The Religious . . . *sigh*

For the two or three who bothered to read my last post, I have a favor to ask . . . you see, I am on the radar of one BJ, from this blog:

http://tworiversblog.com/2013/06/14/an-open-letter-to-those-who-doubt-or-deny-god/

He obviously does not understand how this works.  Ignore me, and I go away, fade in the background, vanish in the sea of anonymity.  Engage me, and I will be heard.  Mind you, the numbers of readers I have is very small, and of those, few bother with these opinion pieces.  So, really, BJ is likely the only beneficiary of my efforts.

He’re his comment in response to my last post:

. . . (I) did not post your comment so as to not continue the discussion. I guess what you meant by “go our separate ways was that you could blast me on your own site without having to deal with the comments of a continued dialogue. It’s much easier to trash someone behind their back than to enter an open discussion isn’t it? Well, have fun with that. I hope you feel better now.

I take offense to his statement.

I take offense because I do not like being falsely accused. Why, anyone who knows me would be appalled, appalled I tell you, if that was my level of “trashing”.  I’m known far and wide for very creative, biting, and sometime scathing retorts.  To call my efforts “trashing” is a pejorative of no small proportions; works of art they are.

My previous post was a reply to his comments.  No more, no less.  However, we humans are not always good at judging ourselves; others, yes, but not ourselves.  

So I ask, if my two readers would care to take a short poll:

I should point out a couple of things . . . the poll interface kind of sucks, and I could not randomize the questions.  Also, I could not remove the “Other” option.  You are welcome to post something there, but to date I’ve never been able to read those.  If you want to justify your answer or leave a comment, I would do so at the bottom of this post.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, the above was fun to write, but the purpose for this post is to provide readers with reading material relevant to these discussions.  

The books in the following link are a good read:

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/summersale.html,

and her site in general is a good read:  http://truthbeknown.com/

A place for reading in-depth analysis of the Bible is Robert Price’s site:

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/

There are two podcasts associated with Dr. Price:

http://www.thehumanbible.net/

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/biblegeek.php

The man do know his Bible.

And last but not least, there are a number of religious sites offering rebuttals for various criticisms of christianity and other religions.  As most of the people reading this are likely to be christians, I offer up the two bible sites below, but know there are  sites for nearly all religions.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/

http://www.apologetics.org/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Now, everyone knows my opinion on these matters. I encourage everyone to read the above material; you cannot make an informed decision unless you are, in fact, informed.

Know that I have read/heard/evaluated most arguments in defense of religion and religious belief.  I would have said “all” because I have not heard anything new in at least 20 years, but maybe there is someone out there who has reasoned out a new argument.  If so, I’m not aware of it, but I am confident if they were worth spit, they would have been literally trumpeted far and wide. 

What I have heard to date, I find lacking.  

The best I’ve come to expect from a believer is “hey, I can’t point to anything reasonable, any logic, anything besides faith for my belief; I choose to believe“, and I respect that because I see it as an honest statement.  They have no evidence for their belief, but for personal reason they choose to do so.  Recognizing that it’s a choice is an important first step toward stepping down from the altar of judgment and condemnation most believers worship at.

Beyond that, there can be no discussion.  I cannot discuss with anyone why they willingly choose to believe something which flies in the face of all available evidence.  That is their road to travel, and I will not be a willing companion.

OK, back to my regular posts.

~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~

Skyline

Skyline

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.  

<><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me some recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline nominations whereby one blogger bestows an award onto another blogger, or group of bloggers.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I would much prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would actually mean something to me.

Should you still nominate me, I will strongly suspect you pulled my name at random, and that you are not, in fact, a reader of my blog.  If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards          About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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24 Responses to The Religious . . . *sigh*

  1. colonialist says:

    I think the ‘choose to believe’ -types are not worthy of any more respect than the ones who desperately try to pin some sort of logic to illogical beliefs. The ones I respect are those who have said, ‘When I heard this “message” it was right for me and I believe in it completely without any actual decision on my part having been needed.’
    Then, giving due consideration to all the possibilities opened up by extreme quantum theories, I even suspend ridicule in regard to the most basically superstitious and, as would seem, utterly ridiculous fundamentalist views.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      On the surface, we agree . . . the question then gets into how one lives one’s life.

