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Getting On : Faith

You have to Believe Something

from Gar - Tuesday, August 19, 2003
accessed 1749 times

Just my 2 cents.

I had a discussion earlier with someone on agnosticism and just thought I would put in my two cents here about it.

People have to believe something. Everybody believes something, and even what appears to be a rejection of all beliefs is a kind of belief. One holds something to be true. Maybe what you hold to be true is that nothing else is true, but that is something that you believe is true in itself. This is not double talk. Even agnostics have a type of belief. They believe that it is not possible to know things about ultimate issues like the existence of God.

Now, people often reject Christianity because of certain problems. My point is that there is no neutral place to position yourself in philosophic space. There is no place where you can place yourself in which you believe nothing and therefore don't take on some burden of proof about what it is that you hold. You can't fairly say, "Well, Christian, you believe this and you must prove this, but I have no burden of proof regarding what I believe because I believe nothing." There is no person who believes nothing about ultimate things, and even if you are agnostic you believe in the justifiability of your agnosticism -- your uncertainty -- and you really have a burden of proof to justify your uncertainty -- your unwillingness to decide -- to justify your agnosticism. So there is nowhere someone can stand where he has no beliefs.

If you reject Christianity there is something else that you end up asserting by default in its place. If you reject Christianity for certain problems that it has -- and I admit to you that it does have problems -- it seems to me that one would do so because believing something else or believing nothing at all doesn't face the same kinds of problems or has fewer problems than believing in Christianity. That's why you reject Christianity. But my point is, in rejecting Christianity one often times creates more problems than he solves by rejecting the Christian viewpoint. (remember we are not talking about Berg's totally twisted Christianity here)

Even if the person says, "Well, I disregard Christianity. I don't believe it because I don't think it's possible to know anything true about God," I ask, "Why would you ever believe that?" You see, the other person has a belief.

In my opinion a person can't stand in a philosophically neutral position as if they believe nothing. In fact, they believe something and if they are going to reject Christianity, for example, it seems only rational for them to reject it if the reasons for believing what they opt for are better than the reasons for believing in Christianity. This is why it is said that if a person rejects God, for example, because of the problem of evil then I have to ask that person a question: How do you solve the problem of evil by rejecting God? If you reject God, then you've got to reject the idea that there's anything called evil in the world because God is the standard for good which defines what evil is. You have to not only reject the idea of evil, you have to reject the idea that there is anything like good because no absolute standard for good or evil remains to give those words any meaning. So you haven't solved the problem of evil by getting rid of God. You have actually exacerbated the problem of evil by adding another problem -- the problem of good, an additional problem the Christian doesn't have to face, by the way.

In rejecting God, the atheist still has to face evil in the world and explain where it came from. Can he? I doubt it. But he's got another problem. He's got to explain where good comes from, too, because if there is no God, it's hard to make any sense out of either of those concepts. If there is no God, then there is nothing that is evil, it seems. You have to have a standard of good and evil that stands outside of us to define what evil and good actually are.


So it's not a liability of a particular belief system to have unanswered questions. That's not a reflection on the problem of Christianity -- if Christianity has unanswered questions, and I think it does. It doesn't have as many as many people think, but there are some things that I struggle with. But you know that doesn't sink my faith. The fact that I struggle with problems in Christianity is not necessarily a reflection on Christianity, it's a reflection on knowledge in general. Every world view has its problems. Every belief system has its unanswered questions. So when you reject Christianity because of certain problems you then necessarily opt for a whole new set of problems, and in many cases those new set of problems with the point of view you now adopt are much more damaging than the problems you faced in Christianity.

If a person gets God out of the equation, then he has got to say, for example, that everything comes from nothing. He's got to say that life comes from non-life. That order comes from chaos. He's got to say that natural law comes from randomness. He's got to say essentially that the effect is greater than the cause. Now all of these things are patently absurd. These are problems that a person rejecting a form of theism must engage. It's a whole set of things that they don't have to face if they believe in theism.

Do you see the tremendous problems created when one rejects the existence of God? Do you see the problems that are added? It may be that these things are true, frankly. I'm not offering this as an argument for God's existence. I'm trying to put things in perspective. If you reject one point of view you end up landing on another square, another world view with all of its own same problems. And some of the problems in the new world view that you adopt are more extreme that the problems you thought you were getting away from by rejecting the Christian world view.

