10-05-08 2:22Still More God

Taraisblessed: I am to the point it is pointless to argue God to this Raverlady or whatever she goes by.

"Whatever I go by?" It's right there next to the top of each of my posts. I'm really surprised that you could be unclear about this.

Taraisblessed: ...to know how much she needs the Lord.

For what? I am not interested in any of the things He is promising. I already have everything I could want in this world and all of it is working well enough.

As for the magical stuff, I have no need for "forvigness of sin" or "eternal life" or "heavenly reward" or "burning in Hell" or any of the other dangly carrots and sticks. Those things are not important.

Taraisblessed: .... to want to just shake some sense into them.

You ought to get a handle on that.

Taraisblessed: But i am done with her.....She is exhausting...

I'm flattered. But I have mentioned that Christians tire very quickly.

Taraisblessed: She keeps saying well make me believe...

Wrong. I am just saying, tell me something that I can confirm. Why is that too much to ask?

Taraisblessed: ...or tell me where i can find him...

I don't see what is unreasonable about this.

What I can't understand is why you can't do it. Two exchanges and everybody gets too tired.

Taraisblessed: She is only wanting to argue with you to wear you down...

My intent is not malicious.

Taraisblessed: ...and try to make you rethink your faith....

What is problematic about rethinking?


How convenient.

Again, Taraisblessed, thanks for speaking with me about this.

shortly thereafter...

Ellie: Are your convictions so fragile, they cannot stand in opposition to mine ? Is your God so flimsy, so weak ? For shame

Ive always loved that quote. I think it applies perfectly here.


Taraisblessed: My God Rules and yea even over you...

"Yea?" Pulling out the big guns, are we?

Taraisblessed: ...whether you know it or not.

If this was true I would know it. I don't see how I could possibly be kept from this knowledge, after a lifetime of seeking, just because of any particular mental state. It would be readily apparent.

Taraisblessed: But My God is!

Doesn't seem that way.

Taraisblessed: And you call that Weak.

If God doesn't like what we are saying about Him, He can get off His insubstantial heavenly butt and come here and do something about it. I am calling Him out. He is utterly weak.

Taraisblessed: Ellie, I call you weak!

Ellie could carry the earth on the strength of her character. She is anything but weak.

New thread...

My main effort is to discover what people think. There are a lot of questions I have about faith beliefs, and what it is like to hold them. How do they work? How does the brain process this information?

I feel very lucky when people are willing to discuss with me the ins-and-outs of how their minds and lives and faith work. It's a rare privelige.

Ellie: *smiles at Raver*

Woodbabe: I don't think people have enough respect for each others beliefs to discuss religion...will that ever happen?

It's happening right now. We're talking, aren't we? Nobody has called anyone a nasty name, at least not yet. :-)

Being able to discuss things civilly is a sign of respect.

Taraisblessed: Why talk to you?You already claim to have all the answers about God!

What answers? Exactly what posits have I asserted?

And, you might want to read what I wrote. I said I am interested in finding out how people think about God.

Taraisblessed:Look at all the other prophets...Mohammed, Buddha...none of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did.

People can claim anything.

Taraisblessed:He did what people can't do. Jesus performed miracles.

The Greeks claimed that Zeus threw lightening bolts. People can claim anything. Their claims could be incorrect.

Taraisblessed:He said if you do not want to believe what I'm telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you're seeing.

That I would buy. Have Him pop round and show me a miracle.

Taraisblessed: Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence...

Existential questions cannot be resolved with "proof", only with actual existence.

Taraisblessed: I think if you could prove God's existence, you have completely defeated the purpose of faith.

I understand. What is the purpose?

Taraisblessed: Are you kidding?

For Everything!

Everything? That is pretty all-encompassing.

Not every religion even requires faith.

The Christian one does, and so that's why I'm asking you. I really would like to know, specifically, why the faith requirement?

What is the purpose that is defeated if you do not have it?

Aurora: I think it is the only thing we have worthwhile to give to God. Everything is else would mean nothing to Him because He can create anything He wants.

Interesting. I had not heard this before.

But I'm still not sure that explains why this is important.

And in all honesty I think He should learn to live without it if He wants humans to have any respect at all for reason.

Aurora: He gave us the will to choose.

