10-15-05 11:15  •  God is Love


David: The amplest way I connect with God is love. Love not only for your family, friends & lovers, but love & compassion for strangers, animals & inanimate objects (e.g. as found in nature). In my eyes, the capacity to do that is God. Each one of us has that potential inside us. God is everywhere!

God isn't about the patriarchal figure we've built up in our heads; she's about connecting to our highest selves and reaching out to love when it's scary to love.

I don't see that the word "god" is actually adding anything to what you said.

For example:

The amplest way I connect is love. Love not only for your family, friends & lovers, but love & compassion for strangers, animals & inanimate objects (e.g. as found in nature). In my eyes, the capacity to do that is love. Each one of us has that potential inside us. Love is everywhere!

Love isn't about the patriarchal figure we've built up in our heads; its about connecting to our highest selves and reaching out to love when it's scary to love.

What exactly is the "god" part? Or is "god" just another way of saying "love" or "higher self?"

Kip: And if it is, why is that a problem for you?

I understand why the average atheist gets annoyed with theists who posit the illogical tri omni god, but if someone wants to, choses to, or simply does belive in a god that is "higher power" "love" or "light" why is that so offensive to you?

If some one wishes to believe in a higher aspect of their self, love or light and they call it a higher self, love or light and when they use those words what they mean is higher self, love, or light, then I have no objections at all.

But god is the big lie. It can and has been used to justify pious acts so depraved and gruesome that it is impossible to fully convey the horror of them. It is a social disease which corrupts the very ability of one to reason.

It isn't just wrong or illogical. It is a hindrence to the very progress of civilization itself.


David: Swarm, if the word God trips you up, ignore it! (A lot of incredibly painful and unjust things have been done in the name of God, so I can see how it might not be useful.) I really am not making a distinction between "God" and "love" or "higher self."

It's not about me.

I know that the term god is just a meaningless placeholder for ignorance, fear and greed.

How did the universe come to be? “God did it.” Why is it OK to kill brown people? “God says so.” Why must I obey the church? “Cause god will kick your ass for all eternity if you don't.”

God is the universal non-answer which is the end of any serious inquiry or growth. It is immediately polarizing and comes full of baggage when it is used.

If you are looking to communicate your spirituality, it is important to be clear when describing it since such descriptions are difficult to capture in words to begin with and the subject is already prone to misunderstanding.

If you mean "just love" then please just say "just love."

If you mean "god" then its fine to say "god," but you should expect me to seriously wonder what - if anything - you actually mean by the term.

Kip: But it is about you, ulitmately. You don't like the term God.

No, it is not about me specifically in this case. I could as easily make the same arguments against Blorq as God since the terms have equal merit as deities. Nor is it about me ultimately. I am not your god either.

Kip: People see something in their world beyond that which science can answer. For you to say, "yes, but that can't be god" is simply to say you personally don't like the term god used that way.

No it is not. With luck people will always see more than science can account for. But it is properly called the unknown, not god. Using the correct language is not just a matter of personal style. When the unknown is turned into "god" and worshipped, then any form of serious inquiry into the unknown becomes a threat to be killed.

We are currently on the verge of a new dark age. Liberty, inquiry, research, knowledge and those who cherish them are at serious risk - from the IDT, Pat Roberston, pro"life," W, "true believers."

Kip: By "love" people can and do mean something super-human...

Then they are wrong and it is inconsiderate and uncompassionate not to let them know of this error. Love is fully human and all of its glory is fully within the grasp of humans without need to look any futher than our own hearts. No god need apply.

Kip: ...something to strive for, a goal, an idea. And nothing prevents this ideal from being called *and being* god. Except that you find the term offensive.

You'd love for this to just be a mere preference on my part, of no more import than not liking orange. Unfortunately it is not merely a preference.

You have the right to choose to be willfully ignorant, but I will continue to point out the faults and shortcomings of that system of thought as a public service.

