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Pepper-Spraying Streakers at Shofar – Derailed Comment Thread

October 31st, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 353 Comments

This post was separated from the original, to move the off-topic comment thread to another location. I will try to shift the on-topic comments back to the original post later, but that’s harder to do.

Categories: Shofar
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353 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cobus // Oct 31, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I think the word “friend” is definitely becoming suitable.

    Oh, and on the free-masons. They were quite active in the Free State many many moons ago, but I doubt your Shofarian friends would know that:-)

  • 2 Hugo // Oct 31, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Ah, interesting! And what do you know about the obelisk? Might as well be Die Taal Monument for all I know (and for all most other people know as well, I bet). 😛

  • 3 Hugo // Oct 31, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    A News24 article on the Kruiskerk supposed “decoy” event:

    http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2417500,00.html

  • 4 Cobus // Oct 31, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Not much really.

  • 5 Hugo // Nov 1, 2008 at 3:04 am

    I dropped “selection bias” from the post. It deals with the way data is collected. While I could make a case for “collecting data out of your memories”, “confirmation bias” already covers that.

  • 6 Hugo // Nov 1, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Why the “supposed decoy”? I thought I’d provide an alternative theory to the press release and letter above:

    The cheap-thrill-seekers decided to also head for Kruiskerk. But since Kruiskerk does not believe Stellenbosch is a demonic stronghold, does not believe that the world is 6000 years old, does not believe that science and scientific journals are a big conspiracy led by anti-Christian sentiments, and does not believe that kissing before marriage is not the ultimate ideal way to live out your sexuality, and does not believe that homosexuals will burn in hell and can be cured of their homosexuality if they say a little prayer, they were less motivated to go to the effort of getting in.

    The general impression is that Shofar believes all the things I mentioned above. Whether it is true or not, that is the general impression, and there certainly are Shofarians that believe all those things, even if not everyone does.

  • 7 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 1, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Hmmm…I saw your update. Now it was the bouncers that used pepper spray?

    Interesting. And rather negates the mileage Shofar is trying to get out of this, methinks…

  • 8 Hugo // Nov 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    No, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. You know, two alternative hypothesis, some anecdotal evidence supporting each… we really need to find some more supporting evidence for either hypothesis. 😉

  • 9 Werner // Nov 1, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Regarding the pepper spray:

    The congregation will know the truth if he lied and that matters more than anything I think. Further I think that Fred would never lie about something like this, knowingly. Lies and deception are from the devil, he knows that. I doubt that he would open such a door on himself. If it turns out that it was indeed the bouncers, he was probably misinformed or claimed to be so.

    However, why these streakers would carry pepper spray is beyond me. Last time we had pepper spray all over the place was with the police brutality. These guys were probably looking to be heroes in their world, not to be identified with those “villains” involved with police brutality. Nobody liked them, believers or unbelievers alike.

    Both outcomes are equally juicy.

  • 10 Turn or Burn // Nov 2, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Now that the naked truth is out there …
    and burning …
    weeping …
    harrowed and well runnelled martyred cheeks have nowhere to turn …

    One dearly wonders if the University of Stellenbosch is going to investigate the Shofarians who spat at Mr. Pepler of the TV program Groen. He honestly answered their question that he is an atheist a during a guest lecture he presented on evolution and they spat at him. Does that disgusting, degrading humiliating and utterly unproved assault on a guest to the University simply not count in the same manner as this …, … (what does one call it?) because he’s barking up the wrong Tree of Knowledge according to the Dogma of Shofar and woof, going to hell anyway? (Probably like every single one of those kalgat bekfluitjies … praise God!) Or, is it because without even pretending to know the Fred May Jesus of church bouncers, ADT, vindictive court cases, wild nonsensical public outbursts and Vrystaat Masonry …

    David …

    Was actually far, far more mature …

    And actually forgiving of utterly misguided and foolish idiots???

    One seems to remember that Christ never spat at anyone either – but He had to take it personally from people whipped up by priests driven by materialism and fundamental, sectarian separatism…

    u May not brown eye!!
    Fred’s 10% holy cash cow!!
    demons for $$$,
    prophesy for silver…
    and with MasterCard
    healing is priceless …

    SHOFAR!!!
    sHO Good
    We exorcise
    more demon
    4 ur $$$

  • 11 Hugo // Nov 2, 2008 at 2:24 am

    I’ve also heard that. An amateur (non-professional) zoologist invited to give an official university lecture, spat at for his beliefs. (He now starts his lecture with “Hi, my name is David Pepler, and I’m an atheist.” That is to avoid it coming out in a personal up-close question at the end.)

    Two isolated streakers acting out of line?

    Two isolated Shofarians acting “out of line”.

    Or if the former came from a dark and ancient stronghold leading to a demonic attack… that requires a statement of “freedom of religion” and an address at the whole of Stellenbosch to increase their tolerance of Shofar… What was the latter? What dark evil might inspire that kind of intolerance towards someone prepared to stand up for his (non-)beliefs?

    I’d suggest these two Shofarians were directly inspired by their church, by rhetoric such as that by Fred May above. In their minds, atheism gets associated with things like “dark and ancient strongholds”. But… under freedom of religion, I can’t spin this and turn Shofar into a dark and ancient stronghold, because then I’d be talking about a specific religious institution that has to be respected under freedom of religion.

    But anyway, I do think there is a difference in the two cases. One is a bit of spit on the feet and some insults hurled at a mature man. The other is a bunch of streakers, possibly wielding pepper spray, upsetting a crowd of a few hundred strong. A crowd that’s trained to demonise streaking (as per example above), and thus trained to not handle it calmly. There’s definitely a difference.

    But I still want to know if the streakers had the pepper-spray. I do feel less strongly about a couple of streakers than I do about personal assault with pepper spray.

  • 12 Gerhardus Du Buissom // Nov 2, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Hugo,

    I find the whole streaker thing to be very funny! In my opinion it is just student fun. I have been around the block and some people still believe that by stripping bare you can make a powerful statement.

    I really do not think that the freemasons had anything to do with it.

    Shofar is doing a great job in smearing their own name by what they do and teach and preach – they don’t live by half the stuff they preach anyway………

    I do believe in God and that satan exists, but I simply believe that we give satan too much credit. Mostly it is our own actions that lead to naked students running through churches and not satan or the freemasons. If you just listen to all the sermons that Fred May has been preaching since January 2008 – full of hate speech, racism, greed and brainwashing. It is really true that you reap what you sow, he and the church are just reaping what Fred May has been sowing all along.

  • 13 H J // Nov 3, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Cynical and uninformed. What a bore these comments are. Ever thought of checking the facts before opining? Or would that defeat the object?

  • 14 Hugo // Nov 3, 2008 at 12:34 am

    H J, do you have some facts to share with us?

  • 15 H J // Nov 3, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Why would you expect me to do your homework for you? Seems like you have far too much time to chat baloney and party, and not enough work to do. Do your own research, washing, cleaning and cooking, and earn your own keep. By that time, you should have something worthwhile to contribute to society. Being part of the solution instead of part of the problem will make you feel better about yourself, and more positive about living on the planet. Then people will be interested in what you have to say. At the moment the only people who take note are those who share the same grouchy couch potato attitude, and those who happen to land here by coincidence – like me. Here’s hoping you get a life soon.

  • 16 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

    The above comment is both cynical.
    And uninformed.
    Pot, meet kettle.

  • 17 H J // Nov 3, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Hmmm, after reading a bit of your homepage, I see something of where you are coming from. Young, intelligent and facing some serious issues with what you believe. Possibly not a lazy couch potato, just angry. But be careful that in your anger you do not add injustice to the injustice you are experiencing. That is no solution for you. What goes around comes around again and again, as you surely know. Keep seeking, don’t give up and become a closed-minded bigot. Realize that engineers get no training in the humanities, and that you have a backlog to catch up. Have some respect for things that have stood the test of time and for which untold thousands were – and still are -prepared to face unspeakable suffering and martyrdom.
    Social dynamics are very different from science. The universe is not a big mechanical clock. Discernment and wisdom are not attained by brain power alone. Words create atmosphere, and your negativity and judgementalism about things you do not understand, are attracting negative things to you. Keep looking for love and truth you will find it everywhere – even in places you least suspected.

  • 18 H J // Nov 3, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Kenneth Oberlander, yeah yeah, anybody who does not agree with you is dispensed with in your corner of the universe. I get that. Have you anything positive to contribute?

  • 19 Hugo // Nov 3, 2008 at 9:19 am

    H J, many of your comments and ideas, thoughts, questions and suggestions I could return to you directly.

    I find your comments quite judgemental, and you jump to conclusions and stereotype me without having a clue about me.

    I have the utmost respect for things that have stood the test of time. For example, good theology. The kind of thing you learn when you study for six years at a theological seminary. There is so much wealth and value to be found in the great theologians of the past as well as the present. And it pains me to see Shofar ignore all that. Sorry, most of that. I wish Shofar had more respect for things that stood the test of time, rather than just wiping it all into the bin under the label “dead religion”.

    H J, keep seeking. Keep looking for love and truth, and you might even find it in places you least expect, like here on this blog.

    Have you anything positive to contribute? 😉

    (This comment is meant with a most positive attitude, written relatively light-heartedly. Please read it as such.)

  • 20 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 3, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Kenneth Oberlander, yeah yeah, anybody who does not agree with you is dispensed with in your corner of the universe. I get that.

    No. But someone who randomly encounters a blog and has the gall to insult the owner and participants with accusations of being cynical and boring in their very first post doesn’t need to be “dispensed with”. They need to apologise. Or go away.

    Have you anything positive to contribute?

    Actually, yes. I find it the height of arrogance for you to troll on in here and accuse Hugo, (of all people) of having an entire catalogue order of personality defects, all of which are untrue, and most of which, on the basis of your first few posts, can be directly reflected back at you.

    Positive enough for you?

    Apologies for feeding the troll, Hugo, but I found this unacceptable. I’ll ignore what this person says in future.

  • 21 Hugo // Nov 3, 2008 at 10:22 am

    @Kenneth, no problem! Thanks for the support. So far I still choose to believe H J just had a knee-jerk reaction to hearing ideas he doesn’t like much, and is capable of repenting (rethinking his attitude). If not, “do not feed the troll” will certainly be in order.

    You know H J, Jesus specifically did not do what you did above.

  • 22 H J // Nov 3, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Oh and Hugo is allowed to insult and defame and spread false rumours about Shofar, brand anyone who believes the Bible as a foam at the mouth fundamentalist and offend them. That is perfectly ok. Everyone who disagrees is a troll according to you. Yeah yeah. Same tune, same chorus. It was not entertaining, enlightening or in any way worth the effort. Closed mind. Close the door. What a waste. Ho hum and so goodbye to you.

  • 23 Hugo // Nov 3, 2008 at 10:42 am

    *sigh*.

    1) which false rumours did I spread?
    2) when did I call anyone a fundamentalist in this post?
    3) fundamentalism used to be a positive term, though these days I go by Crossan’s definition.
    4) at what did you take offence? Let’s discuss!
    5) I’m sorry that you don’t seem to understand why Kenneth believes you are a troll. (Trolls are not interested in discussing.)

    I’m very open to disagreement and discussion, but you have not yet disagreed on any particular point. If you are open minded and don’t mind people disagreeing with you, let’s chat! Otherwise, go in peace. Shalom. Let’s not waste each other’s time.

    (I’ve now gotta sleep, then work — I’m in a funky timezone at the moment — I’ll try to check back in ~19 hours.)

  • 24 Food for analysis // Nov 3, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Mr.David Pepler reacted to the rather slapstick insults and outraged venting of phlegm in the general direction of his shoes, as aimed by highly-agitated Shofarians whom it seems were obviously deeply distressed that he might actually celebrate his own Constitutional freedom of beliefs by choosing not to hold fundamental religious ones – with a call for an analysis into what caused those students to act in such a strangely bigoted and clearly anti-social fashion.

    He is right, and of course, those responsible for the incident would need to be interviewed in depth to garner better first hand data as to what their underlying motivation may have been, although keep in mind the forum in which it took place was not a religious gathering or a church ceremony, it was an academic or more specifically a natural sciences class and an honest answer to a loaded religious question which literally went off at his feet. That incident alone beggars some serious questions. Shofar claimed this to be an isolated incident, but other press articles and magazine stories have covered a slew of other “isolated incidents” and complaints from the public such as Shofar members accusing a visitor to their meeting of being “demon possessed” because the individual in question felt completely disinclined to return to a second Shofar meeting even after months of virtually being stalked by this group. There was also the reported not so gentle press-ganging and interrogation of an unsuspecting partygoer under the guise of offering the person a lift home at night. This apparently by a van full of Shofar students cruising around looking for suitable marks. Music acts performing in Stellenbosch repeatedly suffer the indignity of their posters being torn down by Shofar students disapproving of their “demonic” advertising artwork apparently. The list goes on, and that is only mainstream press, the internet is dotted with blogs mostly testifying to the same thing.

    “Isolated incidents”, by simple definition do not repeat themselves, sound eerily familiar and as an absolute they are also not committed in solidarity by a group against an individual or individuals with whom that group perceives itself to be in a state of actual conflict. That is something else entirely, and since it needs more than one participant in any society – it is termed bigotry and more specifically the sub-section of extremism we call religious intolerance. What would then persuade students in an internationally respected academic institution like the University of Stellenbosch, to contrive to bring their sectarian organisation’s hostile views into open variance with a popular television presenter by spitting at him publicly! A man whose professional zoological concerns are with the very environment which all animals share, including homo sapiens, regardless of religious fundamentalism and sectarian bigotry. At the very least, it seems out of context and way off the topic and can therefore be loosely construed as a sort of mass paranoid delusion and a passive-aggressive obsession pre-occupying the members of this group. It deeply distorts their own perceptions as to the nature of the freedoms strangers enjoy as they act normally within normal professional and social contexts – to a point of forcing confrontation, wherein these Shofarians feel the need to act out on their performance anxieties in a manner and husbandry of language that is then only perceived to be crude manipulation, immature emotionalism and an anti-social act. Something the Shofarian participants conversely experience as a “battle against evil” in “soul winning” as they “take the whole gospel to the whole world”.

    Since a group like Shofar is assimilated from people who by all accounts were very young strangers and in the most part, actually teenagers away from home for the very first time before joining that group, we must look for the common denominator that shaped their perceptions and brought their minds to believe in evil demons apparently possessing their classmates and the need to abduct, publicly vilify and try and to use psychological coercion to bring new converts to their adopted cause and away from the terrors of the demonic dominion that hovers as “an ancient dark stronghold” and is second by second threatening their emerging lives.

    It seems sad that such young people could find themselves so obsessed with demonic fear and rejecting a small town and exceptional campus that is not hostile towards them.

    Mr. May … unfortunately, it would not be fair to accord this gentleman the honorary of Rev. or even Pastor for that matter, since by his own accounts he cannot present any clearly recognisable academic bona-fides, record of public ordination or history of local and/or other denominational affiliations within his description of his origins and his version of the genesis of his organisation’s roots in the Stellenbosch community – all other current claims to SACC and IFCC affiliations notwithstanding. No record of legitimate qualification exist in any of his press statements or on the Internet, both old or in saved caches. It would certainly not be fair to those who have actually endured the rigours of completing a recognised degree in Divinities or one in Natural Science for that matter. So for the sake of fairness to qualified ministers, this treatise will refer to the gentleman in question as Mr. May until evidence presents itself to the contrary. Amongst other duties, a true Christian minister is authorised to officiate as a Commissioner of Oaths at a wedding ceremony, something Mr. May is apparently not permitted to do as a result of having no official sanction, theological educational qualifications or being ordained as a Christian minister. One cannot even call Mr. May a lay minister since he would also have to work under the supervision of a mainstream organisation with established checks and balances beyond his sphere of self-appointed control.

    Secondly, analysis can only be performed upon the actual data at hand and that is limited to Mr. May’s public and press statements, since it seems that the various reporters and journalists were somehow not able to interview Mr. May first hand and their articles were limited to presenting his prepared statements without the benefit of probing questions or dialogue. Let us examine those statements and monologues in depth to get a profile of Mr. May and his Shofar. As a source of data they are rich with pathologies concerning the world, as Mr. May perceives it. And if we can prove that these threats Mr. May perceives are contrived and at best non-existent, or irrelevant then the anti-social aberrations in Mr. May’s Shofar group are entirely of his own making, meaning Mr. May, while being a skilled public speaker and kindly charismatic figure, is also both an actual paranoid and a delusional. He also appears to be in denial of his own deeply rooted immorality. And far from reacting to his plight, it would bode well to feel a kind of sympathy for him, although the nature of his pathology is of a type that it can actually spread to people with a pre-disposition to the same fears and psychological fissures that constrain Mr. May. Hence, the puzzling anti-social acts and strange beliefs outside of Christianity held to by certain Shofarians and the accusations by non-Shofarian Christians that Shofar is less of a recognised Christian group within a peaceful community of other Christian groups enjoying constitutional religious freedom in a democracy and more of a cult business of Mr. May’s personality, which is intolerant of any who do not share Mr. May’s views. That much does seem very clear.

    In his various unsolicited Internet statements concerning, or rather advertising his organisation, Mr. May seem to have compartmentalised, then abandoned and redefined himself, whether in response to certain claims from outspoken critics or for other more mundane reasons, the fact remains that Mr. May clearly denies his earlier Internet statements to the Weekend Argus in his press statement “the author claims are ours are fraudulent since they do not come from our official website.” Mr. May clearly did make those statements since they were copied to various independent Internet cache sites by programs utterly objective of any of Mr. May’s issues of perceived “official” public honesty. It is possible Mr. May was unaware that these cache sites existed and therefore believed that no “official” evidence existed of them. Either way Mr. May claimed his own previous statements were fraudulent. This might have been to protect himself from adverse public perceptions but it seems bizarre to say the least and very clearly a deliberate untruth or some deeper pathology.

    In one of his earliest biographies, Mr. May describes, and again bizarrely in the third person, how he and his then girlfriend Lucille came to Stellenbosch:

    “In 1989 Pastor Fred May felt the need to take a ministry sabbatical after spending much time in intensive ministry both in South Africa and abroad. At the same time his getting married to Lucille posed some practical challenges in the light of the prevailing political environment at the time. After prayer they both felt the Lord leading them to settle in the Stellenbosch area, where God graciously provided them with an idyllic cottage on a beautiful wine farm.

    Both Fred and Lucille enjoyed the break from ministry. Lucille had been active as a worship minister for several years before then. While both of them were working full time, God began to impress a tremendous need on Pastor Fred’s heart to begin interceding for the town of Stellenbosch. The prayer burden became all-consuming. It became clear that there was a mighty spiritual contention raging for the town at the time, with occult practitioners even becoming so bold as to do door-to-door visits, leaving call cards that encouraged residents to pursue an interest in “Luciferology”.

    Attempts to mobilize renewal churches in the town against the spiritual advance of that danger proved unsuccessful. At the same time the intensity of the burden grew, as did strong, satanically inspired opposition.”

    In Mr. May’s first sentence he uses the word “ministry” twice, and for a man as articulate and verbose as he is, this is not by chance. This “ministry” he claims was both “national” and “international” in scope. Powerful straw dogs to support his claim that unlike most established ministers, it was not his home church that sent him and his then girlfriend to live in a cottage on a wine farm in Stellenbosch – it was God and God alone. It is this kind of delusion which drives patients in institutions to claim to be Christ or other such revered and elevated figures in diametric opposition to the more pathetic elements of their actual lives. Mostly, wild claims like these are born out of a deeply rooted sense of pathological inadequacy and insecurity.

    Mr. May clearly does understand the structures of established churches, because he claims to have attempted to “mobilise” established “renewal churches” “against the spiritual advance of that danger”, And, “strong, satanically inspired opposition.”

    So Mr. May came to Stellenbosch and tried to join Stellenbosch Christian Fellowship (the renewal group of churches in Stellenbosch of the time) but this did not seem to work out for him and his girlfriend Lucille. At the time, the leaders of those renewal churches were among others – Rev. Peter Twycross and Rev. Peter Taaibosch, a coloured minister although his ethnic background is only of startling significance when considering Mr. May’s later updated Internet biography where he claims: “God, in His wisdom, had chosen to reach the community of Stellenbosch, which was greatly influenced by dead religion and racism, through a life-giving church that was born out of Ps. Fred and Lucille’s cross-cultural marriage.”

    In his first statement Mr. May recognises the legitimacy of established non-racial renewal churches, thus recognising Rev Twycross and Rev. Taaibosch’s ordained and community recognised leadership, yet Mr. May rejects them in his second statement and makes the absurd claim to racism by these same men of Christ. Whatever transpired to cause Mr. May to first recognise and then reject men in established renewal ministry is a question that only Mr. May can answer, however Mr. May himself clearly confirms this as the case in his own statements. It might have to do with the fact that he claimed to be in ministry but admits to also living with his girlfriend out of wedlock “At the same time his getting married to Lucille posed some practical challenges in the light of the prevailing political environment at the time.” This is deeply puzzling because as a mixed race couple, the practical solution at the time and one practiced by other mixed couples determined to marry – would have been to celebrate the nuptials in secret, overseas or pop across the border into a neighbouring county. As international travellers or “ministers”, they had to be in possession of passports. Mr. May further claims in his first statement “By this time Lucille had given birth to their first son, Stephan.”. Mr. May shows a marked care in his choice of words so it is not entirely clear if their child was born out of wedlock, although it definitely seems that he was conceived out of it, something which is in conflict with the basically understood tenets of legitimate family and moral codes of Christianity. Was it because of this moral duality clumsily justified by repressive apartheid laws that Mr. May’s supposed “ministry” credentials were not recognised by established ministers? The prevailing political climate might have given fuel to stoke his moral outrage, which he claims stopped him from marrying his girlfriend Lucille but it certainly did not seem to stop him from enjoying sex outside of a Christian marriage.

    In a recent SL Magazine article, the journalist was unable to find a local minister or member of the US theological faculty who would comment on or confirm Mr. May as a recognised local pastor. That might also be a result of the harsh unending criticism vented at those leaders publicly by Mr. May but it might just be because they all know his immoral history, something obscured to the transitory student community from which he currently makes his extravagant living. It could also be the reason that he practises such rigid relationship controls in his followers to the point of making them sign a contract that sanctions his corporate rejection if their behaviour “fails” him. In a psychological sense, it would seem he has to make up for his own perceived immoral and sexual proclivities by ensuring that no person under his “ministry” falls short and commits “sexual sin” like he did. It also explains his current feelings of sexual violation and animosity towards gay people with further accusations of demonic possession added to that particular religious bigotry.

    Most Christians believe that for all intents Christ defeated the devil. Somehow Mr. May does not. Stellenbosch, a town which has given him every material blessing he was unwilling to work for honestly, is to this day a dark satanic stronghold in his mind. A place God sent him to wage a single-handed battle against. His fascination and long obsession with “Luciferology”, demonology, jezebal spirits, demons of gayness and conspiracy theories (both local and international) seem to all point to a detached and highly narcissistic personality, which in a sense needs, demons and devils and evil unseen to compensate for deep feelings of inadequacy, which is then warded off by his uniquely appointed power over these dark forces using the name of Christ and his own self-declared exclusive relationship with the Almighty as placebo. Being driven by narcissism, this personality type is in a real sense is pseudo, so any recognition this person can gather is success. In fact the more this type of person is vilified, scorned or criticised the more real or alive they feel. So six streakers would only fan the flames of this man’s narcissism higher and higher and the urge to place himself in the centre in a state of dazed blasphemous sexual shock and horror at the utter brazenness of those who dared to desecrate the thrall of his group. See, this personality is under a constant threat of a nature that rubs off on other susceptible personalities within its sphere of influence, hence militant demon empowering Shofarians seeing all sorts of things in their own classmates and lecturers, which they then try and exorcise imitating Mr. May’s speeches and rhetoric. Any manifestation of the kind of demonic fear experienced by Shofarians has too have been induced in them and that fear, far from being pseudo is very, very real. It causes the social passive-aggression and reported confrontation with these folks that sort of flies in the face of allowing other people to choose and enjoy their own beliefs, something Mr. May is clearly very, very sensitive about when it comes to him own, yet due to his narcissistic nature it somehow eludes him that the Satanists he hates so much, too are allowed their own choice of beliefs, even if they seem ludicrous or at best as pathological as his own. Also, notice how Mr. May’s own logic gently eludes him in favour of fanning the flames of his perceived esoteric threats:

    “God graciously provided them with an idyllic cottage on a beautiful wine farm” but it was here that “occult practitioners even becoming so bold as to do door-to-door visits, leaving call cards that encouraged residents to pursue an interest in “Luciferology”

    Once again bizarre. If Mr. May was living with his girlfriend out on a wine farm, how could he possibly know about door to door visits or did these people visit the farm residents?

    In every single public statement Mr. May has had to find sponsorship outside of Stellenbosch to support his cause and lend him credibility, hence the list of gospel celebrities and alphabet church councils with whom he has managed to gain outside affiliation. Being engaged in a huge demonic battle within the community who tolerated him elevates him above mere local ministers concerned with real social issues in the ghettoes and on the street. He is far more important, he is global – therefore his offices are “International headquarters”. He also has to over compensate for his perceived academic inadequacies verbally by using obscure and extreme flowery rhetoric and always the underlying message is: Mess with me and you are messing with God Himself. The ultimate straw dog of the delusional, since God is love and cares for each of his children equally, regardless of their personal differences.

    Despite this, Mr. May is a very successful financially and for sixteen years Mr. May has been making the same wild occultist statements, which makes one pause, because if he was sent to chase out the devil – it seems he has not done a very good job at all – yet, somehow Mr. May and Mr. May alone seem to have managed to benefit from his utter failure and by his own admission, he has become extremely wealthy materially using the name of Christ and exploiting his psychological pathologies as a source of quick cash from lonely, credulous and susceptible students and in some instances their equally gullible parents….

    Someone said: “In his heart of hearts a slave does not crave so much his own freedom but rather his own slaves…”

  • 25 Joe // Nov 3, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Students, please save your pseudo-intellectual linguistic-theological-philosophical analyses for a late night at de Akker (after a few bottles of Tass)

  • 26 Johan Swarts // Nov 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Oh come on, HJ.

    Please refrain from using the description “stood the test of time” to describe a concregation who haven’t even turned 20 yet.

  • 27 Johan Swarts // Nov 5, 2008 at 11:01 am

    By the way, with Regards to the “decoy event” – I played guitar in the Kruiskerk band when it happened and can confirm News24’s story.

    The streakers going to Shofar really was on big fluke. I don’t reckon they were planning it beforehand. Can’t you just see them in the car, laughing about the first one, while someone gets a bright spark and yells: “hey, kom ons gaan shofar toe!!!”

    Du Bois du Toit IS a big guy and did indeed stop all of them. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read May’s letter to his congregation, in which he speculated about how it would be impossible for one mere koster to stop 6 young men and thus the attack was surely planned and demonically inspired – he clearly haven’t seen Du Bois yet.

    (BTW, Hugo, how’s life over the water? 🙂 )

  • 28 Hugo // Nov 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Wait, “laughing about the first one”…? After rereading the News24 link, I see that it is actually quite clear that they first went to Kruiskerk. I was a little uncertain until now. So… why Kruiskerk? Because it’s “across the street”? Who knows. Also probably won’t ever know if they wanted to do both equally, or if Kruiskerk was intended as a “warm-up”. Idle speculation.

    (Re: BTW – It’s good, though life as a working person keeps me rather busy, stops me from spending too much time on personal projects… :-/ )

    Oh, I pushed back the Borg post by a few days. Your comment will still be there though.

  • 29 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Can’t you just see them in the car, laughing about the first one, while someone gets a bright spark and yells: “hey, kom ons gaan shofar toe!!!”

    What will they think of next, streaking during graduation?

    Although…

    I might just join them, then…hehehehe

    thus the attack was surely planned and demonically inspired

    When will these people stop seeing demons under every table. Demons aren’t responsible for people’s actions. People are.

  • 30 Johan Swarts // Nov 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Exactly – because its across the street.

    Streak in, streak out, run back to res, put on clothes, laugh a lot, get ready for monday’s classes.

    As a avid streaker myself (I’ve done it regularly over the past 5 years with my residence) I can testify without a doubt that streaking…

    …um…

    …isn’t demonically inspired.

    No, really. I promise.

  • 31 Jan Dekker // Nov 6, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Jesus never went around slyly imposing his religious ideas onto people and taking advantage of the weak and gullible. Fred and Lucille are utterly perverting Christianity through enforcing it.

  • 32 Hugo // Nov 6, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Careful, Dekker: it’s hard to know when Christianity is perverted and when not. Unless you’d argue it has been “perverted” for much of its history. I’m thinking in particular of the clichéd example: the crusades.

    Jesus was no Christian! 😛

    (Aint it fun to play contrarian! 😉 )

  • 33 Hugo // Nov 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    @Johan: the problem here is that demon-inspiration classifies as something of a conspiracy theory. The demons are conspiring. And hiding themselves, see… so how would you know whether your actions were influenced by a demon or not? They could be pulling some quantum-strings to manipulate decision making.