I don't see "eternal bliss" vs. "eternal hellfire" as really being a choice.

Allison: I just wanted to pop back in and say that Aurora............your posts are incredible. Very thought provoking and you have a way with words, a way that I will never have. I agree with just about every thing you have posted.

And RaverLady..........I enjoy your posts as well. You are indeed an intelligent woman and you certainly bring much thought to the table, my head hurts some times, after reading your posts. lol That is a good thing. ;)

Aurora, we're getting into some of the really interesting stuff now, so please let me know if you become uncomfortable with this line of discussion.

Aurora: First, God doesn't need us at all, He could be happy without us being in the picture. This is important to the message of love that Jesus preached. God created us to love us, and for us to love Him back.

That is one possible explanation.

Aurora: Similar to why we have children...

We have children because we can't not have them. It is a biological imperative.

Aurora: We have children so we can love them and they love us back, to be a family. God created us for the same thing. Since this is why He created us, this is all He wants from us. He can't make us love Him.

If I wanted my children to believe in me, the last thing I would do is utterly erase myself from every aspect of their lives except as a book and an occasional feeling of "presence." And I certainly wouldn't write them out of my will if they wondered what that was all about.

Aurora: I can talk about the experiences I have had where I can feel God's presence, but unless you had that experience how could you really know what I felt.

I want you to please consider what I am saying here. I am familiar with this experience.

I, too, have had mystical experiences, and moments that transcended reason. This doesn't just happen to Christians, or just to theists. This happens to everyone. It is very common to humans everywhere. These moments occur in every culture and age.

However, what you think these feelings mean will vary greatly, depending on what culture and age you live in. When this happens, you are likely to think it means God is with you. Others might feel it means that Allah, or Krishna, or Thor, or Athena, or Isis is with them, or that their ancient ancestors are with them, or that they have attained nirvana.

When these moments of transendent presence occur in my life, I draw NO conclusions about what that "something" might be. I don't feel "a God." Notably, my feelings do not suggest to me anything particular to the Christian experience...I don't see dead on a cross, or sin or heaven or hell or any of that stuff. I feel something, that is all. I would not presume to say exactly what.

The point is, whatever these moments of trancendence are, they don't lend any credence to the claims about Christ and blood and sin and redemption and eternal life.

I have no doubt you have experienced spiritual transcendence, but I personally don't find that persuasive or even sufficient to prop up the rest of the mythos.

I hope this makes sense, thanks for letting me explain.

Aurora: I believe God gave you free will and you can choose to believe whatever you would like.

I guess I still don't see what the significance of the choice is. Why is choosing "yes" better? Why should choosing "no" result in any kind of ill?

10-05-08 2:22Fear-based Parenting

Okie-B:I can't believe it - there is a mopm at my kids school who leaves her two kids trapped into their baby seats in the car while she runs the onlest kid up to the door!

I haven't had a reason to leave my kids in the car while I'm outside it, except for pumping gas. But I'm not sure I see what the big deal is about leaving kids in the car for a few minutes. What is the concern? If it's just a moment or two they are not going to die of suffocation or exposure. If they are strapped into carseats they aren't going to accidentally put the car in drive. In a crowded school parking lot with lots of witnesses around, what are the actual chances that they would suddenly, out of nowhere, be carjacked?

Or, is there some other concern? I'd be interested to hear.

Okie-B: kidnapping?!?!

Do you have a lot of kidnappings in your neighborhood or what?

Okie-B: It is ILLEGAL, IRRESPONSBILE AND STUPID! kidnappers and sex offenders are every where!

No they aren't. There aren't enough of them to get that good of coverage.

In my neighborhood, I could kick my kids to the curb with a big sign saying "Please kidnap me!" and they would probably still be there in the morning.

Seriously, though, in that situation, I think there is a MUCH higher statistical likelihood that someone would notice and get your license plate number and report you to CPS. I think that possibility alone would make it worthwhile to avoid the situation in the first place.

Okie-B: also you just keep telling yourself that. look it up they live everywhere and alot dont register so you dont know for sure where any of them are

You do sound pretty frightened.

Okie-B: not frightened, just realistic.

That is interesting, because it reminds me of a similar conversation I had recently with another lady. Her big deal was lightening. She said that statistics show that your kids are 3 times more likely to be struck by lightening than abducted by a stranger.

