invisible force exists, let alone that this invisible force caused anything to happen. You might just as well claim that a reliable spirit made the motion happen. In fact, that is what you are claiming.

Iztok said...

Bob, your ignorance amazes me. Perhaps some science 101 would be in order. You are arguing with one of the most established and accepted laws (Newton's laws of motion) in science. Feel free to exercise your disagreement by jumping off the tall building and demonstrate to us how wrong we are.

Iztok said...

Bob: "You might just as well claim that a reliable spirit made the motion happen. In fact, that is what you are claiming."

For one thing you are confusing gravitation with theory of gravitation. How one calls things is irrelevant for the facts. Redefining language to suite your needs is not changing facts. If you contend gravity is a myth you merely need to demonstrate it by jumping off a tall building and float up (w/o external help). What you are trying to argue is gravitation theory (which is different from gravitation itself in same extent as evolution is different from evolution theory). Missed target.

Masturbation Saves Lives said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bob said...

Iz: I was wondering how long it would take you to figure how out that you were disputing Einstein by clinging to Newton's force-at-a- distance. Now if you could only grasp that what you call "facts" are merely sentences that are more or less useful (so that how you describe things is all that you ever really "know"), you would be making real progress. Read Richard Rorty. After you learn some more English.

Iztok said...

Bob, again, you are trying to shift away from gravity issue and go into theory issue. Gravity exists independently of the theory describing it. So get back to gravity itself and your denying its existence and demonstrating it to us by jumping off a tall building. For someone who bashes others for their English you surely missed the point (several times). Perhaps it is you whose English should be questioned.

Anonymous said...

And the Kwazy Kwistians, too.

-anon1

Bob said...

Iz:

When a unified field theory comes along, we will all howl with laughter at your confident pronouncement that you "know that gravity exits." Your crude scientism is about a hundred years behind the curve.

Anonymous said...

Newton vs. Einstein isn't as wrong as astrology vs. astronomy.

If you crash your car into a tree, the basics of mass, velocity, and acceleration still apply.

Not that your average drunk fratboy can do the calcs while under the influence.

-anon1

Iztok said...

Bob: "When a unified field theory comes along..."

You are still mixing theory (as in gravitational theory) vs. fact (gravity) issue. Perhaps it should be you who should brush up on your English.

No matter how you explain it (with unified field theory or gravitational theory) gravity still exists.

Plus you've described the beauty of science vs. religion. Science strives for improvement. It tries to work towards better and better explanations. It is the driving force behind it. There is no fame to be had to insist on disproven theory on the other hand there is huge fame to be claimed by disproving theory and coming up with a better explanation. Einstein's explanation doesn't negate Newton's for the sheer fact that both are very useful explanations. In fact Einstein just expanded on them and Newton's laws are still very useful and good explanation/approximation in general (Einstein expanded it esp. when it comes to extreme cases).

But we are talking about explanations of the facts here not about facts (which was my original statement).

Gamecock said...

j

Would love to have a beer with you and discuss what God would obviously be like if there was one.

Were you a God in your former life? Just wondering where the expertise comes from that sees the actual world including the human beings all of which you deem un-designed and then being so assured that if (reminds me of that OJ book, if I did it...) a personal God did create a world, that it would not be like the one in the Bible.

I wonder where this sense of fairness comes from if not that evry God you deny. And I wonder how you would go about creating creatures that could live forever as feee beings without risking sin and evil and without becoming one of those creatures so as to be able to save them.

Gamecock said...

To all Anonymi fradiecats:

The "name" A.n.o.n.y.m.o.u.s.

are merely letters in a certain order

so is a.b.c.

The latter would distinquish you among the anonymi

Gamecock said...

MSL

This blog post about "slippery" times, not "hard" times. Therefore, your remedy actually exacerbates the problem.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, G, but you never know when big gov or the Kwazy Kwistian Kultists will come knocking.

Be Afwaid, Be Vewy, Vewy Afwaid.

-anon1

Iztok said...

Gamecock:

1. God in former life: No. I was dead before I was alive and there was nothing so it is fair to assume that once I am no longer alive there will be nothing.

