There once was a land full of Hairies. A people who were born covered in hair, from their head to their toes. The Hairies ruled the land and were quite suspicious of those born a little different. The baldies. The baldies had no hair upon them anywhere. They were the minority, being only a few. The Hairies ,out of fear made rules. The baldies were not allowed to marry the Hairies, or reproduce. In fact the baldies were made to drink out of separate fountains, and eat at different tables. They were in fact, second class citizens. They could not get good jobs, and worked for a lot less when they were hired.
But a few Hairies arose, and began to see the treatments of the baldies as unfair and unjust. They couldn’t help being born without hair. It was not their fault. It was not anything they had done. And so, war began. Those who wanted freedom and equality for the baldies, and those who liked oppressing the baldies and feeling good about their superiority.
A tale of injustice heard many times before. And like every other case, eventually the baldies got justice. New laws were made after much blood was spilled, after stands were made, beautiful speeches given, inspiring rallies shouted at, and those who stood on the line, fighting for the rights of the baldies. Equality! Freedom! Hooray! Baldies could now be free to live just like the Hairies. Only something strange happened. When the baldies began to live like the Hairies, they began to make new laws. There was Baldy night out, and baldy only after parties. A new show which featured only the Baldies. Baldy only tables, baldy special fountains. Instead of now having equal rights the baldies demanded the same special rights that the Hairies were once formerly privileged to. They began looking down upon the Hairies, much in the same way the Hairies once looked down upon them.
And so, the Baldies who once were the oppressed, became the oppressors. The beginning of a new era, or rather an old one recycled.
““The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors,” Paulo Freire
I just finished watching Haven, A scifi series based off of Steven King’s The Colorado Kid.
In it, a town is troubled with “troubles”. The troubles are supernatural curses that affect the townspeople in a hereditary way. Meaning a specific trouble affects a particular family.The “trouble” usually shows up after a stressful or emotional occurrence. Like a death, loss, money problems, divorce, anger, strife, fear, envy, etc.
The troubles were supernatural abilities, like every-time a baby cries someone far or near dies. A person who caused weather phenomena like hurricanes and tornadoes and lightning to strike. A person who couldn’t feel anyone’s touch, or feel anything at all. A person who tortured anyone they touched with excruciating pain. A person that could shape shift. A person who turned invisible and couldn’t reappear or be heard or felt. A person who drew bullets to their body like a magnet. And as many more as one could possibly imagine.
The story centers on a few people who work tirelessly to solve the ‘troubles’. They work with the afflicted to help them with conflict resolution, and resolving their emotional struggles which seems to help stop the trouble.
My thought after the conclusion, is that in reality we are all affected by troubles that aren’t so supernatural. When crises occurs, emotional trauma, strife….we are affected and end up affecting others. We push away the ones we love, anger outbursts, drinking , drugs, depression/shutting down, silent treatments, abandonment, acting out, and more. We destroy each other and ourselves with no supernatural help needed.
We need more people working with our afflictions, helping resolve conflict and emotional struggles to help combat our “troubles’.
If you like discussion without personal attacks, this is the place for you. If you consider yourself personally attacked when an idea you hold to be true is questioned or even attacked, (the idea mind you) then this is NOT the place for you. Would love to see more discussion from those willing to participate! No taboo topics. One rule: no personal attacks. A new group on facebook.
This group has been created for a specific type of group discussion. It will be limited to those who have agreed to commit to attempting to separate emotion from the issues being discussed. The goals will be to argue about an issue from multiple angles and to strengthen each angle into the best possible argument, (whether it is agreed or disagreed with by individuals or the group). It involves a willingness to attempt to suspend preconceived beliefs and biases while weighing out all sides of the issues. The goal does not include ones of normal debate. It is not to win, or persuade.
“Ecologist Paul Ehrlich stressed that people who hold opposing opinions need to engage in open discussion with well-reasoned dissent. Positions should be questioned and criticized, not the people who hold them. Personal attacks preclude open discussion because, once someone is put on the defensive, fruitful exchanges are impossible, at least for the moment.” ― Marc Bekoff
As such, personal attacks have no place here and will not be tolerated. There are plenty of other groups for that.
Seems a bit pessimistic perhaps? But most life I have seen, encountered, or read about at the very least includes pain.