She said that there was a web site you could go to to monitor "electrical activity" in your neighborhood at all times. She also insisted that kids shoes need to be made with natural rubber because it was a much better insulator than synthetic plastic.

When I said I thought she was getting a little excited about the lightening, she said, "I'm not excited, just realistic."

Everybody has their own fears, I guess. :-)

Obama Supporter: Fear-based parenting. Seems to be the trend these days.

Well, people can parent how they want. But a lot of people seem to want me to parent their way.

What got me was, she was saying I was irresponsible because I didn't know if my kids shoes were natural rubber or synthetic. She said I must be too lazy to find out, it was up to me to research these things and that if I really cared about my kids I would never take a chance with their lives and let them wear non-natural rubber shoes.

Okie-B: If someone's freaking out about what shoes are made of, well, that's...um....interesting (crazy). :-) But that's different.

10-05-08 2:21Who broke the money?

Payna: Who's fault is this? It's the people who knew, or should've known, but STILL bought homes.

I disagree. For one thing, the banks are supposed to be the financial experts. The loan officer's whole job is to examine the loan application and TURN DOWN people who are not qualified.

For another, careless borrowers may have wanted more house than they can afford, but they still only wanted one house. Is that really unconscionably greedy?

Careless lenders knowingly created millions of bad mortgages and then traded them around. That, to me, is pretty greedy.

Wall Street financiers bought and sold these non-commodities as if they were something real, over and over again, just to try to plump up very rich people's accounts to make them look even bigger. They weren't content owning 95% of all the world's wealth, they wanted to own even more. This, to me, is savagely greedy.

There is no simple consumer, who only wanted a nice house, who is as committedly selfish as the debt traders with their billion-dollar-fluff games. Borrowers never had the power to fuck this all up this bad. They just don't represent a very large segment of the economy.

It was the billionaires with their greedy schemes who broke the money.

10-05-08 12:21Work vs. SAHM

Jessica: For the moms with kids who are grown, or nearly grown: if you gave up your career to raise your family, was it worth it? do you ever regret not fulfilling your own dreams?

I am a professional graphic artist and I was in the forefront of my field. My husband stayed at home with the kids for a few years while I pursued this. But, I was forced to go back to work just a few weeks after my daughter was born, and it really tore me up. It screwed up our nursing, and I was immediately swept into a frenzy of meetings, budgets and deadlines. I felt like I missed my little girl's whole first six months. I will always be sorry about this.

When my husband landed a better job, we switched roles, and I am so happy every day that we did. I had another baby, and I relished every precious moment with him when he was tiny. I am so glad to have this time with them that will never come again.

It may be hard for me to pick up the threads of my career. But it's worth it. There will always be meetings, budgets and deadlines. They are a never-ending constant in the universe. But my babies will only be small for the tiniest blink of an eye, and then they will be off in their own adventures and it will never be the same. This is my one chance to share these precious early years with them.

The deadlines can wait.

10-04-08 10:10Fear and Bailouts

Carla: Why did they ram through this pointless bailout scheme? Scare tactics, that is why!! keep the people dependent and in fear!!! keep control!

At least that makes it easy to escape the trap. Have no fear, and they cannot control you.

Please keep in mind...as easy as they voted this crap in, they can vote it back out again next year. We don't have to accept this.

Once this psychological crisis has passed, cooler heads can examine what has been done and find a better solution. We can elect better representatives, based on who agrees to rethink it.

The Supreme Court could even overturn it, declaring it unconstitutional.

Remember, money is just a shared idea and economies always need to be reset from time to time. We're not stuck with this. We can find a better way to reset our economy if we try. We can make them do it if we demand it.

10-03-08 10:05New God vs. Old

StepMom: God is right and just......

You don't know that.

StepMom: yes, I do.


StepMom: He is right and good and just. that is the Truth whether you believe it or not. i have been a part of this group long enough to know it is futile to debate these things with you, but I am feeling especially spunky tonight. i can not wait until He comes and rules and you will see....i told you so.

Is that the only option your faith leaves you with? No evidence, no logic, no reasoning, no argument...just the desire to gloat over my incinerated soul - not now, of course... at some point in the future.


If it was real you wouldn't be waiting. You could show it to me now.