Kip: There is no rational reason to believe OR NOT BELIEVE in a god.

Actually the Total Lack of Evidence *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

The complete disagreement (even in the face of death by torture) about god, what god wants, what is pleasing to god, how to worship, what god says, who god favors and every other aspect of the entire question *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

The impossible and contradictory attributes given to god *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

The completely ridiculous feats attributed to god *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

The entirely cultural, amorphous and evolving story of god *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

The mere fact that no god is currently hanging around *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

But I do agree there is no Rational Reason To Believe, at all, which *Is* a Rational Reason Not to Believe.

(Thanks for the excuse to rant a bit. :)

Kip: We do not how the universe came into existence - and no theory at this time is any better than "god did it".

We actually are learning quite a bit about "how" it came into existence, but there is still quite a bit to learn. This is infinitely better than "god did it" because it spurs further investigation and leaves us smarter and more knowledgable for the attempt. "God did it" is a non-answer. It tells us nothing about what happened and gives no avenue for research or learning.

Also you are attempting an argument from ignorance. Even if science knew nothing about it, that would not justify saying "god did it" when you have no evidence to back up the assertion. I could as easily claim to have done it myself.

Kip: We don't know what matter actually *is*, and if it's distinct from non-matter. There is no better answer than "it is god".

What matter actually is, is what it actually is. As an actual substance its prima facie self is its actuality. What we do have is a good idea of how matter works and its realtionship to energy, space and time.

This has led to all manner of interesting learning which has resulted in the machine currently in front of your face, among many, many other things.

"It is god" gives us nothing.

Kip: We do not understand why things stick together. There is no better explanation than "god is the stickyness".

Science has no interest in "why." What we know is how that stickiness works and how to manipulate it so we can send people to the moon, put satalites in orbit, etc.

"God is the stickiness" gives us nothing.

Kip: It is not a "non-answer" in all cases, but you are diminishing it to being that.

There is no need to diminish what is already not there.

Kip: God does not stand outside of science, for if it exists, it is that which can be studied as well. We just do not yet have the mental and phsyical tools to do so.

You have no basis for that claim whatsoever. Especially in light of the fact that people claim that god was clearly accessable to bronze-age sheep herders.

Kip: You said, "I know that the term god is just a meaningless place holder for ignorance, fear and greed."

To a few people, certainly. To others, it is hardly a "meaningless placeholder", nor is it about ignorance, fear and greed, but things like "self awareness, empowerment, self-control, moral justification...

No, it is a meaningless place holder for ignorance, fear and greed for all people who resort to it and "self awareness, empowerment, self-control, and moral justification" have nothing actually to do with any god. These are reflections of the individual's own abilities, or you would never see these traits in atheists or wrong-believers, and you would never see their opposites in true believers.

Kip: ...an explantion of the whys and the wherefores". You dismiss all that god(s) can and do hold for people, by simply resorting to "they are silly non-answers."

God never explained a single thing. Not one.

All of the human potential comes from humanity itself. Let's look to a day when all gods are seen as being as silly as Thor, Sweg or Zeus.

View more of this discussion in Part II.

10-15-05 1:15  •  Religion vs. Science

David: Swarm, I think you'll find, if you delve down, that your mantra is as much an unsupported religious belief as mine.

While that is the standard, off-the-cuff defense, you will find that it is both a ridiculous assertion and incorrect.

First, even if it were true it would not vindicate your position.

Second, evidence points to things which are actual.

Belief, by definition, deals with what is not actual. It is only necessary to believe in god because you in fact have no actual evidence of god.

If there was evidence, there would be no need for belief or faith. You would simply know there was a god and could go by his place and chat about eternal verassitudes or whatnot.

So you see your beliefs point to nothing while my evidence points to what is.

David: I am a firm believer in the scientific method. My argument is that the mis-application of it to the entirety of being is as much of a religion as mine is.

The ONLY reason this point matters to me is that under the religion of scientism (let's call it), and its accolyte global capitalism, there are many injustices done.