Ran into a quote this morning. It said, “Life is very sweet, brother; who would want to die?” ~George Borrow
Both quotes seem extreme. Life seems to be a collaboration of the good , the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. But for the second one. How innocent, how naive to only see the sweet.
All I could think is this is a person who has never lifted the cup of suffering. A person who has never walked with someone who has unending, unstoppable pain. Never walked with someone who has asked for a bullet to the head, when asked what you can do for them…
I was taught that there is purpose in suffering. That pain strengthens us, molds us, purifies us. I no longer believe that to be always true. We try to find meaning in everything that happens, and perhaps it is a coping method for many in handling why bad things happen. Pain can also twist someone, cause them to be cruel, make them beg for death, and destroy them. Platitudes are nice, but they just don’t fit everyone. Some of us are more easily inspired than others. And to some, they can feel like a slap in the face.
If you know someone in pain, more often then not, they don’t need to hear “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” when sometimes what doesn’t kill just tries again harder the next day…. just be there for them.
Sometimes we can’t stop the rain, we can’t make the sun shine, we can’t control what life brings. But we can walk with someone through their pain and suffering. We can lift what burdens we are able, and if nothing else…hold their hand through the storm and let them know, they are not alone.
A recent request at a forum. Can anyone prove to me there is no creator god?
I would begin with the objections to the existence of god acknowledged by Thomas Aquinas :the problem of evil, and the apparent ability of natural science to explain everything in our experience without God. Both would fall under absence of evidence.
However, I will concede that absence of evidence is not in and of itself evidence of absence for the following reason. A god could choose to appear absent. In such a case his existence would be entirely indistinguishable from his non-existence. And in such a case proof would be impossible.
“In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.”— Copi, Introduction to Logic (1953), p. 95
“One hallmark of intellectual honesty is the solicitation of opposing points of view.” ~Tom Clancy
“Unless we are gagged and blindfolded by preconceived ideas, all worthwhile encounters change us in some important way.”~Athol Dickson
“If you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe? The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions. ~Author Unknown
“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.”
“You must be able to say “I understand,” before you can say “I agree,” or “I disagree,” or “I suspend judgment.” ― Mortimer J. Adler
“It is only through dialogue, deep listening, and passionate disagreement that we find our way to something larger than a singular and isolated point of view.”
“If I do not agree with something or do not like something, it will be wrong to presume that I hate it. Presuming disagreement or dislike to be the same as hatred is stifling engagement. Disengagement leads to otherness, which leads to fear, which in turn leads to real hatred. Either we tolerate disagreement and dislike or we have to tolerate real hatred. The intolerance of disagreement is filling civil society lexicon with phobias each of which is leading to a disconnect, to another closed door. It may sound odd but only tolerance of disagreement demolishes walls. Doors and windows, open or closed, presume that there exists a wall, a wall created by intolerance. And doors and windows, if they exist, are closed too easily, at the slightest of pretexts.”
― R. N. Prasher
Some of the most common accusations against atheists seem to be about assumed dogma. The truth is, I haven’t yet found a list of beliefs an atheist adheres to. The only requirement is unbelief. Specifically unbelief in a god or gods. Beyond that one linking requirement you will find atheists all over the spectrum on any given topic.
Is science atheist dogma? No. Science is not a dogma. It is a process. As an atheist I do not claim to have the answers to all things. Especially things that at this time we can not know. What I can say is that using science we are able to recognize Best Answers with the information we have at any given time fully recognizing that our Best Answers are subject to influence of new information and knowledge.
I find this far more satisfactory than any dogma.
Ran into this quote today :
I wish to use my last hours of ease and strength in telling the strange story of my experience.
I have never fully unbosomed myself to any human being; I have never been encouraged to trust much in the sympathy of my fellow-men.
But we have all a chance of meeting with some pity, some tenderness, some charity, when we are dead: it is the living only who cannot be forgiven —
the living only from whom men’s indulgence and reverence are held off, like the rain by the hard east wind.
While the heart beats, bruise it — it is your only opportunity; while the eye can still turn towards you with moist, timid entreaty, freeze it with an icy unanswering gaze;
while the ear, that delicate messenger to the inmost sanctuary of the soul, can still take in the tones of kindness, put it off with hard civility, or sneering compliment, or envious affectation of indifference;
while the creative brain can still throb with the sense of injustice, with the yearning for brotherly recognition
— make haste — oppress it with your ill-considered judgements, your trivial comparisons, your careless misrepresentations.