      And more important, how one’s beliefs affect other people’s lives. The whole idea of quantum theories have little bearing on our non-quantum world, and when called upon, one cannot live in a state of “well, it might be”. One makes a decision one way or another, and lives accordingly.

      The example I often give is as follows . . . I have no proof that I cannot fly. I have no proof I can fly. At a given instance of time, I cannot give equal weight to both possibilities; I will make a decision one way or another, and live my life based on that decision. In this particular example, I will live as if I cannot fly, proof or no proof that that is the case.

      And it is so for everything else. Believe a plant will cure you, and you will eat it; believe it will poison you, and you will not eat it (although you might feed it to others).

      That choice is what we, as humans, call living everyday life. We make choices. We can contemplate possibilities, but we make choices. It is my philosophy the quality of those choices is what human progress, happiness, and prosperity hinge on, and history has a long series of examples relating to the quality of life relating to choices based on superstition. Typically, not stellar.

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      • colonialist says:

        When one cuts to the chase, though, it is a question of whether one sees the existence of oneself or anything else as having any actual purpose or meaning. The urge towards wanting something beyond exist/cease-to-exist is what drives superstition.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          I agree . . . and contend that is not enough to warrant credulity.

          I don’t mind superstition about what happens at death. I just don’t want that superstition to drive what happens in life, especially if it’s my life.

          And yes, while not happy about it, I accept one day soon I will be no more. Wishing otherwise is fun, and writing about it is fun, but I never forget the reality of it.

          Like

        • colonialist says:

          Oh, the irony. For unbelievers to die, and find they haven’t, and die – properly this time – of shock!
          Of course, a lot of the idea behind the propagated superstitions – before power gets into it – is to persuade people not to behave in antisocial ways. Other methods don’t seem to work too well.

          Like

        • disperser says:

          I’ve often said it . . . if it turns out there is a god, I’m going to give it such a good talking to! . . . she has a lot to answer for.

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  2. oneowner says:

    I remember having a similar conversation years ago with a coworker and I vowed never again would I discuss issues related to religious beliefs in any fashion, although the temptation is great when they are unreasonable. Unless you enjoy a good discussion on the subject of personal religious beliefs, by all means, have at it. I would rather discuss trout fishing in the Amazons, an activity I know nothing about.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      There are trout in the Amazon?

      Honest, I don’t go looking for this stuff . . . it crosses my path, and in some moments of weakness, I pay some attention to it, as was the case here.

      It’s a personality flaw . . . I read something purporting to tell me how to live my life, and my OCD latches on.

      But beyond that, there is actual injustice in this world for no other reason than superstition, greed, and the hubris to presume knowledge where there is none. It’s difficult for me not to raise my voice in opposition, for there are so many who can’t.

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  3. AnnMarie says:

    When “IT crosses my path”, step over IT like you’d step over something you’d not like to taint your shoes with. I like to think (because it makes ME happy to do so) that the saying “turn the other cheek” was meant to imply that when someone/something you’re observing does not please you, do an about face (hence the other cheeks) and contemplate its opposite! As always, take what you like and leave the rest or . . . just step over it.

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    • disperser says:

      The world is worse for so many people “stepping over IT”.

      So many do not have the voice, and if those who do also remain quiet, IT is bolstered by the collective silence.

      Not to imply I’m one such, but history’s turning points rest on the strength of those who dared to speak when others chose not to.

      Like

      • AnnMarie says:

        That to which you give attention to expands. And since I’d rather be happy than right, you may have the last word.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          . . . you must be ecstatic, then . . .

          Like

        • disperser says:

          I’m home now, so I can give a proper response.

          I’ll see your simple saying, and counter with “that which is ignored, festers”. If the foundations to a house are rotten, ignoring them will eventually lead to the collapse of said house.

          If you give someone a list of popular beliefs (ghosts, bigfoot, monsters, aliens, Elvis being alive, etc), most people would find a line beyond which they no longer want to suspend disbelief. And yet, none of these beliefs are much different from these “philosophies of life”.

          If someone claims he’s talking to Atilla the Hun, they are likely to be called delusional . . . but change that to a 2,000 year old zombie, or his bearded father up “in heaven”, and all of a sudden one is perfectly lucid. From old religion, to new age woo, people ascribe all sorts of agency to imagined forces, “energy”, and illusory “intelligence”.

          I have no problem labeling these people delusional, and telling them so to their face.