    Which means the best I can do, is to say “Personally I am completely confident that it is not demonically inspired, but until you define some way in which to test whether something is inspired or not, my confidence is not much of a proof.” Besides, if you take “demon inspired” as a metaphor for course of action or behaviour that you like to demonise (literally in the latter sense, lol), then I don’t have too much of a problem with the language.

    But I’d say it is a real miracle (in subjective language) if Fred or any in the Shofar leadership were to ever point out that demons are not literal entities but rather an element of a mythos, a way of describing the subjective experience…

  • 34 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 7, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Personally I am completely confident that it is not demonically inspired, but until you define some way in which to test whether something is inspired or not, my confidence is not much of a proof.”

    Hugo, surely the burden of proof is on the claimant here. To me, the correct initial position here is that we do not know what inspired this particular event. So anyone who puts forward a claim as to a cause is the one who should substantiate it with evidence. Not me, or you.

  • 35 Hugo // Nov 7, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I kinda veer off-topic on this comment…

    Kenneth, if we’re doing science, yes. If we’re looking for the truth, yes. However, I already know what I believe. And they already know what they believe. So firstly, in some sense, we’re not exactly doing science…

    My quixotic quest is about challenging other people to think, and especially about trying to help minds that have been shackled. How to do this best is currently an art, rather than a science. (But who knows, give it a couple of decades? :-P) So yes, hitting people with the scientific method and the burden of proof will surely be the best course of action for some, I’m mostly pondering how to communicate with a different set of people. In particular, those minds that have had built into them a set of defensive memes, defending against critical thinking.

    The main point the words above are attempting to emphasize, is that you need something testable before you can prove anything. Which is a valid and perfectly fine point, but as you point out, there are some things I did not say: none of these demon-things talked about are therefore proved in any way. At this point the words are all unproven speculations thrown around in the air, which might as well be fiction. Thus, the non-Shofarian population treat it as such, and Shofar is doing itself some seriously bad PR with stunts like these.

    But… possibly… they don’t care? It’s quite nice to have a “we alone have the truth, the rest of the world disagrees with us, thus, clearly, we alone have the truth…” – It appeals to those inside, and it draws in some new recruits that also find that kind of thing appealing. The only reason they’d want good PR with the rest of Stellenbosch, is if they wanted to cooperate. And so far their interest in cooperation doesn’t seem to… exist. Or something like that.

    Naturally, they have a number of innocent looking memes explaining why they can’t go on cooperative missions with the Dutch-Reformed church or Stellenbosch Gemeente. And it’s also driven by dualism: they don’t say the other churches are wrong, they just say that there is some disagreement in some practises, and when on missions, satan uses these disagreements to undermine the mission. They don’t want to be “divided amongst themselves”. And so they justify going on missions on their own, rather than in cooperation.

    On the flip side, why is this important? Because if they did go on missions with other people, they’d be challenged with a completely different understanding of what the gospel is all about. And that might undermine their faith, their memes. Which would harm the selfish-memecomplex. They would discover other churches’ missions are all about making a real difference in this world, rather than just providing people with an escapist strategy to go to heaven after they die.

    See: Evolution… of Language, Culture, Technology, and Religion

  • 36 Werner // Nov 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I believe that the formation of a church such as Shofar was always inevitable. Churches like Shofar (and other churches like them) disagree with older churches that have taken a more relaxed approach to, The Law and the Letter. This is my opinion anyway. These relaxed churches exist, because over a long period of time they were forced to relax their grip on scripture. If they did not, they would ultimately lose their grip on society, because society would outgrow them. After a period of time they create an opportunity for emerging Bible believing churches to dish up a new (old) perspective in combating evil in your life. I believe that the target demographic of these churches consist of people who are desperate in finding deeper meaning in their otherwise meaningless or mundane lives. These people need something radical to change their outlook on life and Shofar stepped in to give them the radical they need.

    As you rightfully say, it’s is not easy to determine whether this is doing good or bad in a society. I would lean towards good, but I cannot really understand why I feel that way.

  • 37 Hugo // Nov 7, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Werner, I’ve come across a number of theologians, anthropologists and Bible scholars who would disagree with your ordering, and suggest the “relaxed churches” are truer to tradition, while some of these new churches are tightening their grip and strangling scripture in the process. They claim the extreme-literalist approach to scripture is a modern development.

    This is a typical development in many religions, think Buddhism. I think it starts off with a couple of leaders that have a great idea of how things can be, and then followers take them too literally and bring in the superstitions. For an ugly example, think even of scientology, where I’d say the creators are scheming business people, and it certainly isn’t a religion. Yet. Now think of what will happen when, finally, the people at the very top of the pyramid are *also* true believers. Suddenly it does turn into a religion, rather than a business? (I recall reading that it currently falls under business laws in Europe, not religion laws.)

    Of course, the development of this process doesn’t exactly happen monotonically, and I’d agree that much of this development in Christianity did happen within a couple of centuries. We’ll be revisiting this in the future as well, so for the time being I’ll just defer to Bible scholars’ authority in their field, rather than get sucked into a debate about this matter. 😉 I’m sure we’ll be grappling about it more than enough later.

    And on whether something is doing good or bad, yes, that is extremely hard to quantify, and I think not worth it. So I’m taking the approach of looking for the good and the bad, and pointing it out, without making a judgement call about which is greater. Mission statement: “understand the good, fix the bad”.

    And I’m dramatically over-simplifying, of course.

  • 38 Post-Mortem or Ressurection? On the Conversation with H J // Nov 8, 2008 at 11:12 am

    […] Her first comment: Cynical and uninformed. What a bore these comments are. Ever thought of checking the facts before opining? Or would that defeat the object? […]

  • 39 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    However, I already know what I believe. And they already know what they believe.

    But beliefs can be changed. And one of the most potent ways in which beliefs can be changed is by presenting the evidence, and scrutinising it critically. Not everyone who believes in demon possession will believe it uncritically for the rest of their life. And a substantial portion of those will abandon this belief entirely once it becomes clear that there are other, more persuasive arguments for the things they have experienced, and previously interpreted as possession. Arguments based on evidence.

    I seem to keep saying this. Perhaps I should think up a handy acronym. WITEFYP?

  • 40 Hugo // Nov 10, 2008 at 1:03 am

    So what does that acronym stand for?

    I think I’ve pretty much replied to this comment in my other comment.

  • 41 Hugo // Nov 10, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Hmmm…:

    Why am I still addressing my regulars, when the real problem is probably the passer-by or newcomer that drops a comment like “Turn or Burn”‘s above. In some senses, I think “Turn or Burn” is the really successful troll in this thread? 😉 And the long one by “Food for analysis”, which I’d wager many of the regulars might have skim-read?

    I extracted one bit out of it: the reminder of the incident with David Pepler, and glossed over the rest, didn’t give it too much thought. I bet most of the other readers also just moved on. But not everyone is used to skipping over stuff on the internet. For some, this whole page gets read as a single document and associated with “thinktoomuch.net” – next all my regulars are classified together with those two.

    So what are the problems here? Looking over the comments above: firstly the same-old, same-old rehashing of the finances argument. Here I agree with HJ: “What a bore these comments are.” The result is that those critical of Shofar basically gets lumped into two groups: those that “have an issue with the finances”, and those that have “been hurt” in some way. (And the latter is dismissed as the same kind of disgruntlement you supposedly get everywhere, as no church is perfect.) I’d say it is therefore quite important to avoid these two stereotypes. So firstly, if blabbing on about finances is all you have to contribute, “go away”. Secondly, if you’re going to go attacking people personally, and “Food for analysis” is an example of that, FFS please refrain from speculation. Speculating about Fred May’s sex life is effectively nothing but a smear campaign, and gets you nicely lumped into the second category.

    Both these two stereotypes were explained to me in Shofar’s Foundations 2 course. I’d wager every Shofarian is aware of these clichés, as well as the rest of Stellenbosch, thus most are pretty much trained to dismiss these and see it as mere reinforcement of their perspectives. It contributes nothing (strong formatting used in lieu of strong language) to the discussion, and ends up suppressing critical thinking.

    The other thing: if anyone got the impression, from the discussion above, that Shofar is on the other side of the road to Kruiskerk, I’d like to apologise for the confusion. It was a quick discussion between two locals (or ex-locals). The thing across the road is Wilgenhof, where the streakers came from. The speculation was thus about what they might have been doing at Kruiskerk in the first place. “Hey, let’s cross the road and go streak at Kruiskerk”.

    I suggest we start a new line of jokes: “why did the streaker cross the road?” 😉

  • 42 saneman // Nov 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    has anyone heard statements from the “attackers” did they in fact use pepper spray or was is the bounces in the congregation?

  • 43 Hugo // Nov 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve fired off an email to someone I trust, and who may know. Will let you know if I find an answer.

  • 44 Hugo // Nov 11, 2008 at 6:47 am

    It seems like the pepper spray was indeed a spur-of-the-moment addition to the streakers’ natural arsenal. While it sounds like their weaponry may have been used against them, they did bring a pepper spray thingy with them.

    So there you have it.

  • 45 saneman // Nov 11, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Well then something needs to be done with the local atheist group or what ever these matie morons are calling themselves.

    But again we are still to hear the other side of the story.

    I really hope “Hugo” isn’t a faith head and just lying yet again to protect his church.

    Are we all aware of the contract the members sign of complete submission to the church’s authority?

    anyway just looking for a “truth” hehehe

  • 46 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 11, 2008 at 10:06 am

    WITEFYP = What is the evidence for your position…

    Should probably make a shortcut key for it…

    And it kinda rolls off the tongue…almost.

  • 47 H // Nov 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Just wanted to say, I think some of you are under the wrong impression. All of the guys weren’t from Wilgenhof, only one of them

  • 48 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 11, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I really hope “Hugo” isn’t a faith head and just lying yet again to protect his church.

    I think that can safely be dismissed.

  • 49 Hugo // Nov 11, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    @H: worthwhile to emphasize, yes! Sounds like more than half (of the six) were actually from out of town. (What does that mean for “stronghold of wickedness in Stellenbosch”?)

    The reason the Willows connection is pointed out in some media, is because the one single guy that there has a history of this kind of stunt (toying with public nudity, not church related though: he disrupted a class… a philosophy class, one of them satanic subjects – tongue in cheek… so I’d suggest that might further undermine the connections Fred made?)

    Are these facts worth writing another blog post about? Or maybe some facts I should add onto the bottom of the blog post above, for more visibility?

    @Kenneth: I wager you’ll like the next blog post I’m planning. If you don’t, I’ll buy you a beer.

    @saneman: I don’t lie. I might be misguided every now and then, or I might choose my words carefully, but I don’t lie. And I certainly trust my source.

    What do you mean by “Well then something needs to be done with the local atheist group or what ever these matie morons are calling themselves.”? What are you on about here, exactly? Did they do something? (Or do you mean to associate the streakers with that group? They’re certainly unrelated, something just as important to point out as that only one of the six was in Wilgenhof.)

    Or is there someone that needs a horse head in their bed? 😉

    BTW, where did you find out about that contract members sign?

  • 50 saneman // Nov 12, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Very simply, if atheists cross the line of physical violence then they are no better than the faith heads. This just makes the church a victim and this is what leads to violent attacks on atheists as they feel we pose a real and immediate threat to them, only strengthening their ridiculous cause.

    Force them to fight an intellectual battle, we will win every time.

    What ever can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  • 51 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 12, 2008 at 8:35 am

    saneman, I hardly think public nudity equates with physical violence… 😉

  • 52 gerhard // Nov 12, 2008 at 10:17 am

    my 2 cents,
    a) run into church with pepper spray spraying people is physical violence… esp if you consider there are old people and kids around.. how thoughtless …

    b) seeing nakit people running into church and church ‘bouncers’ feeling the need to tackle the guys onto the ground (probably getting in a punch or two) is just as thoughtless… you’d think people had a sense of humor about this kinda stuff..

    c) so whats the story now? did the kids bring the pepper spray and spray it or
    did the church members take the pepper spray off the nakit oke and spray him ? if the latter is the case , then why isnt anyone upset/suing/morebadpress?

  • 53 Hugo // Nov 12, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Naked people intruding in a church service is no laughing matter. Underestimating the amount of trauma that can cause to a (pentecostal?) congregation is to be a little out of touch with the situation. Oh… and suppose for example that someone in the congregation had recently been the victim of a particular kind of violent crime…? Think about that for a moment.

    Whatever went down to get the idiots under control and out of there is not really worth speculating about. Whether the pepper spray was actually used to attack the congregation or not might have some influence on how to perceive Fred’s version of the story. But also, let’s not speculate about that, what would the point be?

  • 54 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 12, 2008 at 10:57 am

    @ gerhard, Hugo, I see I missed your comment on the definitive source of the pepper spray.
    OK, in light of that, I retract my comment to saneman. Running through the building naked is fine, but attacking with pepper spray is definitely not on…

    Naked people intruding in a church service is no laughing matter. Underestimating the amount of trauma that can cause to a (pentecostal?) congregation is to be a little out of touch with the situation.

    I suppose I am out of touch with the situation, but this, to me, is incomprehensible. Why? If they had just streaked through the church, who would have been harmed by this action? Without the pepper spray (which to me is the tipping point), I really don’t see how this is an issue.

    Pepper spray, on the other hand…

    Will try and comment again later. Thesis handin day today…

  • 55 saneman // Nov 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Why did the church say it was the most offensive thing ever and it bordered on mental rape, and then mentioned in parsing oh btw they physically attacked us with a chemical agent.

    Why is the church’s story trying to take focus off the pepper spray?

    Hugo said:
    “Naked people intruding in a church service is no laughing matter. ”

    Heres the problem with that:
    your beliefs what ever they are are just that “beliefs”.
    Please remember that to date there is still no evidence to support the existence of god never mind the ramblings in a book written in the bronze age.

    People pull these beliefs onto themselves.

    If I believe in Bob the Pink Unicorn and take offense if someone wears clothes in his place of worship.

    Thats MY belief and you cant expect people to respect every silly belief.

    Why is the church down playing the pepper spray.

    The only reason this story peaked my interest is specifically because a physical attack has been made.

    If the church bouncers are carrying pepper spray then something serious is going on and this just adds more evidence to the “CULT” status this shofar click has acquired.

    *The term “unicorn” is found nine times in the King James Version of the Bible

  • 56 gerhard // Nov 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    what? are you pulling my leg? we’re talking about nakitness here.. Not someone running with full erection in swing. (and why should that womens problems [even if they are that shitty ] be the problems of everyone else within the society? There are lots of people with worse problems than that..

    what matters is if it was a non-violent protest (pepper spary for protection from these famed ‘bouncers’)
    or violent one. (ie. use the pepper spray to spray church goers)
    if the church responded to a non-voilent protest with violence , then that matters …

    saneman: you make a good point, why is the cult focusing on the nakitness as ‘sexual assault’ rather than focusing on the more important aspect who started the violence?
    think you won’t get hugo to understand the bit about why the cult doesn’t by default deserve respect.

  • 57 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    if the church responded to a non-voilent protest with violence , then that matters …

    And if the church had responded to violence with violence?

    Or violence with non-violence?

    The fact is, we don’t know enough.

    It is clear that the streakers had pepper spray from Hugo’s source. It seems that it was used against them. This hardly squares with your idea that non-violence was responded to with violence.

  • 58 will // Nov 12, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    You guys crack me up….this is hillarious.

  • 59 saneman // Nov 12, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Do the shofar members have to sign some kind of contract stating that they have to submit to the authority of the shofar church and can not speak out against it else risk being expelled?

    Am getting a copy of the document tomorrow, just interesting how much weight to give the congregations testimony.

    Kenneth Oberlander: “The fact is, we don’t know enough.”

    agreed

    where is the testimony of the attackers?

    where is there side of the story?

  • 60 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    will@ #58

    We aim to please.

    saneman @ # 59.
    I don’t know the attackers, but I doubt they would come forward voluntarily to present their viewpoint…
    Then again, anyone who has the balls to run naked through a church might be exhibitionist enough to want their side of the story told…

  • 61 Hugo // Nov 12, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    The streakers have a court case hanging. Talking about it in public has legal implications.

    just interesting how much weight to give the congregations testimony.

    That’s all fine and dandy. Useful to know. But I hope you’re not second guessing any of the facts that we’ve been discussing so far?

  • 62 Hugo // Nov 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Recent comment by saneman:

    Do the shofar members have to sign some kind of contract stating that they have to submit to the authority of the shofar church and can not speak out against it else risk being expelled?

    Earlier comment by saneman:

    Are we all aware of the contract the members sign of complete submission to the church’s authority?

    That partly answers my question:

    BTW, where did you find out about that contract members sign?

    I still hate how aggressively people go on the offensive without actually first finding out more about the people they are having a conversation with, or the people they are talking about. I hate it. I hate the vibe/atmosphere. I hate the attitude. It is as if people don’t want to communicate with one another, they want to attack and to defeat, and to be proven right. Maybe I’m just boring, or maybe I’m getting old. Or I’m just griping because saneman never answers my question, and am taking it too personally.

    saneman, search for “Why I Cannot Join Shofar”.

    think you won’t get hugo to understand the bit about why the cult doesn’t by default deserve respect.

    If that’s what saneman was going on about when he was repeating those clichés, then no, I didn’t understand that bit. I don’t care whether a cult deserves respect or not. I prefer to show respect to everyone.

  • 63 Hugo // Nov 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    @Kenneth (I seem to be king of afterthoughts again):

    As far as I know, they didn’t run through the building, it sounds like they were up on the stage disrupting the musicians. (I’m not re-checking the articles here, but anyway.)

    For that reason, calling them streakers might be misleading. Sounds more like a “couple of drunk naked guys being asses”.

    The comment of being “out of touch” was largely in response to:

    you’d think people had a sense of humor about this kinda stuff..

    I suppose if I had chosen to joke about “pentecostals, sense of humour? You’re a little out of touch, no?” – then it would have gone down better. It would ridicule “The Other”, prove that I’m “One of the Guys” with respect to the people currently rambling on about this in these comments, and thereby make me a little bit more popular. And that’s what I hate. – the fact that not resorting to tired clichés like saneman is using, immediately has saneman trying to stereotype me according to some obscure first impression. I’d really like to know how he came to that conclusion. saneman?

    Of course, it’s probably a fact of life. The really popular people at school, at least according to stereotypes, aint the nice guys. It’s traditionally the assholes, not so? Othering a minority group is the best way to get in with the in crowd.

  • 64 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Hugo: relax I’m asking questions and trying to get to the bottom of this. If asking question gets you upset and ruffles feathers then maybe you need to sit down because you are getting emotional. Calling into question one of your “secret sources” shouldn’t be taken as a personal attack, you just made a claim that could of been pulled out of a hat for all i know.

    “I don’t care whether a cult deserves respect or not. I prefer to show respect to everyone.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/3407882/Child-witches-of-Nigeria-seek-refuge.html

    respect is earned. <– full stop

    anyway enough swing ball, looks like we will have to wait for the court case to get answers if any.

  • 65 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I just miniblogged that, actually. (Before you shared it.) With regards to Shofar, I have many friends there, people I care about, people I respect. We’re talking about people here, people. It is certainly a tricky balance, if you don’t respect some of the ideas they have. Have you wondered where you’d be if you had been born in their shoes?

    With regards to dealing with craziness like that which you and I just shared, I’m trying my best, making the best contribution I can. I’m trying. And sometimes I do get irritated and emotional about everyone attacking from all sides. Because that’s what I get for the path I’m walking. My apologies.

    My request is just this: please aim to understand first. By all means, question my sources, but talk to me about it. Don’t jump to conclusions. For the first example I can find:

    I really hope “Hugo” isn’t a faith head and just lying yet again to protect his church.

    Could you rather ask? “Hey, give me some more background on where you’re at?” Y’know, something like that. Not “I wonder if we can trust his source”, but “Hey Hugo, pardon my skepticism, give me some background on this story?”

    Had a chat with someone who should know, and who isn’t on either “side”. He’s not in Shofar. I’m not in Shofar. (Did you think I might be, after the post above, or did you not realise I wrote it?) I feel I shouldn’t give more info than that though, unfortunately. And no, I didn’t talk to one of the perps either. Thus: feel free to be skeptical, you don’t know me well enough to know that you can trust my conclusions. I just desire good manners and some effort to be as peaceful and cooperative as possible. Can’t find the right words now.

    Suppose you meet a Shofarian, which you happen to disagree with. Completely. And you come to the realisation that there’s not going to be any productive communication between you and him. What do you do:

    a) tell him he’s an idiot, which polarises the landscape more (e.g. makes his circle of friends more important to him), or
    b) tell him about this witch hunt of children (assume for a moment he’d condemn it as well) and ask him what he’s doing to help solve the madness? And what his friends are doing to help?

    Assuming (b) can at least bear some fruit, I’d think you’d agree (a) is the wrong choice? That’s what we’re about here, we’re about general cross-cultural understanding, accepting that some things are not going to change soon, and focusing on the things that can be changed. So it’s not about giving up. It’s not about doing nothing. It’s about looking for another solution to a potential stalemate “out there”.

    If you can climb on board with that, stick around! If that’s not your cup of tea, throw an eye every now and then if you like, but please don’t judge & condemn…

    OK, that’s another attempt at trying to share the raison d’être, I hope it’s useful to someone following. Because there’s a lot of work to be done, and I apologise for taking so long to get to it, but in-fighting can only delay.

    Was that explanation useful to anyone? And now, by all means, challenge me on these ideas, let us talk about it, but let’s keep it civil?

  • 66 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Ok just read the contract and looked at the second level shofar booklet thingie.

    To be honest, nothing looks sinister, granted they take the std “we hate gays” view, but hey pull that crap out the bible and the bible is full of unicorns and crap so what ever.

    They do mention that they can and help guide you back onto the path if you stray but nothing hectic.

    They are pretty serious about the tithing but hey you sign before you pay, so its the same as any other contract.

    They do have a lot to say about creationism that is probably not the best view point to have in a UNIVERSITY TOWN, this is just stupid to make empirical claims about the state of the natural universe and this is what has caused all the trouble.

    I think all the horror stories we have heard has probably more to do with the whack jobs running the place and who try enforce the “guidelines” of the nonsense they believe.

    It should be obvious what a recipe for disaster this is and probably most other faith systems.
    If you are making rules and guidelines based on the the supposed ability to “know the mind of god”.
    Then putting some mouth breathing power crazed people in charge to enforce it is scary and sad.

    Maybe the old cliché “only sheep need shepherds” rings true, because to sign the contract you have to want to be lead by the nose.

    Just wish the people in charge of these sheep where more qualified and didn’t have personal agendas.

    To play devil advocate here for a second, maybe alot of this negativity towards shofar is from the other churches who have lost members to this new shiny repackaged bullshit shofar are offering.

  • 67 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Hugo: sorry for jumping to conclusions about you being a faith head

  • 68 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:35 am

    There is certainly some “sheep stealing” going on, but I’d wager the negativity is not about that.

    In terms of leadership, I know theologians in Stellenbosch that are concerned about the fundamentalism, and the harm it can cause.

    In terms of students, the perceived “holier than thou” air probably has a lot to do with it, as does attempting to “save” people by evangelising in pubs on Wednesday nights (that didn’t last long, I’m sure Shofar’s leadership realises how bad an idea that was – though that’s based on a single conversation I had).

    But certainly, creationism is a big thing. That’s so far what we’ve been on about on this blog. Check the about page for a link to coverage of a seminar in the beginning of the year. I’ll still be sharing a link to a friend’s coverage of a more recent seminar.

    There is also a lot of negativity about the homosexual thing. If you hear a bit about the anguish some gays are going through because of the whole Shofar thing, that should also be moving. (Talking here about ex-Shofarians in the Lesbigay closet support group.)

    And there’s people unhappy about the bad name Shofar is giving to Christianity. As a polarising force, it drives some people closer to fundamentalism, and drives other people out of Christianity altogether. (If that statement of mine isn’t considered true, make those groups smaller until it is. :-P)

    Oh my, my post queue is long. Grrr… There’s some interesting news I want to sink my teeth into, news that’s getting old…

  • 69 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Apology accepted. I’d love to say “please let that be a lesson to you”, but that sounds so darn condescending? However, it serves as a good example of what I explicitly want to avoid on this blog. Shalom! 😉

  • 70 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:49 am

    & just for the record: don’t assume we’re agreed on much either. I’m sure there is much we disagree about, that I prefer to not mention right now. I first go for common ground, before turning up the evangelism… So do be wary! 😉 We talk about what we’re talking about though, and try to leave the rest of our disagreements outside for a while. For another time perhaps.

  • 71 gerhard // Nov 13, 2008 at 10:48 am

    saneman : don’t be fooled hugo is a faithhead. at least for the most of it 😛 word of warning , don’t let urself get into the ‘god exists’ convo with him, he’s very … what would u call it.. ‘new age christain’ anything goes and jesus existed because of all the hear says and ‘second hand reports’ centuries after the fact. dispite many of the other quaks at the time having ample of timely evidence, except for jesus.
    we’ve had many conversations around this topic which are accessible via the archives… (please note that the crazyness at the end of last year had some personal stuff attached to it. he was graduating uni and moving to CH for a job at google. )

  • 72 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:05 am

    They do have a lot to say about creationism that is probably not the best view point to have in a UNIVERSITY TOWN, this is just stupid to make empirical claims about the state of the natural universe and this is what has caused all the trouble.

    You ain’t heard nothing yet…University town or not, creationism is entrenched here.

  • 73 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:06 am

    my apology was for jumping to conclusions not for calling him a “faith head”.

    If there is belief he holds in the in the face of real world evidence then he will qualify as a faith head.

    Ignorance is one thing,reading more than one book fixes that.

    But being proudly ignorant is well..
    whats a nice way of putting it: a waste of a life

    I think we should leave personal lives out of this because if people want to introduce personal and subjective testimony them its open season on there entire character and motivation for said testimony.

  • 74 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:09 am

    But being proudly ignorant is well..
    whats a nice way of putting it: a waste of a life

    I think you are coming perilously close to jumping to conclusions here. Why not stick around a while and read some more of what Hugo actually posts. I doubt you will hold this viewpoint in a few weeks.

  • 75 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I doubt you will hold this viewpoint in a few weeks.

    Sorry I’m confused what view point are you talking about

  • 76 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Hmmm…looking at your previous post I see it can be interpreted differently.

    Were you accusing Hugo of arrogant ignorance? If so, my point stands.

  • 77 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Kenneth Oberlander: being “proudly ignorant” means not wanting to know. Looking at evidence and then dismissing it is another thing. People are very good at justifying their beliefs, cleaver people are even better at it.

    Believing the earth is 6000 years old when you have no other evidence is ignorant.

    Believing the earth is 6000 years old and refusing to look at the MOUNTAIN of evidence that contradicts your belief is what I call being “proudly ignorant”.

    Believing the earth is 6000 years old even after reviewing the evidence is what I call a “faith head”

  • 78 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    being “proudly ignorant” means not wanting to know. Looking at evidence and then dismissing it is another thing. People are very good at justifying their beliefs, cleaver people are even better at it.

    You’re preaching to the converted, I’m afraid. I understand what you mean by this, I want to clarify who you were calling a faith head in this situation.

    Believing the earth is 6000 years old and refusing to look at the MOUNTAIN of evidence that contradicts your belief is what I call being “proudly ignorant”.

    Again, are you accusing Hugo of this? Or was your original comment directed at someone/something else? The context is ambiguous.

  • 79 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I was not accusing him of being proudly ignorant. I haven’t read through many of his posts. So the jury is still out.

  • 80 saneman // Nov 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I explained the terms so that if/when I use them we woun’t have to repeat this tired procedure.

  • 81 gerhard // Nov 13, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    oooh then i have a question?
    a) there were quite a number of jesus like magicians at the time that we have evidence for:
    1. physical evidence
    2. first hand accounts (stuff left behind or written by followers)
    3. second hand accounts.
    (the accounts are usually jewish/muslim scholars
    or roman historians/philosophers/storytellers etc)

    b) for jesus this isnt the case, we have
    1. no physical evidence(not for supposed relatives)
    2. no first hand accounts
    (except naturally for the 2000_ scrolls that were discovered to be written much much later and are generally considered group fiction as we dismiss most of it. )
    3. a couple of second hand accounts (which also were written much later and generally are accounts of accounts)

    so my question is this.

    is you believe jesus existed.. then does that make you a faith head?

    pointing out a wording issue on the wiki of the historicity of jesus’ , the wording is… Nevertheless, historicity is still regarded as effectively proven by almost all Biblical scholars and historians.‘ which to me implies things that should rock your boat.
    To me all that says is ‘despite this reallly big thing our experts are missing ,the proof, and obviously fatal logical flaw , ufo experts agree. UFOs exist!’.

    sounds a bit like they are justifying their existence.

  • 82 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 13, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I was not accusing him of being proudly ignorant. I haven’t read through many of his posts. So the jury is still out.

    I see. In which case, my original statement stands. Hang around for a while, and decide for yourself if Hugo is a faith head.

  • 83 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    @gerhard, #71:

    Thanks, it is useful to know how you see me. I’m sorry you had to drag “new age” into it. (Another demonised term, and a term that I really don’t know what it means: has so many different understandings so as to become meaningless. Friend of mine’s sister is explicitly into the whole “New Age” thing, and he says I would never be labelled as such.)