George Elliot ( Mary Ann Evans) ~The Lifted Veil (1859)
How quick we are to let hate, pride, jealousy, anger, judgement, unforgiveness go….after death.
And instead remember fondly the one who passed…
Alas, that we could adjust ourselves before it was too late…
More by her:
“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.”
“I like not only to be loved, but also to be told that I am loved. I am not sure that you are of the same kind. But the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave. This is the world of light and speech, and I shall take leave to tell you that you are very dear.”
What is a soul?
psyche (n.) 1640s, “animating spirit,” from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhe “the soul, mind, spirit; breath; life, one’s life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body; understanding” (personified as Psykhe, the beloved of Eros), akin to psykhein “to blow, cool,” from PIE root *bhes- “to blow, to breathe” (source also of Sanskrit bhas-), “Probably imitative” [Watkins].
Also in ancient Greek, “departed soul, spirit, ghost,” and often represented symbolically as a butterfly or moth. The word had extensive sense development in Platonic philosophy and Jewish-influenced theological writing of St. Paul (compare spirit (n.)). Meaning “human soul” is from 1650s. In English, psychological sense “mind,” is attested by 1910. From here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=psyche
The butterfly has long been a symbol to represent transformation.
Some have taken this in a physical form literally as we see the butterfly do.
Some transform their physical selves. (think Bruce Jenner).
In ancient Greek, and in religion since I believe the transformation was thought to mean from one life to the next. An after life, the spirit separate from the body.
But, I am here to give an explanation of the term soul to a lowly atheist.
An afterlife is not believed IN as it is not known, or believed to be knowable at this point. So, what could soul mean?
I like the symbol of butterfly connected with soul. Because it is hard to explain.
Some like to accuse atheist of being materialists, and seeing only the physical.
And while some may be, that certainly does not describe every atheist.
I like to think of soul as our rare ability to think, reason, feel, reflect, and transform. Not physically, not into another life, but in this very life.
We have discovered that self transformation IS possible. In fact it is one of the unique attributes of being human. The soul is the part of us that is capable of self transformation, in the here and now. Discovery of who we are, who we want to be, and becoming. Less or more.
Sometimes our transformation can be dark, less instead of more.
To quote The Mad Hatter: “You’re not the same as you were before. You were much more… “muchier.” You’ve lost your “muchness.”
Finding our soul, and our desire is being human.
“What, if anything, is sacred to you?”
When music says what words cannot
a bird that flies after a mended wing,
a scar that no longer causes pain
waterfalls and rainbows
silence when words won’t help
An apple hanging from a tree
the light from a single candle
the sounds of a stream or ocean
the smell of peculating coffee
a great story
*the laughter of a child
and of course…
*Thank you archaeopteryx1
Just a few more pondering thoughts on morality….
If a human lived on an island with no other living being, there would be no need for the existence of morality.
It exists because there was a need for it. Where does morality come from? Our thoughts of right and wrong?
I tend to wonder what an octopus life would be like if they lived longer…long enough to pass on their learning to their offspring..If they didn’t start off life as orphans making it on their own. For humans, much of what we decide to be right and wrong is learned, as children, many are decided as we grow up. Some animals spend their entire short lives learning simple basics like cooperation is a quicker way to get things done. We have the ability to tell stories, write things down, make songs, and learn from our success and failures and pass this down to our children. Our long lives give us even more wisdom from experience to pass down. Each new population isn’t forced to relearn skills like cooperation vs isolation, and principles like the golden rule vs looking out for number one and how and why they are a benefit. It’s cool to be human.
For a free smile: one of my favorite shorts…
It is coming on that time of year again…..
This blood is for you….
Most of my life, I embraced the story…the “gospel” of Jesus. I upheld my hands, as tears streamed down my face as I thought of what he had done ….for me. All my sin, my failures, my stain upon this world…my inadequacies, my darkness…
All of it…taken upon by one who knew no sin. An innocent, perfection embodied….god in man….
Willing to die….for me….worthless failure…lump of clay….squashed beyond all recognition….
and yet this god man…loved me…cared enough to poor out his lifeblood, and die…for me. To take away all that darkness….
Justification…..’just as if i had no sin”….purified…cleansed…in the blood.