2. Deem undesigned: Well if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck... hmm... perhaps it is a duck.

3. Fairness: We've discussed that. It is beneficial for species. Simple explanation is it evolved.

Anonymous said...

Market down. Oil up. Dollar down.

Didn't take the world long to figure out what's happening.

About the only candidate who could have seen this coming is poor little Ron Paul.

-anon1

Gamecock said...

Agreed on Ron Paul, but given the market was great Thurs and Fri when dems were mute and is bad today after dems ran their mouths this weekend...

Iztok said...

"but given the market was great Thurs and Fri when dems were mute and is bad today after dems ran their mouths this weekend..."

It is all God's plan.

Iztok said...

The Cult of Lylah

By Michael Aquino

Reflection delivered at the UU Community of Q.C.

August 31, 2008

On my Facebook account, my status message reads: I worship at the church of Lylah Reyes MD. Services every Saturday this September.

For the past eight months we’ve put our health and happiness in the hands of one person. Our OB GYN. Dr. Lylah Reyes has the power of life and death over us. Our devotion to her is absolute, almost like a cult. Because Dr. Reyes is not an easy master to please.

Every week she demands to know what my wife is eating. How much weight she’s gained. How her blood pressure has been. How her blood sugar is doing. If we’ve been good, her smile makes us glow for the rest of the week. If we’ve been bad, we pay for it with a couple of expensive days at the hospital.

I believe in Dr. Reyes despite not believing in god. Or maybe because of it. As an atheist, I value evidence over tradition, I respect the humane practice of medical science over superstition and blind faith.

I don’t have blind faith in Dr. Reyes. Demanding as she is, our OB-GYN has a reason to be strict, and we have a reason to follow. The statistics show that the Philippines has an infant mortality rate of 162 deaths every 1000 births. The science also shows that women above thirty have a decreasing chance of giving birth to normal children. (My wife is 33.) High blood pressure and gestational diabetes are also deadly risks for both mother and baby, if neither is controlled early enough. (My wife has both high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.)

Our obedience to Dr. Reyes bends the odds in our favor just a tiny bit. Once upon a time we might have resorted to prayer, but studies have shown statistically that prayers make no difference at all. It takes people like Dr. Reyes to make all the difference in the world.

I believe we live in an indifferent, uncaring universe. I believe this life is all we have. Some religious people might say this view is nihilistic, that it demeans the significance of our lives. To me that means just the opposite.

It means that goodness, compassion, and mercy are all human attributes, not divine ones. So when I am grateful for my blessings, I am grateful to people like Dr. Reyes, and not to some being out there who takes all the credit for the good things ordinary people do.

It means we are not perfect, but we can strive towards perfection. We can only be sure we don’t know everything, but science and a rational outlook are the best way to improve our knowledge about the universe. As Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman put it, “I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything.”

It means that education and science, applied humanely, are more important than prayers that do nothing.

And it means that when baby Miranda is born, she will not be a gift given by God, but that does not make her any less significant. She will come to be because her parents love each other, because sperm and egg got lucky one afternoon, and because her parents had a very strict but caring doctor who saw her through the very end. And why shouldn’t that be enough?


http://www.sportsmanila.com/uu/?p=104

Anonymous said...

Gamecock,

The main fear is that all of this stuff devalues the dollar (which it does), so there is a run away from the dollar.

I expected a slower run, more like a fast walk. The Dumocrat stall is probably provoking anxiety resulting in a quicker move away.

Ultimately, though, the dollar will be weaker. US debt will be weaker as well.

Too much borrowing.

Inflation is also higher than reported.

I think lll this and more will become fairly obvious soon.

I didn't think the market was anywhere near fixed last week.

Saw it as a rally to sell into.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Basically, the patient is very sick.

Heart stops. Defibrillator applied. Starts pumping again.

Longterm health still in a slide.

May take several jolts.

Still rebalancing into rallies when and as they occur.

-anon1

Nit Picker said...