    In order to give saneman some context, in the light of gerhard’s summary:

    word of warning , don’t let urself get into the ‘god exists’ convo with him

    The first thing to point out: I have a different ontology than gerhard. It’s a philosophical position. I’d say “love exists”, while I’d say with gerhard’s ontology, on the grounds of his rejecting my way of looking at it, gerhard would conclude love does not exist. Note that philosophically, that is a fair position to take. But it is also the primary reason for the “convo” I had with gerhard in the past.

    And I agree: let’s not get into that. I’m weary of it. Maybe some other day.

    anything goes

    Bullshit. gerhard is building a strawman-Hugo.

    and jesus existed

    I certainly believe he did. It seems I didn’t bookmark the most recent interesting piece I saw on that, but I thought it was on Exploring Our Matrix. His historical tag did turn up a new post of his, Did Jesus Exist On Youtube. Worth a watch, I think. I’m busy watching it. (It is on pause.)

    (please note that the crazyness at the end of last year had some personal stuff attached to it. he was graduating uni and moving to CH for a job at google. )

    Tonnes of stress due to finishing my thesis, and an attempt to reconcile humanity’s madness. (That can result in madness in the mind of the reconciler.) But the getting a job and moving to CH has absolutely nothing to do with it. Let’s leave that out of the picture. In some ways I’d like this blog to be more anonymous, less attached to my “real life”. (Still attached to me as a real living, breathing human though, ditto for all commenters: every person taking part here is a real person. And that statement should be really loaded. Load it, please.)

    being “proudly ignorant” means not wanting to know. Believing the earth is 6000 years old even after reviewing the evidence is what I call a “faith head”

    Proudly ignorant – not wanting to know, or wanting to not know?

    Most people in the world don’t have a huge desire to know things, so in the first case most of the world is proudly ignorant. There are some things I don’t care to know (apathy), I don’t have a specific desire to know. Am I then proudly ignorant?

    If it is more the latter, of wanting to not know, then most South African creationists are neither proudly ignorant nor faith heads. Because most of them simply haven’t seen the evidence (so they can’t be faith heads by your definition), but neither are they proudly ignorant: they’re just living in the standard human apathy.

    But yes, I’m being pedantic, and you’re defining the extremes mostly:

    refusing to look at the MOUNTAIN of evidence

    So the difference between refusing and simply not really caring is the difference between proudly ignorant and just plainly ignorant?

    Are you willing to accept the ignorant label with regards to things you don’t know yet? (I’m sure you’ll say yes. The aim is to destigmatise and contextualise the “ignorant” label just a little.)

    Now a little bit more text to provide context to the way I use words:

    If you live a good life, I’d say you’re living a faithful life, in a sense. Not the Christian faith, mind you, but faithful nonetheless. If you truly “believe nothing”, by my definition of belief, you’d be a nihilist. Even if you accept empirical science. I’m talking morally and culturally. Thus:

    Having a perspective that life is valuable, and that life is worthwhile, is to have a belief. That is a belief that is taken as a leap of faith. Any evidence you can point to to confirm this, is effectively confirmation bias.

    Furthermore, believing in compassion and the golden rule, is still a belief, by my definitions. Sure, there’s a genetic basis for it (or a genetic basis providing a framework by which the memetic side of compassion can be propagated), which you can point to if you’re taking an outside observer / scientist’s role, but when you’re just being a human yourself, I consider the conscious manifestation of this genetic predisposition a belief, in my broad sense of the world.

    So in my books, by my definitions, I’m all to happy that the whole of humanity would be “faith heads”. But those are my definitions. I understand that you have different ones, and that our definitions will probably never be reconciled. That makes communication here a little more tricky, but if everyone keeps that in mind and treads carefully, and seeks to understand the other’s mind, we should be able to get along just fine.

  • 84 Hugo // Nov 13, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    That clip, Did Jesus Exist On Youtube, is really cool!

    So, saneman, could I argue that someone that believes with a sufficient amount of certainty that Jesus did not exist, would fall under one of those categories? Ignorance of the historical method or of the evidence… or otherwise a “faith head” if they maintain that certainty despite seeing the counter arguments?

  • 85 saneman // Nov 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

    So I’m technically a faith head because I don’t believe in Zeus even in the face of all the stories about him?

    Why does it scare people if you don’t believe in some kind of specific lie or myth?

    So being credulous makes you more human?

    So Kent Hovind creates an argument for creationism I look at it and see it is full of bad logic/science as well as the only reason for his argument is to justify his belief in something that is grounded in no evidence to begin with. A mountain of crap manufactured evidence isn’t really evidence it more fluff and noise that the people who are being intellectually honest have to wade through.

    This just gets tiring having to address every single argument for Zeus, Jesus or Bob the Pink unicorn

    Non-believers should not have to prove anything or explain themselves what so ever. If someone wants me to believe in something then the onus is on them to prove it to me.

    And I don’t like using the word believe rather use expect.

    Last point: People can be wrong or make mistakes, but they can CHANGE there mind, so lets go easy on the people who do have open minds and maybe be ignorant on some/most topics(myself included). But the willingness to review evidence and change their minds trumps all.

  • 86 Hugo // Nov 14, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I think you completely missed my point.

  • 87 saneman // Nov 14, 2008 at 10:55 am

    make your point clearer.

  • 88 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Did you even try to understand?

    … Did you watch that video clip? Or did you choose to respond to my comment in ignorance, or… did you think the video clip had nothing to do with my comment?

  • 89 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 9:35 am

    It seems I didn’t bookmark the most recent interesting piece I saw on that, but I thought it was on Exploring Our Matrix.

    Silly of me… the post with the video clip that I linked to above, actually links to the original post that I had meant to link to:

    Messiah vs. Myth: Did Jesus Exist? A Response to Tom Verenna

  • 90 Demons & Shofar // Nov 15, 2008 at 11:09 am

    […] regards to Fred’s letter and press release about the recent streaker and pepper-spraying incident, a number of my friends agree that streakers were being childish, irresponsible or criminal, but […]

  • 91 saneman // Nov 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    perfect example of a pseudo intellectual faith head trying to square the circle with some dusty book his parents and geographical location forced on him.

    sad really

    lots of fluff and noise about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin but no real arguments.

    I don’t have time for these tired ramblings, this one isn’t a dangerous faith head, but he will keep a few people bogged down longer in theism than they should do with his long winded pointless arguments.

    If you can be good without the bible, koran, tora or wind in the willows being drummed into your head as a “truth” <= (talk about hijacking words, funny how there are no theories in religion only “truths”), then that makes them irrelevant as a moral guide or supporting the existence of a supernatural creator.

    have a “faithfull” live hugo

    cheers

    what ever can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without

  • 92 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Am I the only one that thinks saneman seems unable, or unwilling to get the point I was trying to make?

  • 93 gerhard // Nov 16, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    The first thing to point out: I have a different ontology than gerhard. It’s a philosophical position. I’d say “love exists”, while I’d say with gerhard’s ontology, on the grounds of his rejecting my way of looking at it, gerhard would conclude love does not exist. Note that philosophically, that is a fair position to take. But it is also the primary reason for the “convo” I had with gerhard in the past.
    no man, the my philosophical difference is more that you say ‘true love exists’. i say love, with evidence, even as an abstract concept, many different systems working together decentralized to similar stimuli to further reproduction, exists.
    True love, ‘each kettle having only one lid or meant for each other’ as such has no evidence or reasoning behind it.
    The arguments for it stem from with in an emotional state and therefor describe that emotional state more than explain it, i reason that the concept ‘true love’ is an emotional want expressing itself.
    An escapism from the fact that what you are feeling , what you are experiencing is ‘designoid’ and not unique, insta loyalty so we have a guarantee that we make more of us.

    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logic and should not be influenced by emotion, authority, tradition, or any dogma. So by this standard. Things like ‘true love’ are not worth believing in and ‘love’ is.
    Translate that to ‘homeopathy , creationism, zeus , unicorns, theism’ out and ‘herbalism, earth science, philosophical studies, mythological studies’ in. breaking freethought as we established earlier makes you a faithhead.

    as f0r my ‘anything goes’ comment. This is a position you hold. you’ve taken the postmodernist stance. you view Christianity as a living breathing thing, changing. that it is ok for significant changes like ‘what this or that means’ to contemporary relative context. This is where your understanding of ‘word of god’ differers from other Christian cults. which can put you into the ‘relative faithhead’ catagory, which means you could believe in anything if it’ll give you enough kicks.

    in sanemans terms ‘not wanting to know’, talking about the subject but not examining the subject.

    what saneman and i are unable and unwilling to do is to lie to ourselves so that we can ‘get your point’ and be ‘ignorant’. We don’t want ‘ignornat faith heads’ , we want people who know the actual reasons life is valueble, why living is worth while. Not stuffing the with poppycock until they burst with group think happyness. We want you to get past this dribbling on about how many angels are dancing on a pin stuff.

  • 94 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

    as f0r my ‘anything goes’ comment. This is a position you hold.

    Nope, this is a position that you think I hold.

    I’m sorry that after all the exchanges we’ve had, you still don’t understand me. It kinda encourages me to give up trying.

    what saneman and i are unable and unwilling to do is to lie to ourselves so that we can ‘get your point’ and be ‘ignorant’.

    What you seem unwilling to do, is to try and understand why I’m writing the things I do. You criticise that which you do not understand. And no, you don’t have to understand it, you can go your merry way, but I’d wish that if you did hang around and wish to criticise, you’d go to the trouble of trying to understand first.

    I’ve received shockingly little “why?” questions, and too much “no”. For a bad analogy, if you see some evidence that doesn’t match your theories, it’s best to ask “why am I seeing these results?” rather than just simply dismissing it as “probably experimental error”. Bad analogy, but anyway.

  • 95 saneman // Nov 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

    hugo: could you state your beliefs in point form?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

  • 96 gerhard // Nov 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Nope, this is a position that you think I hold. go look at our previous conversations.. about the maclaren-isms and postmodernism … take your arguments on fundamentalism , empiricism etc. the very act of your choosing your ‘naturalist’ god form , the very act of ‘picking and choosing’ is what makes you a ‘anything goes’ type … sure , you put restrictions on your faith and labels , but those restrictions are arbitrary…
    its like the fundamentalist opinion of moderate chrstain… the fundamentalist is the one who abides by the word of god,
    a moderate has a tendency of picking and choosing as they please and whatever gives the religion purpose withing the current relative social context.. (like the catholics not having issues with nazism despite having priest stationed in concentration camps who were reporting back.. ) [i cant even believe catholics could be considered moderate….]

  • 97 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    @gerhard, You still misunderstand me, and badly so. This is why I say I wish you would ask more questions, questions of the kind that would resolve your misunderstanding.

    @saneman, no, I can’t. My beliefs are irrelevant, I don’t care to share them here and now. I’ve shared many of my perspectives over time, and I will be sharing more later, when I have time to phrase them well.

    If you don’t have enough patience, please go away. This isn’t a single-serving blog, this is a blog with which you need a longer-term relationship to find real value.

    I know what Stockholm syndrome is. In fact, I was just thinking about that yesterday, wondering if you’d accuse me of it (or not you specifically, but a general kind of commenter of which you and gerhard are possibly examples), running through different lines of conversations about it in my head. Which means you’re being quite predictable. 😉 In any case, I don’t feel like explaining my thoughts around that either. For myself: it’s boring because I’ve already explored thoughts surrounding it. For my blog: because it’s useless, doesn’t contribute anything. For you: well, I don’t really care what you think. So sorry, I’m not spending any more time on it.

  • 98 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    In what ways am I an “anything goes?” person? (Asking myself.) Well, I’m not a bigot.

    a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own

    Being tolerant of opinions differing from my own is the primary way in which I’m “anything goes”. If the alternative is being a bigot, shouldn’t everyone be “anything goes”, by gerhard’s broad understanding of it?

    No, gerhard’s understanding is probably not that broad, but if I combine my views of my own views, and his labelling of my views, that’s the definition that pops up. If that’s not gerhard’s definition, then either my own views of my own views are incorrect, or gerhard’s views of my own views are incorrect. Which is more likely?

    The key point is then this: I do start out tolerant of all views, and I aim to understand what those views mean to the people holding them. Without first understanding, I refuse to criticise. And then, yes, there are views that are actively harmful and shouldn’t be left alone. That should be more than obvious if you’ve looked at enough of my blog. The key is this: instead of being an asshole and a bigot around every turn and sowing mayhem and destruction, I’m much more interested in finding the most valuable and effective place to contribute, and making a targeted, focused effort to contribute at those places. Otherwise you’re wasting oxygen (using it inefficiently).

    Naturally opinions can differ about what the best place to contribute is. Bear in mind that your key contribution and my key contribution can be very different, because we have different pasts, different skill sets, different spheres of influence. We are not clones of one another, neither in nature nor in nurture. In the end, I believe I’m the best judge as to where my contributions will be most valuable.

    I’ve now committed to a particular topic for my next post (in a “promise” to Kenneth), postponing the other post I have high on my list until next week. That one will talk more about what I’ve just blabbed about: my views on the best way to contribute, at least in this corner of the universe.

  • 99 gerhard // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:10 am

    stop sidestepping here, i was specifically talking about your style and promotion of religiosity in context of my defining ‘anything goes’ within this and previous comments/posts.

    I consider this to be dangerous and poisonous and fail completely to understand why i should accept your apologetics and bewilling to accept authoritative rule from people living with in dungeons and dragons type ‘pretty much any fantasy will do , as long as , there is some sort of fantasy’ adult make believe. It’s absurd and you need to grow up. that’s just my opinion of this sort of stuff, so forgive me.

    If my voicing opinions, truthfully without learning a new sugar coating language as to not offend you, makes me an asshole then, cool. i get that. I’m grateful to be one. I feel however that one should at least be able to directly defend accusations like ‘your world view is lotr’ and ‘you’re answering with arguments for angles dancing on a pin’ and ‘your thinking has been systematically infected’ without requiring a monologue of circular reasoning on unrelated things to distract people… maybe explain why they aren’t .. defend the position.. don’t get emotional about people questioning and pointing at absurdities of the world views you feel necessary to defend and promote.

    Just asking ‘why?’ doesn’t bring us anywhere when we’re trapped in a situation of circular reasoning. Think of that marx brothers baseball sketch, who’s on first. what?
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-sShMA85pv8M/whos_on_first/

    transcripted: http://www.clown-ministry.com/index_1.php?/site/articles/whos_on_first_script_classic_baseball_routine_abbott_and_costello/

    It’s like feeding a homeless person. Fucking cruel. Trapping him like that into a never ending cycle of homelessness? It doesn’t do anything for his situation other than prolong it. Why not HELP him if HELP is wanted? Oh wait.. can someone say Pavlovian training? eat the food for god has provided. god this *drool* god that*drool* god everywhere *drool drool*

    Keep in mind that my world view as you pointed out previously has fundamentalist aspects, certain rules , like abiding to the principles of freethought, science and logic can’t be bent or broken.

    This has certain implications like not respecting make believe stuff that has real world consequences or wanting people in vital positions to respect them either.
    Brahmin (Holycows) , pharaohs , kim il jung, hitler, Abraham’s god (your favorite tri-glomerate), zeus , fred may .. they all are the same things and should be kept out of from determining peoples world views and living condition, kept from executing their awesome sheep herding power of mass destruction.

    We’re always arguing about the same things because you uncompromisingly want/need to compromise on things that we can’t compromise on. morality and greater self preservation would go out of the window if we did. if that makes me a bigot then .. sure thing … I’ve been called worse on pettier things… thank god for that.

  • 100 Hugo // Nov 18, 2008 at 3:18 am

    gerhard, from my perspective, you’re also sidestepping.

    promotion of religiosity

    You misunderstand me.

    accept authoritative rule

    You misunderstand me.

    It’s absurd and you need to grow up

    You misunderstand me.

    so forgive me

    You’re forgiven.

    directly defend accusations like ‘your world view is lotr’

    lotr doesn’t have the depth of human culture that scripture evolved over many centuries has. It is a remarkable collection of books precisely because of the contradictions, because of the wrestlings of the humans that wrote it, because they were focused on how to live life. lotr was written as entertainment, although there are some interesting parallels and some things that can be used to talk about certain things.

    So that’s the biggest difference to me.

    Just asking ‘why?’ doesn’t bring us anywhere when we’re trapped in a situation of circular reasoning.

    You misunderstand me. I don’t mean literally asking “why?” around every corner, I mean that kind of question. But nevermind.

    It’s like feeding a homeless person.

    Who am I feeding?

    Why not HELP him if HELP is wanted?

    What do you do if help is not wanted? (But they continue to deny science, for example.)

    has fundamentalist aspects

    Cool! We all have some fundamentalist aspects in our approach to life.

    abiding to the principles of freethought, science and logic can’t be bent or broken.

    I’m not asking you to bend or break anything.

    not respecting make believe stuff that has real world consequences

    I’m not asking you to respect make belief stuff. I’m asking you to understand what it means to people though…

    We’re always arguing about the same things because you uncompromisingly want/need to compromise on things that we can’t compromise on.

    What, bigotry, say? “We”. Speak for yourself. Or learn to understand the compromise I’m making. Which you really still seem to misunderstand.

  • 101 saneman // Nov 18, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Not wanting to state your beliefs but then enter into discussion about topics that pertain directly to those beliefs is kinda like playing battleships, except you don’t want to put your ships on the board. Our ships are out in the open for all to see and so far your only argument has been condescension and retreating to the noise and obscurity you create around your arguments.

    What are you afraid of? Your sky hooks might come tumbling to the ground?

    Maybe your beliefs are deeply personal and you don’t want to share them in the open. With that being said why do you go and publish your blogs and ramblings about reconciling beliefs in a bronze age(which was edited down from many gospels to suit the rulers of the time, as well as the majority of contradictory works where destroyed/banned and the authors persecuted. <- I keep doing this to constantly remind you about the crap you take a leaf from) book with modern day life. Why, why would you possibly care if our world views fit into some dusty book? LOTR has a much better story line than a tale about a zombie. No one is waxing lyrical about its fundamental lessons. However there would be if Constantine stopped the persecution of hobbits and in 324 made Hobbitianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

    Surely you could see how that would be confusing to some poor soul searching for advice on weather to leave his security blanket behind and take responsibility for his life and actions in the here and now as it is the only one we have instead of waiting to die. All you are doing is giving undeserved respect to religions.

    You are entitled to you personal beliefs and maybe you still don’t want to take that final step for fear of what you parents might think or friends or whatever social group you call family. How nice it must be for you disassociate from all the vile, contradictory crap in the ancient books but you get to keep your warm fuzzy feeling that you are still doing the socially good thing and playing along with the mass delusion.

    So you forgo intellectual honesty for the sake of honoring your parents delusions they forced on you?

    Maybe putting down your beliefs is scary for you as facing the nasty problem of squaring the circle in and intellectually honest way is …. impossible?

    If you don’t have enough patience, please go away. This isn’t a single-serving blog, this is a blog with which you need a longer-term relationship to find real value.

    a) So now you would have the ones questioning your motives to go away? Peculiar…

    b) So a person needs to be immersed in the site/blog/relationship with you before real value can be found?

    c) So you don’t think with holding you core beliefs that obviously have created this blog and all your arguments are based upon is not in any way frustrating?

    Maybe thats just how its going to be, maybe you will never fully reveal your beliefs to others or yourself, maybe thats how you rationalize all of this.

    waits for condescension, prediction(after the fact) and lack of explanation.

    Its a sad day when a supposed intellectual who apparently openly embraces critical thinking or skeptical inquiry only wants to preach garbled philosophical poppy cock REFUSES to explain or divulge the core principles or his arguments and would rather have people leave that question.

    or maybe just maybe you’re a faith head with a god delusion

  • 102 gerhard // Nov 18, 2008 at 11:19 am

    accept authoritative rule

    You misunderstand me.
    I honestly don’t think so, maybe its a case of you just not realiseing the implications of the stuff u choose to ignore/promote. The very fact that you’ve gotten as upset to call someone bigot for not getting past unanswerable question makes this stuff ‘accepting authoritative rule’. Asking uncompromizingly for compromize.

    lotr was written as entertainment, although there are some interesting parallels and some things that can be used to talk about certain things. actually he wrote it to give britain a zeus like mythology. He was very clear about it his aims and that is why it was so closely related to human events of the 1900s and why it took him so long. he kinda was doing what u wanted me to with it in the previous post.
    that is why i specifically bring lotr into it, it is the right way of doing what you guys are doing.

    I’m not asking you to bend or break anything. but you are…

    I’m asking you to understand what it means to people though…
    I don’t? you’d think having been one and employing them and generally living in a faithhead society would have gotten the message across… or maybe .. the first step to overcoming such limitations is … i don’t know … say … not accepting it as the alpha and omega that the human experience can provide? just looking around me right now , the Christians here at work , man , they experience nothing from life. heat mag and bible verses … wow .. no wonder things are screwed and rapests declared god.
    life is so shit apparently that escapism not not just advised but glorified.

    speak for myself? ok, ‘i’m always arguing with you about the same things because you uncompromisingly want/need me to compromise on thins we can’t compromise on. like the child abuse of raising kids in an episode of my little ponies or getting around the ‘angles dancing’ language. what’s so difficult for people to move on? why not base raise kids and explain life by means of the universe? why not admit clearly that lotr etc are just that .. lotr.

    team religiocity : 0
    team secularism: 3.14159265358979323846

  • 103 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    a) So now you would have the ones questioning your motives to go away? Peculiar…

    No. There is a qualifier in the original statement. Read it again.

    b) So a person needs to be immersed in the site/blog/relationship with you before real value can be found?

    In this case, yes. If not, try one of my favourite blogs, Pharyngula. It’s far more snarky.

    If you’re not familiar with it already…

    c) So you don’t think with holding you core beliefs that obviously have created this blog and all your arguments are based upon is not in any way frustrating?

    Have you tried actually looking at the rest of the blog?

    Maybe thats just how its going to be, maybe you will never fully reveal your beliefs to others or yourself, maybe thats how you rationalize all of this.

    As far as I understand it, one of the purposes of this blog is to try to reach out to people who will not be persuaded by our type of argument. These people exist, in great number, and they will stick their fingers in their ears if they hear something they don’t like. Such as our (meaning yours and mine) way of argument. I don’t agree with Hugo on many things, but I fully acknowledge the need for a blog such as this one. It tries to reach the people we can’t.

    Hugo’s own beliefs are archived across this blog. Granted, you may have to read through a lot, but they are still there.

    waits for condescension, prediction(after the fact) and lack of explanation.

    Lets turn this around, shall we?

    waits for confrontational approach, judgemental attitude (before the fact) and name-calling.

    Can you see this conversation going anywhere with these kinds of comments?

    Oh wait. I’m being condescending. My apologies.

    Its a sad day when a supposed intellectual who apparently openly embraces critical thinking or skeptical inquiry only wants to preach garbled philosophical poppy cock REFUSES to explain or divulge the core principles or his arguments and would rather have people leave that question.

    These are the kinds of arguments that get across to the target group. The arguments that you prefer will not reach them.

    You are clearly not a member of this target group. Granted, neither am I. If you have any suggestions for how to get across to the people who hold these kinds of beliefs that doesn’t involve prejudging them or insulting them, then by all means, share. Or start your own blog. If not, then hie thee to Pharyngula.

  • 104 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    just looking around me right now , the Christians here at work , man , they experience nothing from life. heat mag and bible verses … wow .. no wonder things are screwed and rapests declared god.
    life is so shit apparently that escapism not not just advised but glorified.

    How would you advise approaching these people? Do you think a purely confrontational approach will help?

  • 105 saneman // Nov 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I think the problem we are all facing is that dismissing Bob the Pink unicorn out of hand and then trying to explain our point is very very offensive to people who take that as a direct attack who they are, as society has created this need to belief in something and without it you are less human, making credulity a prerequisite for the “human experience”

    If you enter into a discussion that you are forced to concede certain things just to get your foot in the door, is fine until you start knocking down the big beliefs, and then the fingers go in the ears anyway.

    I think that placating the patient only creates a tug of war mentality where they think you have just lost your way or your heart is in the right place but you have just been reading to many blasphemes books or you have haven’t open your heart to jesus or bob. You become a person who needs saving, instead of taking a long hard look at the foundations they build there life on.

    I call them on everything thing that they try, never giving an inch. Allowing even the smallest point to slip past gives there argument a bit more credibility.

    And once they have you with one foot in science and reality and other in the supernatural talk and allowing parts of the bible to be admitted into evidence then they will talk rings around you and will keep you tired up for ever.

    get them to make there case from the ground up and keep them intellectually honest and when they refuse to do it or can’t then that will probably make more inroads than placating them, just making them aware of the mental cul-de-sac they have gotten themselves into is enough.

    I didn’t post here to start fights, I just didn’t take kindly to being told to go read a million posts and derive my own conclusions which would then be pulled through the fun fair of context and yet more posts needing to be read.

    If you want to build a framework for open and honest discussion then lets start with the foundations.

  • 106 gerhard // Nov 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    How would you advise approaching these people? Do you think a purely confrontational approach will help? ken: ehm, as far as i understand it, confrontational hasnt even been tried yet? (hitchens did attempt it, but he hasnt even scratched the surface and is mostly preaching to the choir.)
    the ‘non confrontational’ way is the way things have always been . noone has ever held them accountable except . And apologetics is getting tired.. i am willing to bet that every ken and every saneman should start holding religiosity accountable then … well.. things will change. Change is what is needed. even if we have to bite the bullet and force a hand or two.

  • 107 gerhard // Nov 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    bite the bullet , means , feel bad because you’re telling someone who is otherwise rational that they not in lotr…

  • 108 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I call them on everything thing that they try, never giving an inch. Allowing even the smallest point to slip past gives there argument a bit more credibility.

    OK. Do you understand that there will be some who won’t respond to this type of argument, no matter how correct it is?

    AFAIK, this blog is for them.

    I didn’t post here to start fights, I just didn’t take kindly to being told to go read a million posts and derive my own conclusions which would then be pulled through the fun fair of context and yet more posts needing to be read.

    OK. Understood. For what it’s worth, I’ve also asked Hugo for a sound-byte definition of his beliefs. To which I got exactly the same response. It’s up to you to decide if you want to go to the time and effort to read the rest of the blog.

    @gerhard:

    ken: ehm, as far as i understand it, confrontational hasnt even been tried yet?

    You’ve clearly never been to Pharyngula or RichardDawkins.net. Those places are infested with confronters…not that I am complaining.

    And apologetics is getting tired..

    Agreed. To me, at least, they are rationalisations after the fact. Equivocations. Confirmation bias.

    i am willing to bet that every ken and every saneman should start holding religiosity accountable then … well.. things will change

    I’m genuinely interested. Are you saying you don’t think I hold religiosity accountable? And how do you think things will change?

    Hugo, you mind of we derail the thread further? I’ll try to check in in the morning (SA time).

  • 109 saneman // Nov 18, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    @ken: a lot of them will just never budge and I know that. But at least they are now aware of how people can show with sound logical reasoning that their beliefs are untrue and founded on lies and myth. If I can get them to have just one free thought even for a second I have made some ground. Just knowing that a sound logical argument exists which is easy to understand must be unsettling.

  • 110 gerhard // Nov 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    ken: hahah @ site remark. I kinda mean in the general public.
    sorry i should have edited that. meant, every potential ken and saneman .. how do i think things will change?
    for one, i think a lot of ‘christains’ or ‘borderline, dont really care along as i belong and other people arent complaining’ type people will be the first to basically admit: ‘well , i don’t go to church except for getting married etc.’ so whats the point of this craziness. secular thinking will take care of the secular values. I think technology can really help to re-enforced these structures.think hugo and my argumentations, this site and thanks to hugo on his ‘censorship is bad’ policy. We’re people self organizing in a decentralized manner on common interests from a local community with ex patriot members. We both represent one of the many extremes to this story even if we don’t see it that way. We can take the conversation to any extreme and any length.
    And i bet to wager in real life some people wouldn’t take it as far or be as honest in their (re)action.
    the ability to take your voice into the masses via the social medium could be an amazing governmental tool because it could provide access to government. relationships, discussions transparently available to the people who need it most, to everyone at anytime. for people in government it would be like having a loaded shotgun under their chin at all times while providing you with ability to actively and ‘conveniently’ do something.
    my theory is , if people didn’t have to give up their career or take time off to make a viable change or succeed in litigation, plus started making decisions not based on a ‘lotr’ model then the bulk of society will start fixing itself. it’s a bit of the little things and a bit of the bigger things mixed. i know not everything will magically fix itself, but i think its time to grow up and evolve. we need it. idealism or not need it.

  • 111 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 7:04 am

    @saneman:

    And once they have you with one foot in science and reality and other in the supernatural talk and allowing parts of the bible to be admitted into evidence then they will talk rings around you and will keep you tired up for ever.

    At that point, you gotta be speaking for yourself.

    If you want to build a framework for open and honest discussion then lets start with the foundations.

    I’m working on it. Sorry that it’s taking me so long. (Months.)

    w.r.t. Kenneth (but @ the rest):

    OK. Understood. For what it’s worth, I’ve also asked Hugo for a sound-byte definition of his beliefs. To which I got exactly the same response. It’s up to you to decide if you want to go to the time and effort to read the rest of the blog.