StepMom: been there done that but you don't listen....you don't WANT to listen.

Everybody always says that! "I tried to tell you before but you didn't listen!" Even people who I have never discussed it with before say that.

I am entirely sincere and capable in my listening. I am listening, very closely, right now. Now's your chance! Say something!

StepMom: I have written about different books and movies providing proof of God and Jesus...

I would not accept "proof" of God and Jesus in place of actual God and Jesus. Why should I? If they are here, now, you tell me where to look for them and if they are there, I will see them.

StepMom: ...but it is your choice to make, and nothing that I say is going to change your mind.

That is total bullshit. All you would have to do to convince me is say something true.

StepMom: you are being ridiculous because you want a God to be a human, to be flesh and to have him iin front of you.

No. I don't expect Him to be "flesh and blood" - that would set the bar pretty low for a God. But if something is real you should be able to explain how to apprehend it.

StepMom: I could say the same of you. prove to me that no God exists. you can't.

Well now, I'm glad you asked.

Suppose I tell you that I have it on very good authority that the God of the Bible - Yahweh - used to exist, but is now gone? I heard that a NEW GOD arrived in our dimension. On HIS Glorious Arrival, the NEW GOD completely destroyed Yahweh, Jesus, Krishna, Zeus, and several other deities that were hanging around. HE didn't mean to, but they were occupying the God Dimension, and when HE showed up HE was so much larger HE just squished them like bugs.

It's good news though! The NEW GOD is a trillion times more powerful than Yahweh. There is just as much proof of the NEW GOD as there is for the old one! Plus, the NEW GOD is a lot friendlier than crabby old Yahweh. HE says not to worry, just keep praying as you always have, and from now on all the prayers will automatically be forwarded to HIM.

Prove to me that The NEW GOD doesn't exist. You manage, and I'll take a swing at yours.

StepMom: could you please provide me with a book that your new god wrote to prove that he exists.

I could certainly provide you with a book people claim was written by Mohammed. Would that convince you that Islam is real?

Hindus have vedas and bhagavad gitas. Even Buddhists have sutras. Why is your book better than their books?

A book proves only the existence of a book. The Bible was not written by Yahweh, it was written by people. Their views that God exists are just personal assertions. Their views that prophesies have been fulfilled are just personal assertions.

I can't believe you would accept a book as God instead of God.

StepMom: it may also be becase as I said it becomes fruitless to debate with you.

I would be really sorry if you felt this way. For one thing, I try not to be rude or dismissive. I strive for civility at all times. For another, I am very interested in what you have to say whether I agree or not.

But mostly, I would be disappointed if you thought my views were dogmatic or that my positions were non-negotiable. I assure you, that is not the case. The day, the instant, I find that reality diverges from what I thought it was, that is the instant I change what I think to match the reality. Accuracy in understanding is my only goal.

Believe me, the moment I can confirm that your view is more accurate than mine, I will shake your hand and thank you for bringing me closer to understanding reality.

StepMom: you are still missing the point and i am tired of trying to make it.

I have noticed that the more religious people are, the quicker they get tired. Odd but true.

StepMom: he said this in response to thomas who would not believe jesus - that he had risen until he saw the marks in his hands and feet where the nails were.

I'm with Thomas.

StepMom: when you choose to believe and tell God you believe in Him an amazing change will happen to you...

I tried this but nothing happened.

Seriously. People keep telling me that I just didn't really try, or I didn't try hard enough, or I didn't try enough times or in enough different ways.

Well, I did really try. Nothing.

Perhaps it's because my life is already amazing. :-)

StepMom: I pray someday the same for you.

You had better kick it up a notch.

StepMom: I could witness to you about how, after becoming saved, my husband drastically changed, and is an amazing man, husband and father. he grew up in ganglands and is now a wonderful example of a man of God.....all because of Jesus.

It sounds like your husband is a good guy, who wanted to make something of his life and then did. I would be very proud of him. I can't see why you would want to give "Jesus" the credit for an admirable accomplishment your husband clearly did himself.

I mean, I know a lot of people who turned their lives around. It takes a lot of commitment but it's possible. What, exactly, is the "Jesus" part?