Bob said: "Then proceed on the naive belief that Nature wants Herself to be preserved and cherished, even though all evidence indicates that She doesn't care one way or the other. But don't pretend it's not all vanity and a striving after wind. You don't get to live in non-absurd universe."

Shouldn't that be "live in a non-absurd universe"?

j. said...

gamecock

As far as I know I was not a god in my former incarnations:)

I am saying that of the various religions I have examined, I do not find those versions of God plausible or logical in relation to he way that science reveals the universe.

I am open to the possibility though that there may be a originator/higher being/power etc. of the universe who we have not discovered yet.

If God was just revealed in our era,our way of describing "him" would be framed much differently than the languages of the past described God.

Pete said...

Yes, J, there is a big difference between the loud, vengeful God of the Bible and the quiet, forgiving God that we know today.

Iztok said...

"there is a big difference between the loud, vengeful God of the Bible and the quiet, forgiving God that we know today"

Seroquel does wonders indeed.

Anonymous said...

The New Republican Prayer.

God is great.
God is bi-polar.
Let's drill for oil.
No, let's go solar.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

A bi-polar god explains a lot, lately.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

I guess it's official if you read it in the Onion:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28484

-anon1

Pete said...

anon1 & Iztok,

People change throughout their lives. Why not God? Doesn't mean He's bipolar.

Often it's not that the other person has changed so much as us and our perception. This is what J was suggesting.

If He were bipolar it would make it harder to understand Him, but would you make fun of Him? Would you love Him less?

Pete said...

Actually, if we think of God as being bipolar then we can better understand why He acts as He does. We can love Him more because it would explain His unloving behavior.

Anonymous said...

No, I'd leave that to the professionals at Onion.

They did a much better job of making fun of a bipolar deity than I did.

As the Ohio State motto says:

"With God, All Things Are Possible".

-anon1

Anonymous said...

I'd "love" god just the same if he were a sado-masochistic foot fetishist who banished my sole to hell.

-anon1

j. said...

pete,

Does this mean that you personally do not take the Bible literally but instead view it metaphorically?

Or do you believe that the writers of the past only had an approximation of truth and further revisons are allowed as time and more knowledge reveals a more complete picture?

I will acknowledge that there are "pearls of wisdom" and insights into the human condition in the Bible, but uncritically accepting it as a description of literal events,is not in my view, reconcilable with the physical facts that science has opened up to us since the Bible's publication.

Pete said...

J,

God and I don't need the Bible and we aren't limited by it. I don't take it literally nor much of it metaphorically.

Yes, "the writers of the past only had an approximation of truth and further revisions are allowed as time and more knowledge reveals a more complete picture."

Anonymous said...

The world is surely ending.

Ben Stein (feelgood economics carnival tout and polar opposite of Ein Stein) has finally figured out that something IS wrong with our economy.

He still won't admit how bad it is, but at least he learned about credit default swaps and what a danger that unregulated market is.

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/yourlife/109609

He really should stick to comedy and Visine.

-anon1

j. said...

Thanks pete,

You sound like a like you open to new ideas. :)

Anonymous said...

What we're seeing now is what happens when we elect morons and listen to people who only tell us what we want to hear.

Asians are laughing their a$$e$ off about how we lectured them in their recent IMF bailout.

It's pathetic.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

The only way I can cope is to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

-anon1

Bob said...

Speaking of being open to new ideas, the current issue of Time has an interesting story about life-after-clinical-death experiences. Among other things, it discusses certain now-rejected paradigms once regarded as scientific "facts."

Anonymous said...

Re taking the Bible, especially the Old Testament, literally and/or metaphorically:

A theory is a thought process. It is an attempt to explain how something works, where it comes from and what its causes and effects may be. The word “theory” comes from a Greek word meaning “to see’ or “to look at”.

Myths, especially Biblical myths, do not try to explain what is seen. They describe the standpoint from which one does the seeing, the attitudinal stance of the viewer, the perspective from which the world is seen. For example, the Genesis myths of creation (there is more than one creation myth) could (wrongly) be interpreted as theories – attempts to explain how the world came to be. Until very recently, readers of these myths assumed they were theories. But the purpose of the Genesis stories was, and still is, to state the basic attitudes of the ancient Israelites. These are myths embodying the perspective through which Israel viewed all life in relationship to their God.