It may be that everything came from nothing. It may be that life came from non-life, and order came from chaos, and natural law comes from randomness, and the effect is greater than the cause. But boy, you have to have a heck of a lot of faith to believe that kind of thing. It seems to be much more reasonable, given the evidence, that God is the one responsible for these things. As we observe the world it seems that the effect is never greater than the cause.

The atheist doesn't solve problems by rejecting God. He creates a whole new set of problems, and most of them are much more pressing than the problems he thinks he's escaping.

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from tuneman7
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 12:12

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Some people are not comfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing. They cling to belief systems or simplistic logic.


Plenty of Psych studies show that believing something helps to reduce people's level of stress. This is simply because it creates the illusion of control. People have higher levels of stress when they feel they have no control over the outcome of a given situation (life in this case). When one believes in a diety of some sort who ostensibly cares about the outcome of inividual human life and can be communicated with through prayer/meditation etc., it provides them with the illusion of control that they may have been missing.


I think I'll content myself with trying to be comfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing.
(reply to this comment)

from exister
Monday, January 19, 2004 - 10:45

(Agree/Disagree?)

The title of your article indicates that your mind is still being actively fucked by The Family. The logic in your article is so weak and convoluted as to not even be worth addressing.

Cheers!
(reply to this comment)

From Fist
Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 07:44

(Agree/Disagree?)
Exactly! I didnt even bother reading the whole thing. You should do some research on this problem. You must also consider the different branches of Agnosticism. You prove your ignorance by generalising all Agnostics as being in the same group. Ever heard of Apathetic Agnosticm or Professional Academic Agnosticm? Read up...

p.s
Cheers Tuneman... I like your point, exactly what I was thinking.(reply to this comment
From Arneth
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 01:07

(Agree/Disagree?)

Mighty big words, big guy. Did you have to look up 'convoluted' in a dictionary? How about a little fucking respect?(reply to this comment

From solemn
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 12:52

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

What is disrespectful about having an opposing point of view? If Gar didn't want this posting to be scrutinized perhaps he, or she (Sorry I donít know Gar), would not have posted it in a public forum. In light of that Iím sure Gar does not mind a little spirited debate.(reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 15:19

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I appreciate differing views, however exister's comments that Gar's mind 'is still being actively fucked by The Family', and that his logic is 'so weak and convoluted as to not even be worth addressing' (as a broad subjective statement) IS disrespectful.(reply to this comment
From solemn
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 15:38

(Agree/Disagree?)
I suppose that is disrespectful. My bad. The logic in Gar's statements are remarkably subjective though. But they are worth addressing given much time to do so.(reply to this comment
From GG
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 04:11

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Agree/Disagree?)
The little punk probably had to look up fucked!!(reply to this comment
from Spring
Friday, August 29, 2003 - 17:30

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

You make some interesting points. Still though, why should I have to justify my agnosticism? You say, "you really have a burden of proof to justify your uncertainty -- your unwillingness to decide -- to justify your agnosticism." For me personally, I'm unwilling to decide because I don't like to make a decision where I don't feel that I know all the facts/angles, and I'd rather stay undecided than decide for something that I have too many doubts about.

You would rather be a "Christian" with doubts and accept that your religion has flaws - and that's your prerogative. I don't feel that I need to justify my unwillingness to decide between what I see as many inadequate choices. But ... to each his own.

BTW, now that you've clarified who you are it's nice to see you on this site. :)

-S
(reply to this comment)

From Gar
Friday, August 29, 2003, 17:51

(Agree/Disagree?)
Thanks, I'm glad to be here!!(reply to this comment
From Gar
Friday, August 29, 2003, 17:48

(Agree/Disagree?)
Do I know you? Your name is familiar.(reply to this comment
From Spring
Friday, August 29, 2003, 18:14

(Agree/Disagree?)
I suppose we know each other in passing. I was at the Mexico TTC - and being one of the "older" ones we may have chatted. But my name at the time was Sharon. Very likely you knew my parents (Nicolas/Angela or Don/Senaah) as they used to courier stuff to both Peru and Brazil. Take care...(reply to this comment
From Gar
Friday, August 29, 2003, 18:23

(Agree/Disagree?)

Ok, I do know your dad, I met him in Brazil a few times, nice fellow. Nice chatting with you, take care also, and I hope all goes well with you.