First, I have my reservations about this. Second, it is not necessary to believe in the scientific method. You can simply use it and verify that it works for your self.

That is the big difference between science and religion. Any one willing to do so can verify the fundimental claims of science and science is based of what works. No one can ever verify the fundimental claims of religion and religion is based on ignorance, fear and greed.

As for science's scope, it is what can be observed (either directly or indirectly), measured and predicted to a certain degree of accuracy, reported and then verified.

I don't think you can justly dump the world's ills on science, or even sciencism. As for "what is," change is part and parcel to what is. "What could be" can be used for contingency planning, but to live in it is to live in a pipe dream and lose clear site of what wonders actually surround you.

10-14-05 11:14  •  Does God Exist?

Anton: I say none of you know whether there is a God or not, and any belief otherwise is a close-minded unproductive way of going about things.

Spaz: Anton, can you define god first before we decide if exist or not?

Let's first consider if dogs exist. We can get a pretty good definition of a dog from various sources, down to details of its DNA. Why do we have such good definitions? Because we have actual dogs from which to make our definitions. When the definitions fail, we can go to actual dogs as the premire and ultimate reference. The truth ultimately points to itself.

But any time we talk about god seems like the first and foremost issue is there is no real definition of what a god actually is.

Why? Because there is no actual deity handy from which to make a definition. People just make shit up and write any old wish list of powers down.

But let's consider one of the more universal of these claims.

Gods are supposed to be really something powerful. In fact so powerful you have to be careful looking at them and they can manipulate the universe in miraculous ways.

Now let's concider the most powerful object we have, the sun.

When the sun is present, is there any doubt about it?


Even a blind man can sense the sun's power.

*looks around*

I detect no deities, not a single one.

So whether or not they may exist "somewhere" is moot. There is no god here and you know there is no god here.

If there was a god here, you would have no more doubt.

Because you can doubt, there is no god here.

Anton: Here's the flaw in your logic! A deity as powerful as you speak of must clearly posess the power to be invisible and undetectable to we mere mortals.

So the answer is to just throw more magic powers on the stack?

What makes you think its invisible and undetectable since if it were invisible and undetectable you'd have no data by which to conclude it was invisible and undetectable.

I.e. your claim just shows you are making this up as you go and have no real data.

Anton: Of course there is none handy, they would never allow us to capture them to study, breed and manipulate as we have done dogs.

I never said they would, I only pointed out the difference between something which is actual and something which is imaginary.

There are none handy because there are none at all.

Anton: We have so many people who claim to have personal experience.

I've had a personal experience of the painted desert. I can tell you how to get there so that you can have a personal experience of it. THese two experiences will corellate. We can collect artifacts which can be examined for commonalities, etc., etc. In the end there is agrement between us because the painted desert exists.

Some one who is insane can have an experience, but they can't tell you how to have it too. Even if you make yourself insane, your insanity is unique to you. So you end up with different versions of the insanity and no aggrement because there is nothing real to agree on.

You have no deity to offer me. You have legends, stories, concepts and other pipe dreams but none of it is real. I can dream up far more interesting deities than the second-hand ones you offer and I don't have to kill any one if they disagree, fear hell, lust for heaven, or offer failing empty prayer after failing empty prayer.

When I meet a deity, I'm happy to hobnob. But you can't fool me with empty promises and pipe dreams.

10-12-05 11:10  •  Torah for All

Wesley: The Jewish idea is that the Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. The Torah (as explained in the Talmud - Sanhedrin 58b) presents seven mitzvot for non-Jews to observe. These seven laws are the pillars of human civilization, and are named the "Seven Laws of Noah," since all humans are descended from Noah. They are:

Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not worship false gods.
Do not be sexually immoral.
Do not eat the limb of an animal before it is killed.
Do not curse God.
Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes these laws earns a proper place in heaven. So you see, the Torah is for all humanity, no conversion necessary.