If you take these myths literally, for starters you obviously aren’t Jewish and you don’t read Hebrew. If you take them metaphorically, you’re deluding yourself.

The reason it is so easy to treat a myth as theory is that once one states what a myth means, the result looks very much like a theory, because that statement of meaning is a thought. But it is a thought aimed in a different direction from that of a theory. Such a thought – an attempt to draw out the implications of a myth – is called a doctrine.

When Christians say that Jesus is “Lord”, they are not expressing a theory about a man named Jesus, such as a theory to explain his effects upon the world of his time. They are saying that they view him as they view God. When they examine the implications of this – what it implies about God and their relationship to God – they are developing doctrines.

If you don’t believe in God, fine. I certainly respect your belief or non-belief. I have my doubts, too. But anyone who interprets Biblical myths as theory doesn’t understand scientific thought, just as those who consider the Bible to be literally an almanac, or personal help guide to complement Dr. Phil, don’t have a clue about religious doctrine.

I'm not a Prebyterian, but I see where Myers Park Prebyterian Church is offering a series of 12 classes - not Sunday school classes, most of these 12 are held on Wednesday evenings - on such things as "How the Bible Came To Be", "Aspects of Classical Judaism", and so forth, taught by professors of theology. The fee is $20 per semester for an unlimited number of courses. Register online at www.myersparkpres.org/academy or in person at their adult education office, 2501 Oxford Place.

Bob said...

For what it's worth, Anon, I recently attended a series of lectures by Bishop Spong. He said the same things you just said. It was extremely annoying. There wasn't a single opportunity to walk out in disgust.

j. said...

bob,

Thanks for the reference to the Time story. Intriguing information. Indeed...consciousness is still "the undiscovered country".

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Time magazine is not exactly a peer reviewed science journal.

They know their audience and have articles about angels, prayer, Star of Bethlehem, Easter, etc. during appropriate seasons.

Nothing new about OOBE's. The parapsychologists (of which there are approximately NONE left) studied that for years, with nothing conclusive.

The psychic crowd has been trying to tie their BS in with quantum physics for decades.

I know the Einstein/Newton dig towards Iztok you're getting at, but just because our understanding of physics evolved, it doesn't mean anything you can imagine is true.

That's what the old parapsychology crowd wants you to believe, though.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Bob,

The experiment described in the Time article about viewing articles from the perspective of the ceiling can be traced back to early ESP experiments in the 1960's and 1970's by such folks as Charles Tart (with Ingo Swann).

This stuff's been around a while.

-anon1

Bob said...

The Time article (actually an interview) describes a new and very extensive scientific inquiry into near-death experiences. The experiment is currently underway. When it is completed, I am sure the findings will be peer-reviewed. However, if somebody already knows that this research is big a waste of time, he/she/Iztok ought to give the researchers a call, because it looks as if they are taking it quite seriously. Part of the interview appears to support the neo-pragmatist epistemology of science that I tried (perhaps too ambitiously in present company) to discuss earlier. No "dig" was intended. The point was simply that scientific sentences -- like all sentences -- are merely more or less useful. There is no "truth" and there are no "facts" (written in a Book of Nature) of which we can claim to "know" and to which we can claim to be getting ever closer. That is Rorty's view, and he no doubt will be pleased to learn that I approve.

I think the Anon who told us about the Presbyterian lecture series expressed my view of religious experience much better than I have ever done. I, for one, would like to hear more from this person when he/she has something more to say. Sorry to frustrate the other Anon's desire for a fight. Maybe next time.

j. said...

bob,

I looked up you reference to Rorty.
His philosophy is "heavy" stuff which takes some time to assimulate. :)

If "truth" and "facts are not really knowable and merely framed by our language, then how are we expected to make any judgements of what is real? Can you elaborate on this philosophy?

I believe that science operates on the principle that all knowledge is approximate and revisable. However we can use what we know for practical use until new information comes along that may overthrow our conceits or augment what we already have confirmed as useful knowledge.