How could I not weep? not love this god-man…? willing to give his very life…for me?
how could I not give my own life…bought by his blood…back to him? Was I not his now? all to jesus…I surrender…All to him i freely give..
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There is a doughnut that all can see.
Chocolate icing we all agree
deep fried , round, shaped like a ring
but the hole, now that’s another thing.
Unseeable to the naked eye,
give your inner eye a try
all one must do is believe
the hole is there don’t be naive
Invisible, untouchable, and yet they know
what fills the opening makes one whole
Hallelujah, praises be,
we once were blind but now we see.
Some see only the deep fried dough.
It’s good, yes, but no Van-Gogh
Prove its there? well, try a bite
we won’t tell. It’s all right.
Ah, the ring, its not enough?
Can’t enjoy it without invisible stuff?
well, by the stars that’s rough!~
Maybe add a cream puff?
“Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don’t think that shouting strengthens their argument.”
― Iain Pears,
I think perhaps your misconceptions of atheism have allowed you to write such error. Atheist do not have faith in things they cannot see. They are just willing to admit when they do not know. They also allow room for multiple possibilities, and use science, rational and critical thinking to place things on a probability scale. No faith necessary. Also, you may want to stop the lumping/clumping of atheist and realize that they do not all believe/think the same. The only thing that they can be lumped into agreeing upon is that they do not see evidence to warrant a faith/belief in any god/s.
In honor of my new friend , archaeopteryx1, who got me thinking. 😉
I have mentioned that in the past, when I was a believer I struggled with magical thinking. I had been taught a pretty literal interpretation of the events in the bible. A snake spoke to humans, The Red Sea was parted with a rod, Leprosy was cured by dipping in water seven times, (an act of obedience). A baby was born to a 90 year old woman. There was a virgin birth, people died and were resurrected, people were healed, the blind made to see, the lame made to walk. Demons could posses people and pigs, could be prayed out of people into pigs…Jesus walked on the water, controlled the storm. The winds and waves obeyed him. Add to that …verses that say “Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:17-23) And again (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27).”…,”Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:26-37). To a child, raised on this as fact, it makes reality a bit wobbly. Science rules/laws are just sort of guidelines. ANYTHING is possible. Not only did I believe as a child that animals could talk, (if god wanted them to) I could end up pregnant as a virgin, (missing a period totally freaked me out) , people could be raptured at any moment, others left behind, it affected everything else. I had hopes that if I kept checking my closet, the back would be filled with snow, and Narnia..Aslan would be there. Or wonderland.
Upon leaving faith and my magical thinking behind, (as eventually reality collided with my magical beliefs and I was forced to let one or the other go) I immediately went to the other extreme. Thinking I must put all that behind me, and only use rational thinking, apply critical thinking skills, reason above all!
It didn’t take me long to feel I had died inside. where did love fit? Art? Music? Stories? Humor?
The realization that imagination is a very important aspect of our humanity was the next step of the journey.
I had flipped from one extreme, (only imagination/magical thinking with no balance) to the other.
The trick is in the combination and balance of the two. Both necessary components for our continuation, our legacy, humanities future. Albert Einstein said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
We now know that there is a connection between imagination and our ability to empathize. A key to our survival.
I just recently ran into this quote by Carl Sagan. Which seems to state better than I ever could the unique balance required in our forward progress.
“While imagination is the source of inspiration in seeking new knowledge, it can also be dangerous if not subjected to discipline; a fertile imagination needs to be balanced by criticism and judgment. This is, of course, quite different from saying it should be repressed or crushed. The imagination merely enables us to wander into the darkness of the unknown where, by the dim light of the knowledge that we carry, we may glimpse something that seems of interest. But when we bring it out and examine it more closely it usually proves to be only trash whose glitter had caught our attention. Things not clearly seen often take on grotesque forms. Imagination is at once the source of all hope and inspiration but also of frustration. To forget this is to court despair.” Carl Sagan
To our children, let us encourage imagination, fiction, fantasy, but with that let us slowly build a discipline of critical thinking that will keep them from falling into a dangerous magical thinking, the hope that leads to despair, but instead be filled with rational hope, allowing them the skills necessary to be inventive, empathetic, and able to balance reason with love, rationality with humor and kindness, science and math, with art, literature, and music.
What is my standard of deciding what is just and unjust, right or wrong, better or worse?