StepMom: i can tell you the"jesus" part. From there he stopped being verbally abusive. he stopped cruelly teasing his children. he was now able to cry and show emotion. he was able to forgive his father for the evil that he had done. he was able to forgive others the evil they had done. he became caring and tender and loving.

You are describing the things that your husband did. I want to know what jesus did.

StepMom: raver - you won't understand this because you do not have the Holy Spirit, the counselor that gives you understanding. this will all sound foreign and dumb and weak to you.

you will not be able to see these things clearly.

I am seeing perfectly clearly. As clear as anyone. I am not different from other people.

StepMom: But your heart is not open to it. you are thinking with you brain only.

Are you sure? You really are claiming to know a lot about what I can see and what my heart is open to and what I am using my brain for. Do you really feel that you can speak for me?

I am telling you that my heart is as fucking wide open as possible. Who are you to suggest otherwise?

StepMom: See? I say the same thing over and over in different ways and it won't make a bit of difference.

It might.

StepMom: you may want to rethink that decision based on the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that everlasting life comes only by believing in Him.

That's what people say. But people say a lot of things.

StepMom: ummm.....well see it doesn't really work that way. you can't TEST DRIVE God. LOL

So, if another person honestly tries to follow Jesus, they get the goods, but when I try it, it fails because for me, it was just a "test drive."

StepMom: seriously, if your heart truly believed, and you followed Jesus, miracles will happen.

My heart truly believed. Still, nothing happened.

StepMom: do not put the Lord your God to the test.

So...threats? Wow.

If God was up to the test He would face me Himself and not sit there letting you make excuses for Him.

StepMom: ...and that is what you have done and why you didn't see anything. because you are just testing him.

You don't know that. Do you think you can divine my heart's intent? By what right do you claim to speak for me?

StepMom: God is not a servant to do your bidding when you decided you want something. he deserves respect, reverance, fear, love.....worship.

If this god is so insubstantial that the mere fact of my state of mind would be enough to render Him completely undetectable, then He certainly does not merit worship.

I will respect God when I see Him do something worthy of respect. Same as anyone.

I can't believe He would even respect me if I lowered my standards just for Him.

Mrs. Wright: I've felt like this a hundred times... I'm in a place where I don't want to be... I keep asking and asking.. And nothing.

Well, I know a few tricks that make it easier.

Mrs. Wright: It's still really hard.

Sure, but a little non-attachment goes a long way.

Mrs. Wright: LOL! You are right about that!

StepMom: gotta go. baby awakes from his slumber.

I understand. I know it must be difficult to face my questions. Thanks so much for persevering. :-)

StepMom: i already have explained to you that no, i would not accept a mere mortally written book. but as i have explained, through divine inspiration, the Bible was written.

I spoke with my husband and he said he could get the TNG - "Testament to the NEW GOD" - finished by the end of the week.

I said, "That looks like you typing."

He said, "Yeah. But I'm divinely inspired! What...don't you believe me?"

Really. He said this before you made the comment I quoted here, no less. Prophesy!

10-03-08 10:06More God

Taraisblessed: Do you have a husband or children??

Both, thanks.

Taraisblessed: Do you love them.......i mean really really love them?

Yes, I really really do. Do you have any particular reason to doubt it?

Taraisblessed: So how can you prove to me that you love them and make me believe you?

1) Love is an emotion, and it is an internal process. It is not a magical sentient being which exists outside of humanity and controls the universe. I could just tell you that I love them, and why not believe it? It's my call, isn't it? It is not an extraordinary, supernatural claim. It is completely within the bounds of what is possible and ordinary.

If you told me that you love your kids I would certainly believe you. It would be meaningless to dispute such a claim without a good reason.

The claim "I love them" is not extraordinary. The claim "I know that God exists" is extraordinary and therefore demands extraordinary evidence.

2) I would be happy to try to prove that I love them! I would relish the attempt.

I would be thrilled to point to our actions and interactions that are very strong and apparent evidence that the love exists. I could point to how happy we are together. I could point to the way my children cheer when I come in the room. I could point to the royal treatment my husband gives me in bed. I could point to the affection and attention I lavish on them, and all the spontaneous hugs. Love is an emotion with a strong behavioral component which can be evaluated.