I read that Mr. Rorty was known for his humor or biting wit which you appear to enjoy employing also.

Thanks

porn student said...

I think there are facts. There is the fact that I exist. Some Buddhists would disagree. They enjoy that mind game. More facts: there are Buddhists, disagreements and mind games.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Not looking for a fight. Just saying that this is nothing new or revolutionary.

What I don't like is people using the "weirdness" of physics to justify pseudoscience.

It's just been done too many times and isn't proof of anything.

I certainly don't expect much from the NDE research, but, hey, no problem with anyone doing the research on their dime or that they take it seriously.

If they really make a discovery, then great.

I feel the same way about the search for extraterrestrials.

Would love to hear what they have to say.

Good luck to them all, but I'm not
holding my breath.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Also no problem with there not being an "absolute" of nature that we are discovering with science or describing with language or mathematics.

No skin off my rear.

-anon1

Iztok said...

Bob: "There is no "truth" and there are no "facts""

You lost your credibility when you started mixing gravity with theory that explains it. When pointed out you conveniently kept quiet instead of admitting it. Newton vs. Einstein difference is just difference in explanation of a fact vs. fact itself. How about addressing it?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

For another revolution that surprised even Einstein, see Bohr, Heisenberg, and Godel.

After all, it was Einstein who said "God does not play dice with the universe".

-anon1

Bob said...

J:

I do not try to "judge" what is "real." I try to evaluate what statements are more or less useful for the purposes at hand. That is as far as knowledge can take us. To put in the matter in context of this blog, the same religious sentence can be useless for one purpose and profound for another. Take the Ezekiel passage of which fun was made earlier. As cooking advice, either weird or mundane, depending on translation. As a warning of the privations that would accompany a siege of Jerusalem, more interesting. As a way of shocking the reader into an appreciation of the consequences of tolerating injustice and moral decline, maybe profound. I think the good Anon was on to something very important a few comments back.

Gamecock said...

Bob

Great point (Ezekiel) as usual.

j. said...

Thanks bob,

I think I see what you are saying...that facts are provisional and apply to the circumstance of the time or place or the perspective of observer.

That's the reason why I see our knowledge of the universe as extremely incomplete, because humans have only a very small personal experience of the total and probably always will due to the limits of physical travel.

I am still contemplating what anon was telling us.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Selectively reading the part about the dung symbols in Ezekiel 4 is like reading only the F-word passages in “The Catcher in the Rye”. Titillating, if not sophomoric; and one completely misses the meaning and purpose of the entire book.

By the way, much of my theology comes from a course I studied many years ago, created for Episcopal lay people by the seminary at the University of the South. So you were not far off mark in mentioning Bishop Spong.

And Ezekiel - such a book! Such symbolism! There’s the allegory in 23:1-49 of the two “harlot” sisters – Oholah (translation: “she who has a tent” – or temple), and Oholibah (“my tent is in her”). Ezekiel soundly condemns both for their promiscuity – their turning away from Yahweh. Obviously as a priest, Ezekiel favors Jerusalem (Oholibah) over Samaria (Oholah), because of the Jerusalem temple (tent).

In chapter 16 he borrows from Hosea the image of Jerusalem as an unfaithful wife. Israelites believed that the Jebusites held Jerusalem until David made it his capital. Ezekiel went a step further to assert that the Jebusites were a mixed breed, meaning that – in Ezekiel’s view – the citizens of Jerusalem could claim no right by race or ancestry to the promises Yahweh made to the patriarchs. Here was a novel “doctrine”.

Then there’s the picture of Yahweh as the “Good Shepherd” in 34:1-24. This figures greatly in the interpretation of Jesus as the Good Shepherd in the New Testament. And don’t forget his vision of the wheels of the chariot of Yahweh (which has deluded some into believing he was describing a flying saucer), or the valley of - as the much more modern spiritual says - “dem bones, dem bones,dem...dry bones”.