Gar(reply to this comment

from piwackit
Friday, August 29, 2003 - 16:37

(Agree/Disagree?)

You are tyring to make a logical argument against skepticism, nihilism, and post-modern antifoundationalism. Not bad for a first draft. I recommend that you do more reading up on the philosophical positions you are attempting to critique.

You are correct to say that exchanging belief in higher power (and therefore the hope that existence has meaning and purpose) for belief in nothing (and the meaninglessness of existence) is simply exchanging one set of problems for another. We all make our choices about what set of problems we want to work on.

But can you say that one set of problems better than another? And how free are we to choose? I believe that a person works on a certain set of problems--like living sanely with the perception that existence looks profoundly meaningless--as a result of the machinations of chance, genetics and environment. I've settled this evolutionary perspective because it gives me hope in the face of my conviction that--although life appears to have no grand purpose beyond whatever I choose to make of it--there does seem to be some order in the chaos. I am a skeptic, not a nihilist.

It is also rational (in my opinion) to put faith in an all-powerful, supernatural creator god as a way of hanging onto hope and blinding oneself to evidence that suggests existence is meaningless. That's just not my current evolutionary nexus. I prefer the problems that come with skepticism.
(reply to this comment)

from Sir Rantalot
Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:09

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)


Yes, It is scientifically proven that itís healthy to believe in a religion(or Ďgodí), the study I read compared the brain activity of fracescan nuns praying and tibetan monks meditating. There is an area of the brain dedicated to belief in a higher power, or to the belief in our subconscious mind power.

The fact is, it doesnít matter what you believe in, just believe in something. Create your own belief paradigm, with your own pantheon, your own gods, it really doesnít matter. The only difference between our newly created religion and other religions is that they claim truth simply because they are older, and claim some historically dubious character of the past as reference point, their great prophet, messiah, or whateverÖ

Most intelligent Christians I talk to today(those ďindependentĒ believers, itís a real Ď90s fad), usually admit that they have a personal view of their religion, that they accept certain things taken from the bible and question others, thatís the reason why they donít belong any congregation. They still however believe the basic fundamentals of Christianity: the trinity, Jesus being the son or god etc..All I can say to them is, ďresearchĒ, read the so-called Gnostic heresies, realize how your idea of Christianity, your basic beliefs, arenít in the bible due to it being Ďdivineí, therefore the teachings of Christ have lived through the centuries. To put it simply, youíre living a lie, your religion is just the product of 2,000 years of socio-political manipulations, mind you not divine manipulations. Anyone still peddling Christianity obviously knows very little of European history, or Roman History. The funny things is, Christians, out of all religions, are the most adamant about their belief system being true, the is no place in the bible for Ďother godsí or Ďgraven imagesí as your sadistic sky-god puts in very clearly in his book. And that doesnít only go for Christianity, Monotheistic(nothing good comes from mono-) religions are the scourge of humanity, Islam and Judaism included. Hell, at least Buddhists and Hindis admit that there are many ways to reaching enlightenment. Buddhist and Hindu tantra also give advice on self-improvement on this earth, not just enlightenment in the afterlife. Iím not promoting these religions over Christianity, just attempting to put things in perspective. And at least agnostics leave the question open. I personally am agnostic, but I use parts of certain religions which I find useful in day to day life, meditation, for example, but I never am so proud(or so ignorant) as to assume that my method of belief & my gods are any closer to truth to the next guysí, I do admit Iím more realistic then Christians, and fuck, worshipping one god just seems so boring!

As far as the atheist creating a whole new set of problems, thatís equivalent to an addict going into rehab. He has quit fooling himself with drugs(Christianity), now itís time to step into the real world, to realize you are nothing, to take full responsibility for his actions in life(not the devil tempted me), heíll have to find his reason for existing inside himself. Sure, itís hard at first, but isnít it wonderful to be seeking the truth, rather than supporting an archaic belief system(junk)?
(reply to this comment)

From Arneth
Tuesday, January 17, 2006, 01:04

(Agree/Disagree?)
Why don't you read some real New Testament scholarship? Gnostic 'alternatives' to Christianity are about as historical and genuine as UFOs and conspiracy theories. Try 'Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth' or 'A Marginal Jew' by John P. Meier or 'The Rise of Christianity' by Rodney Stark. Or look at 'The New Testament and the People of God' by N.T. Wright. Read 'The Priority of John' by John A.T. Robinson and 'The Historical Reliability of the Gospels' by Craig Blomberg. Anything by Bruce Metzger and Luke Timothy Johnson would do as well. Your postmodern relativistic approach is a passing fad. Or read something by Huston Smith, a real scholar of world religions.(reply to this comment
From farmer
Saturday, October 25, 2003, 22:58