    I have this (potentially misguided) idea of wanting to discuss ideas, rather than stereotypes. I take issue with people pigeon-holing other people, I believe it breaks down conversation and community. Some of the perspectives I have on this are hard to explain in words, but I’m working on it. The big thing is this though: I believe if you can’t put up with my extremely frustrating way of doing things, then the kind of interaction I’m trying to foster is not the kind you would be interested in.

    The dream: broaden the mind a bit, discuss the posts for their worth, rather than caring so much about every last detail of the belief of the person on the other end.

    But this does indeed not gel trivially with some of my other ideals: that people will let other people believe what they want, on this blog, in order to focus on connecting and defending.

    Here I’d suggest you present your alternatives, rather than attack another’s way of life. Atheists are demonised. Humanists are demonised. There is so much good that can be done by simply showing your way of life and interacting, etc, and showing yourself to be a kind, friendly person, that can’t be demonised… that opens up options. But the way you guys are going on right now, makes it very, very easy to demonise you. You’re playing into the hands of fundamentalists’ rhetoric.

    Saneman, you mentioned not wanting to listen to others testify. That very refusal to listen, that very disinterest in their story, is what drives them deeper into their own community. It is a place where people do listen to one another, and urge them to speak about their experiences. It is emotional. And humans are emotional. It is futile to fight human emotion. Science is impersonal, and doesn’t give direction or purpose to life. Aggressive attack is impersonal, and attacks their emotional expression. Your issue is not with the fact that they have emotions and passions, your issue is with what they attach those emotions to. But by attacking emotion with reason, they simply learn that “reason” isn’t a place where they can be “human”, and they’d take being human any day above being “scientifically correct”.

    So this is a place where I want us to be able to talk about fuzzy stuff. I want to encourage that. I want to appreciate the best of what they have and believe, and I want to emphasize how the best can be kept without having to throw science and reason out the door. The best? You can be kind, you can have passion, you can have meaning in life, even when accepting science. Accepting the supposed “brutal reality”. That’s the message I’m aiming to get across. And that’s the message you’re certainly not helping to communicate.

    It means accepting that people will have different opinions, and different beliefs, but having a cross-cultural understanding and acceptance extends to the point of e.g. accepting gays, accepting secular government because our mythos-traditions and ways of life are so different, accepting science and all that… Would that be so bad? It’d be a big improvement over the status quo.

    Don’t tell me we’ve tried what’s happening here before. We haven’t.

    This isn’t “anything goes”, this is picking your battles. This is talking about the stuff that really matters.

    The “New Atheist movement” and I agree that fundamentalism is the real problem. The movement believes they can’t help the fundamentalist problem, because they can’t communicate with them, and think the moderates are the breeding ground. So they’re aiming to “take out the moderates”. (I’m generalising, pardon me.) Me? Here? I’m concerned with fundamentalists directly, and my past and present and experiences provides me with something that those growing up secular don’t have, so maybe I can contribute something different?

    Hugo, you mind of we derail the thread further? I’ll try to check in in the morning (SA time).

    By all means, go ahead. It helps me ignore it. It might be a problem w.r.t. having this post read by more people, but maybe this post has had it’s day. And if I do finally move the whole blog over to mengelmoes (pipe dreams), it won’t be too hard to solve that problem.”

  • 112 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 8:04 am

    oh well, we tried.

  • 113 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 19, 2008 at 9:00 am

    @Hugo

    By all means, go ahead. It helps me ignore it.

    Hah! Touché.

    @gerhard. Thanks for the explanation.

  • 114 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Yea, you tried, saneman. I appreciate the concern, but do give up. I can’t be helped, I’m a lost case. So you and gerhard might as well give up.

    My sincere apologies for the frustrations I caused, and the offences I might have communicated. With regards to calling anyone a bigot, notice I did not call anyone a bigot directly. I was analysing my own perspectives on the matter, explaining my chosen path. Don’t think I don’t understand yours, that would be underestimating my understanding of the matter.

    If I were to hold the opinions of gerhard, I would feel like a bigot. That’s the point above. There is a very significant difference between saying “I would feel like a bigot” and “you are a bigot”. I’d suggest trying to not take things personally, even at times when it seems to be very personal. Actually, even at times when someone is lashing out at you, intentionally. These things do typically say more about the lasher than the lashed.

    I intend to continue defending the good of religion. That’s the whole point, that’s the master plan. That’s what I came up with after lots of thinking about the problem of fundamentalism, lots of reading to figure out what I can do to help, lots of time and effort invested in pursuing what I believe to be the best course of action for me. I’ve been on this track for many, many months, and I’m not going to change my track. So do give up if that’s your mission. It really seems you don’t have much interest in understanding how I came to the path I chose, why I’m thinking along those lines, which is why I think it is best that you just leave. Otherwise we’ll just continue wasting each other’s time.

    The stereotype in my head would say “there is no good in religion!” And that stereotype is an absolute moron. Now I’m going to be very direct: anyone that says there is no good in religion, is a fucking bigot. (Either that, or completely and utterly ignorant.)

    The stereotype I have in my head might respond with something about the bad outweighing the good and religion being a net negative. And would still be missing the point, as that is not what I’m talking about. I’m not interested in quantifying the good and the bad, I don’t even want to think about it. Quantifying it isn’t important to me. The stereotype in my head is unable to realise that “I like warmth” doesn’t mean that I like global warming, or that I don’t like winter. Bad analogy, but anyway. And just because I urge people to enjoy the warm weather and appreciate it for what it is worth, does not mean I’m encouraging them to spew out more carbon dioxide and leave their heaters on full-blast all the time.

    The stereotype in my head might respond that other people can’t distinguish, that I should be careful about encouraging appreciation of the warmth because they might think I’m encouraging global warming. That’s really arrogant and condescending towards those other people. And if you’ve been following my blog for a while, it should be quite clear that I’m worried about global warming and doing what I can. (And we’re talking in metaphors here.) However, if everything I say is followed up by “but be careful of global warming”, people will get so bored by all the blab about warming that they’ll ignore me or even start acting out in spite. (Acting out in spite: that’s not directly connected in this metaphor, just making the point about people becoming deaf to a broken record.)

    Much of the misunderstanding that happens is because people don’t know each other. Condescension is perceived at places where it wouldn’t be perceived had the people in question known each other better. This blog is about digging deeper.

    I hate shallow little creeds that define beliefs. They don’t define a person, they don’t define their attitude towards life, to how they live. At most they define a language with which they could communicate their way of life. The rest is still wide open. Which is why I want people to get past stupid little creeds, and why I refuse to state my beliefs. Because context is so ultimately important.

    Or what the heck, let’s intentionally be very stubborn for a moment, just because it would irritate the stereotype in my head: Jesus is the son of god. Now go away.

  • 115 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

    (I’m saying simply stating beliefs doesn’t get you anywhere without the context surrounding it. And I’m deliberately being a bastard by taking the bit that I believe would be most irritating to you, and whipping it out there completely out of context. I don’t believe in single-serving culture, I believe in longer-term relationships.)

    Kenneth, have fun. I’ll try finishing my next post and then heading to bed, without reading another comment until I have some time to rant. Just in case I feel the need. Otherwise things mill about in my head all day long while I need to work.

    The floor’s yours, say whatever you want, take it in whatever direction you want.

  • 116 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Nope, I chip in one more time:

    We can take the conversation to any extreme and any length.
    And i bet to wager in real life some people wouldn’t take it as far or be as honest in their (re)action.

    The question I wonder about, because that’s what I care about, is this:

    How many fundamentalists have you engaged with your conversations? My concern is that your thoughts/comments immediately shut down any conversation that could be had. And those conversations are the ones that I’m more interested in.

    Do you respect that I would like to engage fundamentalists, or is it your decree that I should just give up and move on? (decree meant with humour here.)

  • 117 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I intend to continue defending the good of religion.

    Why not defend the good in LOTR, Islam or Scientology?

    If there is some good in something that doesn’t make the story it is conveyed through any more likely or true.

    There is good in humanity and humans write stories.

    No one is saying that good has not been done through religion, the only problem is that religion enables evil to be done.

    It really seems you don’t have much interest in understanding how I came to the path I chose, why I’m thinking along those lines

    I asked, you declined

    And why did you have to swear? What happened to all your big romantic phrases? Hit a nerve did we? Had to manufacture a statement so you could vent did you? “there is no good in religion!” <= who said that?

    ok knee jerk out the way lets be civil.

    Question to Hugo: Do you think that contributing to the relevance of a bronze age myth there by prolonging the confusion is helpful to societies that are battling daily with the horrors of a religious mind set that enable the creating and enforcing of evil laws and social norms?

  • 118 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Why not defend the good in LOTR, Islam or Scientology?

    Because those are not currently my concern. Those do not cause science-suppressing creationism or homophobia in my home town. That’s why.

    I asked, you declined

    You didn’t ask the questions on the list of things I want to answer. You didn’t play by my script. 😛 Yea, I know, I suck in that way. I’m poking fun at myself here.

    And why did you have to swear?

    Because I’ve been discussing this with gerhard for the past how many months, and I’m getting gatvol. “Hit a nerve did we?” – no, you’re just wearing me down.

    ok knee jerk out the way lets be civil.

    Cool. I’ll try my best.

    Do you think that contributing to the relevance of a bronze age myth there by prolonging the confusion is helpful to societies that are battling daily with the horrors of a religious mind set that enable the creating and enforcing of evil laws and social norms?

    I believe myths communicate timeless truths, when understood in the right way. Furthermore I believe in approaching things with a positive attitude, it facilitates communication and openness to new ideas. I believe that by pointing out the good, the value of certain narratives, people can understand them better and see what the truth behind them would be. I believe that if people can recognise the truth behind the things they hold dear, they are more open to letting go of the evils also associated with them. I believe communicating and explaining the context to provide a better understanding is a good and positive way forward. I believe education is the key. I believe authoritarianism is really ugly, and I would prefer that one authoritarianism not be replaced by another: even if the new authoritarianism is based on “scientific fact”. It’s the problem Carl Sagan was facing. See this review of a book I like very much:

    http://www.drjbloom.com/Public%20files/Lewontin_Review.htm

    It is thought provoking. For children being educated, Carl Sagan’s series is wonderful. I blogged about this in the past. For explaining to creationists, it’s pretty useless, because it is presented in an authoritarian style. So on a personal level, it would be about rejecting one authority for another, the new one being an authority because why? The other scientists say so? Because everyone says they know what they’re talking about? Well, yes, but that’s still authoritarianism.

    So I believe in trying to get people to think for themselves, and appreciate the intricacies and complexities of a remarkable mythos from back in the bronze age. Because I sincerely believe there are ideas that can be communicated well through those stories, and those stories are cherished. The problem is not the stories, it’s how people deal with them.

    The Matrix? There’s some interesting mythos that you could use. But that mythos is also based on “bronze age myths”. Should we chuck out The Matrix? Seriously, those movies are harmful! Do you know how they confirmed people’s beliefs? Want me to show you an example of how they reinforced people’s Christianity?

    I believe there is a “myth of a demythologized humanity”. See on the miniblog on the right, “Modern Myth” and “Amazon.com: A Short History of Myth (Myths, The): Karen Armstrong: Books”. The latter has this paragraph:

    This is an pedestrian study from the noted and popular religion scholar, in which Armstrong takes a historical approach to myth, tracing its evolution through a series of periods, from the Paleolithic to the postmyth Great Western Transformation. Each period developed myths reflecting its major concerns: images of hunting and the huntress dominated the myths of the Paleolithic, while the myths of Persephone and Demeter, Isis and Osiris developed in the agricultural Neolithic period. By the Axial Age (200 B.C. through A.D. 1500), myths became internalized, so that they no longer needed to be acted out. Reason, says Armstrong, largely supplanted myth in the Post-Axial Period, which she sees as a source of cultural and spiritual impoverishment; she even appears, simplistically, to attribute genocide to the loss of “the sense of sacredness” myth offers. Armstrong goes on to relate that in the 20th century, a number of writers, such as Eliot, Joyce, Mann and Rushdie, recovered the power of myth for contemporary culture. Although the book offers no new perspectives or information on the history of myth, it does provide a functional survey of mythology’s history. But a more engaging choice would be Kenneth Davis’s Don’t Know Much About Mythology (Reviews, Sept. 5). (Nov.)

    Now you might not agree with Karen Armstrong, but you can’t exactly prove her wrong either. I’m weighing in on her side, mostly, and I respect Rushdie for the good work he does. I’m putting my weight behind that effort.

    “Myth” has such a negative connotation. So I believe people have forgotten the role of myth, and mistake it for “scientific fact”. But I believe myth to be very, very important to humanity. In whatever form. And indeed, we get a better dose of myth in modern movies than in the rich mythologies of old, because of the way we approach them. And it is a pity.

    Witness “Parenting Beyond Belief”‘s approach — a book on secular parenting, check it out — it encourages teaching your kids myths. Myths from all traditions, Greek, Egyptian, Norse… these stories are of great wealth and value to humanity. It’s only in mistreating them that they become horrible.

    I’ve come across these ideas many times, and I have a few anthropological tidbits to share. If I can find them all again. Like the native American storyteller that starts stories with “I don’t know if these things really happened, but I know them to be true.” What does he mean? Like the anthropological studies that seem to indicate we’re giving the ancients too little credit to think they took mythology as literal, “scientific fact”.

    Does that help a bit?

  • 119 gerhard // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:30 am

    hugo , do u remember i come from a fundamentalist christain society? (at least in my time when i was younger) and my personality makes me engage people even if i don’t want to.
    I lack ze south african social filter.

    normally , i will start of with a religion that is a counter to the one they believe in this makes them agree-‘able’. You know, test the waters see how they react to that kinda thing so that i can trap them in the absolutes that they contribute.

    you’d be surprised how many people not just fundies will jump at the oppotinity to character assasinate someone elses ‘fucked up beliefs’. ( u know all that kill/save the morally incapable non believer shit you get droned into your head as a child)

    slowly work my way , by implication, how this effects their religion. Recently i had a incident where things got bad on a flight to johannes burg.. there were two people talking about the bubble bee ‘kent whorewind’ type argument. How its not suppsoed to be able to fly.
    But now, get this .. these guys were engineers working for acsa (fucking dealing with planes , how embarrassing for him ) and and another one ( a bridgebuilder (civileng)).when the one guy left for the toilet i cut in and chatted to the acsa guy.

    So i explained to them why it is physically able to fly, u know high pressure under the body apposed to the usual under the wing thing, and how this argument started in the first place because of fundamentalist propaganda … so far so good.. We start talking about the fundamentalist and they both start complaining about the other sides ‘fucked up beliefs’ . this is great from my standpoint because all i need to do now i link their faith to the ‘fucked up faith’.
    So to cut this short , when i did manage to link it , just by accident , the one guy listend and the guy who was offended listend even more intently. Offering offensive arguments after another which i repelled using ‘logic’ and the like.

    I continued this until the one guy shut down, but i did get the other guy to listen and he did asked me for my email addy .. which is a active start. And next time the other guy encounters someone like me (yes, i know the probability is low atm ) he’s already primed for the convo .. the seeds are there … infertile grounds just needs more attention.

  • 120 gerhard // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:41 am

    it encourages teaching your kids myths. Myths from all traditions, Greek, Egyptian, Norse… these stories are of great wealth and value to humanity. It’s only in mistreating them that they become horrible.
    exactly , and i am encouraging adding other myths too it as well , like the Abraham cults such as islam and jesusfreaks. That downgrade is perfect.

  • 121 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Your word choice still seems to indicate you’re either missing the point, or being contrarian / disagreeing with me. Maybe the latter, but I want to check.

    Can you understand that I feel such a negative approach is counter-productive? That such ridicule doesn’t build connections? That connections and community are the most important thing? Um, that I feel these things. I believe such negativity is counter-productive. Do you acknowledge this?

  • 122 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    This sentence also makes me think you misunderstand me:

    and i am encouraging adding other myths too it as well

    On my previous comment, “do you acknowledge this” — acknowledge the way I feel about it in the context of what I’d like to do, not acknowledge that you agree. I don’t expect that. I just expect that you understand why I feel your comments here are counter-productive in the context of how this blog is trying to help.

    Which brings us back to the question: do you think this blog should rather not exist at all? (In which context you can then ask if you want to continue being counter-productive or not.)

    Are we understanding one another, or where is the misunderstanding now?

  • 123 gerhard // Nov 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    huh? what happend to my comment that i posted after this?

  • 124 gerhard // Nov 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    exactly, apologetic. can accept calling a spade a spade but you’re more than ready to apologist about not making it a universal standard.
    thats not arguing for arguing sake … its not that you dont understand that , but you want an uncompromising compromise for sake of ‘counter productivity’ . I’m not saying ridicule the people, ridicule the beliefs worthy of ridicule, people should learn not to take mortal offense at having their beliefs examined, contradicted and ridiculed if they are bad ones.

    that having been said, i don’t feel like you get that point. I think the blog is great, i just disagree with the way you do it. (can someone say mirror?) Why you feel it is counterproductive when we’ve filled pages and pages with fairly good constructive arguing is beyond me. each time a layer gets taken from the onion.

  • 125 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    maybe it wasn’t a faithful comment?

    I think this discussion if you can call it that was over before it began.

    We should all stop being counter productive and just agree so we can have a fat chin wag and wax lyrical about how not to pose questions that cut strait to the heart of the matter.

    Hugo are you aware that:
    Most of the existing documents are skillfully executed forgeries. Burned libraries, repeated orgies of vandalism , accidental fires, Christian persecutions, the media revolution that replaced papyrus with parchment and presented the copyists, sectarian zealots of Christ, with a choice between the documents to be saved and the those to be cast into outer darkness…. Then there were the liberties taken by monks who established editions by ancient authors to which they added what they considered (with hindsight of the conquerors) to be missing: quite a philosophical nightmare.
    – michel onfray

    and you choose to believe:

    I believe myths communicate timeless truths, when understood in the right way.

    I mean seriously, either you need to get intellectually honest. You are just wasting people time.

    You claim to be looking for the good and that this is just the way you operate, but seriously either you are immensely stupid and have no idea what you are actually saying in the context of actual logic, or this is just a charade and all you re doing is baiting the hook with philosophy and reason but its just poppy cock apologist propaganda trying to suck in more poor souls looking to escape the nightmare that is religion.

  • 126 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    huh? what happend to my comment that i posted after this?

    I really don’t know, I don’t see any of your comments in the akismet spam queue or in moderation.

    Why you feel it is counterproductive when we’ve filled pages and pages with fairly good constructive arguing is beyond me.

    Because that doesn’t make much of a difference. Two guys arguing their heads off. I’m aiming for making much of a difference. I’m aiming to build community, long debates between two people don’t contribute to that. Maybe it makes a difference to the one person that reads it all, but it isn’t the place or the way I’m trying to contribute. And that isn’t how I collected a number of interested eyes reading every week.

    If that’s what you want, you can start your own blog. Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to provide anyone with their own little place to blog (in parallel).

    @saneman:

    maybe it wasn’t a faithful comment?

    Yea, maybe God intervened and stopped the comment from reaching my website, because I haven’t seen it.

    saneman, I’m immensely stupid and I’m wasting people’s time. So go away.

  • 127 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I forgot to mention: I know more about the Bible’s history than you give me credit for.

  • 128 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    saneman, do you have any direct, personal experience with fundamentalism? Do you have any idea what path people that are in really deep can follow to get out? Do you have any idea how the typical committed fundie reacts to your kind of rhetoric — NB: in cases where you haven’t got them as a captive audience in the real world. I don’t think you do.

    When you bully people with reason and drive them deeper into fundamentalism, can I call you a cruel bastard for reinforcing fundamentalism?

    We had a full-time employee of Shofar joining in the conversation for a while. One particular person was particularly antagonistic, so now we can no longer interact with him — he’s gone. When we could have had a longer term beneficial relationship going.

    *sigh*, why am I even bothering trying to explain. Let’s play with saneman’s false dichotomy for a moment… I’m just immensely stupid, because I have a different opinion/view of how fundamentalism works than saneman does. Clearly my own personal experience with it in the past is not beneficial, because hey, I must have been immensely stupid to have that kind of experience in the first place, right? And the solution to fundamentalism that I’m pursuing differs from saneman’s one and only perfect approach. So, clearly, I’m immensely stupid.

    No, I do disagree with the previous paragraph: I’m immensely stupid because I’m taking part in this conversation in the first place, a conversation which is going nowhere, because saneman is only interested in convincing me to follow his path, while I’m only interested in facilitating mutual understanding. So while he isn’t interested in understanding the value of my contribution, because yea, my contribution is wrong and has no value to understand, because saneman knows best as he isn’t immensely stupid like I am… while he isn’t interested in understanding, I’m a true believer with regards to the contribution I’d like to make. And “check out where we’ve headed in a year’s time, and judge me then, based on the impact this blog has had” isn’t a good request, because it requires some kind of trust, and there’s no point in trusting someone as immensely stupid as I am.

    The stereotype in my head believes: all religion should be eradicated. All superstitions should be destroyed. Humans should have no myths whatsoever. And this is not-negotiable to the stereotype in my head. Irrespective of what we can learn about humanity via anthropology.

    Ugh.

  • 129 Jan // Nov 19, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Actually Hugo its easy to tell when Christianity is perverted – when its imposed.

  • 130 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    @saneman,gerhard, I don’t have the energy for this kind of interaction. This kind of interaction is an energy-sapping interaction, it destroys. You two are destroyers. Of course, you destroy what you believe is bad, and that is noble in a sense.

    I’m a creator, I prefer creativity. I prefer to have energy increase, rather than decrease. It spills over, it becomes infectious in a positive way. People can take part, people can help out, and propagate. I believe that’s how a movement picks up. Being destructive shuts things down. Then you two get to be lone rangers authoritatively bulling all the artists/poets/emotional people down with your superior “reason”. Poetry is important to humanity.

    Ugh, here I go again. I came back to say “you guys are draining me, this is completely unsustainable”. Seriously, if I keep on getting involved in these discussions, I will have to stop blogging completely, because I don’t have the energy. I’m supposed to be putting energy into my job. After-hours activities need to be much less energy sapping.

    So again the question: would you prefer I stop blogging altogether? And saneman can’t really answer this one, I think, not having been around long enough.

    Here’s a question: if one of you two “bullied” someone with reason, and they ended up committing suicide, what would your reaction be? “Oh, well, he was just an idiot. He couldn’t handle the truth.” Or would you be concerned about the role you played in causing a breakdown in relationships? Do you actually care about the individual, the person you are “bullying”, or do you only care about your broader ideal? Because I’m of the former kind, I care about the individual, I care about his relationships with his or her family, I care about not tearing apart marriages.

    If caring makes me “immensely stupid”, then so be it. I’d rather be a caring immensely stupid person than an asshole that sows strife and destruction. I would rather be a small positive influence on a whole family of people, than “convert” one individual to my way of thinking, resulting in a total break down of social fibre. Is that so bad?

    I believe my positive approach plays forward, can get a movement going, as I’ve already mentioned. Whereas the destructive approach collects isolated people, not a movement. Humans are different, not all are ruled by the mind and rational thought with suppressed emotions. Many humans are emotional beings. There’s a pendulum swinging:

    In the past, the emotional poets might have ruled, and the scientifically minded rationalists suffered. Now scientifically minded rationalists are ruling and bullying the emotional poets. But the emotional is important. Morality is an emotional thing to many people, expressed in emotional language. For such people, bully their emotion out of the way, and they’d end up at nihilism, because they don’t approach morality in the cold rational way some people advocate.

    I’m drowning my main thought in too much verbosity again. My main point? You two are sabotaging me. If that was your plan, congratulations: you’d be giving atheism a bad name, because you demonstrate how you don’t care about other people, only about the cold hard rational facts.

  • 131 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    I’m absolutely drained. How am I supposed to work when I’m absolutely drained… *sigh*.

  • 132 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    myths and legends are fun and harmless as long as it is stated that they are not true and are only there to entertain, explain and or to carry a message.

    If religions where viewed as human kinds first attempts to explain our origins, know the mind of a hypothetical creator/god, moral values and an idiots guide to life then that would be fine. Most people are good and won’t turn into vikings the moment religion isn’t seen to be actually true.

    and hugo relax, I’m not having a go at the system you are trying to build, just your what base assumptions/beliefs are and how that might prolong oppression of so many.

  • 133 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Base assumption:

    Myths are true.
    Myths are not factual.

    I’m sorry about my non-modernistic (pre- or post-) understanding of “truth”.

    Defending the good in religion, is, by definition, extracting the good and defending it against the evils. And it is a path and understanding I must walk, must live, otherwise I will effectively be condescending. “Oh, as long as you see it this way, or understand it that way, you’re good. But I don’t need it.” If guiding my life by the sermon on the mount, by the meaning of scriptures in early Christianity, makes me a “faithhead”, fine. Label me, demonise me, ridicule me. By the role-model I choose, that’s something I should bear proudly…

    There is much baggage that needs to be unpacked. And it isn’t done in a day. It takes months. Which is why I insist on taking a longer term view. Trust me, I’m all too aware of the oppression, and I hate it. I’ve suffered under it myself, and I’m speaking out of my own experience in dealing with and overcoming an oppressive meme complex.

    Prolonging oppression? Get this straight: yes, there may be instances where my contribution hurts people. Just like there are cases where your contribution hurts people and keeps them under prolonged oppression. And so we each help out some and hurt others. If we all help the same people and hurt the same people, a couple of people will be really hurt. So I’d like to help different people than you are trying to help. That’s really not so bad, is it?

    I’m trying to help fundamentalists, I’m extending a kind hand and invitation. And isn’t an easy path, and I will pick up much criticism like yours. I can only ask that you trust me enough to leave me in peace to do what I think I do best, or learn to ignore such criticism. (This latter is actually very, very important, because it will keep on coming, for ever.)

    So those that I do inadvertently end up hurting… you’re there to help those. Help them rather than hurting me and thereby indirectly hurting the people that I would have helped. Can we learn some cross-cultural cooperation to try and leave the best possible future for our children? Which means compromising in some ways, not on your personal values, but in giving other people the scope to operate in a different way that you might not be able to fully agree with, I beg of you to just look for the good in it first.

    Take pastors: the good ones choose to live lives of sacrifice to help their community. They do it within the framework of the mythos their community has inherited. You might think that inherited mythos is evil. You’re welcome to refuse to attend weddings in churches (I have a good friend that does that). You’re welcome to think they’re keeping people under. But for goodness’ sake, please first appreciate the sacrifices they make and their attempts to help out. With a positive attitude and a cooperative mindset, you might even be able to cooperate with them to help lessen the evil and promote the good. Assume you’re not going to convince them to suddenly turn into another New Atheist Author. Because that assumption would be correct. Is there then not a way that you can let them do what they are good at? Good pastors. Good at helping their community. Doing really good stuff. I hope you can all recognise this good, even if you believe they’re propagating an evil that is greater than the good they are doing.

    Just cut out fundamentalistic black-and-white thinking. Cut other humans some slack. Be nice. You can be nice, you can be friendly, you can be cooperative, without having to compromise on your own agenda. You could do that, or you could fuckoff… (one word, so it isn’t a four letter word. 😉 ) Those are the two options I would wish you would choose out of. But I know you might insist on picking the third option, the way of the colonialist, the way of the evangelical fundamentalist (who might be factually correct, but still a fundamentalist). And now what, must I repeat all the stuff I’ve already written about what I mean by fundamentalism? Or could I expect to not have to rewrite everything a million times? I’m hoping to eventually have a framework in place that would make it easier for me to refer you to the old posts that are relevant. The problem is you cannot handle such a high dosage of ideas/thoughts in one day, it needs time to settle. Which is again why I beg for a longer term view, spend some time here if you like, broaden your horizons, challenge your thoughts, learn peaceful coexistence (which doesn’t mean accepting the status quo, you can work in that framework).

    Or fuckoff.

  • 134 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    so now we are cold emotionless terminators and destroyers of poetry and humanity? not caring if we push people over the edge?

    Do you think I take this approach in every encounter?
    I don’t.
    I thought you could handle yourself in a debate so I engaged you. You threw down, so did I, or maybe it was the me who started hehe, I can’t actually be bothered to scroll up and read through all that stuff again, like you said this is tiring.

    Gerhard and I care about the people, we don’t give religion the default respect it has come to demand.
    I think we just don’t mind ruffling a few feathers of informed/educated people who hold supernatural beliefs.

    And we don’t back down when there is an inherent flaw in the logic being presented.

    Do you think there is no place at all for cold logical arguments when there is a disagreement?

    and again hugo, relax

    we are all selfish co-operators

  • 135 saneman // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    ok enough swingball

    I’m fuckingoff now but..

    I’ll be back!

  • 136 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    @saneman:

    so now we are cold emotionless terminators and destroyers of poetry and humanity? not caring if we push people over the edge?

    No, not quite. I’m rather poking/prodding, warning, asking… sketching out my views of the experiences of this “debate”.

    I’m just asking that, in the context of my blog, we treat everyone as a real, emotional human being, not a “cold intellectual”.