You could do an EKG and watch the way my heart races when my husband touches me. You could do a blood series and examine the way my oxytocin levels rise when I cuddle my baby. You could do an MRI and observe how the pleasure centers in all our brains are activated when we're together. Love is an emotion with a physical component that can be examined.

Evidence beyond my personal assertions abound.

If you have some evidence that God exists beyond personal assertions, I would be thrilled to consider it.

Taraisblessed: but those are just words to me.....

If you actually examined behavior patterns and brain scans it would be far more than just words.

Taraisblessed: How do you really really convince someone that the whole aspect of love is true?

Why do you think it isn't? What gives you pause when considering whether love exists? Tell me what it is and allow me to address that specific point.

Taraisblessed: I really don't have to convince you that Jesus Christ is my Savior...

Yes, but I don't see why you wouldn't want to try. I certainly would.

And doesn't your religion require that you witness your faith?

Taraisblessed: ...and i will spend eternity with him.

You don't know that. No one knows. You have no evidence beyond personal assertions.

Taraisblessed: ...yes he speaks to me throught the Holy Spirit but NO he will not speak to you if you reject him so to you he is not real.

1) If something is real it doesn't matter how you feel about it. It is manifest. It exists without you; it is not dependent on your state of mind for existence. You could disappear and it would still be real.

2) If you rejected me that would not make me not real. I could still speak to you.

3) What is He afraid of? If He will not "speak to me" just because I question Him, He is a total wuss who is afraid to face me personally. I would be embarrassed to worship such a weakling.

Taraisblessed: I can share my testimony with you and point you to the Bible and Cross but in the end it's up to you if you wish to accept him or not.

No. My acceptance of reality is not dependent on my wishes about it.

Look, I wasn't thrilled about the recent assertions that maternal mitochondrial DNA traced all humanity back to a single female ancestor less than 600,000 years ago. It didn't match up with my previous understanding at all. But that desire not to accept it didn't make it go away. There is strong evidence that this is correct. I had to change what I wished to accept, to match reality.

I am always willing to do this. I have no attachment at all to my current assessment of reality, beyond the limit of how accurate it is. It is far more important to me to be accurate than right.

In other words, if God is real, then I completely wish to accept Him. I wish to accept whatever is real. However this wish is not sufficient for establishing that He is real. Hasn't happened yet, anyway.

As for the Bible, it is a book of personal assertions. The Cross is a symbol. I have experienced these and I accept that both of these exist. I will accept God exists when I experience God, not before. I am truly amazed that anybody thinks that I should settle for less.

Taraisblessed: What's the worst thing that could happen if you believe in Jesus Christ?

Well, for one thing...you could be completely, utterly wrong. I mean, it's possible. It is pretty far-fetched.

You could spend your entire life talking into a dead phone. You could make decisions and assessments that are based on faulty premises. You could be routinely disappointed when your prayers are ignored and the world doesn't work as if it was run by a benevolent loving God. You could be constantly anguished and bewildered, wondering why God would allow such things to happen.

You could completely fail to understand how the universe really works and what is really present in it. You could have no appreciation for the scope and beauty and majesty which makes up the reality beyond the confines of your book. You could miss out.

Taraisblessed: 1. You will have a more peaceful heart

I don't know where you get this idea. Christians are not more peaceful than other people. Christians do not represent significantly lower proportions of violent criminals. Christians were the largest single demographic block in support of the Iraq invasion.

Taraisblessed: 2. You will have a new meaning for the word Love

Could be fun.

Taraisblessed: 3. You will spend eternity in Heaven, where no tears or suffering are ever a part

You don't know this. Somebody told you this, but there is no way to check.

Taraisblessed: 4. You will act more kindly and sensitive to others.

Again, not true. Christians are not nicer. Christians do not represent lower proportions of rapists or drunk drivers or spousal abusers. The Christian divorce rate in America is 50%, same as anyone else. If there was truth to your assertions it would be measurable.

Taraisblessed: 5. You will have a purpose and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your life is meaningful and not just spent here in this whisper of time we call life.

On the other hand, if you are wrong, you will have failed to appreciate what life really is and wasted this whisper of time pining for something else.

Taraisblessed: 6. For those saved this world is as bad as it will ever get.............but for those rejecting Christ this world is as good as it will get.

This world is what it is. There is good and bad. I accept this reality as it is.