(Agree/Disagree?)
Christianity & Judaism being monotheistic, are you sure...
why not consider e.g.Psalm 82:1 and Psalm 95:3???
I tried three years of Buddhism, went to a course in archery
at university, had a pendulum & followed other esoterical stuff...I have no desire to return to that, even after leaving the family 92 & realising veeery late, that the family screwed
up the christian belief-system as did many others, some are
"greyer" than others so to speak...I have agnostic & atheistic
relatives & I tell you Germany is quite full of people of that
kind...it seems more & more to become the majority...
Many people like you have this cafeteria-style approach to
religious topics...& I used to brag myself to be mighty
pluralistic...each unto their own liking, as long as we don`t
seriously bother others...many ways lead to Rome but I can`t
figure, that there`s more than one truth...although in math they tried the approach of a logical system with more than
two values...does that make sense to you?? more than true
untrue, maybe another value for presently undecided, but beyond that???So it boils down sooner or later to the question, whether I have a creator, other than my parents etc. or not..why not consider great & sincere scientists,
who after all their intense studies of nature (Romans 1:20)
came to the conclusion, that there must be a creator...
Is he sleeping??Does he care? Does he play around....
I have a hard time accepting anything else, than that he has a plan for us...you do make plans at work too & in life,
why looks nature like being much more planned than as what
we achieve...(reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Sunday, October 26, 2003, 15:40

(Agree/Disagree?)
Oh no! Here comes another creationist with claims of "great scientists" proving the existence of a creator!!! Farmer, you don't even want to get me started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(reply to this comment
From Regi
Sunday, October 26, 2003, 17:12

(Agree/Disagree?)

Way to go! I'm with you frmrjoyish!(reply to this comment

From Albatross
Friday, August 29, 2003, 15:22

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
"Intelligent Christians"? Isn't that oxymoronic?
(reply to this comment
From Nick
Monday, October 27, 2003, 13:04

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The only moronic thing here is that you put a blanket statement out saying that all Christians are not intelligent.

You are basically saying that for someone to be a Christian = stupidity? I am a Christian although not much of a practicing one and I take offence to such ignorant statements.(reply to this comment

From Sir Rantalot
Saturday, August 30, 2003, 06:14

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Agree/Disagree?)

Yes it is, intended as those liberal, DIY Christians that try to reconcile Amnesty international with a peaceful, loving, non-racist, non-misoginist Bible. Thus the need to ignore certain parts of the Bible...(reply to this comment

From Gar
Friday, August 29, 2003, 15:39

(Agree/Disagree?)
Only in a case when a Christian is not intelligent.(reply to this comment
from frmrjoyish
Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 00:49

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Gar, you seem like a nice guy even though we differ on some issues. You see, in a way your right! A person who is trying to make a case for something does have the burden of proof. As a Christian, you have the burden of proof of the existence of a God, the holiness of a man named Jesus, etc. etc. as an agnostic who believes in nothing, I have a burden of proof to prove nothing! I am claiming nothing therefore I have to prove nothing, you are claiming Christianity as fact which behoves you to prove it!
(reply to this comment)
from Joe H
Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 21:37

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

"People have to believe something." No they don't. You can choose to accept that you don't know certain things.

"Even agnostics have a type of belief." No, they don't. The dictionary describes agnostic as "a person who doubts truth of religion" They do not "believe that it is NOT POSSIBLE to know things about ultimate issues like the existence of God." As an agnostic, I can tell you that I'm simply unsure of the existence of God and am waiting for better evidence. If such better evidence should emerge, I'll still be an agnostic, because I won't be believing anything, I'll know it as a fact.

But what's with this whole focus on "belief"? You clearly believe things and see nothing wrong with it, what's wrong with the belief that we can't explain certain things? Even Christians have those kind of beliefs, as is evidenced by the quote "If you knew the answer, you'd be God," and "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" So are Christians agnostic?