    OK, relaxing requires me to step away from this conversation for a week.

    Shalom, saneman.

  • 137 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Oh, and if the general atmosphere is that of a couple of “cold intellectuals” duelling it out, then it isn’t the kind of atmosphere where other people can participate. And I care about the latter much, much, much more on this blog. Which is why I try to deflect cold-logical-arguments.

    Pipe-dream for the future: have a corner where cold-logical-arguments can be encouraged, kind of like “let’s take this outside”. Then there can be a brawl without upsetting the jovial mood and social atmosphere of the pub. Anyone in the pub that is interested in the brawl, can go and watch, but when everyone’s back in the pub, we can return to friendly socialising across diverse cultures.

    Recap: I don’t want brawling in the pub: it belongs in the street. With an open invitation to anyone that wants to join, should they be interested. I don’t want it imposed on anyone, to borrow Jan’s word.

  • 138 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I went to get some food… and thought of how to better express myself about this:

    so now we are cold emotionless terminators and destroyers of poetry and humanity? not caring if we push people over the edge?

    No. What I am saying is…

    From within the context of my perspective, that is how you may come across.

    This can thus tell you one of two things: either it tells you more about what my perspective is (what must my perspective be, in order to be able to draw that conclusion based on your arguments), or it tells you more about how your way of communicating is perceived by my way of listening.

    Note that both of these are not an attack and calling you emotionless, both of these are about understanding the interactions and contexts better, which is all I’m caring about. I’m really trying to not debate (maybe failing miserably) — I’m just trying to succeed in facilitating that understanding. And my frustration is at my failure at facilitating that kind of understanding, while I believe your frustration is at my unwillingness to debate. As I’m not here to debate, I don’t care for debate. The debates bore me, I’ve seen too much of them already. (Into my head pops Linkin Park lyrics: “All right now, wasn’t that fun? Let’s try something else…” – with regards to those debates. Where I take “wasn’t that fun?” as slightly ironic in tone.)

    Does that help a bit?

  • 139 gerhard // Nov 20, 2008 at 12:50 am

    jan: what kind of christianity? can i ask you something? Would you say that if someone added getting your own planet to seed as god into the deal , then would that be a perversion? what about the gay rights coin? which side is _perverted_? what about stances on premarital sex or number of partners? the various opinions of what ‘word of god means’? priests , bishops, pastors with sex lives? are they perverted? Is it really _that_ easy? don’t see this as an attack bro. just curious as to what you mean.

    sanman: bah, don’t be a bitch now. go easy on the fellow if you see he’s being slow. try more ironic comedy, you’re good at that.

    hugo:

    Two guys arguing their heads off. I’m aiming for making much of a difference. I’m aiming to build community, long debates between two people don’t contribute to that. Maybe it makes a difference to the one person that reads it all, but it isn’t the place or the way I’m trying to contribute. And that isn’t how I collected a number of interested eyes reading every week.

    really? i counted more. i suspect, even more if you check your logs. at least 4 people here that have kept up with this post for up to 20 days? how many gave up reading? i couldn’t say? maybe if you kept track of the scroll position of the page charted against the page width then you could? (c) 2008 wtf is wrong with you, you couldn’t buy that kind of readership participation?

    When you bully people with reason and drive them deeper into fundamentalism, can I call you a cruel bastard for reinforcing fundamentalism?

    no , I’d call you a cruel bastard for reinforcing fundamentalism. They don’t have any public pressure from people like you, instead you ooze surreptitiously with appeasement. Besides, look at your treatment of saneman, keep thinking man, what did jesus say about throwing stones? Did he really mean ‘first stone’ but then it’s a free for all?

    We had a full-time employee of Shofar joining in the conversation for a while. One particular person was particularly antagonistic, so now we can no longer interact with him — he’s gone. When we could have had a longer term beneficial relationship going.

    well then they weren’t being good Christian full-time employee were they? Condemning ‘one particular person’ to ‘soul torture 101’ is one thing , but to deprive all the other readers of their contribution like that, sounds like a very un-christain thing to do, with supposing to turn the other cheek and get on with the saving of people and stuff… one rude person with rude opinion and he runs for the hills abandoning all.. yep would have made the fundamentalist god proud. you’re allowed to pick up the sword in the name of christ , but the pen. god forbid.

    @sofar in general: why not debate the ‘absurd’ critics in public in a medium like this? What do you have to loose? looking bad? looking good when you expose the vile conspirators for what you think they are? maybe you could even help a poor soul or two in the process?

    ..communicate timeless truths, when understood in the right way..

    saneman is calling stupid because you pasted that after you keep saying you’re not promoting ‘dancing on pins’. u keep contradicting yourself this way and saying its not a contradiction then refusing to elaborate.

    Clearly my own personal experience with it in the past is not beneficial, because hey, I must have been immensely stupid to have that kind of experience in the first place, right? And the solution to fundamentalism that I’m pursuing differs from saneman’s one and only perfect approach. So, clearly, I’m immensely stupid.

    he wasn’t criticizing your experience , your character, he was criticizing your argumentation. that you abandoned the argument as soon as he said something you couldn’t deal with. hence him giving the option out of the stupidity by asking if you’re baiting people. (freethought, emotion man.. fight the emotion. you’ll miss what’s actually being said and run into the hills like monkey running from noise. )

    … And the solution to fundamentalism that I’m pursuing differs from saneman’s one and only perfect approach. So, clearly, I’m immensely stupid…

    ehm, where did he say he was the only person with a valid opinion or only aproach? he’s keen on hearing your opinion. that’s why he keeps asking you for it. duh.
    He just isnt keen on having to deal with fluff to get to it. If you’re gonna make statements and arguments in the general public under you real name then you can’t get upset every time when people expect you to be accountable for them. All he’s asking you is to make sense by talking logically and without ‘fluff’. surely that can be done even if it has to be an ‘exception’ for the style/intent of blog once or twice?

    saneman is only interested in convincing me to follow his path, while I’m only interested in facilitating mutual understanding.

    he is? i thought he was condemning your obstruction of mutual understanding? accusing you of misusing language? from what i’ve read he hasn’t said anything about a path or how you should follow it? from what i’ve read , at least in the past , you’ve been doing that? i’m confused. which is it? He’s asking you to talk English, gods language. So that HE can understand you. So that WE can make sense of things and come to a mutual understanding. So what are you gaining from sticking your head in the sand here? what are you gaining from uncompromisingly asking him to compromise his communication when you are not willing to do it?

    The stereotype in my head believes: all religion should be eradicated. All superstitions should be destroyed. Humans should have no myths whatsoever. And this is not-negotiable to the stereotype in my head. Irrespective of what we can learn about humanity via anthropology.

    huh? myths having value and myths as a basis for reality are two very different things..

    myths are good, anthropology good, lessons indeed to be learned. one should note that all religions end. knowing that it’s time to retire that kind of thing and move on with the lessons learned from them. look at how far we can progress other technologies then why can’t we progress this one? Why fight so hard to not do that? you’re damaging the environment and the future in the process.

  • 140 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 1:00 am

    There’s too much of my comment that you don’t understand, gerhard.

    Suppose your reason-based attack on people’s minds had the effect of driving them deeper into fundamentalism, could I then call you a cruel bastard for reinforcing fundamentalism?

    Focus on that question. I’m not saying I’m not a cruel bastard in other ways, I’m just saying “it isn’t that simple…”

  • 141 gerhard // Nov 20, 2008 at 1:27 am

    ok, i will answer that question.
    no, i’m not. I’m not reinforcing the fundamentalism it is reinforcing itself. they would run away anyway as soon as that fundamentalism is challenged even if its done without a reason-based attack. Conversation is welcome if in my favor and my terms, otherwise…

    so can i ask you this? do you think if it was a social taboo that there would be less fundamentalists or cult leaders taking advantage of them? Wouldn’t blocking them that way prevent them from getting new member and loosening the ties on younger members before tackling entrenched ones make more sense?

  • 142 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 1:28 am

    gerhard, thanks for the rest of your comment, sketching out how you see saneman seeing this discussion. That is most useful.

    I apologise for my stubborn way of communicating. Stubborn listening vs stubborn talking… I will take a break from this for a few days, and see if I can be less frustrated and talk clearer next time.

    isnt keen on having to deal with fluff to get to it.

    Understood.

    freethought, emotion man.. fight the emotion. you’ll miss what’s actually being said and run into the hills like monkey running from noise.

    Here is my problem then: fight emotion? Suppress emotion? Become cold in my reasoning? In some ways my refusal to be cold is an attempt at being a filter. I don’t want people that climb into conversations with assumptions, and insist on others suppressing their emotion. Because I believe that approach to rationality is what drives people to warm-and-fuzzy fundie communities. I think that is why I don’t want to compromise and take the “cold” approach, that creates a precedent I don’t want to create.

    I explicitly want to discourage the attitude with which saneman entered this conversation, I don’t want that kind of attitude here. But getting what I want is certainly not guaranteed. So yes, I’m intentionally doing a head-on wrestle here, I’m trying one way to resolve the clash. And I think you’re pointing out that my way isn’t working.

    My counter is that my way requires building a longer relationship, and relationships are fuzzy, and saneman isn’t interested in fuzzy? I’m being difficult, because I feel I have the strength to stand up to saneman and his insistance of “no fuzzy”. My friends here on this blog, I don’t think they’ll stand up to saneman. Becuase they’re not as stupid and foolhardy as I am, they’d back down. Or leave. The conversation would be shut down, because of saneman’s approach. And that is why I stand up to him, stubbornly, and insist on fuzziness. It’s on behalf of the other people that won’t do it. It is in defence of a certain way of communicating and relating here.

    Foolhardy, I know. And saneman is possibly thinking “c’mon, this guy can do ‘better’ – he can talk cold and rational, I know he can”, and possibly not giving up for that very reason. So *because* it is me standing up, he’s standing up back to me, and we have this arm-wrestle going on.

    Sure, “saneman will happen”, again and again (in other people). That is somewhat inevitable when there is such an open-communications policy. I’m aiming at soft-segregation to limit newcomers’ ability to disrupt a conversation they’re barging in on without an understanding of our community.

    Does that help a bit?

  • 143 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Ah cool! Here we can have a nice conversation:

    ok, i will answer that question.
    no, i’m not. I’m not reinforcing the fundamentalism it is reinforcing itself. they would run away anyway as soon as that fundamentalism is challenged even if its done without a reason-based attack.

    I see. Where we differ then, is that I’m not as pessimistic. I believe I can talk to fundamentalists without them running away. To some degree, anyway. I can keep my communications open to them, to give them the opportunity to see things differently, and I would like to try.

    With regards to driving someone deeper by simply speaking your mind: I understand that it isn’t necessarily something you’d want to take responsibility for. So there’s another place where we differ. Maybe because there are some fundamentalists I really care about. And I want the room to do what I can, and stubbornly insisting on that space is causing me to be stubbornly insist on communications “on my terms”.

    Conversation is welcome if in my favor and my terms, otherwise…

    I could have said the very same thing, you know… that’s basically what this whole debate is about, right? Me wanting my terms? Not that that is good, necessarily.

    so can i ask you this? do you think if it was a social taboo that there would be less fundamentalists or cult leaders taking advantage of them? Wouldn’t blocking them that way prevent them from getting new member and loosening the ties on younger members before tackling entrenched ones make more sense?

    Maybe. That could help. I hope I’m not discouraging anyone from trying that, but that is also not what I’m trying here. I’m going for “understanding and education”, rather than “demonising and ridiculing” fundamentalism. The target audience is then those that are already too deep in the grip of fundamentalism to respond to the “demonising/ridiculing/taboo-creating”. I believe those in too deep already, get driven deeper by that kind of thing.

    I may be wrong, but I may also be right. That’s my guiding philosophy.

    Does that help a bit?

  • 144 gerhard // Nov 20, 2008 at 2:58 am

    emotion… emotion … its about not being limited by emotion. not get blinded by it. Get pissed off , feel. just dont let that feeling be over riding.

    like you said filter.. a filter that makes you add ‘cold’ and ‘unfeeling’ sentiment to very idea of reason. .

    If anything reason brings us in from the cold it gives us warmth and security. It allows to have food on the table and enables us time for love. It allows us to plan for the future and learn from the past.
    It allows there to be many real possibilities that you can actually act on and achieve.
    I think you should take werners said about the anti-thesis of moderate Christianity. (that’s a marx variant btw) All the extremes will form and it takes member for that to happen, _ some_ people will always be beyond repair. they will be the ones that always run away.
    hence , too deep.

    I too have people i care for trapped in fundamentalism so the optimistic thing to do is to save what you can but keep swinging for those in too deep.

    (u know that people related or married to fundamentalists are also trapped by that belief? the gun under the chin of them leaving if you don’t subscribe to their beliefs? your life vanishing? its not a choice because its incompatible, you either do as i’m supposed to do or its all gone. profoundly fucked up hey? those same people would probably be proud. How depressing.)

    Optimism is ‘most of them can be saved’.

    My counter is that my way requires building a longer relationship, and relationships are fuzzy, and saneman isn’t interested in fuzzy? I’m being difficult, because I feel I have the strength to stand up to saneman and his insistance of “no fuzzy”. My friends here on this blog, I don’t think they’ll stand up to saneman. Becuase they’re not as stupid and foolhardy as I am, they’d back down. Or leave. The conversation would be shut down, because of saneman’s approach. And that is why I stand up to him, stubbornly, and insist on fuzziness. It’s on behalf of the other people that won’t do it. It is in defence of a certain way of communicating and relating here.

    sorry, you’ve missed me again? why is he insisting on no fuzzyness? Asking no fuzzyness and asking some accountability , can you really equate the two?

    It’s on behalf of the other people that won’t do it. It is in defence of a certain way of communicating and relating here.

    But can the defense of a certain way of com only happen in that way of com and should people respect it when that happens? that would make my circuits go ‘danger Will Robinson , danger’

  • 145 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 3:25 am

    gerhard asked:

    sorry, you’ve missed me again? why is he insisting on no fuzzyness?

    Fuzziness was the word I used to point to what I believe you pointed to when you said:

    He just isnt keen on having to deal with fluff to get to it.

    Fluff/fuzziness. I embrace the fluff and I work from within the fluff. I like the fluff, I find it a worthwhile place to be and work. And I can do good from within the fluff. saneman, we believe, is not keen on having to deal with fluff. Then I suggest he isn’t keen on dealing with the kind of thing or from within the kind of thing I’d like to deal with and from on this blog.

    If anything reason brings us in from the cold it gives us warmth and security.

    For many, yes. For many, no. I believe, anyway. Not everyone is into “cold reason and logic”, and prefer to talk in terms of poetic and “spiritual language”. Language of feeling. I’m talking about people I know personally here, and not “religious freaks”. So respect diversity and accept that some people aren’t so into logic?

    Yes, I used “cold reason and logic”, that “cold” is less my perspective of “reason and logic” as it is “theirs”. That is a general impression that does exist. Maybe the stereotype of reason and logic as “cold” can be fought and eventually thrown out, but I have no delusions of optimism about how long that might take. There are too many anti-emotion (this is how it is perceived by some) atheists giving reason a bad name. Maybe because of people being too attached to cherished myths that they incorrectly believe to be factual – e.g. Genesis 1/2/3 – but the reason why this is, is not the point I’m making, the point I’m making is that they see it as cold. Chicken-and-egg, you take the chicken approach, I take the egg approach?

    I do believe spiritual-speak will stick with humanity forever. I base that belief on what I’ve learnt from anthropology. So if we accept this as an axiom, the challenge is how to get that emotional-spiritual-speak to not conflict with what we can learn from reason, logic and science. I believe squashing it with reason, logic and science will just reinforce the conflict, whereas finding peaceful coexistence between the two is the way forward. As I have repeated over and over and over, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a demythologised humanity. Given enough time to work on my job as well as write future blog posts, I will share more about why I believe the things I believe. I just ask that in the meantime people don’t underestimate the amount of thought and analysis and evidence I’ve drawn on in drawing the conclusions I’ve drawn.

    Anthropology: now there’s an interesting thing. Anthropology studies humanity. Believing anthropology is worth anything means believing there is something worth studying. And that thing that is worth studying is the thing I’m trying to respond to, not from an outsider disconnected anthropological perspective. If everyone had an outsider-anthropological perspective, there wouldn’t be anything left for anthropology to study.

    I do share in your waxing-lyrical towards logic and reason, but I hold that it is worth not suppressing the other side and worth not insisting everyone be super-logical-rationalists. Because people aren’t like that.

    Was it Dennett or Harris that is so interested in research about the genetic, psychological or neural differences between those prone to “belief” and those prone to… “reason”? That very field of study points out that not everyone responds to the same kind of stimuli. Humanity will never all be logical-rationalists, many will always be emotional/spiritual in their outlook. And this latter outlook need not be anti-science/anti-logic/anti-reality unless we continue to stereotype it as such. I fear it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I fear our rejection of an extreme causes that extreme in a kind of anti-thesis. And I continue to promote community and interaction between diverse and opposite traditions.

    By the very nature of community, if a “fundamentalist” can relate peacefully and acceptingly with non-fundamentalists and work together towards a common good, I’d say by definition they’re no longer fundamentalists. That’s the goal I strive towards. In some degree my way will be at odds with the way it sounds like saneman and you might advocate, but do respect multiple ways towards achieving the common good.

    But can the defense of a certain way of com only happen in that way of com

    Not necessarily, no. But another way of defending it would be taking an outsider’s stance, an anthropologist’s viewpoint. And here where we are, I’m about audience participation, about being in the way, rather than just talking about it. So I was trying to brute-force that mental switch/acceptance. Foolish, maybe, but please do suffer this fool (me). Or hey, there’s always the option to leave! 😉

    Danger-Will-Robinson-circuits are certainly important and worthwhile paying attention to. I cannot claim my way isn’t without risk, but I also think it important to take some calculated risks sometimes.

  • 146 Hugo // Nov 20, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Get this: there’s a freemason lodge right across the street from where I’m currently staying. Am I supposed to worry? 😉

  • 147 saneman // Nov 20, 2008 at 10:10 am

    @hugo I think you might be guilty of a little bit or pigeon holing us.

    Trust me when I say this, I can talk fluff with the best of them. I have had many religious debates. Currently I am in debate with a shofar member and one ex member, I have wooed both of them into a factual, intellectually honest debate.

    I don’t pray on the weak I prey on the strong, maybe I’m giving you to much credit but you don’t seem to be one of those who needs to be tiptoed around.

    I will give you the point that this kind of open display of heated debate probably isn’t best way to get a dialog going in a community.

    But at the same time I do think and maybe you will admit this, that systems like yours need to be kept in check and held accountable when there is perceived inherent flaws in the logic being presented.

    This will go a long way to keeping the entire process transparent, even if these kinds of arguments are maybe kept low key, but never hidden.

    I do not go trolling through blogs looking for fights and arguments. I really was just interested in the shofar thing. Please don’t pigeon hole me like some of the militant dawkins.net members. I’m not a nervous, insecure, one trick pony who needs to scream his only point and lay waste to all who oppose.

  • 148 Werner // Nov 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Gerhard said:

    I too have people i care for trapped in fundamentalism so the optimistic thing to do is to save what you can but keep swinging for those in too deep.

    This is something I struggle with immensely. I think most people with a gripe against Christianity, specifically those fundamental flavours such as Shofar, have “lost” someone they care for to these religions. What I would like to clarify for myself, and maybe others in this predicament, is if we have the right to claim that these people would be better off not trapped in what we deem as being fundamentalistic. We ( or I ) don’t even understand why these people are susceptible to fundamentalism in the first place.

    We would not have to “swing for those in to deep” if they wanted our help 😀

  • 149 saneman // Nov 20, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    There are a myriad of reasons, from children being primed to believe anything there parents tell them laying the ground work for these beliefs to take hold again later on in life, social pressure from extended family and peer groups, laws of the land, the human urge to want to be tricked, the churches preys on there victims in time of need, grief, addiction, loss and sickness, gives people a sense of power and righteousness over others as religion is still given respect by default, the human need for a sense of belonging.

    There are so many and they all interweave, best to read Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet and Harris they explain it better than most.

  • 150 Werner // Nov 20, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks for the summary. As I read the reasons feel valid to me, but I am no expert.

    … the churches preys on there victims…

    I have been to Shofar for a period of about a year. Although I don’t really agree with what they(Fred) are on about sometimes I really did not get the feeling that they were preying on people. On the contrary, they really seem genuine in wanting to help people out of all sorts of mess in their lives. Whether or not they achieve this is debatable, the point I am trying to make is that they are trying.

  • 151 saneman // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I am sure there are many good people in churches all over the world doing good just like there are many people who are not part of any church or religion doing good. A lot of good people are trying to make the world a better place. The church just uses it as advertising for recruitment of more followers.

    Do you really need all that mental baggage to do good?

  • 152 Werner // Nov 21, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I would want to believe that it is not necessary. But until I can come up with a better solution I am not going to shoot down what they are trying to do to the people who choose to go there to be more Christ like.

  • 153 saneman // Nov 21, 2008 at 7:16 am

    you can be more batman like without believing that batman really existed. Batman as a concept works just as well.

  • 154 saneman // Nov 21, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Surely then teaching the good lessons from all the religions and leaving the bad/ridiculous ones out.

    Maybe even throw in some lessons from non-religious teachers.

    Now we down to just teaching the good traits of humanity.

    I still don’t see the need to invoke religion to do good, but i can see the need to invoke religion to do bad.

    Don’t you ever wonder why you have this “need” to believe and explain why you adhere to a religion that your parents forced/introduced to you as well as how peculiar the geographical location comes into play with “wanting” to believe in certain myths.

    Believe in the good concepts the myth carries not the actual myth.

    Christmas is just as fun with out the belief that Santa Claus is real.

    Wanting or needing something to be true does not in anyway make it any more real or possible.

  • 155 Hugo // Nov 21, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Taking it from the bottom and up:

    @saneman, yes, some theologians would point out historical Jesus research does not matter*, as whether he really existed doesn’t matter much to the way of life

    *(e.g. when one of my atheistic friends who has been following the developments on Stellenbosch, including attending theological seminars, asked one of the theologians – I wouldn’t know which one, and naturally opinions do differ)

    @saneman and baggage, I could point at a number of old posts. Hmm, Evolution… of Language, Culture, Technology, and Religion is quite a nice one, albeit a long one. It also resulted in quite a nice conversation with a couple of Shofarian friends on Facebook. (Though “nice” would be my value judgement, and I have at least one comment suggesting they may have found it rather frustrating.)

    The point, this is an ugly stereotype:

    The church just uses it as advertising for recruitment of more followers.

    My favourite church does not recruit. Their evangelism is about helping out the world. Their members come from people already in the tradition. Their evangelism is not about converting non-Christians into Christians. Naturally, new members are welcome to join in, and the doors are open, but that should be the case for any organisation. It is not the selfish-memetic-replicator that some churches have evolved to become. Please read the post above in this regard.

    @Werner, welcome. I’d be really happy to have you on-board.

    I would want to believe that it is not necessary. But until I can come up with a better solution I am not going to shoot down what they are trying to do to the people who choose to go there to be more Christ like.

    This blog is about community, and about Christianity beyond belief – it is about a way. I aim to discuss all those things you mentioned, and seeking out a path forward.

    @saneman: about the myriad of reasons, we will certainly touch on that as well. One of them is certainly the sense of community. And a community they won’t find with the hyper-logical-reasonland approach. I’d love to develop a community open to all sides…

    @Werner:

    We would not have to “swing for those in to deep” if they wanted our help

    We (my dream for this community) will investigate that as well. And we will also try to not “help” anyone with help that isn’t wanted. Or that’s my dream. We will also share the interesting findings of science, and thus extend an invitation to help develop a better understanding to those that do want help finding peace with science.

    … OK, I’ve another comment to respond to, but I’m dashing out to go have drinks… will be back for the other comment.

  • 156 Werner // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:13 am

    you can be more batman like without believing that batman really existed. Batman as a concept works just as well.

    I had a good chuckle at this. True story 😀 By just believing in what batman stood for should be enough without believing he actually exists right? Unfortunately there was no batbook that existed through the ages. These characters also did not exist back in the hay day of humanity. The fact that scripture exists plays a huge role, for me anyways. And there it states that you need to believe that He actually lived and was the lamb that deserved no punishment. I wish for a moment that all non believers could just feel the significance of this, just for a second.

    So this comment might be argued against by attacking the validity of the Bible itself. I don’t know much about the history of scripture, although I have tried to research it. ( dead sea scrolls and all those interesting things ). But if the argument of “copies of copies” are thrown at me I won’t be able to counter it. I know to little.

    Comments such as what gerhard wrote:

    .. Its a tool by religion to maintain religion, to explain religion in religions terms.
    I can’t respect that. to me it’s like using the bible to prove the bible. u design something that only makes sense to itself.

    … especially that last sentence is something that I think many Christians struggle with. I do. As a Christian when thoughts such as those ( which seems logically sound ) creep into my mind they can do heavy damage.

    Anyway, I digress, what I want to say is please don’t go into a Bible bashing debate here. Scripture for a Christian is something we believe in, not because we known it to be true because we tracked it back to its origins. I mostly speak for myself here though, I don’t really know what all Christians think about this. How could I?

  • 157 Hugo // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I’m kinda glad at having missed saneman’s #154 last time.

    Surely then teaching the good lessons from all the religions …

    Maybe even throw in some lessons from non-religious teachers.

    Of course! I do that as far as I can, but for now I’m also focusing on my “home tradition”. It’s what people know. Here I disagree though:

    and leaving the bad/ridiculous ones out.

    Ignore “the bad and the ridiculous” that gets pulled into a religion, then you do end up painting a pretty picture… which might then later be used by another to recruit for fundamentalism… so… I suggest:

    Teach the “bad/ridiculous”, avoid ridiculing it: focus instead on understanding where it came from and what it meant to the people in that context. In understanding it and the way it came about, i.e. via education, you remove the power of the “bad”.

    Or something like that. Which I’m sure is exactly what you’d be advocating in your words, but you having left that out, gave me the opportunity to be the one to mention it. Yay! 😉

    @saneman in the context of @Werner’s request about not going into “Bible bashing”, do hold back a bit, please. Thanks. He touches on what the scripture means to the Christian – it does have a very special place. I’m not asking that you respect scripture as well, but that you keep in mind how ripping at that can shut people down in an instant. And someone explained (can’t remember if it was saneman or gerhard) that they like the path where they give absolutely no gap, no opportunity, for anything to slip through – i.e. not liking my request here for some peace… but the point here is that this is not what I want to do with this blog. Which boils down to: if you respect this blog and its mission, you should have enough reason to take it easy.

    So now back to the comment I still wanted to respond to, #147:

    @hugo I think you might be guilty of a little bit or pigeon holing us.

    Fair enough. I think you can recognise the reasons that led me to pigeon-holing you though. Nevertheless, thanks for pointing it out, so I can apologise for doing so and hopefully we can reach a better understanding of how the pigeon-holes *don’t* fit.

    I think we might both be guilty of both sides of that kind of interaction. Do you agree that might be the case? (You may have pigeon-holed me to some degree as well, I think?)

    Trust me when I say this, I can talk fluff with the best of them. I have had many religious debates. Currently I am in debate with a shofar member and one ex member, I have wooed both of them into a factual, intellectually honest debate.

    Fair enough. Give me some time, I’ll hopefully eventually have a space for every kind of interaction, and people can invite one another to whatever kind of discussion they might like. Wooing is certainly better than imposing… right? In terms of building the long-term relationships that I believe is necessary to be able to fully help out with personal needs/development, which is where fundamentalism recruits anyway: meeting personal needs for community, even if it is at the cost of sickly and unhealthily adopting something of a cloned identity for yourself. (Which is certainly the case for some people, even if I shouldn’t make that judgement for all.)

    I don’t pray on the weak I prey on the strong, maybe I’m giving you to much credit but you don’t seem to be one of those who needs to be tiptoed around.

    Thanks saneman. That also explains a lot, I understand why you don’t “go easy” on me. And it certainly make sense from that perspective… from the other though: creating an atmosphere where “a couple of intellectuals battle it out” suppresses the possibility of other people joining in on the conversation, and the latter is what I’d like to promote. So how do we then avoid having the intellectuals bulldoze the authentic-relational-interactions? (Rhetorical, to think about, while we, or I, slowly work on getting some structure or solution in place.)

    I will give you the point that this kind of open display of heated debate probably isn’t best way to get a dialog going in a community.

    Thanks.

    But at the same time I do think and maybe you will admit this, that systems like yours need to be kept in check and held accountable when there is perceived inherent flaws in the logic being presented.

    Amen, if that is your reason for being here, I’m happy to have you. If you can stick to that mission, we’ll do fine.

    This will go a long way to keeping the entire process transparent, even if these kinds of arguments are maybe kept low key, but never hidden.

    Understood, and accepted as something certainly worthwhile, especially because it frustrates and irritates me to a significant degree. Can we agree that something to the depth and length (and breadth and height and weight, lol) of this debate above need not be repeated again? (Or not soon again, anyway?) You’ll really have to check out more of the blog to find the context and the particular weak-links that you feel is worth addressing. Pick your battles carefully, pick them well.