Sure historical fiction and fantasy is fun and I'm glad you are enjoying your imaginary friend, but what does that have to do with me?

Why would I even want to take advice from a group of people who can't even follow their own rules?

Jews murder, they steal, they worship a false god, they are sexually immoral, they curse god and they let offenders off the hook,

About the only one on the list Jews might actually obey is not eating the limbs off live animals.

Of course all other peoples do those to, but they are supposed to be the chosen people.

I bet the reason god hasn't been around recently is he is looking for his receipt and checking his warranty.
10-14-05 10:14  •  Experiencing Existence

Sandy: Zen says that if we entertain no personal version of what we think existence is, in other words, if we hold no subjective interpretation of what existence is, at the moment we are free of any notion at all, we will experience existence instantaneously, spontaneously.

s: How ?

Experiencing existence instantaneously and spontaneously requires full attention without distraction.

Consider those moments you've been most in tune with the experience of your own existence, say if you have ever looked death in the face or when you gave birth.

Without entertaining any notions about what it is, your existence was held out in sharp relief.

Sandy: Thank you Swarm. Very nice.

10-12-05 11:10  •  Assisted Suicide

Anne Marie: In regards to assissted suicide..I personally believe it is murder but justified in certain instances. Perhaps one should refer to it as mercy killing. Our laws of the land currently regard it as criminal though. Funny how we can put a dog to sleep thats suffering and be considered humane but our humans have to be taken when God wants them and not before.

My understanding of murder is that it is the purposeful taking of another's life against their will and without recourse to any mitigating factor such as self-defence.

Assisting a suicide, despite what our whack legal system may say, is not actually killing any one, since they are killing themselves, it is not against their will, since they are requesting help, and there is the mitigating factor of the pain and suffering they face without hope of recovery. Thus assisted suicide fails on all accounts to be murder.

Doctors and other healers have assisted suicide since before recorded time. They just don't talk about it anymore for fear of reprisal.

I can think of few things crueler than trapping some one you love against their will in a slow death of unbearable pain, agony and deterioration.

10-09-05 11:11  •  Quitting substances

Brandy: As a (baby/beginner) Buddhist, I have decided for myself, that right now I will abstain from any of the things that keep me from being right here. This includes: animal products (help increase my consciousness of what I am eating), sugar, caffiene, marijuana, alcohol, cigars...

I find myself itchy and edgy at times and peaceful and happy at others. I know that moderation is key, according to responses I got to a previous post. However, I am not yet evolved enough to be a moderate person. Perhaps I never will be.

I am looking for some feedback, from some of you more experienced Buddhists or beginners, like myself . . .

It's ok to quit the things you no longer wish to indulge and it is equally ok to fail at quitting them. Either way you will learn important lessons and your practice will deepen.

This may seem strange, but one of the things to let go of is the need for success all the time. Quitting or not quitting isn't the issue. Paying real attention to what ever it is you do will allow what needs to happen to happen.

As for buddhists, remember a buddhist is just some one who isn't a buddha.

Brandy: Wow...yeah, thanks. Great words!

Rob:so now you're telling us you're not buddhist swarm?

Qatana: Swarm is Swarm, not to be Classified...


10-07-05 11:07  •  Love and Money

Keysha: I am so in love with my boyfriend, but we fight about money alot. His whole attitude changes when we discuss money and it can become very painful. I love him so much that I often give in, but we have been talking about marriage a lot. Then I ask myself do I really want to sign up for this for the rest of my life. Then I ask myself do I really want to lose him over money issuses. He sugessted that we not discuss money any more and we both take care of our own finances. Can that work?

There are times in every relationship when you hit an impasse and it is not possible to break out of the "he said, she said" loop by yourselves.

I would strongly suggest talking with a neutral third party you both trust who can help you win past the emotional deadlock.

You cannot have a marriage where money is more important than you are or where you don't both have equal access to the finances of the family.