Much of the Old Testament deals with repetitive themes of creation (how we see ourselves in relationship to God), sin, judgment and redemption. After Jerusalem first fell in 597 BCE, Ezekiel, who supposedly never set foot in Jerusalem, warned of the disaster yet to befall that city. When it again fell in 587 BCE, the tone of his message changed. He began to speak of the return of the exiles and of renewed worship of Yahweh in a rebuilt temple with a revised law.

Much of chapters 4, 7 and 9 deal with oracles of doom. The reason, at least in my belief system, that Ezekiel makes a big deal about Yahweh commanding him to sketch a tiny model of Jerusalem on a brick, and prepare a model of a siege against it, is that back then folks especially believed that the power of Yahweh’s spoken word, or even that of a human, was capable of causing about which it spoke. So creating a model carried even more weight in getting his “prophecy” across. Build it, and it carries enough force to bring about an actual siege.

All the dung, the cooking instructions and lying in weird positions symbolize the hardships such as scarcity of provisions and other deprivations that Jerusalem would experience. This chaper would devastate one who has kept a kosher kitchen all his or her life, which is exactly the author’s point.

In Chapter 9, executioners go through Jerusalem killing all except those whose foreheads have been marked because they “groan” (confess) about the above abominations. It reminds one of the Passover story, but is radically different. Ezekiel’s message is that this time, just being an Israelite won’t save one. This time, only innocent individuals will be spared. This marks a shift in how Israelites at that time understood the relationship between the community and the individual.

Per Ezekiel, no one can count on membership in the community to save him if he sins. But also, punishment of the present generation is for the sins of that generation, not the sins of their forefathers, as was the previous doctrine.

He goes on and on and on to create many new (at that time) theological doctrines. For example, in Chapter 18, the point is that neither sin nor righteousness will be measured on a cumulative basis, but the changes in the direction of a life will determine one’s judgment. Some of his points form the basis for many individual beliefs in the present day.

The important thing isn’t whether Ezekiel was or was not literally transported from Babylon by the “Spirit” to Jerusalem, or whether such a person ever existed, or whether all or parts of the book were written after-the-fact. Nor does the dung – cow or human – have anything to do with the general theological points this priest-prophet made. Those points are why this book is considered sacred scripture.

Hence the reason I suggested folks may want to take a course on the Bible from those who understand theology. Catcher in the Rye can be reserved through local libraries.

Iztok said...

Bob, so tell us what is the point of human dung in the book then? It has hardly any energy value.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I mistated my first paragraph. It should read:

"Selectively reading the part about the dung symbols in Ezekiel 4, as Iztok has done, is like reading only the F-word passages in “The Catcher in the Rye”. Titillating, if not sophomoric; and causes Iztok to completely miss the meaning and purpose of the entire book."

Iztok said...

Anonymous, so tell us what is the point of the dung in bread?

Bob said...

Anon:

There are F-words in "The Catcher in the Rye?" Maybe I shouldn't have slept through high school English, after all.

BTW, GREAT comment! Feel free to correct my mumblings any time.

j. said...

In essence then,we err when we take anything out of the context of the whole.

Holistic thinking.

To me, that is the "soul" of ecological awareness,the scientific method and in general the open mind...seeing all facts and action in context...nothing exists in isolation.

Anonymous said...

Iztok said...
"Anonymous, so tell us what is the point of the dung in bread?"

See paragraph 8 in my long post above. That's my take, based on theological interpretations and commentaries that make sense to me. You may have another take. It's a free nation. Find what best answers your spititual quest, or perhaps your non-spiritual quest.

So Iztok, now you tell us: What is the point of you posting your atheistic musings at this spiritual-based site?

Anonymous said...

Atheists ARE the dung in the bread.

(Just thought I'd be the first to say that...)

-anon1

j. said...

Ancient flavor enhancer(DSG):)

Bob said...

Anonymous:

While we're waiting The Man himself to answer, let me share with you a story taken directly out of the pages of my own personal life. Perhaps it will help you understand what makes us atheist Davids so brave to be stepping out into the lion's den.