    I do not go trolling through blogs looking for fights and arguments. I really was just interested in the shofar thing.

    Indeed. 😉 The sorry bit about this long comment thread now though, is this: anyone else coming upon this post at a later date, will feel very, very discouraged to leave a comment, a thought, an impression. If this post were clean, it might be a good place to open up a peaceful discussion of demon-belief with someone truly curious and interested in finding a way towards a scientific understanding and worldview. And we could then converse and prompt and have a new mind develop an ability to look for scientific truth for itself, rather than “bulling it into truth”, which I see as just a new authoritarianism, which can leave people especially prone to things that “sound sciency”. Pseudo-science is the challenge of the future, let’s not make the mistake of priming the population to be caught by those “scammers” – a new kind of indoctrination of accepting “the scientists”‘ opinions does not help if they can not evaluate which “scientists” are worth listening to. Just check the modern marketing on everything… alternative medicines in pharmacies, advertising “scientifically tested”. Oh, then it must be good, because we’ve learned that science is the new authority that must be obeyed…

    See the point there? So let’s tread carefully and focus more on developing good ways of thinking than handing down the “new truth”? At least on this blog, thanks…

    Please don’t pigeon hole me like some of the militant dawkins.net members. I’m not a nervous, insecure, one trick pony who needs to scream his only point and lay waste to all who oppose.

    You’ve saved yourself by including the “some” word there… else I would have gone for your neck on stereotyping and othering, finding a common enemy just so that we can develop something in common. 😉 Not that I know the dawkins.net people that well, but they’re certainly not all that bad!

    Peace? Temporary truce, at least? Let me hack on next week’s blog post. Gaah, I feel like I’ve already forgotten much of what I was planning to write. I’m sure it’ll come back as I lay words to virtual-paper. Hopefully in even better form.

  • 158 saneman // Nov 21, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I think a distinction has to be made between the scientific method, logic and reason, and scientists.

    argh out of time

  • 159 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 21, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    This blog is about community, and about Christianity beyond belief – it is about a way.

    You’d get rid of the Nicene / Apostle’s creeds?

  • 160 Hugo // Nov 22, 2008 at 4:56 am

    I would try to understand what the Nicene / Apostle’s creeds meant to the people that subscribed to them. Personally? I can only accept those creeds in a mythological-meaning sense, where “believe” is extended to “this is the mythos I accept as the language with which to talk about the human condition”.

    I will indeed also be clear about this, about my belief in this regard: I have been at numerous times in the past. Probably most recently, my post on the statement of beliefs of the children at my favourite church.

    But, and this is a big but, I also intend to leave it open enough for other people that do accept that creed in a literal sense. I want them to be able to take part in the community. I don’t want to bully anyone out of any kind of creed. A positive approach in developing new understandings and new ways of life is much more interesting to me than a destructive approach whereby old ways are directly and incessantly attacked. Thus I’m keen on presenting an alternative, or even many alternatives, many diverse groups having something of a patchwork community in common, whereby others can learn about new paths and choose out of their own to take a step in a certain direction, should they want to.

    Thus my ideal: make it very clear what you don’t believe and what you believe to be harmful, by all means, let them understand it. But grant them the space to take their time, or to stick with what they know, should they want to. Slower going, we’d be fishing for those that are in need of help and recognise they want it, instead of spending energy on fundamentalists that are dead-set in their ways.

    Consider an anorexic, that can’t heal should they not actually want to… you can offer an anorexic food, and you can help them understand their current predicament. But you can’t force them. I don’t really mean to compare fundamentalism to anorexia, but I suppose I just did. Oops. The point was rather the pattern of behaviour that I’d like to pursue here.

    May truth speak for itself…

  • 161 Hugo // Nov 22, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Newcomers, please do follow that link to see my approach. Thanks.

  • 162 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 22, 2008 at 5:43 am

    So, if you want Christianity to refer more to a way instead of beliefs, what would you use as a short statement of way analogous to the creeds being a short statement of belief?

  • 163 Hugo // Nov 22, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Hmm… a cross-cultural short statement of way I would go for is reason and compassion — the two-keyword-summary of humanism. So that was cross-cultural.

    In terms of the Christian mythos, Jesus’ “salvation message” was follow me. So for someone in the Christian tradition, it is about following a particular example, a particular ideal. I believe humans… many humans at least, not all… do much better following an example, than having a long intellectual-noodling discussions around ethics and good ways of life…

    (My favourite church taught this “follow me” way, is focused around the way rather than a creed. Though the children’s thing certainly did bother me. I will later share the letter I wrote to make sure my views were expressed before I was prepared to “officially” accept membership — I didn’t want any creed implied by my acceptance. But apart from that, Theo actually considers anyone that merely attends to be a member. I.e. there isn’t any membership requirements in his mind.)

    More interesting might be some “emerging church communities’ non-belief-oriented statements of faith”, I have one in mind that I can’t currently find. But Emergent Village also has an interesting statement of values.

    With regards to the “non-religious generation” in Europe, it sounds like most still have a god-belief, though outside the structure of organised religion. “Something to pray to to keep your family safe”. Examples like these are cited by people talking about “the myth of demythologised humanity”. And it’s interesting that they kept the divine-interventionist part of the religion, while I in a way keep the scriptural and traditional aspects. The union of our views might provide traditional/classical Christianity, but the intersection is pretty close to the empty set… I bet “new atheists” might even find them to be the “hardest to reach”, due to their “post-modernistic culture” of acceptance of diversity. They probably don’t care enough about such an issue to argue or reason about such things. One person I talked to said they prefer to “figure things out for themselves”. Sounds strange? Sit back, and figure out what non-empirical things you’d like to believe, what makes “sensible” beliefs? Humans’ propensity towards developing their own mythical narrative to bear them through life? Hopefully we’ll talk about that as well, right now, on this thread, I’m really digressing.

    … more on Christianity:

    To borrow something from comments on an ASBO Jesus, a web “comic” that isn’t necessarily particularly good if looked at it objectively, but gathers a following for the reason that it addresses “church issues”, without having a negative stance (they guys behind it are assumed to be Christian), comment 24 shared this image from Uganda (if the URL is something to go by).

    Notice in that latter image actions that humanists should be very happy about, even if they don’t necessarily share the same “beliefs”. That contribution is surely good. While I remain open-minded in both directions as to whether the “beliefs” of the people doing that played a big role in encouraging their humanitarian work or not, I don’t care much for arguing for either side in that debate. I mean, that’s seriously just intellectual noodling to me, when you could instead be out there helping out, without religious beliefs if you’re not religious. And then also working hard to fight the superstition that that comic refers to — and that fight can certainly be done in cooperation with the people that are doing the good work, even if the cooperation might feel a little uneasy to some. There are bigger fish to fry?

    ASBO Jesus is provoking some thought about statements-of-faith. Who knows how big an impact ASBO Jesus has, but I really do think it is a good contribution. It gets people talking, at the very least, and that, to me, is the most important of all! Raw conversation and community.

    If we can only build bridges between diverse tribes, that conversations don’t become too incestuous all of the time, I’m happy. (Some of the time is fine… people do need communities of like-minded individuals to find more confidence and connection, which I write while thinking about the RichardDawkins.net community, amongst others.)

  • 164 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 22, 2008 at 7:05 am

    a cross-cultural short statement of way I would go for is reason and compassion — the two-keyword-summary of humanism.

    Arguably, also a summary of unitarian universalism. Humanism would put more emphasis on reason, UU more on compassion, maybe.

    If we can only build bridges between diverse tribes, that conversations don’t become too incestuous all of the time, I’m happy.

    True. Echo chambers and incestuous amplification are unhealthy.

  • 165 Hugo // Nov 22, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Amen, Ben! 😉

    Worth reading for an understanding of the power of the narrative, something I just spotted on de-conversion.com: The Psychology of Apologetics: I Love to Tell the Story. It contains things that really need to be kept in mind.

    Also allow me to plug my recent post on a tech talk about Cambodia. Including especially the last paragraph. And for those only joining us now, or those that need reminding: R10-per-head is Jarrod Davidoff’s “rate”. 😉

  • 166 saneman // Nov 25, 2008 at 10:52 am

    watch this with an open mind:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,3373,Why-we-believe-in-gods,J-Anderson-Thomson

  • 167 Hugo // Nov 25, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Ah great, my turn to ask some questions!

    saneman, who are you asking to watch that video clip? I assume you’re asking me. So the question: why would you like me to watch it? What benefit do you think might come out of me watching it?

  • 168 saneman // Nov 25, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    It explains a lot about the human mind, and give interesting insights into why certain mechanisms are present in religion.

    Instead of starting off at the “truth” and working back, maybe just try hearing all sides and work it out for yourself.

    Not only for Hugo, but for anyone looking for more sides to the story and maybe help explain why they have certain “feelings” and “yearnings”.

  • 169 gerhard // Nov 25, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    werner :
    nah , i think people have gripes with christainity for many many reasons .. being trapped when most of society is trapped is of little meaning… i think Most of the gripe comes from the immense hypocitisism and hatefulness of the religion.
    Why susceptible to fundamentalism ? christ .. the gun under the chin (ie going to hell) and social reinforcement of this lotr thinking is the sickness since birth.. why if it is tolerated, wouldnt u rather spend you time in lotr? Better question yet. Hell there are social reprocussion for not playing the game (point to dion mass?)… you tried being a verbal atheist? lol. your very existence or foundation assumption is offensive 😛
    So having spent your time with shofar, did you encounter true questioning? i’m not talking about meaningless religious banter.. i’m talking real quesitoning ? u know what happens? I know of a person who was physically removed after being a member for some time. hell, they ushers are lovingly refered to as bouncers. ever wonder why? *G* because they are _that_ friendly in helping people out.

    ‘we would not have to swing for those in to deep if they wanted out help’
    yes… but thats not what it is about , in cases like shofar they are trying to take over universities etc? that is trying to corrupt what is pure. So why we take a swing isnt because we want to conform but rather , an attempt to keep their poison at bay. tollerating it is as disgustnig as helping it ..

    look, man kind evolved into this whole needing stories to propogate and understand nature and more importantly mans role in nature .. its regretable, but it does lend itself towards some spice. I would just think that with all the different systems out there and with so much understanding of man and his working that we could come up with something better than brainwash people into worshipping lotr? dont u think or is man really that pathetically stupid and afraid that they have to create an alternate reality to exist in? Churches are recruit people into the way of thinking , they provide the platform for the escapism and hence legitimise it. One could argue that only people already inclined to go to church will go to church but the way i see it is that churches evangilize by association. So by churches going out to feed people (not help them but help prolong their suffering) they are advertising their relative ‘goodness’ , the symbol of what the church ‘stands’ for. Adverting their way .. anything fantasy goes as as there is a some fantasy ..
    you know , follow ‘the way’ as hugo puts it. or better put , making logic so abstract to you that reason must always be originate in ‘hyper-logical-reasonland’.
    So scary is logic and reason that it must be reduced to ‘fantasy land’ and fantasy land deified into alpha omega…

    ‘epecially that last sentence is something that I think many Christians struggle with. I do. As a Christian when thoughts such as those ( which seems logically sound ) creep into my mind they can do heavy damage.’
    yes, the truth always damages lies and falsehood. that is the point , it is the exact opposite. The truth , is what we’re talking about. Christains are taught not to trust the truth. if it sounds like this has some implication that are too much to be able to handel then… shut down… resort to the given language to resolve the differences. explain why and how homoeopathy works in the context of homeopathy , with the assumption that homoeopathy works , is true, and the compromise worth making.. taking that uncompromising compromise. Can you honestly take a look around you today or any point within history and say , that this works? maybe it patches things to break at a later date but thats about it. We live in the present and not the past 🙂

    look, bashing the religious works and holding it accountable are two different things … i could be making fun of the unicorns but no? we’re just saynig you belive in unicorns. calling the spade a spade.. besides it not like you actually believe in the bible anyway .. because if you did , then you would pick and choose and maybe respect it for the word of god that it is 😛 Hell i’m not even so sure you know what the 10 commandments are 🙂 i think you may know king james’s ones tho. I know i sound rude, but how does one say these things without being rude and stay true to oneself? ie. not lieing or not condescend by means of appeasement? Giving something like this dignity and respect
    is apeasement. This is especially true if its only really the extremes of this sickness that actually shut down situation. So what is the alternative? blind respect and dignity because maybe 10% are that dysfunctional? all this airy fairy beating around the bush doesn’t do any good. if it did , after several thousand years then it did . maybe its time to accept those crazys as crazy who dont want anything more and move on? You know , let the crazy be crazy just try and manage the negative effect the carzyness has on society? Making sure that deciscions made by leadership isnt inspired by the craziness ? *cough* bush *cough* zuma *cough*
    We haven’t actuality tried that yet. (discount communism)

    last time i check that isnt ‘authoitarian nor is it militant’ so please don’t make the mistake hugo makes and see all forms of confrontational questioning as such. Its ignorant to be blindly acceptant of politically correctness if that universal P.C ness is half the problem :P)
    I suppose if i was being lead into a volcano then i’d also prefer to do it blindly and worse , promote it as to save people from the uncomfortable realization that the volcano is the last place you’d want to be.

    sheepish i know 🙂

  • 170 Werner // Nov 25, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    phew, I think I have read your comment like 3 times now and still struggle to understand most of it. You will have to excuse me and go a bit slower. Excuse me if I misunderstand:

    nah , i think people have gripes with christainity for many many reasons .. being trapped when most of society is trapped is of little meaning… i think Most of the gripe comes from the immense hypocitisism and hatefulness of the religion.

    So you are saying that people have a gripe with religion because they hate it? I would then refrase my question to why do people hate it? As for “hypocitisism” I have no idea what that means. Probably a typo but I cannot guess what the real word was supposed to be.

    Why susceptible to fundamentalism ? christ .. the gun under the chin (ie going to hell) and social reinforcement of this lotr thinking is the sickness since birth.. why if it is tolerated, wouldnt u rather spend you time in lotr? Better question yet. Hell there are social reprocussion for not playing the game (point to dion mass?)… you tried being a verbal atheist? lol. your very existence or foundation assumption is offensive

    Are you implying with “.. the gun under the chin” you believe that everyone that does believe in the biblical afterlife are fundamentalists? Can you see where I am headed with this line of argument?

    “… this lotr thinking is the sickness since birth.” with all of us, or just the ones susceptible? As for the rest of the paragraph I struggle. Don’t know a “dion mass” and my apologies for my existence that offends you 🙁

    So having spent your time with shofar, did you encounter true questioning? i’m not talking about meaningless religious banter.. i’m talking real quesitoning ? u know what happens? I know of a person who was physically removed after being a member for some time. hell, they ushers are lovingly refered to as bouncers. ever wonder why? *G* because they are _that_ friendly in helping people out.

    “…u know what happens?” as in after you(I) die or just what happens in general(life). I do believe they provide answers to some of people’s questions. Whether they will give you your answers I don’t know. The ushers existens was sort of justified when streakers broke in there with pepper spray.( or you could argue that the streakers had pepper spray because they knew about the ushers; chicken egg type thing 😉 )

    ‘we would not have to swing for those in to deep if they wanted out help’
    yes… but thats not what it is about , in cases like shofar they are trying to take over universities etc? that is trying to corrupt what is pure. So why we take a swing isnt because we want to conform but rather , an attempt to keep their poison at bay. tollerating it is as disgustnig as helping it ..

    Take the universities over as in defy their teachings on evolution and see that those things are not tought?

    dont u think or is man really that pathetically stupid and afraid that they have to create an alternate reality to exist in?

    I believe we(man) are quite frantic in wanting (or even needing ) to know the truth.

    So by churches going out to feed people…

    I was not aware that this was part of their outreaches?

    Christains are taught not to trust the truth

    I must have missed that part completely. I have never seen this kind of coaching.

    The rest of the comment I just really struggle to understand. Really sorry. It is late and I am tired.

  • 171 Werner // Nov 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    i think Most of the gripe comes from the immense hypocitisism and hatefulness of the religion.

    I actually think I understand what you meant by this now. You mean the hatefulness displayed by religions? Makes more sense now 😉

  • 172 Hugo // Nov 25, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    @saneman:

    Not only for Hugo, but for anyone

    It seems you just neatly sidestepped a flurry of questions, congrats! 😉

    @gerhard:

    It seems you have a problem with “my way”… why?

    Are you calling a significant portion of my extended family crazy, despite never even having met them? And are you still trying to convince me to quit my blog?

    (Bit in italics added after I hit publish.)

  • 173 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 12:12 am

    You keep on making suggestions like these:

    we could come up with something better than brainwash people into worshipping lotr?

    but then in the same breath it also feels as though you keep on shooting me down when I participate in that very effort.

    I know i sound rude, but how does one say these things without being rude and stay true to oneself?

    I know I’m about to sound rude, but how do I say this without being rude and staying true to myself: gerhard, it would appear you have a lack of social skills.

    There, that can serve as an example. Should I have said it like that, or do you have a better suggestion?

    we’re just saynig you belive in unicorns. calling the spade a spade..

    I’d call bullshit on that, you’re just showing your own lack of understanding about the matter. Christianity, even in its most “conservative”, fundamentalist form, is miles away from believing in unicorns. Can you even recognise that? Show me how you build a life-guiding narrative around belief in unicorns. Show me the unicorn equivalent of the sermon on the mount… Show me the wisdom in unicorn belief, show me the stuff that it contains that brought the early Christians to conclude that Jesus was a very incarnation of the divine…

    how does one say these things without being rude and stay true to oneself?

    You could ask for some suggestions, you know. You could say “I’d like to communicate this or that idea, in this or that context, without sounding rude. What would you suggest?” Then we could talk about it. Or if your true self is to be rude, then certainly you cannot be not-rude without being untrue to yourself…

  • 174 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 12:32 am

    While I’m here, as I might not check in again in the next 24 hours…

    Another guy I’d wager “gets it”, is Paul Kurtz. Some call him the father of secular humanism. Go read “Embracing the Power of Humanism”, and see how much he makes use of stories from various traditions past, various mythologies. Now go and accuse him of promoting “fantasy land”. Or go check out “Parenting Beyond Belief” by Dale McGowan. He advocates teaching your children stories from all the traditions. This is how humans communicate ideas, through fairy tales.

    So here’s my first bit of advice, if you seriously are interested in contributing on this blog: stop ridiculing myths and mythologies. Go ridicule them elsewhere if you want, but such ridicule of the wonders and value of mythologies makes it damn-nigh impossible to encourage people to understand the mythological value of their tradition. Elevate myth to something special, read Joseph Campbell for example, and you get to a point where you can encourage people positively to understand the mythological nature and value of their narratives. Make it something worth striving towards.

    Did you read the bit I quoted above in relation to Karen Armstrong? Search for “armstrong” or maybe “rushdie”. Rushdie wrote a work of fiction. Now accuse him of encouraging narratives and myths… while at the same time he has a pending death-sentence in certain regions for doing so. Also, go look at the past and how some fundies freak out at the contents of my blog, or the havoc I wreaked in my own extended family by writing some of the things I did. Now go accuse me of being politically correct. Pu-lease.

    And excuse me while I continue being honest and “true to myself” to excuse being rude: Werner, yes, gerhard’s writing sucks. It seems he thinks so little of us that he won’t proof-read his own writing before hitting submit. (And you can proof-read as you type, reread a paragraph at a time or so, and try to poke holes in your own writing, try to see how someone might misunderstand it.)

    BTW, do you understand Afrikaans, gerhard? Saneman, if you’re reading this, you too? I’m just wondering, because a while ago there were some things I’d have liked to point you to as examples of a certain sort, but it is in Afrikaans. I wasn’t sure who would understand.

  • 175 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Dale’s book has many contributors, maybe you can quickly glance over this page and recognise some faces, in case that helps you take things more seriously (“ah, the right people wrote it” style):

    http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/contributors/

  • 176 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Dale’s book has many contributors, maybe you can quickly glance over this page and recognise some faces, in case that helps you take things more seriously (“ah, the right people wrote it” style):

    http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/contributors/

    Granted also: I shouldn’t talk too much about it, I have yet to read it in any meaningful sense of the word “read”. I have followed Dale’s blog for a long time though, and am quite sure that he encourages using myths as a teaching tool.

  • 177 saneman // Nov 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Ok seriously:

    Christianity, even in its most “conservative”, fundamentalist form, is miles away from believing in unicorns. Can you even recognise that?

    But its ok when the same people get slavery, hatred towards gays and oppression of women from the reading of the same text…

    a truly pathetic argument

    He advocates teaching your children stories from all the traditions. This is how humans communicate ideas, through fairy tales.

    So here’s my first bit of advice, if you seriously are interested in contributing on this blog: stop ridiculing myths and mythologies.

    Paul Kurtz would never advocate that the mythologies are based on fact and that jesus really did exist and perform miracles.

    The ridiculing only starts when you guys actually state that these myths are real and based on fact.

    The problem Gerhard and I have is that you guys, including Hugo work off a base assumption and try and square the circle, instead of looking at the evidence and build from that. Hugo goes on and on about context. How about the context that the bible is in fact man made, most events never really took place and is our first attempt at understanding our place in humanity, and with it being our first attempt it is our worst.

    and lastly about Gerhard or myself being condescending and arrogant:
    http://pootling.net/2007/04/25/are-scientists-who-argue-about-religion-arrogant/

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2007/02/27/whos-more-arrogant-embarrassing-militant-dawkins-or-haggard.htm

    P.S
    I don’t read or speak afrikaans very well.
    I can do English, Xhosa, reason and logic.
    I can also do fairy tales and romantic speak, but be warned I have a pretty keen bullshit detector.

  • 178 gerhard // Nov 26, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    @werner :

    ah , i think people have gripes with christainity for many many reasons .. being trapped when most of society is trapped is of little meaning… i think Most of the gripe comes from the immense hypocitisism and hatefulness of the religion.

    first off , thanks for pointing out when you dont understand something i’m saying. that is very helpful.
    what the words are supposed to be getting across is that it is most probably the hypocritical actions/beliefs of the followers and the hate speech (you know , telling people they are going to hell, if they dont believe or behave in a prescribed manner, and referring to some of the other stuff i’ve pointed out in previous posts)
    I hope that helps .

    Are you implying with “.. the gun under the chin” you believe that everyone that does believe in the biblical afterlife are fundamentalists? Can you see where I am headed with this line of argument?

    “… this lotr thinking is the sickness since birth.” with all of us, or just the ones susceptible? As for the rest of the paragraph I struggle. Don’t know a “dion mass” and my apologies for my existence that offends you 🙁

    no, i think i may be assuming too much. I’m assuming that people who are taking the bible literally, you know the ones who claim deamons physically exist, would take threats of eternal damnation literally. Hence , unlike moderate Christianity who tend to think of it more as an metaphor that it carries more weight.
    the comment: ‘you tried being a verbal atheist? lol. your very existence or foundation assumption is offensive ‘ is about the atheist , his very existence is damned by christain thought. after all it is the unbeliever who is evil and a lost cause. modern christainity is even worse , because they don’t limit themselves to one religion but go ‘any religion will do as long as there is a religion.’ i know that that is a over simplification but essentially that is what it boils down to. At least that is what atheists experiance . sad isnt it?
    deon mass was a writer for an afrikaans publication who wrote an article differentiating the christain view of satanism vs satanism .. He wrote of the differences and hence sounded very apologetic about satanism .. Christians didnt like this and exerted pressure on the news paper to drop this ‘satanist’. He was doing something very honorable but he basically had his career ruined because of it. what Christians tend to not realize is that this is a good template for their behavior. So no there is nothing being said against you. 🙂

    Take the universities over as in defy their teachings on evolution and see that those things are not tought?

    No i meant , taking over the university to enforce religious doctrine over a secular institution .. that is plain wrong and a evil move.

    as for the rest of my comment , i am sorry you were too tired to read it , hopefully at some point you’ll get a chance. I apologise for nature of it because i too write these things in a hurry so i sometimes/mostly mess up the grammar , me not being English also complicates matters.
    My language is more literal than English so i’m not good with fluffing things up.

  • 179 gerhard // Nov 26, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    i’m not going to reply to 172 as it was an emotional response.

    @hugo , ahahah , lack social skills … lol
    well if it’s the truth or if that’s what you think then why would i think its rude? its all part of being an adult, dealing with things that you don’t like or want to have to hear.
    I would think it was rude if you intentionally were saying that to insult me 🙂
    Being true to oneself, not lying to someone, not being condescending by humoring their self-hatred or self-damage. see this as an adult refusing to let the child kill themselves with that gun thats lying around …

    Telling someone they are basing their reality and morality on lotr is going to lead to people feeling you’re being rude towards them. There is no way around this. Social skills or not:)

    I’d call bullshit on that, you’re just showing your own lack of understanding about the matter. Christianity, even in its most “conservative”, fundamentalist form, is miles away from believing in unicorns. Can you even recognise that? Show me how you build a life-guiding narrative around belief in unicorns. Show me the unicorn equivalent of the sermon on the mount… Show me the wisdom in unicorn belief, show me the stuff that it contains that brought the early Christians to conclude that Jesus was a very incarnation of the divine…

    actually , how christains deal with the unicorn dilema is making excuses. I believe the current excuse is ‘they weren’t talking about unicorns they were talking about an oryx who was born with one horn’ even tho for most of the time past people believed in unicorns.. so really , if they believed in unicorns and didnt mean unicorns then they would have said so. Think a little.
    for the record i am under no delusion that unicorns get left out of modern thinking , alot less people would believe in the bible /jesus myth etc if they even knew of … unicorns being in the bible.. you know , it takes it that little bit closer to lotr.. btw, your insistence that one should ignore the majority of what is written in favor of deifying particular aspects is self defeating 😛
    you should feel grateful that there are still some people who don’t mind having long winded conversations to point out the obvious.

  • 180 Werner // Nov 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    @gerhard 177:

    It is clear to me now that I completely misunderstood what you said in that post. I am getting a feel of how you write though. Its almost like you write how you speak. My comprehension is nowhere too so that coupled with your writing is causing massive confusion.

  • 181 saneman // Nov 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    *waits*

  • 182 gerhard // Nov 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    @ hugo , i see i missed an important post of yours .. you accuse me of ‘stop ridiculing myths and mythologies’ , when did i do that? If i remember correctly i said , stop deifying mythology and passing it off as reality. I am all for the understanding to be gained of the human condition from myth and mythology. Just don’t pass it of as a matter of fact and truth. if you do that then you can’t complain about being made fun of. you are distorting Paul Kurtz in your head if you think he thinks otherwise. Teach myth as myth , teach reality as reality. He doesn’t promote limiting yourself by communicate ideas through fairy tales alone. Doing that makes people stupid and easily manipulated.

    So wtf? Are you going to start picking and choosing (like you do about bible interpretations) from sane intellectuals as well now?
    Also if you’re going to namedropping secularists then at least do it in a logical and contextual manner. quote mining is bad remember.

    hugo , do i really need to point out that while i find fundamentalist actions dispicable in context of my beliefs i do far far more respect it than your brand of modernism. i will quote myself while touching up the quote for u ….

    ‘look, bashing the religious works and holding it accountable are two different things … i could be making fun of the unicorns but no? we’re just saynig unicorns are part of that belief.(look i can point at it 6 times… ) calling the spade a spade. (absurd unicorns are absurd unicorns). besides it not like you actually believe in the bible anyway ( u dont see it as the word of god, you’re not of the martin luther persuasion ).. because if you did , then you wouldn’t pick and choose and maybe respect it for the word of god what it is, the word of god 😛

    Hell i’m not even so sure you know what the 10 commandments are 🙂 i think you may know king james’s ones tho. I know i sound rude, telling u about unicorns and explaining what word of god means , but how does one say these things without being rude and stay true to oneself. ‘

    anyway dude, you need to learn the difference between being rude for rudeness sake and rude because you’re being told you’re worshiping unicorns and giants…

  • 183 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Re: saneman’s “*waits*” in #181: his comment #177 was in the moderation queue due to it containing two links. So everyone following probably missed it. Now you know. I’ll get to that one last.

    @gerhard’s #178 – nice. I like how you handled that, seems patient. Wish I had more patience. But long discussions like these that seem like a complete waste of time just sap it out of me. But I continue trying, because each time it seems I’m that much closer to finding mutual understanding.

    @gerhard #179:

    i’m not going to reply to 172 as it was an emotional response.

    Huh? That was the least emotional of the lot! Was it the italics that mislead you? I made them italic as indication of having been added afterwards. You can reread that one and take it seriously, because it wasn’t an emotional response.

    It seems you have a problem with “my way”… why?

    Re: social skills, that wasn’t meant as an insult, but I knew it could be understood as one. Different angles on what social skills are though, some might consider some things social skills and others might not. And I’m aware of both views on that matter.

    how christains deal with the unicorn dilema is making excuses

    Silly, isn’t it. I’d suggest they don’t know how to deal with it… similar to a conversation I had the other day when I asked a BSc friend of mine about her belief in God. She immediately jumped to “cause of the big bang”. *sigh*. But I know not everyone has thought about these things to the degree we have, so I can’t be surprised at their use of clichéd/boring thoughts or arguments to defend their way of life. I still say it isn’t about the belief, it is about what it means to them, about the way of life. Trying to justify it with Lah-claims is just that: justification, rather than sitting down and thinking “something must have started the Big Bang” and bearing that thought through to “I’m embracing this way of life”. You know that. I know that. I’m sure you get my point on the unicorn. So how about we leave silly arguments like those for times when they’re actually warranted? (Even then, on this blog, I’d personally rather leave them out and take another angle, but I can’t ask that of you. If some fundie pulls a unicorn on you, feel free to pull a unicorn back. No, actually, I can ask that of you, this being my blog, my home, my living room on the internet. But I digress.)

    btw, your insistence that one should ignore the majority of what is written in favor of deifying particular aspects is self defeating

    Where did I do that?

    you should feel grateful that there are still some people who don’t mind having long winded conversations to point out the obvious.