You say that God is the only way we have of explaining good and evil. Have you taken a psychology course? If you had would know that good and evil are abstract concepts, and the real extremes of human behavior are selfishness and altruism. Humans, like animals, occasionally act selfishly to insure their own survival, but will sometimes act altruistically to insure the survival of their children, relatives, even fellow members of the same species. But let's forget my attempts to reduce the complexities of human psychology to Darwinian terms, and instead focus on your elitist dogma that without God we can have no moral compass. What do you base that on? Isn't that extremely unfair to everyone else in the world who leads a good life and may not believe in God? And how often does God really help you to find "good"? What about the Inquisition or the Salem witch trials? The perpetrators of those atrocities were clearly Christian. If their faith in God couldn't save them from doing those kind of evil deads, why should I choose to believe in God myself?

"So when you reject Christianity because of certain problems you then necessarily opt for a whole new set of problems, and in many cases those new set of problems with the point of view you now adopt are much more damaging than the problems you faced in Christianity. " This is a textbook fallacy of argumentation called Appeal to Ignorance. What you're basically saying is "My belief system may not be perfect, but if you reject it you'll be a lot worse off" Prove it! Get your ass into college, take freshman level argumentation and take some psychology courses too.

"If a person gets God out of the equation, then he has got to say, for example, that everything comes from nothing. " No he doesn't. I personally DON'T KNOW where everything came from, and that works for me. You can call it a belief, I call it common sense - acceptance of ignorance.

"Do you see the tremendous problems created when one rejects the existence of God? " No, quite frankly I don't!

"It may be that everything came from nothing. It may be that life came from non-life, and order came from chaos, and natural law comes from randomness, and the effect is greater than the cause." This sounds like something I'd say. Are you sure you're not an agnostic? I didn't know Christians allowed for a lot of "may be" in their faith.

In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with a quote from a robot on Futurama that I think sheds some light on former cult members who "choose" Christianity: "I choose to believe what I was programmed to believe!" I guess some of us had our brains washed a little more thoroughly than others.


(reply to this comment)

From Gar
Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 22:06

(Agree/Disagree?)

Hey Joe H: I still havn't had time to get back on this, but just a curiosity, I noticed one of your articles was in portuguese, have you lived in Brazil? The reason I ask is because I lived there for many years and (God forbid) maybe we know eachother if so. My legal name is Darius then changed to David Shephard (by leadership) for a while, now I'm Gary. If so let me know, I love a lot of things about Brazil.

Gar(reply to this comment

From Joe H
Friday, August 29, 2003, 00:01

(Agree/Disagree?)
I haven't lived in Brazil yet, mas eu sou brasileiro de coracao.(reply to this comment
From Gar
Friday, August 29, 2003, 07:34

(Agree/Disagree?)
where'd you learn your portuguse man, that's pretty good!(reply to this comment
From Joe H
Friday, August 29, 2003, 16:34

(Agree/Disagree?)
I listen to a lot of brazilian music.(reply to this comment
From a kid
Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 22:20

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Agree/Disagree?)
Gar, I know your comment was to Joe H but I remember reading about you, you were one of the 3-4 kids older than those my age, did you go to the S. America High School maybe? There was Miracle, Heaven, maybe 1 or 2 of the Attack brothers? Cool to hear you're out and, it seems, well. Do you really have 5 kids or was that a joke??(reply to this comment
From Gar
Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 22:30

(Agree/Disagree?)

Yeah I am part of that gang and lived in S.A. for many years. I know that one of the Attack brothers is out (John Tender) and Miracle is out too (she's lives in Chile). And yes I do have 5 kids and left TF with all 5 (about the bravest and best thing I ever did). Love every one of them too! Do I know you maybe a-Kid?(reply to this comment

From a kid
Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 22:33

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Agree/Disagree?)
were you at the Mexico TTC?(reply to this comment
From Gar
Thursday, August 28, 2003, 00:14

(Agree/Disagree?)
yes i was, were you? I was in the "Shining knights" (sweet name huh?)(reply to this comment
From a kid
Friday, January 09, 2004, 21:47

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OMG!! I was just checking out the picture you posted. It's so cool that India is your wife and that she's out too. I lived with her for a little while and I always liked her (although I was under the impression she was more of a "good" teen than rotten apple me, but she managed to be nice anyway, which was rare. I was pretty lonely as a Family teen). You have gorgeous children too, and I wish all of you as much happiness as your family portrait conveys. One of your daughters looks so much like India! She's stunning. Well, it's always great to come on this site and see people looking so well. Happy new year. And India: I am so happy for you and I wish you all the best!!(reply to this comment
From Gar
Monday, January 19, 2004, 09:30

(Agree/Disagree?)