          You see, I would not care much, but delusional people not only damage their own lives, but invariable damage the lives of others. Wanting to believe in something is all fine and good, but the world does not go forward by wishful thinking, and the lessons to be learned are, unfortunately well after the test is given.

          If you asked anyone whether delusional people should have a say in the running of the country, in establishing laws, in determining the course of human history, most people would say “Hell, no!” . . . but most people do not see themselves as delusional.

          There are people who believe human history is no more than 6,000 years old who vote for other people who do so, and put them in office. There are people who see no value in science, who see no value in reason, who see no value to addressing the real world we live in. These people affect my life.

          So, hell yes, I will challenge stuff that crosses my path. Yes, I will raise my voice, and demand anyone making claims to justify them. At the very least I want them to establish for themselves that which they hold dear has a basis beyond superstition and indoctrination.

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  4. gpcox says:

    I answered in the ‘Other’ so I hope you’re able to read it.

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  5. haydendlinder says:

    I selected “Other”:)

    Like

  6. Steve says:

    I found your blog after, of all things, a google search for lenseless racquetball goggles ;) (that’s not a smiley…it’s a winky). This led me to your posts from about a year ago on atheism/ religion. By the way, I still haven’t found my answer about lenseless goggles, though your iMask intrigues me. I’m also looking at the Edtl lenseless handball goggles. Because of the inordinate amount of sweating I do, I think it’s lenseless goggles or no racquetball…many things in life are a calculated risk (using a chainsaw, riding motorcycle, staying in bed all day to avoid the possibility of other risks).
    In relation to your discussion with BJ and the commenters on your blog, I would simply add that within the diversity of Christianity, I who call myself a Christian, (such a broad and in many ways useless category) would probably find more agreement with your thinking than that of BJ. I think I would enjoy a philosophical discussion with you more than him (or others like him). I have nothing against him…just that there is not much to discuss with someone who is so sure of so many things that are unknowable. From your posts and comments, much of what you ascribe to believing Christians is not what I think or (maybe believe) about God at all. Many groups/ denominations who claim the name Christianity, I would consider distant cousins at best. It’s not because I am sure that I’m more right…just that what I think/ believe is so very different than so many who claim the same name of Christian (extreme example, Westboro Baptist). At any rate, I have no need to convert you to my way of thinking (in order to validate myself) nor do I imagine that you will be burning for eternity somewhere. Thanks for writing about racquetball, so that I could happen upon your blog this morning.

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    • disperser says:

      That I know, they have not made lensless goggles since the late 80s (mine broke in the 90s). That said, I cannot sing the praises of the i-Mask enough. Excellent vision all around (glasses and even goggles bothered my peripheral vision) and protection from even a racquet hit – I know first hand on two occasions. – something goggles don’t do well.

      They are very light, and you’ll forget it’s there . . . and absolutely no fogging for all the time I used them.

      Frankly, if I could force people to wear them, I would. Unfortunately, all I can do is recommend them.
      http://imaskusa.com/

      One other thing . . . those lensless goggles are not recommended for RB because the ball can actually squeeze in there. I also know that for a fact as I saw it happen.

      As for religion . . . you might be interested in reading this post:
      https://disperser.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/flowers-and-why/

      . . . especially if you have gone through the process of modifying the traditional christian faith into something specific to yourself instead of canonical beliefs.

      Like

  7. Steve says:

    Thanks for the advice about the iMask…and I’m aware that a ball can get through lenseless goggles. I guess I’m wondering how likely that is though. I am pretty careful. Again, the iMask is intriguing, but I sweat ALOT!!! I can’t help but wonder if I’d still be wiping sweat off the iMask fairly often. Wish I could figure out a way to try them without spending $70.

    I did read a good bit of the post that you suggested I read. I’ll try to get back to it and finish it when I have more time. I’m a little curious about your statement, “especially if you have gone through the process of modifying the traditional Christian faith into something specific to yourself instead of canonical beliefs.” I guess I’m unaware of whatever “traditional Christian faith” is supposed to be. That seems to have been up for debate from the earliest history of The Christian movement. Yes there have been groups who have laid claims to orthodoxy, but all the while many others who strongly disagreed with their version of orthodoxy. In my estimation their are many widely variant versions of Christianity, many of which would lay claim to terms like “traditional” “orthodox” or “canonical (depending on what that means to you).” Many of these versions I would vehemently disagree with. Different groups apply widely divergent rules for reading scripture for example. In my opinion some of these rules are at the very least ignorant and at worst dishonest…this can lead to extremely diverse opinions about God and what it might mean to be a Christian. In all honesty every Christian (or atheist for that matter) has their own personal interpretation. I guess for the sake of convenience, if not fellowship, we tend to group up with others who are least somewhat like-minded (at least that’s what I believe most churches are or do). Similar to the idea that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”… “One man’s cherished orthodoxy is another man’s oppressive and domineering religious system.”