    I’m sorry, I’m not grateful at all about this conversation. I’m grateful that not everyone seems to be as obtuse about my writing. Granted, maybe I don’t express myself well, but that just increases my gratefulness to those that do “get it”.

    you accuse me of ’stop ridiculing myths and mythologies’ , when did i do that?

    (I struck out a word I expect wasn’t meant to be there.)

    OK, granted… I can see you don’t ridicule myths/mythologies. The problem then is in other people’s perception, sorry, in my perception. But the word choice there was not meant as accusatory as much as it was in describing a general course of action for general contributors (responding to a broader group than you in particular). The main point was rather to “elevate myth”. Kinda like Brian Cox did in that TED talk about the LHC. I’d love to see more of that in more places. But also granted: such opportunities don’t exactly present themselves in obvious ways, it does require some creativity. (Brian Cox’s example was also quite creative.)

    (Oh BTW… you could consider subscribing to comments via email if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any.)

    Just don’t pass it of as a matter of fact and truth.

    Have I done this?

    you are distorting Paul Kurtz in your head if you think he thinks otherwise.

    In that case I’m not distorting Paul Kurtz. 😉

    He doesn’t promote limiting yourself by communicate ideas through fairy tales alone.

    Indeed. Neither do I. Right?

    Pay close attention to this bit:

    Here’s where I found hope again of being understood by saneman&gerhard (a concocted concept that I formed in my head, that doesn’t represent either individual exactly – just the particular idea in my head that I’m responding to):

    gerhard wrote:

    So wtf? Are you going to start picking and choosing (like you do about bible interpretations) from sane intellectuals as well now?
    Also if you’re going to namedropping secularists then at least do it in a logical and contextual manner. quote mining is bad remember.

    I hate quote-mining. I consider it downright evil, I hate it with a passion. I hate it because it misrepresents people and abuses their authority for nefarious purposes. I hate it because it promotes misunderstanding, and I hate misunderstanding. I also hate being misunderstood, being quote mined myself, having my own writing taken out of context. So…

    What I don’t like, is being disrespected. Who likes that? It doesn’t mean I expect everyone to agree with me, of course. But what happens is I try to express myself, and am misunderstood. My words are interpreted with a number of prejudices, and given a spin that I did not place there. (The mind of the reader places that spin.)

    So… what I do, is I pull in some other authors that I know you (plural) will respect. I know you will understand their views/beliefs about the matter in the correct light, because having that respect for them, you don’t have the prejudices that influence your understanding of my writing when we talk about them. Thus: I am not taking their views out of context, I am not using their views to defend mine, I am using their views to explain mine. I’m using them as anchor to attempt to shift your understanding of what I’m saying. (Quote-miners on the other hand use their own beliefs, or that of the sheeple watching, as anchor with which to shift and misrepresent the audience’s perception of the scientists’ words.) Understand this difference, it is key.

    I consider it to be a sign of disrespect for my thinking if my thinking is immediately assumed to be suspect or incorrect, without any evidence backing that up. I believe if I was afforded some basic respect, that everything I say wouldn’t immediately be interpreted as such, that you’d rather try to understand what I mean, then this whole friggen time-wasting discussion would not have wasted so much time. Then I could have continued writing my blog posts, which I’m sure have much more value than this discussion. Then I could also have sketched out my views on “God”, a post I have relatively high on my queue/list (fluctuating between second and fifth depending on how I feel each day), which would also express the mythological nature of the concept.

    Sure, maybe I could communicate more clearly, but I think it is terrible that people will only respect you if you have perfect clarity in your communication skills. (Or perfect grammar or spelling, of course.)

    hugo , do i really need to point out that while i find fundamentalist actions dispicable in context of my beliefs i do far far more respect it than your brand of modernism. i will quote myself while touching up the quote for u ….

    So you explicitly lack respect for my views… which might explains why you seem to have no interest in actually understanding them (in going to some effort to understand them). That is what I mean by basic respect.

    Hell i’m not even so sure you know what the 10 commandments are 🙂 i think you may know king james’s ones tho.

    Actually I don’t. If I were to be tried by the inquisition, I’d have been burned an eon ago. Do you know them off by heart?

    I know i sound rude,

    You didn’t sound rude in that paragraph. I didn’t even know you were talking about me, because it so misses the point of what I’m trying to discuss. So at most it is frustrating that you keep on babbling about irrelevant stuff…?

    rude because you’re being told you’re worshiping unicorns and giants…

    Again… “Wait… what? Are you telling me that?!” I keep on thinking you’re talking about people not present in this discussion, so I think you’re being unnecessarily verbose and sounding like a gramophone… was I wrong about this?

    Pay close attention again:

    The previous heading faded a bit towards the end of that section. Now responding to saneman’s #177, which I intentionally left for last, this is again a “focus now!” section:

    Ok seriously:

    Christianity, even in its most “conservative”, fundamentalist form, is miles away from believing in unicorns. Can you even recognise that?

    But its ok when the same people get slavery, hatred towards gays and oppression of women from the reading of the same text…

    a truly pathetic argument

    I’m sorry, what? What does my pointing out that there’s a huge difference between Christianity and unicorn belief have to do with the horrors of using it to promote hatred? And then, based on that absurd leap (of faith? 😛 of reason…), my argument is classified as “truly pathetic”.

    gerhard, or anyone else, will you agree this is saneman showing me absolute disrespect by suggesting that’s what I’m arguing?

    How could saneman even make that kind of connection if he afforded me some basic respect… This is why I hate this discussion.

    Paul Kurtz would never advocate that the mythologies are based on fact and that jesus really did exist and perform miracles.

    Actually, I’m willing to bet Paul Kurtz doesn’t deny that there was a historical Jesus. At most he’d say “what does it matter?” It seems you are suggesting that I’m suggesting Paul Kurtz would suggest Jesus performed miracles. Where did I say this?

    Basic respect! Please!

    The problem Gerhard and I have is that you guys, including Hugo work off a base assumption and try and square the circle

    And still saneman insists I’m trying to “square the circle”. Isn’t that a sign of disrespect?

    Hugo goes on and on about context

    Yes! Including the context of my blog.

    How about the context that the bible is in fact man made,

    Did I ever deny that?

    Now two links to blog posts that we could discuss, I have some good thoughts on those, but this comment is already long enough. So just one bit:

    Comparing dear Dr Dawkins to friggin Haggard? That’s already showing disrespect towards Dawkins. I’m not talking about Haggard’s here.

    I have a pretty keen bullshit detector.

    Great! Join the club! Wait… might you be suggesting I don’t?

    What I request is just some basic respect – or is my standards for “basic” too high?

    The Belief Thing

    To touch on saneman’s request for me to state what I believe, and my stubborn refusal to do so: I insist on respect that is independent of what I believe. Or is respect only afforded to people with the Right Creed (TM), in which case we could get all the scientists together in a new ecumenical council and decide on a new creed, that everyone that does not heed to can be ignored and marginalised as heretics… Naturally the creed would include only having “tentative conclusions”, the scientific ideal of challenging all theories and all that… but still.

    Doing that would confirm creationists’ stereotypes. It would reinforce the paranormal-believing-scientists that the community’s shunning of that field of study is prejudice, rather than hard-earned experience. Etc.

    That kind of respect-only-those-with-correct-creed is fundamentalism. To me. By Crossan’s definition. (Need I explain?) There are Biblical literalists (distinguishing between literalist and fundamentalist in Crossan’s fashion) that respect me, that respect atheists, that respect those that have differing beliefs. From my viewpoint thus, “new-atheists” that are unable to respect others on the grounds of what their stated beliefs are, or on their refusal to state beliefs, are worse than Biblical literalists.

    Basic respect. Please. Enough respect to not lay words in my mouth, which is in many ways the same as quote mining. (I only consider it less evil because you’re not using it to mislead the masses, but forgive me for taking it more personally, getting frustrated or “emotional” due to my patience running out, because it is personal.)

    You’re in my living room here. Please don’t shit on my rug.

    (Ok, that last metaphor doesn’t exactly work, but I felt like saying it. In fact, I stole the idea by reading it elsewhere and forgetting that fact, but with some brief thought I found it again, Evolving Thoughts’ commenting policy:

    Comment policy: All comments must remain polite and on topic. Anything that resembles spam will be deleted immediately. I reserve the right to delete any comment that I think is inappropriate. I will usually give a warning. This is my living room, so don’t urinate on the rug.

    I’m considering adopting something like that.)

  • 184 Hugo // Nov 27, 2008 at 9:45 am

    i was digging through old comments looking for an example of gerhard’s way of expressing himself that I felt was too “ridiculing” of myth, which caused me to not directly accept the statement he was making. Tough on my Nokia E90 though. Came across saneman comment in ~#154 though:

    Believe the good concepts the myth carries, not the myth itself.

    Yes! I ignored that, I think, because there was other rudeness (in my perception) to respond to, and because I already do that. Here is my more nuanced way of agreeing:

    Yes, believe the good concepts it carries. I call that the myth being “true but not factual”. I blog about such things with “the truth in this is such-and-such. It need not be taken literally/factually for it to carry and communicate this truth. In fact, the dangers of taking it literally/factually are the following: blablablabla…” Have you got a problem with this approach?

  • 185 saneman // Nov 27, 2008 at 9:58 am

    @Hugo:
    Sad thing here is we do actually respect you Hugo, else we wouldn’t engage you. You beliefs on the other hand are just that beliefs, you pull them on yourself which where put on your by you parents and society as well as they are shaped on a bronze age mythology. How can you possibly ask for respect to your religion? Do respect satanism? Islam? Bob the Pink unicorn?

    You and you social group think you have a right to “elevate” your beliefs above others

    Don’t try and use the “respect for my BELIEFS” crap to wriggle out of having people question your reasoning. Isn’t it sad that so many people are in mental institutions for thinking they are napoleon or some other delusion but the cult kids gets to run around in our society, are allowed to preach there craziness to others as true and historically correct and even get a tax break.

    and lastly either jesus really existed with unicorns trotting around or he didn’t and is just a mental construction of the jews trying to fight off the roman oppressors which could not be driven back with flesh and bone so the supernatural was invoked.

    You either take robin hood as an idea and concept or you really think he existed and actually lived in Sherwood forest with a green little hat.

    Would you still be demanding respect for your beliefs if you had reached the age you are now still believing in the easter bunny?

    If we come across rude, that is not our fault! You are pulling that reaction onto yourself, because of you unfounded beliefs.

    Hugo, do you have any idea how fast the world would move forward if religion where seen as just a myth used to teach children and the ignorant who can only adhere to basic morals because of fear of eternal damnation by there loving creator. Instead you would have these myths continued to be taught as fact, and in some societies this is all they are taught(‘yes that includes unicorns and flying donkeys’).

    There are better ways of making people behave than invoking santa claus who knows if you are naughty or nice.

    Have a bit more faith in humanity.

    and again Hugo relax you starting to “hate” again.

  • 186 saneman // Nov 27, 2008 at 11:04 am

    one more thing
    @Hugo: If you want to take offense with someone, maybe start with the people who forced their beliefs onto you and infected your mind with this intellectually dishonest meme. Don’t get cross with the people who can see the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes and are just pointing it out.

  • 187 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 27, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    @Hugo:

    How can you possibly ask for respect to your religion? Do respect satanism? Islam? Bob the Pink unicorn?

    *blinks*

    saneman, you are pigeonholing Hugo and not listening to what he is saying. Hugo has already basically addressed this, in the comments for this very blog post:

    Hugo said:

    lotr doesn’t have the depth of human culture that scripture evolved over many centuries has. It is a remarkable collection of books precisely because of the contradictions, because of the wrestlings of the humans that wrote it, because they were focused on how to live life. lotr was written as entertainment, although there are some interesting parallels and some things that can be used to talk about certain things.

    So that’s the biggest difference to me.

    (emphasis added by me)

    Where does he elevate Lord of the Rings over the Bible? On depth, multiple authors, author’s intent, etc.

    You and I – assuming you are an atheist and naturalist as I am – would refer to both as fiction, right? Do you see anywhere in there where Hugo is listing the non-fictional status of LOTR or Scripture as an important difference? The accuracy of LOTR or Scripture in documenting historical events or models of reality? I don’t. On those terms, the differences between LOTR and Scripture are not significant enough to list.

    Read what he actually writes, not what you are inserting between the lines. People and communication are more diverse than you’re allowing for.

    You and you social group think you have a right to “elevate” your beliefs above others

    *blinks*

    If we come across rude, that is not our fault! You are pulling that reaction onto yourself, because of you unfounded beliefs.

    You can’t say that until you figure out what Hugo’s beliefs are. Right now, you are criticizing ‘unfounded beliefs’ that are held by a fictional character in your head.

  • 188 gerhard // Nov 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Again… “Wait… what? Are you telling me that?!” I keep on thinking you’re talking about people not present in this discussion, so I think you’re being unnecessarily verbose and sounding like a gramophone… was I wrong about this?

    i’m trying to explain to u in general terms why the rudeness isnt rudeness for the sake of rudeness. You clearly didnt understand that because you were taking the perceived rudeness personal.

    look
    Myth are great, take robin hood or king Arthur.
    Great life lessons and wisdom in the tales, but we admit these myths are just that myths. We accept them as myth we don’t deify the characters or try to mold our world around them . Thank fuck , they dont give reason to ridicule…

    I insist on respect that is independent of what I believe.

    ehm, that insistence isnt going to get u anywhere … respect is earned not trivially given… so that would mean that what you believes depends on wether u get respect or not. See it as this , Zuma , as a leader , deserves respect and got it, but Zuma lost it with his talk about taking showers.. His belief is what lost him his repect … (ignore that scandals .. i’m just talking about belief here)
    Now i ask you? what would happen if we gave zuma’s shower theory the respect you want to give?

    That kind of respect-only-those-with-correct-creed is fundamentalism. To me. By Crossan’s definition. (Need I explain?) There are Biblical literalists (distinguishing between literalist and fundamentalist in Crossan’s fashion) that respect me, that respect atheists, that respect those that have differing beliefs. From my viewpoint thus, “new-atheists” that are unable to respect others on the grounds of what their stated beliefs are, or on their refusal to state beliefs, are worse than Biblical literalists.

    oi, noone is talking creed here .. new-atheism has nothing to do with it. lol

    We’re talking about very specific thinking and very specific results from that thinking … very specific thinking that are poisonous and which are being asked to be respected. wtf? bible literalists are fine 🙂 they are crazy and there will always be crazys .. and at least they are crazys that you can do something about . the crazys that are dangerous are the flip floppers who will at the drop of the hat abandon reason because a good enough emotional argument was made.. logic out of the window , lets go burn the witches … these are the people who give fundamentalism the power … regretably , apologists fall in that catagory .. because for them to legitimize htier beliefs they have to allow for the true fucking crazys free rain, after all they are the ones that inspired their beliefs… ie. give respect irrespective of what someone believes …

    on a side note here, dont u think its hypocritical ,in your words, to respect a belief who’s foundation is to disrespect anothers? after all , what is always being said about non-believer?

    Do you honestly believe its respectful to superficially be ‘respectful’ but in your mind and behind their backs, (like in congrigation) to be talking about someone like that? So who exactly disrespected who first here? So excuse me while i don’t take lightly to being called soulless / impure/broken /lost /deamon/ damned to hell etc.. esp by a bunch of crazys who think literal deamons exist (which apparently i’m one of ) and nakedness in specific buildings is tantamount to rape… shame on them … shame on you for wanting that kind of respect.

    (btw, atheism vs new atheism , new atheism is just atheists finally talking to each other , and your criticism towards it is what they are saying , which is obviously interpreter as being rude for rude sake, but it’s just talking about unicorns. to bad you’re not comfortable about talking about unicorns. the result is that you just won’t even develop past the unicorns but the rest are going to be and want to.)

  • 189 gerhard // Nov 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    ben: didnt hugo make himself clear tho on the beliefs we’re criticizing? he said “elevate” myths.. which implys giving them a status higher than myhts? on ur lotr point, he has taken a position regarding this. He has said: ok , its not fact. But it’s truth. He’s also explained what he meant by truth? so sanemans over generalized statement still holds. Also that thing you say about the intent of lotr is just plain wrong , the author, intended on writing a mythology for Brittan. He was inspired by roman myth to do so. He felt it was a pitty that they didnt have that kind of thing so he set out to write it. that is why there is so much layering and so much is drawn from history and contemporary going ons etc. (hell the Germans att were amassing to take over europe… sound familiar? )

    point is , he was doing no different than hubbard etc.

    now can i ask you this? why can hugo “elevate” the myths he sees of value over the rest? it is unfounded which is what i think sanemans point was. this is what i call ‘picking and choosing’ .. its not just picking and choosing from the bible but also the discrimination of what is worthy to pick and choose from. Evevating it above the rest , for no reason what so ever .. so what if its older and has more contradictions ? should i maybe write a book and have people like saneman fuckup things in edits then in like 2000 years it suddenly has more value? i don’t understand this .. maybe we should just wait another thousand or so years and then hugo will accept lotr as inspired by god.

  • 190 gerhard // Nov 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    btw, i ‘m not saying that u can’t choose what is of personal importance … i just dont think that thats a way to grow society as a whole and is probably one of the worst things you could encourage…

  • 191 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 27, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    he said “elevate” myths.. which implys giving them a status higher than myhts?

    No, it means thinking better of myths in general. Specifically the ones that have utility for people. More on that later in the comment.

    Also that thing you say about the intent of lotr is just plain wrong , the author, intended on writing a mythology for Brittan.

    OK. I don’t care, it’s not an important point to me. If true, I would bet Hugo would accept the correction. To relate it to the previous point about ‘thinking better of myths’, to say that LOTR is ‘only’ a myth and therefore should be dismissed is strange. It is a myth, an enjoyable one, and has some lessons to impart about loyalty to friends and such.

    My point still stands. When it comes to listing the big differences between two ‘myths’, those found in LOTR and those found in Scripture, the differences between the two in describing historical events or models of reality were not among them.

    why can hugo “elevate” the myths he sees of value over the rest?

    If you’re referring back to your previous complaint about elevation, he isn’t elevating one set over the other a priori.

    Let me switch and speak solely for myself, with examples of two myths. There are plenty of stories I’m introducing to my daughters – Dr. Seuss, etc. One I just read to her was Chicken Little – you know, “The Sky is falling! The Sky is falling!” In the version I read, Chicken Little would tell each character that the sky was falling, and the character would ask “How do you know?” I loved this part of the story and emphasized that this is one of the most important questions you can ask. “How do you know what you claim to know?” The story is a complete fiction. Yet there is utility in it and it is one of the stories I will read to her multiple times.

    My mother gave my daughter a “Christmas Story” coloring book that told the story of Jesus being born and King Herod sending soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem <2 years old. In this story, a ‘good’ character (God) finds out about the slaughter in advance and has the ability to stop it. Instead of stopping it he lets all the other 2 year olds die and just tells the people he considers special to flee. That story got thrown away.

    this is what i call ‘picking and choosing’

    Both stories are fictional – the events that are described did not occur in history. Both present a model of reality that is false – magical beings do not give warnings to parents and there are no talking chickens. One promotes ‘ways of living’ that enhance human health and happiness – asking ‘how do you know what you claim to know.’ The other promotes negative behaviors that I won’t bother detailing.

    Now, we can dispute whether there is any utility in approaching religion this way. Clearly many religious people do NOT think of their religion as myth, and DO think the stories make historical claims and present models of reality. Hugo and I have argued many times whether this approach has any merit and have yet to convince each other. This is a subtle and complex dispute, evaluating how to influence people. Not about determining the accuracy of models of reality (questions about what is) – that is comparatively much easier. Agreeing on shared values based on compassion and empathy is also comparatively much easier. Deciding how to influence people so that their actions are consistent with valuing compassion and empathy, so that they do not reject solid empirical understandings of the world, is not easy.

    Did you not notice the positive reference to Paul Kurtz above? Do you know who Paul Kurtz is? No one who is defending the views you and saneman are attacking would ever cite Paul Kurtz positively.

    “He is founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, formerly the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry and Prometheus Books.

    He is editor in chief of Free Inquiry magazine, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. He was co-president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Humanist Laureate and president of the International Academy of Humanism. As a member of the American Humanist Association, he contributed to the writing of Humanist Manifesto II.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kurtz

  • 192 saneman // Nov 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Are we not all wasting our time here? Surely us bashing on about fact verse fiction and the others arguing with emotion and romantic language is going no where. Non of our actual points/arguments have been address, its always about being rude or context and ignoring/waffling the facts and logic away. One side no matter how good there intentions are, seem to be under a delusion that there argument is grounded in fact and truth, the other are merely pointing out basic flaws with no agenda.

    Religion invokes emotion and empathy to solidify its cause(which is to spread and become the largest group), and we all know emotion overrides logic. So with that being said whats actually going on here, surely when people read this and see that logic and reason doesn’t get through it gives the impression to the credulous that there argument holds some kind of water. Gerhard are we not just aiding their cause by creating the impression that their fluff is a worthy rebuttal of the questions we pose about their core beliefs?

    There is no possible way a reasonable person is able to ignore the basic logic, but they do! bringing into focus how real the delusion is.

    @Hugo:
    In what way if any would you be willing to engage our points before going on and telling people that the bible is the “truth” and is a good guide for ones life?

    I have the stamina to keep calling you on the intellectual dishonesty. I just don’t want your “hate” to overwhelm you, making you retreat. This must be very personal for you, as is any religion to any religious person. Do you really want to shy away from owning up to the fact that you are prolonging child abuse and brain washing by endorsing the bible as fact. Do you really want mothers and farther to keep abusing there children? Or like Gerhard says would you rather have us wait another 1000 years till LOTR becomes known as “truth”, and the bible has gone the way of Zeus and Robin Hood?

  • 193 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 27, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    @saneman

    I have the stamina to keep calling you on the intellectual dishonesty. I just don’t want your “hate” to overwhelm you, making you
    retreat.

    This conversation is beginning to border on nonsensical. It is certainly becoming repetitive.

    I’ve said this before. People aren’t 100% rational. Hugo’s blog is here for those whose outlook on life is not as starkly rational as yours. Whereas you and I strongly prefer such a rational outlook, there will be people, amongst them many of Hugo’s friends, who will not respond to these types of arguments. Yet Hugo considers them worth engaging in a manner that allows at least some form of constructive debate. This is a net plus by any objective criterion: they get to learn a bit more religious and philosophical diversity; we (meaning the non-Shofarians) get the chance to show them we are not Satan incarnate, and worth listening to.

    Your particular confrontational and evidence-based manner would work like a charm on any science blog or at any conference. It doesn’t work for the folks whom this blog is trying to reach. Accept this, and be done with it. Hopefully, one day you will be able to speak about this face to face with Hugo instead of inferring non-existent personality traits from a blog entry.

  • 194 Hugo // Nov 27, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks Kenneth, thanks Ben. I’m stepping out of this conversation. Completely. gerhard and saneman can go reread things, or reread Kenneth and Ben. I’m stepping out because it seems really pointless, it doesn’t feel like what I’m writing is being read. (Yea, that’s a feeling, nice and fuzzy, nice and irrational, but still, it might be right, even if it might be wrong. So sue me for having feelings. 😉 )

    A comment on LOTR: the parallels with the Christian mythos is really interesting. Especially some of the connections I made at some point. But… note that Tolkien played a big role in converting CS Lewis to Christianity. (He was sad that CS Lewis chose Protestantism, rather than Catholicism, Tolkien being Catholic.) This makes me extremely curious about Tolkien’s view, I would so like to sit down and have a discussion on religion and the Catholic mythos with him. Tantalizing! CS Lewis does have some valuable contributions to make in a number of spheres, some contributions I really like, but his logic is not quite up to scratch. (I hope to point out the key points on which I differ with him, and sketch out the nuanced stance that I believe would help extract the value of his contribution.) As a friend of mine (Die Piesangverkoper) wrote in Afrikaans, about his logic:

    Ek weet CS Lewis is baie gewild, maar ek hou nie eintlik van hom nie. Hy is ‘n slinkse skrywer wat baie keer stellings opmekaar stapel om dit na ‘n argument te laat lyk, terwyl daar eintlik reuse-logiese spronge is.

    His approach is sensitive and respectful, even while he makes a contribution to “raising the community’s consciousness”. For the curious non-Afrikaans speakers, here’s an English translation, that does sound a bit more harsh than the Afrikaans above sounds to me: “I know CS Lewis is very popular, but I don’t really like him. He is a sly writer that often piles statements on top of each other to make it look like an argument, while there’s actually huge jumps in the logic.”

    This was over on http://piesangverkoper.co.za/?p=13 – Johan and Die Piesangverkoper, friends of mine, represent the kind of discourse I would love to have here. The way they discuss things with Retha is what I consider “respectful”. Maybe I have too high a standard. Anyway, while they’re mostly on the Afrikaans blogosphere, I’m sure they’ll chip in more often when this blog heads out on its intended direction. RSN. (Probably only next year though, too many posts I want to flush out before starting with that.)

    With regards to the conversation above, here’s what I wrote earlier, before even reading the comments. Clearly a little more passionate while I wrote it, I’m currently a lot more calm, as I had already decided to detach from this conversation. Pity the conversation proved to keep this bit correct/relevant, my pessimism seems to have been correct:

    Why are we arguing? What is the purpose of this argument? If it is about making me see something in another way, it is an absolute waste of time. I’ve spent enough time and lots of intense thinking coming to my current conclusion and approach, and there is *no fucking way* that I’m changing my approach, conclusions, perspectives. So if that’s the purpose of the conversation, we’re just wasting time. If the purpose of this discussion is for you to understand me better, then it might have some value. But so far, there’s been no progress, so it also appears to be an absolute fucking waste of time. Futility.

    So much for evidence-based reasoning when I’m still being judged according to a fiction you built in your head. I’m giving up on pointing out the difference between respecting an individual and respecting their beliefs, and how my concern is not about your respect or disrespect of my beliefs. I mean, you don’t even know what they are! FFS. Which is why I’m complaining about respect for me as a person: you can’t disrespect beliefs that you don’t know, so I believe the disrespect is for me as person, in pigeon-holing me, as Ben pointed out. (Disrespect that belief, if you want. I have no problem with that. I have my doubts about this whole “disrespect” line of discussion/thinking anyway.) Maybe my levels of respect are too high, but that remains my views on what respect means.

    Did I mention? I love Brian Cox. 😉 That section of his TED talk is the ultimate demonstration of what I mean with “elevating” myth. I owe clarity with regards to that piece of the puzzle to that wonderful TED talk. (And it’s about the LHC, and about particle physics, and about the Big Bang, it is not about myth or religion. I refer only to a particular section of it. Well worth watching.)

    Please read Contemporary Tribes. It is the post in which I point to the LHC talk. And ‘lo-and-behold, after rereading an old post of mine, I actually like it! Imagine that! Makes it quite special, in the grand scheme of things. Though that will more often be the case for posts of mine of this year. More highlights of that post include Kenneth sharing “Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?” in the comments. A must see! Value in the LOTR mythos, that might just have provided valuable insight for marthelize.

    And with these thoughts, I hopefully demonstrably bow out of the discussion of the primary topic in this conversation. Oh, aint apathy grand! 😉

  • 195 Hugo // Nov 27, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    @Ben, re “Re-submitting this without a link so I don’t have to wait on a spam filter” – I’ve unspammed your linky comment, and removed the resubmit. They’re identical otherwise, right? Scary: akismet filtered it out, it wasn’t in the moderation queue. (Akismet: auto spam filter, I don’t often check it. Moderation queue: things that pass akismet, but have multiple links by a non-logged-in user, will end up in wordpress’ moderation queue.)

    Which brings me to another question: on “Hugo’s Blog”, how much hassle do you (anyone, everyone) experience in logging in using a Google account? That might be the easiest and most secure/reliable way of perfectly solving the spam problem. I’m considering strongly promoting that option in the distant future (when this blog no longer runs on WordPress).

  • 196 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    They’re identical otherwise, right?

    Yes. It was quite a long comment (especially for me, the concise math nerd), and I didn’t want to risk losing it.

    I hope I didn’t mis-represent you too much.

  • 197 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 27, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Heh. Now I had to do a web-search and find the first time Hugo and I butted heads…Nov. 28, 2007. Tomorrow will be a year. I…wasn’t nice. 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve logged in to Google while posting at Hugo’s Blog. It is very easy for me to do.

