News Briefs 05-10-2007

Tomorrow never comes…

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

It seems to me that intellectual honesty is now, and will always be, deeper and more durable, and more easily spread, than “atheism.”

Sam Harris

  1. Raiders of the lost script.
    Spielber wasn’t the only one who suffered from the robbery of production-sensitive material. Francis Ford Coppola´s home in the neighborhood of Palermo (Buenos Aires) was also robbed, and the burglars stole the hard copy and a disc with the script of the movie he was going to shoot, “Tetro”.

    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

  2. Thank You Sam Harris.
    For reminding me that all religions are bad. Some are warm and fuzzy, others rabid weasels. But all are bad ideas that take away from reason, and clear thinking. And I agree that the mind is where , we as a race need to set our sights. What is inside our heads? Crack:)

    1. Religions= bad / God = good
      I don’t have a problem with people questioning the validity of religions (I count myself among those actually), but I do have a problem with people who rather than question the existence of God, they instead flatty deny it and consider such thing as a childish behavior, and all believers as fools supporting a dangerous delusion.

      The big problem with religions AND atheists is that they think themselves to be the SOLE propietors of the truth. And everyone who disagrees with them are either heretics or lunatics.

      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

      1. I didn’t just wake up one morning
        And make the decision not to believe in God. I stopped drinking and started to think. In 7 years, plus those many I did drink I have seen no proof(no proof, but the rum part). I’m not holding my breath anymore, and getting on with living. And I don’t think all believers are fools, most have been brainwashed, and deluded on a massive scale. I know I was, by my loving family. I’m very happy, that we live in a time where we can express our unbelief, and point out the crazy crap people believe in and not be burned, or hacked to little bits on a lovely Sunday afternoon. So I will not be quiet. If some one starts blathering at me about their version of god, I will join them in a “discussion”. And I will point out every delusion, I’m given as “fact”. I just won’t put up with it. If they don’t like it, that is just too bad.

        As for the last part of Sam’s discussion. I love yoga and meditation. Its helped to sort out the blah, blah , blah of my brain that doesn’t like to stop. But its not a religion, it has no dogma. Its something we all can excess.

        1. Expression without slandering
          I too am happy that we live in a time when we can dissent with the groups that claim to the four winds to be the sole annointed gatherers of the truth. They would have put me on a stick next to you quite possibly 🙂

          And I also wonder if parents should refrain from adoctrinating their children on their particular religion. This is something of a paradox, since some parents feel they don’t have the right to perforate the ear lobes of their daugters, but feel no remorse in administering baptism. Perhaps it would be better to let the kid be open to every kind of faith doctrine (even atheism, as some of their stances seem more infused by blind faith than objective reasoning) and let them decide for themselves when they are old enough. This is what catholics are supposed to do in the ceremony of confirmation, but I think it is seen by many catholics now as a mere requisite so they can be later married with the church and the priest and the flowers and all the needed accesories.

          Because I think many followers of a given religion have never really, REALLY questioned the basis of what they supposedly hold as truth. Why do they believe what they say they do? It is rather a mindless following of practiced forms, like chanting CREDO without fully stopping into analising what the words actually mean.

          Ah! but I have found in my path people who do challenge themselves and put their faith to the test of their logic. A brave soul which goes by the handle of Convert_to_Christ once told me that he became a catholic as an adult, after being a buddhist first; he told me his decision was made after a lot of thinking, and when I met him and chat with him on a catholic discussion group (I went there to be kind of the devil’s advocate you see) he was incredibly happy with his decission, because he claimed that only after he opened his mind to the idea that only Jesus can truly fill all of man’s desires and aspiration, he found a sense of peace and purpose unlike any other he had felt before. I envy him.

          And you know? The funny thing is that, after reading Sam Harri’s speech, he seems to acknowledge that in life a lot of people feel the need to look for something else that will fill them more completely than the fleeting material pleasures of which we eventually grow tired.