It all started when I made the mistake of buying season tickets to something called a Shakespeare festival. Improve your mind, they said. Learn some culture, they said. Ha! The first one was supposed to be about Julian Caesar, and I couldn't believe how messed up it was! Whoever the ignoramus playwriter was, you'd think he'd have done at least SOME research into the evidence before giving out his high and mighty opinions. There were so many inaccuracies, I had to laugh just so I wouldn't cry. They believed in ghosts! No kidding! Ghosts! And get this: they weren't even talking in Roman! They just went on and on in some kind of pigeon English that nobody could understand. A couple of times I nudged the lady next to me and to see if she knew what was going on, and, well, excuse me for living. Like she was so into it in the first place. Needless to say, I was the only one with the intellectual courage to stand up right in the middle and tell everyone that the umpire had no clothes. But two guesses who was one who spent that night in jail. I'll bet you my thirty days of community service you already know the answer!

Well, it's the same thing here. There's no money in it, but somebody has to be The One to make the blind hear the truth about their stupidness. So what if they're too immature and self-righteous to listen? They'll be sorry. Oh yes, someday they'll be sorry.

Gamecock said...

Bob

You are a delight! as are

To be or not to be...

and

Blessed are the peacemakers...

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Point well and humorously made!

Brevity isn’t wit. Bob is wit.
-From Julienne Caesar Salad

I want some of what it is you’re smoking.

Bob said...

Aw shucks. Just wait till I get my credibility reinstated. Could you talk to Iztok about it? I think he's still mad at me.

Gamecock said...

Bob

If I knew sign language, I would talk to the deaf.

Bob said...

To be fair, there was that one time where the guy said: "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in our cells." That part was science.

Iztok said...

Anonymous: "So Iztok, now you tell us: What is the point of you posting your atheistic musings at this spiritual-based site?"

I've answered this question several times in the past already. My answer hasn't changed since so no need to repeat.

Bob said...

But you say it so good.

Iztok said...

I am just wondering why McCain campaign is going all biblical on Palin. It looks like they want her to be seen but not heard. (1 Corinthians 14:34-36, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 etc.)

It gives the impression that he is far from being ready to be VP, let alone P.

Gamecock said...

IZ, I THINK WE AGREE. WHAT WE NEED TO HEAR MORE OF ARE THE SERMONS OF THE PASTOR OF THE HATE WHITEY AMERICA CHURCH, IN WHICH PEWS OBAMA PARKED HIS FAMILY'S BUTTS FOR 20 YEARS.

AMEN?

Bob said...

I'm hoping they keep her from learning the Song of Deborah.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, caps lock key is to the left of your keyboard ;)

Sure, we also need to hear a lot more about Palin's husband and his separatist party. Not to mention the "earth is 6000 years old" church Palin went to.

We also need to make sure that those pastors who broke the law today with their sermons (protesting separation of church and state) are properly addressed (perhaps their tax exempt status is revoked).

Anonymous said...

Fiction can be very entertaining.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, why not have 24/7 broadcasts of all the nutty religious stuff influencing our politics right now.

We have nothing to lose. The rest of the world already thinks we're crazy.

-anon1

Gamecock said...

Most of the rest of the world wants to move here, with most of them wanting to enjoy that crazy liberty and a small minority wanting to kill us all or make us slaves to their perverted Islamist version of Allah.

Iztok said...

"Most of the rest of the world wants to move here, with most of them wanting to enjoy that crazy liberty and a small minority wanting to kill us all or make us slaves to their perverted Islamist version of Allah."

Funny how religion works. We enjoy many liberties in this country and it seems that religious here and around the world want to misuse them and take them away from us. Regardless of their flavor of deity. Seems like race to the bottom.

Bob said...

In fact, show of hands. How many of the atheists-who-can't-think-of-a-reason-why-they-babble-on-and-on-here are immigrants?

Anonymous said...

Actually, many of them would rather move to other developed countries, but find it easier to move here.

And a lot of the better educated ones are moving out.

-anon1

Iztok said...

In fact, show of hands. How many on this board were born atheists?

Bob said...

I was born modest. But it wore off.

Anonymous said...