That's cool, whats your name, and I will tell India, she always likes to hear from people she knew! Thanks for the compliment also, and yes India is a wonderful person and great mother and wife!

Take Care(reply to this comment

From a kid
Thursday, August 28, 2003, 21:14

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Agree/Disagree?)
Yeh, I was at the Mexico TTC. Can't remember the name of my group though. I can't remember you from there either, just from the "mags" I probably read as a preteen. Remember sweating in that big auditorium where Faithy, Gary, Lois, Damaris etc. would go on for hours every day? I remember people saying that some teen terrors had drunk the rubbing alcohol there was for disinfecting our hands that the place reeked of. How eeevil... One day I'm sitting in an Italian restaurant where the waiters sang and went pale when they started singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which at the TTC was introduced as the "Battle Hymn of the Revolution." I was 27 or something and that was the first time I realized they'd ripped the song off from someone else! (reply to this comment
From sarafina
Friday, August 22, 2003, 04:16

(Agree/Disagree?)

I just have to say that it's nice to finally see you Joe using your intelligence and education to write something of substance.

Your usual whimsical style of writing doesn't do you justice but yet necessary (as I understand) to relieve you of some apathy. I actually appreciated your response, as you have stated and explained exactly what I would have liked to but may have not done so adequately.( Due to my lack of education and mastering of the grammatical side of writing) I think in writing this you have redeemed yourself of previous accusations of your lack of knowledge in "an aspect that we call Semantics," which addresses "what we say"(level of meaning) rather than "how we say it" (level of structure, form). I think you have proven the ability to accomplish both. Now having said that I''d like to add to this.

OK, lets say you believe in Catholicism. If you do you'd believe in Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Purgatory is for those in the middle right? The undecided, the ones who didn't know better? There are some who don't believe in God or Evolution there is always a middle. Not everything is black or white there is always a Gray area. Some just haven't decided on a belief yet they are "undecided." As far as I know being "undecided" is not a belief,The closest I have found to this is "existentialism" which was essentially an explanation of this but because it has been given a "name" is now being labeled a "religion" or "belief"

In a book by Walter Hofmann he explains that heart of existentialism is basically "The refusal to belong to any school of thought or reputaion of the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatsoever, and especially of systems and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy as superficial, academic and remote form of life. It is a timeless sensibility that can only be discerned here and there in the past; but in recent time has hardened into a sustained protest and preoccupation ". This accrued mainly due to the fact that that this way of life has been given a name. Another Quote I like of his, is his critique of faith "Faith is not wanting to know, understand or except reality or what is true" I think a lot of people need a belief to deal with or explain away the bad things that happen in life. Now this could be a whole new discussion in its self. I think in some ways having a belief might save a person. As an example if a loved one dies believing in an after life somewhat helps subdue or reduce the pain of losing that person. Believing that they are in a better place and that you will one day meet again, instead of the possibility of just taking life at its essence is in a way easier. OK now I'm "straying from the path" of discussion.

My point is there is a middle a point of decision, a void or trance(those may be the wrong words but..) where you haven't come to a belief. Then of course your next argument would be your definition of "belief". Really it comes down to wither "believe" and "think" mean the same thing. Then there is a whole other point, what you "feel" is right which seems to often over ride practical thinking or beliefs. Well I'll stop here cause this could go on "forever".(which again could be a word or a whole new discussion in it's self)..lol

Ps. I'm sorry for any grammatical errors or lack of writing structure. I unlike Joe only have a understanding of "Semantics." j/k =P


(reply to this comment

From Gar
Thursday, August 21, 2003, 22:27

(Agree/Disagree?)
I don't have time to answer your whole note right now (got the 5 kids tonight) but I did want to say that if there's one thing you've got wrong, it's that I brought this thinking from the cult. I wouldn't give them that much credit. Their too busy having spiritual orgasms, there's no time to think about anything else. I have left my past in the past and have re-thought everything as you did, it's just that I went down a different path. (reply to this comment
From geo
Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 04:42

(Agree/Disagree?)
So its your fault your so ignorant then? If I where you I'd go ahead and blame it on the cult.(reply to this comment

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