          [quote]In this context, certain people have traditionally wondered whether a deeper form of well-being exists. Is there, in other words, a form of happiness that is not contingent upon our merely reiterating our pleasures and successes and avoiding our pains. Is there a form of happiness that is not dependent upon having one’s favorite food always available to be placed on one’s tongue or having all one’s friends and loved ones within arm’s reach, or having good books to read, or having something to look forward to on the weekend? Is it possible to be utterly happy before anything happens, before one’s desires get gratified, in spite of life’s inevitable difficulties, in the very midst of physical pain, old age, disease, and death? [/quote]

          So, there’s this apparently general feeling that something more may be out there. And people like my friend Convert would say this thing we seek is Jesus. Others would say it is Allah, others will use other name, or we can use the term “God” if we like, or not if we prefer, because in the end “God” is merely a crude word that tries to describe something that completely falls into the comprehension of humans. Einstein was fond of using the word, not because he believed in a white-bearded guy wearing a toga and with a triangle levitating above his head, but because he felt the awe and respect of a Universe that shows an immense ammount of order and beauty.

          Now, if some people choose to feel that these sense of order in the Universe has a deep emotional connection with their particular lifes, and they feel more joy in life because of this, that’s their choice to make and nobody should criticise them for it.

          I would like to see a different avenue than the manicheistic and confrontational debate that we observe nowadays. Either you are an “atheist” or you are a believer. I would like to see that more and more people accept the fact that you may not ascribe to any religion, but with that are NOT closed to the possibility of God, and that the way you choose to find a connection to God is deeply personal and your own damn business, provided you do not harm others in your stumbling process.

          What I loathe of these times we live in is that some people feel the need to engage in battle for their ideas. And here I’m talking about ALL kind of fundamentalists, since in Harris’ words it is clear the feeling that they’re in a war and people who agree with him are “brothers in arms”. The problem with fundamentalism is that they dare not look at the dark void of the night and honestly say “I don’t know”. Even Harris seems to think the Universe will never be devoid of misteries, so it’s the stance we take against the mistery what should be discussed. And this stance is deeply personal, it’s not something that can be done in a commitee, and with an agreed methodology.

          [quote]…But the problem with a contemplative claim of this sort is that you can’t borrow someone else’s contemplative tools to test it. The problem is that to test such a claim—indeed, to even appreciate how distracted we tend to be in the first place, we have to build our own contemplative tools. Imagine where astronomy would be if everyone had to build his own telescope before he could even begin to see if astronomy was a legitimate enterprise. It wouldn’t make the sky any less worthy of investigation, but it would make it immensely more difficult for us to establish astronomy as a science.[/quote]

          So let’s go and make our own telescope. Some will use it and find a few comets. Others might find planets, and maybe some lucky bastard will be able to gaze at whole galaxies. It is up to us.

          It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
          It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

          Red Pill Junkie

          1. Religion
            Good morning everyone,
            I don’t class myself as an atheist or a believer in any religion. I would class myself as a Christian, but this is to do with tradition and upbringing rather than faith.
            Atheism and belief are very similar in many ways, particularly regarding the often evangelical nature of their mind-set if they become fundamental. Similarly, they both share an absoluteness that can be crippling for knowledge.
            I would class myself as spiritual, in that I have an inner feeling that there is more than just the individual and the material. Atheism seems to be an outright rejection of this, whilst belief is to a religion rather than a spiritual inclination.
            Religions are separate to spirituality in that the former is a social codification. I don’t think there is evil in any religion. Rather, religions can be naive, in that they allow the wrong kind of people to rise and then exhibit politics.
            It is this that lies at the root of religious intolerance and the damage placed at the altar of religion. Take politics away from religion and I think we would be left with systems that are sublime and innocuous. As long as we also have science alongside it, that is. For as Einstein said:
            ‘Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind’.

            I’m fanatical about moderation

            Anthony North

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