I would never devalue the wonderful, terrible, amazing, mysterious collusion of circumstances that allowed my species and my consciousness to arise and to flourish. I would never look at the magnificent expanse of space, the intricate patterns of life, and the deep peace within, and then sniff that this just isn't good enough for me.

This IS heaven. I'm so sorry you don't see it.

Taraisblessed: So to me it seems you can't go wrong in believing that Jesus Christ died for you.

Only if you don't care about whether it is true or not.

Taraisblessed: Like i know my love for my children is real just like i know my God is real!

Your claim that you love your children is your call to make. I do not doubt it. Your assessment of your feelings is whatever you decide it is.

However, whether God is real or not is not your call.


Taraisblessed, I really want to thank you for sharing this conversation with me. I am touched by your sincere faith and I appreciate that you are willing to discuss it. I love the opportunity to weigh my assessments against the perceptions of others, to examine their relative strengths and weaknesses. This has been a gift to me, thank you so much.

Louise:Great post.........you really know how to express your thougths very well. And you always make people think with what you have to say...whether they agree with you or not!

I can't ask for more than that, thanks.

Aurora: Wow, enjoyed your post, I don't agree with you, but as I have come to expect you answer with such maturity and respect it is always a pleasure to read your insights.

But, precisely, WHAT don't you agree with? I would appreciate it if you would elaborate.

For one thing, I usually try to avoid disputable assertions of any kind. I mean, I would never offer a posit like "No kind of god could exist," because that is not the kind of thing I could show or know for certain.

More importantly, if there is any kind of hole in my logic, any point of fact which could be updated or clarified with better data, I would thank you for pointing it out. My only goal, as I have said, is to have my understanding align with what is true to the highest possible degree. I appreciate any input to that end.

Aurora: I don't agree that there is the possibility that there is no God...

Well, anything's possible, isn't it?

Aurora: I suppose anything is possible, but I choose to rule out that possibility on faith alone :)

Why, though? I mean, to what end?

Aurora: I don't think I should have to wait for Him to show Himself to me to believe in Him.

Well, why start believing beforehand? Why not just wait and see?

Aurora: By choosing not to wait I have access to all sorts of blessings...

Do you really think that God deliberately bestows more blessings on some people than on others?

BTW, I appreciate your willingness to discuss this, thanks. I'm very curious.

"I rule it out because otherwise it would not be faith at all. If I am going to keep the possibility open that there isn't a god, and more specifically that Jehovah doesn't exist, then I am not truly believing."

Really? Even the tiniest shadow of doubt, and you forfeit all the forgiveness and blessings?

I really don't understand why it is important to have total faith which never waivers. Does God keep a faith spreadsheet with automatic calculations on each person's cel? Like, if your faith switches to "off" for a moment, it automatically puts a zero in your blessings column? To what end?

"I do believe God bestows more blessings to those who put their faith in Him. Wouldn't you?"

No way. I don't think that is fair and I would never play favorites with my children like that. But, that's just me. I really can't hold Him to my standards.

"I suppose anyone could find those blessings without God, but for me they would be meaningless without some other purpose behind it."

Not necessarily. My blessings are anything but meaningless. You might find it was like this for you also.

"I wish I could tell you it was based on something concrete, but really it is based on my faith alone. And most importantly, I am okay with that."

I understand. You are clearly at peace with your beliefs and I really respect that. Thanks again for sharing.

10-03-08 10:05Bush is a Dumbass

Looking4Logic: Don't call Bush a dumbass! He did succeed in uniting the country after 9/11....

Sheesh, how hard was that? A country always unites after a blow by a common enemy. Just ask the Germans about the burning of the Reichstag.

A trained seal could have united the country after 9-11, just by waving a little American flag with his flipper.

10-03-08 10:05Cartoon Violence

cartoon.jpg - 20604 BytesMichelle O: What are your thoughts on violence in cartoons as a form of entertainment? Do we nanny our children too much, or should we let them use the brains they were given and trust that 99% of them WON'T be idiots and jump off the grand canyon expecting to run in midair?

There was a young man I went to high school with who killed a shopkeeper during a robbery attempt. He smashed in the guy's head in with a bat.