Basically the uneducated laborers from the south are swamping us, while the educated Chinese and Indian and Europeans have other options.

A million flies may not be wrong, but who wants what they want?

-anon1

Bob said...

Weren't most people kind of ignorant when they were born? Maybe not Plato, but most people?

BTW, we're still waiting for that show of hands. Recent imaginary makes the answer even more interesting.

Bob said...

According to the Department of Homeland Security, citizens naturalized in 2007 came from the following countries in the following order: Mexico, India, Philippines, China and Vietnam.

Iztok said...

The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have statistics on religious
affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of
inmates per religion category:

Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%
---------------------------- --------
Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

Bob said...

I always said you could trust the Hare Krishnas.

Iztok said...

Apparently some people would rather go into foreclosure then stop funding their church's pockets.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-09-23-tithing-housing_N.htm

Talking about taking advantage of disadvantaged people.

Anonymous said...

There is a time-lag for naturalization, so you are most likely seeing remnants of demand from several years ago, not today.

Most naturalized citizens are in the pipeline for many years and the process has slowed since the 9/11 attacks.

And, of course, those numbers do not reflect the actual number from south of the border here illegally.

-anon1

Bob said...

According to the Department of Homeland Security, permanent residents for 2005-2007 came from the following countries in the following order: Mexico, China, Philippines, India and Columbia.

Bob said...

The question remains: amongst our house atheists, who decry the baleful influence of religion in America, are there any immigrants? Why all the evasions? Just answer. It's not like there's any incongruity. Is there?

Iztok said...

Bob, your initial question was hard to be qualified, hence no response.

Define immigrant. At one point we are pretty much all immigrants.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I was born on a U.S. Army base in a Southern state.

And my grandma wore army boots.

-anon1

Anonymous said...

Credit markets just choked.

We're living in a democracy of dunces.

Wachovia can kiss its a$$ goodbye.

Let's hope it doesn't leave any lipstick behind.

-anon1

Bob said...

An immigrant is someone who moved to America from another country.

Iztok said...

Which part of America(s)? Do you mean United States of America? Or any of the places on both continents being named America?

Does it require naturalization or just permanent residency? What about second or third generation immigrants? How far back do we go?

Bob said...

Relax. You've answered.

Anonymous said...

Some of my ancestors came over the Bering Strait.

Long before Sarah Palin was there defending our borders.

-anon1

Bob said...

I said, relax, you've answered the question that was outstanding. You've shown us why you comment here.

Iztok said...

Bob, I've said it many times why I comment on Charlotte Observer blog. Not a secret.

Bob said...

Relax. You don't need the last word. The evidence is on the record. Let it go.

Anonymous said...

Proof that religion can rot your mind:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/104/story/220041.html

Mayor 'just curious' if Obama is Antichrist.

Enquiring minds want to know...

-anon1

Bob said...

Remember when Iztok spread the vile and obviously false rumors about Sarah Palin's pregnancy, and then Anon 1 defended him as a truth-seeker? More evidence of what this pair(?)is all about.

Anonymous said...

I'm writing a short story about a male nurse who works nights in a hospital ward that houses terminal patients.

He delights when he walks in on those who are just on the verge of death: He bends down and whispers in an ear "There is no God, there is no hope."

Then one night he never clocks out of his shift. The supervisor and others search, but can't find a trace of him. Hospital authorities eventually tell his family that they should abandon all hope of ever finding him, because he is lost.

What goes around comes around.

The Heretic said...

Anon,

Let's face it. Your plot is too far-fetched.

I mean, who'd believe that someone would actually do such a thing - tell others who believe in a God that they're wrong and therefore shouldn't believe? What sort of person would get a perverse kick out of that?

How did you ever dream up such a character?

Iztok said...

Bob, I was clear that it was rumor at that time. What it turned out is that Palin's family surely did have things to hide. Turns out that Bristol indeed ended up unwed pregnant teen (based on Sara's wedding and birth of her first child at 8 months after the wedding is not so surprising). (Which according to some Christians should be shamed for what she's done.)

You are right in one thing. Bristol sure is a victim.

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