What is a good life? Can I be just, right, better ..on my own , just as a human? Is a god, or belief in one required? These are the questions I was confronted with when my theistic beliefs began crumbling around me. I was drawn to secular humanism immediately. I still feel at harmony with it. But, can I justify it? What is my reasoning in favor of my normative ethics?
I had a thought last night.
I imagined myself in a different time and place. Still as a wife and mother, but most likely my duties would be different. Perhaps carrying water from a water source, washing clothes in a river, grinding grain after picking it. Very different from my job now. What would stay the same? What do we humans share across time and culture? How we relate to others. Would I not still read my children a bedtime story? )tell them one if we didn’t have books) hug them tight, tickle their toes, teach them about how they should act with others, how to learn to control their tongues that they might not say things they regret , control their fists, etc.
When deciding what standard to build my morals upon, (and what I have taught my children) I am always drawn back to our interconnectedness. Without belief in a god, there is a stark realization that all we have is each other. Because relationships are timeless and universal , beginning with immediate circle of family, then the next circles of community, country, and finally the world, how we relate, what qualities we want, what virtues we choose as good or better are most important. I believe that we can observe virtues and vices (with reason and critical thinking) that have been and are still admired and scorned. Things like courage, sacrifice, love, compassion, loyalty, discipline, fairness, peacemaking, generosity, respect, honor, hope, cooperation, reliability, sincerity have been written of for generations upon generations. Likewise our observances of vices like deceit, cheating, stealing, cowardliness, hate, envy, inequality, and how they affect us and our relationship with others has been observed.
I realize that my own desires for virtues were affected by stories in my childhood. Fables and fairy-tales, tales of courage, tales of humans changing the world, or their own world by taking stands for each other, bible stories, the words of Jesus. In later years I discovered that many of these same qualities were valued in the same way by many differing religions, cultures, and societies. It is something that we as humans share. The ability to see how our actions affect ourselves and each other.
And so in deciding my moral values, I find virtue ethics plays a role, deciding the kind of person I want to be, the traits that I value and admire and how I choose to live. I find the consequences of my actions play a role in deciding which are virtues and which are vices.
Valuing traits like loyalty and empathy and fairness cause me to choose duty , service and respect for the rights of others when deciding my code as well.
These virtues that I esteem, hold dear, desire to be….
could these be reflections of a god? his character? I know some believe that to be so, but I have no way of knowing with the evidence I have been presented. I do see evidence for evolution playing a role in the development of some traits, a mothers protective love, altruism, even empathy. Survival instincts or god given? I cannot provide solid evidence for either completely. I only offer this, without belief in a god, I have found these traits to be a beautiful part of humanity just as our vices can be a destructive part , and have chosen to set my moral values on them.
Empathy is probably the key in our interconnectedness and establishing my values.
And though I find harmony with secular humanism, I find harmony with any who hold the golden rule (or platinum rule ) as well.
Treat others as they would like to be treated, as long as I do no harm.
In all decisions use rational critical thinking when possible, be self controlled, do not act, speak or type rashly.
Be of service to my family, friends, community and where possible country and world. In kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, and helpfulness.
Do not hold grudges, but forgive as I too would like to be forgiven by others.
Do not let fear keep me from doing what I believe is right.
Walk in courage.
Speak truthfully, with integrity, being sincere, but also with tact.
Be committed to my friends and family, be loyal and reliable keeping promises, employing perseverance and tenacity and not giving up when the going gets tough.
Take a stand for fairness, justice, and the rights of others, as I too would like my rights protected.
Be content, don’t envy others for in this I will be at peace, and joy comes in this.
Make every attempt to be at peace with those around me, harmonious, cooperative, and tolerant wherever it does not cause harm to others or myself.
Remain a free thinker, employ logic and critical thinking skills, but remain humble. Do not let pride keep me from seeing error, or fear change. Never stop questioning. Always allow room for creativity and imagination, tools for visionary change. “What ifs” are necessary for growth.
Be grateful, and thankful for good that is done towards me, or comes my way.
Never assume, or take for granted.
Work hard, be diligent, and do not waste time or talent.
Be purposeful, not reactionary.
Where I struggle in faith and trust, allow hope to fill in the gaps.
When I fail in the above, humbly recognize my mistakes, and make apologies, restitution, and amendments where I may.
If I am able to walk in the above, then I walk in love.