    On a different note, did you ever play a guy named Tom Leary from Waverly, Iowa? Or how about Leland (or Lee) Rients from Willmar, MN?

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  8. disperser says:

    Unless your sweat flies off your face in every direction, I don’t see how you would get sweat on the mask. I suppose anything is possible. The mask does have a sweat band, but I always wore a headband as well. I usually had a couple with me because I too sweated a fair amount (can’t quantify ‘a lot’). My typical racquetball sessions would be 3-4 hours. My clothes would be soaked at the end of it, and usually I would have gone through at least two headbands.

    Also, if you sweat that much, you are probably a danger in the court (I ripped my hamstring by slipping of sweat from another player), and perhaps you should not play for both your safety and that of others. Yes, I kid, but there is a kernel of seriousness in there.

    As for how likely it is for the ball to get through lensless goggles . . . the ball can only destroy one eyeball at the time . . . you would still have one eyeball left even if you find out you were wrong about your assumption.

    Now, I am different from many people in the fact that I would play with people with poor or no eye protection whereas many players won’t play unless they opponent has proper eye protection.

    I’m different in the fact that while a lot of people would feel bad about accidentally sucking someone’s eye out of their socket with an errant RB shot, I would just mutter “idiot!” and not worry about it. I would worry I might get sued, but then I would point to the waiver players sign (or implicitly sign) when entering a court (the one that says players must wear approved eye protection and take full responsibility for their actions – usually part of the agreement when joining or playing at a club, but also on plaques prominently displayed in all the places I’ve played).

    As for the two gentlemen, I do not remember them; I suppose I could have in some tournament or other, but based on geography alone, I would say no.

    As for questioning my comment, let me rephrase it for you (since the other was directed at a specific segment of the population) . . . .

    If you have gone through the process of accepting certain ideas and teachings regarding any supernatural entity and in the process you have rejected other teachings and ideas, you have essentially made up your own personalized religion.

    You can take refuge in the argument that your starting point is a nebulous jumble of ideas and teachings, and therefore there is no standard belief per se, but that sounds more like an excuse than a defense, let alone a validation, of what you did.

    The very fact you have the choice of not only 2,000 different sects of christianity, but as many different sects of other major religions should make it evident that whatever reasoning process one goes through to arrive at their favorite flavor of belief per force exceeds the limits of the individual choices.

    You are displaying a level of morality greater than that presented in the original material (regardless of initial interpretation).

    At that point, one should be able to say the following:

    If I can make moral, ethical, and just decisions, and recognize them as such despite conflicting and confusing messages from a supposed god, why do I even need a god? I mean, who needs a god one does not agree with, or worse yet, whose message is open to varied and conflicting interpretations I have to sort through?

    At this point people general backtrack and say stuff like “the teaching are interpretations of the word of god by flawed individuals” which is another way of saying “I have the true message from god, and everyone else is mistaken in their interpretation”.

    Or do you mean something else by “what you ascribe to believing Christians is not what I think or (maybe believe) about God at all”?

    Because to me it reads as if you have a pretty good idea of what god is/wants. I mean, I know you claim it’s “not because I am sure that I’m more right”, but nonetheless you chose a given belief that is “so very different than so many who claim the same name of Christian”. The process of arriving at such believes relies on making a distinction between beliefs, and choosing one over another based on a criteria that is solely dependent on your own reasoning powers.

    To me, the two statements I quote seem a confusing basis for belief (any belief).

    For example, I don’t claim to be right about my interpretation of the FSM, but I feel comfortable in my belief because it differs in some details from other people who claim to believe in the FSM.

    The point that is missed is that the argument is not about the flavor of the FSM, but rather if there there is an FSM to begin with. It’s a fine distinction often missed by believers since they start with the idea of the FSM exists, and only then set about guessing what its teachings and message might be.

    Any subsequent discussion as to the different interpretations of the FSM is irrelevant . . . the initial premise is flawed.

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