Reportedly, he said he had never intended to hurt or kill the guy. When asked what he thought would happen, he said he thought the guy would just go unconscious and then maybe wake up a little while later with a headache or something. He said, "That's what always happens on TV."

This may not have been from cartoons, but clearly the unreality of television violence in general has created a pretty misleading impression of the consequences.

Neddie: That's a crock of shit! In high school, and still believing everything on TV is real?

Some things on TV are real. Like sometimes they show people going to restaurants and ordering food. That is real. Sometimes they show people hailing a cab. That is sometimes real. Lots of times they show people in fist fights where one guy gets punched out...real, or not real?

I am not sure I would have known as a junior in high school that a blow with a bat would be sufficient to kill a guy. It never came up.

Of course, the difference is that I wouldn't be hitting a guy with a bat and trying to rob him either way. I never said the perp was a ball of sparks.

But unless the parents specifically explain each little detail - yes, riding a unicycle is real...no, the Vulcan nerve pinch is not real...how are kids supposed to know what is real and what isn't?

Neddie: You are just making excuses for him! I am sorry but in this case that kid is a damn moron thinking you can't really hurt someone if you hit them in the head...

I never said he wasn't. But that is no less of an "excuse". It just shifts the excuse from "he didn't know better" to "he was a moron." Excuse either way.

Neddie: ...maybe he didn't think they could die, but...

That's what he said.

I never meant to give you the impression that I think that makes it okay.

Neddie: So he didnt' think the person could die but he knew he could inflict pain on the person..he had to have know he was committing a crime...

I'm sure he did. He was trying to rob the guy.

My point is that the whole purpose of television is to create an entire fantasy reality that the viewer can get lost in. There are billions of dollars and the concentrated creative genius of many talented people all going towards this effort. I don't think people should act all surprised when the morons of the world come away with the wrong impression.

Neddie: I am sorry but my 8 year old knows those are actors on television..the people going to restaurants ordering food are called ACTORS...

That doesn't make ordering food in a restaurant a pretend thing that doesn't really happen. Even forgetting "reality tv", there is plenty of stuff on TV that we are supposed to accept AS REAL.

Neddie: t.v. and music should not be teaching our kids about life..

That's not what they think. When Pooh and Tigger fight and then make up, we're supposed to know that they are just characters. But, we are ALSO supposed to be "learning something important" - that making up after a quarrel is REAL. The pretend and the real are all mushed together on television.

Neddie: You mean to tell me a junior high school kid thinks a "Vulcon" is real?

He may not think a Vulcan is real. But if he ever watched any Kung Fu he might think that it's possible to render an opponent immobile by pinching a nerve bundle. Is it?

I must have seen a million different "get hit on the head" scenarios on TV as a kid. How often have you seen someone get hit on the head, and then get total amnesia? Kooky chaos ensues, but of course towards the end of the episode, they get another sharp blow to the head which somehow restores everything to normal. Unless someone told you that was impossible, how would you know?

Or...here's a common plot device, used by everyone from Shakespeare to Gilligan's Island. It becomes important to give the impression that a character is dead, so they are given some kind of tonic which makes them appear dead. Later they come back to life, good as new.

Is this real? Is there some elixer out there which really does this? How are we supposed to know?

I have given this comment some further reflection. Let me begin by saying that I have an extremely dim view of television generally. You may have heard me mention that we don't have cable or even an antenna at our house, and I have not seen a new television show in about twelve years. (I just catch the political debates later in the evening on YouTube.) My kids have almost never seen a televison commercial. With that said...

Neddie:t.v. and music should not be teaching our kids about life..

I think that is a big difference between TV today and when I was a kid. At least back then, the Looney Tunes were not supposed to be teaching us anything. They were just meant to be amusing to children.

But the children's TV of today is LOADED with crap they are supposed to be teaching our kids about life. Granted, it's usually just banal messages like "sharing is caring" or "just be yourself" or "stand by your friends" - or even "seatbelts...so WE can be SAFE!"

But I can't think of any kids programs today that are not supposed to be teaching our kids something about life. My kids watch a lot of Blues Clues and Dora and Dragon Tales and Rescue Heroes and the lessons are so thick a grownup can hardly stand to be in the same room.

Obviously someone out there thinks that kids should be learning about life from TV. They are certainly trying. Again, I don't see why people act all surprised when it happens.

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