  • 198 Hugo // Nov 27, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Hey, relatively speaking, in the context of this thread, your comment certainly knows me better than I know myself! 😉

    I’d probably be a stubborn dolt with respect to this though:

    My point still stands. When it comes to listing the big differences between two ‘myths’, those found in LOTR and those found in Scripture, the differences between the two in describing historical events or models of reality were not among them.

    You summarise me very well, and highlight the important bits. But I do so love yanking their chain on the “extremely likely existence of a historical Jesus”, a genuine historical origin for the Jesus story (I’d point to historical Jesus research, and probably insist on taking many of the quotes as originating from a real live breathing human from Nazareth) while pointing out that LOTR is exclusively fiction, even if it is inspired by timeless elements found in diverse mythologies, capturing human archetypes, or maybe even drawing inspiration from real people Tolkien actually knew. Despite these typical yankings, the fact that I didn’t mention this when listing those big differences was indeed no accident: I consciously had something of an “ok, let’s not yank chains for a moment and attempt cool, calm and collected discourse: maybe then they’ll actually be able to hear me” attitude while writing that.

    Within the context of my insistence on a historical origin, I might point out that the sermon on the mount is collected teachings, rather than an actual single sermon on a particular day on a particular mount, recorded verbatim. Because certainly no rabbi would be so stupid as to overload their congregation with pearl after pearl of wisdom in one fell swoop like that? (Can’t help but think of Life of Brian right now. 😉 ) It is rather a collection of teachings presented together, probably in a more concise way than they might have originally been taught. (I mean, verbal teaching typically contains more verbosity than writing, not so?) And in all of this, I’m really talking “highly or extremely likely”, rather than “absolute certainty”.

    Why I keep on yanking chains with regards to historical Jesus? Hmm, maybe because I can’t help but agree with James McGrath’s sentiments that historical-Jesus-denialism seems to have so much in common with Creationists’ evolution-denialism. While touching on this subject again, here’s the relevant link I shared above: Did Jesus Exist On Youtube. Or maybe I’m just blatantly stubborn and contrarian, and therefore insist on challenging presuppositions and prejudices, intentionally provoking what I might consider bigotry, in the hope to demonstrate irrationality in “the other camp”, possibly trying to illustrate hypocrisy, don’t know, possibly an attempt to level the playing field a bit in general, hoping to point out the pervasiveness of “firmly held beliefs” on either side, despite there being equally or more valid alternative hypotheses. If only people could remain more open-minded to other opinions… How could you expect other people to be more open-minded to new insights if you yourself is remaining closed? (General “you”, might as well have been “me”. How can I expect others to be open-minded if my mind remains closed?)

    And no, following some self-reflection, I do indeed think I’m not being close-minded in the discussion above: we’ve not been arguing about the validity of other people’s beliefs, so I’ve not been denying it to them: I’m not even telling proponents of Jesus-as-myth to repent of their ways, I’m arguing that they can’t rationally expect others, including me, to take that viewpoint. The “historical-Jesus” viewpoint has way too much “historical evidence” for it to be labelled irrational.

    It seems we’ve either been mostly arguing around a strawman-of-Hugo, or arguing about something else I’ve not quite figured out yet. But in all of this, the (a) question of what we’re actually arguing about, or the (b) question as to why I so stubbornly insist on yanking chains when I know it will probably provoke prejudices leading to misunderstandings, rather than more explicitly expressing what James McGrath expresses with this quote… :

    Two points are perhaps worth emphasizing in writing here as well. First, claiming that Jesus existed does not mean, from a historian’s perspective, claiming that Jesus who existed was precisely as described in the New Testament. The specific evidence relating to specific details has to be treated on a case by case scenario.

    …those questions (a+b) I don’t particularly care to answer to the point of complete clarity. The speculations above tickle and intrigue me. The possibilities are tantalising. Seeking an “absolutely correct, final reductionistic factual answer or explanation” for those questions simply bores me. (a) because the discussion has become so repetitive and lost my interest long ago, (b) because it is a psychological question and likely doesn’t have a pure, plain and simple reductionistic answer.

    Um, but no, I’m very happy about your comment Ben, impressed, satisfied, genuinely happy. To me it’s certainly one of the highlights of this whole comment thread. 😉

    Drats, I’m drowning Ben’s comment in the excessive verbosity of my response. May it not get lost… It needs a highlighted, emphasized place. It’d be in the “featured comments” section on my vapourware (fictional) mengelmoes-based blog. So… go read it again! Highlights thus: #187, #191, #193, #194.

  • 199 Hugo // Nov 27, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    A year?! Damn that’s scary! This blog’s dream is pretty much getting to be about a year behind schedule. But we’ll get there eventually.

    I…wasn’t nice. 🙂

    *grin*. And that means we first butted heads at the time when my thoughts were going the most crazy…

  • 200 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 28, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I would so like to sit down and have a discussion on religion and the Catholic mythos with him.

    Have you read the Silmarillion? The analogies to Catholicism in his writing are striking, and not particularly subtle… 😉

    As a sci-fi/fantasy fan, this is still my favourite book. I can still quote the ending verbatim…

  • 201 Hugo // Nov 28, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I have it on my shelf, but shockingly haven’t read it yet. And still I wonder. Because he could have worked elements of Catholicism into it, while still taking Catholicism quite seriously. Or are some Catholics consciously building mythologies? I mean, what does the pope believe? As in, really believe? I can’t help but speculate that he’s consciously aware of the fact that “I’m in charge of so many million people’s mythologies, I must be careful to respect their wishes while keeping their mythologies healthy“. What was the recent change to the rules of limbo with regards to children, or something?

    Maybe Tolkien was therefore upset by CS Lewis taking the Protestant direction for his faith, due to it being too “literal” and not mythological enough. 😉 Heh, speculation, kill it!

  • 202 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 28, 2008 at 10:22 am

    And still I wonder. Because he could have worked elements of Catholicism into it, while still taking Catholicism quite seriously.

    Actually, it’s pretty much as Gerhard mentioned it above. Tolkien knew the mythologies of many European nations well due to his job as a linguist. He always begrudged the fact that the English had no indigenous mythologies of their own to speak of, so he tried to create one. At least, that is his official reason. I more than suspect his original reason for creating his legendarium was to provide a context and history for his invented languages.

    Maybe Tolkien was therefore upset by CS Lewis taking the Protestant direction for his faith, due to it being too “literal” and not mythological enough.

    Well, their relationships deteriorated, especially after the Narnia books, which Tolkien hated. I don’t know whether it was patched up though.

  • 203 Johan Swarts // Nov 28, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    You do all realise that you have veered completely of the point?

  • 204 Werner // Nov 28, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thats what happens when you aregue in a “depth first” manner. You rarely get anything done and alwasy end up at leaves that have little relevance. Epic non the less 😀

  • 205 gerhard // Nov 28, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    ben : great reply. Not so sure that i’ve recieved the same impression of this blog by reading it. Must be something lost in translation. I have no issue with teaching myths , but to say there is a major difference between those two , lotr and bible is for me not logical. The way i see it they both spell out ‘reality’ and both deal with social problems and both try spell out what good and bad means. The only real differences are the length, number of works and number of contradictions.(unlike hugo i dont think contradictions are perminent part of human nature , it is a symptom of the unthinking animal who we strive to overcome)

    I’m pretty sure that if we were to go and edit the bible, remove what makes no sense or has lost meaning then we’d probably end up with less than lotr’s depth.
    have you read the book(s)? Don’t think of the movies. The book is revolves around all the characters and most characters develop by being confronted with morality and nature of their reality.

    You see , what issue i have is this flip flopping , sometimes he says ‘follow the way’ other times he goes ‘follow any way’ and to me that says ‘follow anyway as long as its a way’ and if he is always deify (and u gotta agree with me on this ) theological language that gives the impression of the proverbial snake in the grass. I can’t help but distrust that.

    i want to quote from an article that i was reading today about free speech in gaming:

    Obama is a centrist who believes in bringing parties together and trying to find compromises that both can live with. That’s great when we’re talking about the tax code or immigration policy.

    It’s not great when we’re talking about the First Amendment. There’s no such thing as “a little bit pregnant,” and there’s no such thing as “a little bit of censorship.”

    this is how i see this situation. Hugo is trying to be centrist and wants everyone to be that too.
    But we’re trying to talk about greater things than just saving one or two fundamentalists.

    I say , ‘there is no such thing as ‘a little immoral’ so if something, even in part, encourages and fundamentally is based on something immoral then i can’t accept it. So while religion provides the social excuse for the kind of hatred and ignorance then i will have issues with it. there is no compromising with evil even if it were more convenient and less painful.

  • 206 saneman // Nov 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    no come one lets rather talk about how jesus was a great guy and how awesome he was and that he really existed, except leave out the part where he uses a whip to drive out the “money lenders” and how that was one of Hitlers favorite verses because in the context he read it in that was what he considered “true Christianity”.

    If only the bible was clear and easy to understand and could not be mis-interpreted.

    oh no the fluff unicorns are coming!

    never mind they are “faithful” unicorns, they can help us battle the giants and the flying donkeys.

  • 207 gerhard // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    lol@saneman ,
    he doesnt get it. leave it. unicorns are the answer. doesnt matter how easily the concept is to manipulated or wether its subjective or condiderd running away form reality. who cares if 143 people get killed in a week because of the unicorns who drive socio political reasoning.. hell as long as its convenient and seems less painful personally.. who cares what evil it can/does give rise too! get them darn heathens .. get them.

  • 208 gerhard // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    (saneman: u feeling as bleek as i am?)

  • 209 saneman // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    and you wonder how this stuff has remained the “truth” for so long

  • 210 saneman // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    so let me get this right, the romans and half a dozen other random people so disconnected from the time when these supposed events took place where allowed to edit the “word of god” as they saw fit but now in 2008 we aren’t allowed to update it with our modern world view, we have stay in the bronze age.

    hell even zuma is now saying that the bible supports respect for government so now we have to respect politicians irrespective of there actions of personal agendas.

    at least this string of comments will serve as an example of how the delusion really works. We aren’t on about the crazies we are talking about normal moderate intelligent religious people so deluded that they are able to justify and apologize for anything in the name of there specific religion.

    The Jesus construct changed the world, why cant we keep that going?

  • 211 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 28, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I’m pretty sure that if we were to go and edit the bible, remove what makes no sense or has lost meaning then we’d probably end up with less than lotr’s depth.

    Mark Twain already did this, if I’m not mistaken…

    this is how i see this situation. Hugo is trying to be centrist and wants everyone to be that too.

    Now this is something that we can both agree on. Sometimes the right answer isn’t halfway between the extremes.

    at least this string of comments will serve as an example of how the delusion really works. We aren’t on about the crazies we are talking about normal moderate intelligent religious people so deluded that they are able to justify and apologize for anything in the name of there specific religion.

    Bullshit. We are arguing about two different ways of reaching people with our arguments. You want one way. Others feel another is as effective. You are manufacturing strawmen.

  • 212 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    have you read the book(s)?

    I did. I didn’t like them all that much. (shrug) I still know pi to 10 digits and the logs of 2, 3, and 7, though, so I hope to keep my nerd status intact. 🙂

    I say , ‘there is no such thing as ‘a little immoral’ so if something, even in part, encourages and fundamentally is based on something immoral then i can’t accept it. So while religion provides the social excuse for the kind of hatred and ignorance then i will have issues with it. there is no compromising with evil even if it were more convenient and less painful.

    Are you sure this is the way everyone should do it to maximize their (1 out of 6.5 billion)th worth of influence in the world, though? My personal approach is much more similar to yours. And when it comes down to arguing about what is true of objective reality (lah in Hugo’s words) and how we know it, where we have solid reasons, I’m pretty uncompromising. When it comes down to arguing about what we ought to do, when the case is pretty solid, I’m pretty uncompromising. My personality type, situation, and context are far from universal, though.

    It’s like the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) in the U.S. I know of a bunch of atheists who claim the organization won’t change without atheists on the inside supporting and working with the organization. I know others who won’t cooperate with them at all. Which is the ‘correct’ way to influence the organization to change? I think you need both. No one person can do both, though, and I choose the latter. (As a pretty ‘out’ atheist and sometime activist, I probably don’t have a choice.)

    he is always deify (and u gotta agree with me on this ) theological language

    * grins *

    Well, yes, Hugo and I have butted heads very often on language.

  • 213 Hugo // Nov 28, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I’m pretty sure that if we were to go and edit the bible, remove what makes no sense or has lost meaning then we’d probably end up with less than lotr’s depth.

    In one of the theological seminars that I attended, they talked about an effort in the past to do that, and that they concluded it isn’t worth doing: from a theological angle, the example of an evolving God concept, and the ugly bits you face when digging through all of it, is too important to throw out. Throw it out and you end up with a whitewashed God, exactly the kind of thing atheists are complaining about. That’s the theologians’ angle.

    On the fundamentalist’s angle, well, they’re not throwing anything out. They’d have a fit if the theologians wanted to. So theologians deciding to throw stuff out will have no beneficial effect on that side.

    I feel that about sums up the situation if you accept some continuity in the tradition. I’d say the “emerging church” is doing pretty well with evolving it within the existing framework.

    but to say there is a major difference between those two , lotr and bible is for me not logical. The way i see it they both spell out ‘reality’ and both deal with social problems and both try spell out what good and bad means.

    Fair enough, you’re probably right on that. What I’ll keep though, is the argument that there’s a much greater body of tradition, analysis and understanding of Christian scripture. (Hehe, can’t argue with that one!) Though that’s a difference, not necessarily an advantage. I consider the “conservative” takes on the Bible as baggage that’s quite hard to fight, so LOTR has the advantage of a “clean slate” if you’d like to build something new. Scripture is what I’m sticking with though, because what I’m dealing with is the great inertia of human attachment to the “beloved stories” they grew up with (and take too literally).

    On saneman’s cracking the whip in the temple example: hell no, you can’t throw that bit out! 😉 I’m busy reading a book by a Bible scholar that sketches out the context of the “last week” (in which that scene took place). In that context, this preparedness to stand up against oppression-by-authority-figures is that critical piece that drives an activism (or subversive activism) against injustice. Without that kind of scene, the other criticism you’re equally likely to throw on Christianity is “it encourages people to be doormats and just eat up oppression, just accept the political status quo”. Exactly what you’re arguing against as well. 😉

    In terms of authority figures, yes, the insanly ugly irony of the oppressive authority still being religious authority is not lost on me. I’m taking these narratives in terms of their meaning, and believe they’re a most valuable tool *against* religious oppression as well, understood in another way. With contextual understanding of the roles and teachings of Pharisees, Jesus’ challenges in the Bible can be seen as a *direct* attack on the teachings of *fundamentalist Christian leaders*. They so often exhibit similarities with Pharisees.

    Yes, the multiple interpretations are obviously the big pain in the ass with scripture like this. Why am I sticking with it? Because people stick with it. So I’ll present another interpretation, and raise the level of discourse. If everyone is aware of the multiple understandings, that’d also do us a great service. And hey, if you then find that 90% of believers have an intense dislike for all the multiple interpretations that are available, wouldn’t that make you happy? Would that not then be a ripe field for you to harvest with your atheism-evangelism? Not that I’d bargain on it though. For example, Jewish Rabbi’s and the Jewish tradition are known for having many, many interpretations to certain bits of scripture. I think Theo mentioned more than 30 of one particular bit, that I can’t remember now. And he teaches this to his congregation as well. He takes the Bible-as-weapon out of their hands, believing what’s important is just that we walk a path together in community.

    You see , what issue i have is this flip flopping , sometimes he says ‘follow the way’ other times he goes ‘follow any way’ and to me that says ‘follow anyway as long as its a way’

    You can ask me about it. I’m taking this statement as a question about it then.

    Firstly, I don’t mean to prescribe any “way” for you. I don’t mean to be giving you any instructions. I’m mostly talking about the path I follow.

    “Follow the way” -> very broadly speaking, “the way” could represent “the moral way of life”. I have my insights as to what “the way” should be, others have other insights, but if we still strive for doing the best we can, I’d describe that as striving towards “the way”. For the “Christian” in particular, those that find the Christian tradition, or the Christian scripture, something of value, something worth following, it is what they call “the way”. The way, to the Christian, not to everyone else.

    “Follow any way” -> when did I talk about this? Hmmm… ok… we can describe it thus: there are many ways. There is the Buddhist way. There is the humanist way. There is the Christian way and the Jewish way. Many ways, and each way has good. (And each way has bad as well, sure.) I’m not going to prescribe a particular way, I’m not that kind of person. I prefer each to choose their own way. But in choosing a “good way”, I consider this choice of “any way” to be a choice of some way that strives towards “the way”. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we all have a different idea of what “the way” should be, and there it can be no different: we do all find somewhat different ways of living, different meanings in life. The professional athlete, the artist, the engineer, the mathematician, they have different ways in their careers. And present people with the trolley problem, or the prisoner’s dilemma, and you will get different answers. Because there isn’t a “correct” answer. But people striving to answer it as best they can, are at least striving towards the metaphorical ideal, they are following “a way”, which is to me a “rumour” of “the way”. (That ideal that could be considered as not-existing, in the sense that perfection doesn’t exist or that such moral choices cannot be objectively measured, or it can be considered as a metaphorical ideal, which you might be able to find had you been omniscient. Godly… See the poetic connection here?)

    and to me that says ‘follow anyway as long as its a way

    Sure! I’d hope that my attempts to describe things above, give some indication as to what I consider to be “a way”. There are also paths you can choose, that I would call “not a way”, or alternatively “a bad way”. The Joker, in Batman. Would we describe his “nihilism” (supposedly) as “a way” (good or bad?), or as “not a way”, a lack of a way?

    It doesn’t really matter, I believe. And yes, my language is flip-flopping a bit, unfortunately. It will do that, as I don’t care nearly as much about the language itself as I do about the concepts I’m trying to communicate, to different people, with different backgrounds, with different narratives with which they describe reality. So that’s why my language “flip-flops”. Feel free to intensely dislike my use of language, feel free to agree with Ben in that regard. That’s perfectly fine, I ask not that you agree with my flip-flopping language, I desire merely that you understand why. Then we can respect each other and put up with each other’s quirks. (Of which I certainly have many, not so? Or one all-encompassing quirk for which “quirk” is a euphemism? 😉 )

    Hugo is trying to be centrist

    Yes.

    and wants everyone to be that too.

    No.

    I’m just trying to obtain understanding and appreciation (in the neutral sense, a concept distinct from “liking”) for the centrist role of my blog.

    I do think I’d ideally like it if everyone could participate without being forced to take a centrist approach. The thing I perceive, however, the thing I have grief with and dislike, is the feeling/perception that my centrist-way is being attacked as “bad”. So I defend my centrist way, and I insist on everyone understanding my centrist way, and letting me be in that way. You can be a non-centrist without attacking my centrist way, for example. I think this only requires that you don’t want to convert everyone to *your* way of seeing and doing things? Which probably requires a scaling down on the aggressive-debating approach, because debates take a hard angle on a particular “way” 😉 and argues for it and against the other side of the debate. Debate is not conversation, debate is destructive. Entertaining, sure, and surely also productive in certain contexts, but I’m aiming for constructively productive rather than destructively productive. Constructive approaches can build “community energy”, which is what I want. Destructive approaches saps the energy out.

    But we’re trying to talk about greater things than just saving one or two fundamentalists.

    Trying to talk about things I’m rather disinterested in talking about? Would it help if I create an area for you where you can discuss such things with people that are interested in talking about it? I’m thinking much along those lines: many different approaches present in a commenting system that permits people to engage in the kinds of ways that they find appealing. It should hopefully allow more engagement all around.

    @Johan:

    You do all realise that you have veered completely of the point?

    Indeed, though I’m quite curious which point you are referring to. The point of the post? We completely veered off that point. And lately we have now started veering off of the point we’ve been boring ourselves with, which I’m glad for. Or I’m pretending we’ve veered off.

    I say , ‘there is no such thing as ‘a little immoral’

    The trolley problem: one person is tied to one section of track. Another track leads over a cliff. A third section has a trolley on it with a bunch of people, which you can choose with a lever to either go over the cliff, and the bunch of people die, or goes over the person tied down and they die. Now play with the number of people in “the bunch”, play with the identity of the person on the track, find yourself a situation where the choice is really ugly. I consider both choices to be “a little immoral” in some sense.

    I consider capitalism to be “a little immoral”, in the way it does certain things. If I didn’t allow for such grey areas, I’d look at one evil committed by the application of capitalism, and conclude that the whole of capitalism is unforgivably evil, and seek to eradicate it at all costs. Other people seek to address the problems of capitalism. A third group seeks to develop new socio-economic models that doesn’t suffer from the problems of capitalism.

    “A little immoral”?

    so if something, even in part, encourages and fundamentally is based on something immoral then i can’t accept it.

    Do you accept capitalism? You’re also setting yourself up for arguments along the lines of “one atheist did something grossly immoral”… defended on the grounds of there is no “objective morality”. Not that I like that line of argument: atheism being an absence of something, it’s not really possible to point at what particular “element” would then be “a little immoral”. In any case, I very firmly believe that with some effort, we could find numerous examples of something “a little immoral” that you do accept.

    But wait… “and fundamentally is based on something immoral” – I suppose that clause might be key. I’d like to point out that “believing incorrect things” can’t exactly be “immoral”. Can it? Is it “immoral” if I were to believe I should knock on wood when certain things are said? So I may have a problem with your views of what the “fundamental immoral” thing is. I suspect you see “religion” as fundamentally immoral? In the general case, I am unable to make that connection in any way I could deam logical and reasonable. More specificity is needed.

    he doesnt get it

    Ho ho ho… 😉 I should get some polling thingies up, then any spectator can vote on how likely they think it is that I’m not getting you guys, and how likely it is that you guys aren’t getting me. It would be biased according to whoever has the patience to actually read all of this, but I’d find the input fascinating nevertheless! (Because clearly I believe I do get it, while you guys don’t…)

    who cares if 143 people get killed in a week because of the unicorns who drive socio political reasoning

    I do.

    Kenneth writes:

    Now this is something that we can both agree on. Sometimes the right answer isn’t halfway between the extremes.

    You also feel I’m insisting that everyone be centrist? This is something worth discussing. With Kenneth and Ben, in particular. Ben, you’ve been biting your tongue numerous times, how do you feel about it? I’m insisting on some centrism on this blog, eh? Do you feel I’m insisting on centrism outside of the area of this blog as well?

    ponder… ponder…

    I guess I am insisting on some tolerance, for I don’t like how ugly debates get. I follow my path because I believe it to be the best one for me to follow. Then it is likely to follow that I’d love it if many others also were to follow my path, unless I didn’t really believe in my choice? I think I’ve softened up though, and try to be much more open towards differing paths

    (saneman: u feeling as bleek as i am?)

    Yes! Feel it! That’s the flip-side of the kind of frustration that I was battling. I take it you feel bleek about the fact that this whole discussion was “futile”? Given your apparent aim for this discussion, I knew that from the start. (I didn’t think it was *futile* from the start though, as I hoped this discussion would lead to a better understanding from your side, which it apparently didn’t.) Frustrated, meet bleek. You’re flip-sides of the same coin. So in a way, the more bleek you guys feel, the better you should be able to comprehend the frustration on the flip-side of the same coin, if you are able muster any empathy whatsoever with which you can consider the flip-side.

    at least this string of comments will serve as an example of how the delusion really works. We aren’t on about the crazies we are talking about normal moderate intelligent religious people so deluded that they are able to justify and apologize for anything in the name of there specific religion.

    Bullshit. We are arguing about two different ways of reaching people with our arguments. You want one way. Others feel another is as effective. You are manufacturing strawmen.

    Thanks Kenneth! There we disagree. I echo: bullshit @ saneman with regards to that comment of his.

    Ben wrote:

    * grins *

    Well, yes, Hugo and I have butted heads very often on language.

    Yup! 😉 But we’ve come to some kind of slightly-uncomfortable truce-agreement. Or something like that. Amen! (Christianese meaning “so be it”. /me apologises just a little for upsetting anyone by using it.)

    There’s much more interesting and I’d say important things in the future this blog. From my vantage point, it looks like we’re quibbling about little irrelevancies while genocide is being committed elsewhere – letting these irrelevancies go and moving on would allow more quickly getting around to addressing the things causing the genocide. From my vantage point. I fully realise that I may be incorrect about this, and that it might look quite the opposite from your vantage point. You might be correct. But I do have the advantage of “foresight”: this blog being my creation, I get to create its future, and hence can have that “foresight”. (Yea, it’s called planning when described from human-perspective rather than blog-perspective. Ah, poetry! 😛 )

  • 214 Ben-Jammin' // Nov 28, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    You also feel I’m insisting that everyone be centrist?

    Reading it, I did not get that sense of meaning. Re-reading – oooh, you’re right, the contents of the quote do suggest that meaning.

    Ben, you’ve been biting your tongue numerous times, how do you feel about it? I’m insisting on some centrism on this blog, eh? Do you feel I’m insisting on centrism outside of the area of this blog as well?

    I don’t think you’re even insisting on centrism on this blog. Hmmm….I would say that you are insisting that people be able to justify blanket condemnations or blanket approvals as being targeted accurately. The blanket better not be over-sized.

    This sticks in my head, from gerhard:

    I say , ‘there is no such thing as ‘a little immoral’ so if something, even in part, encourages and fundamentally is based on something immoral then i can’t accept it. So while religion provides the social excuse for the kind of hatred and ignorance then i will have issues with it. there is no compromising with evil even if it were more convenient and less painful.

    I don’t know how I could ever commit to not compromising with evil. It’s probable that at some point in the farther future I will regret some action I took in the near future. Am I doing evil? Am I compromising with evil by not off-ing myself? I pay taxes to the U.S. government which surely does some evil. Should I pay no taxes? Some percent of taxes?

    Does Unitarian Universalism compromise with evil? You might have to do a little research about them to answer if you’re not familiar with them. From their about us page:

    “Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.”

    Their principles: http://www.uua.org/visitors/6798.shtml

  • 215 Hugo // Nov 28, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    NB: Ben’s comment. Excellent questions/thoughts, don’t let me distract the conversation from his comment. I want to respond positively to the good in saneman’s comment (for if I don’t look for the good in everything, I’m not living up to the subtitle of my blog):

    …where allowed to edit the “word of god” as they saw fit but now in 2008 we aren’t allowed to update it with our modern world view, we have stay in the bronze age.

    Not quite like that, no… not a case of “not allowed”. Rather a case of “we’d be throwing out much that is actually valuable, leaving a grossly impoverished text”. Also because so much of the New Testament is written to connect to ideas in the Hebrew Bible (preferred name for the Old Testament 😉 ). A number of people have more formally “trimmed down” their Bibles for themselves. Thomas Jefferson did it, Gandhi kinda did it too? We all do it in the process of “picking and choosing” which bits we prefer most.

    My personal obsession is rather with tearing off the Bible’s cover and undoing the binding. Real Live Preacher demonstrated this in one of his videos, extracting each book out of the Bible and binding them separately. (He’s a big Amos fan, and suggests Jesus was too. Or maybe the writers of the Gospels were big Amos fans, or the early Christians were… whatever, doesn’t really matter. 😉 ) I’d love for the scriptures to “live again”, holding the opinion/feeling that the canonised-bound-covered version is “in a straight-jacket”. So I’d much, much rather add to scripture than take anything away. I’d bring in the apocryphal books as well, for some other insights, including the “heretical” gospels. Steve (a friend) once mentioned the Book of James (iirc?) refers to an extra-biblical text/book/scroll/thingy that has some really zany ideas in it, kinda reminiscent of Choo Choo’s ideas. (Choo Thomas, one crazy woman. 😉 ) So what do you do when your canonised “infallible” text refers to and quotes another extra-biblical “fallible” text? Ho-hum, there’s a little predicament for ya! 😉

    With regards to the dynamic of how religion survives, read this: Popular Religion, and “Elite” Religion. Humanity’s biggest headaches come from “popular religion”, whereas “elite religion” is typically pretty cool. But can indeed bear some blame for why “popular religion” exists. This blog is certainly not in the “popular religion” faction, so angles like mine could indeed bear some “blame”, by all means. But my mission is not to maintain an “elite” religion and defend that, and thereby providing that buffer that makes it hard to deal with the problems of “popular” religion: my mission is to bridge the gap and bring this great divide into the public consciousness. It actually already exists in some of the public’s consciousness, which is why the fundies have such a distrust of the theological faculty, going so far as labelling them “unbelievers”, celebrating at the out-of-the-ordinary event of someone at the faculty “getting saved”. Accuse the “liberal” theologians of “intellectual dishonesty” because their words don’t match those of the fundies? Or try to understand/comprehend what the meaning of their words are? This becomes a matter of semantics or philosophical stance on the matter, rather than something about “logic and reason”.

    That said, ignore my comment, respond to Ben’s! 😉

  • 216 Hugo // Nov 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Example of toning down and being less abrasive/confrontational/”disrespectful” of others’ view: when I’m talking to someone that is actually a Choo Thomas fan, I take a much more careful and considered approach, much more respectful of the role Choo Choo might play in the person’s life. This enables conversation to develop, in which I can carefully, compassionately and patiently express my concerns about Choo Thomas.

    But when they’re not around, it’s fun to talk about Choo Choo! 😉 Problem is, on my blog in general, there might be a Choo fan at any time. I’m less worried about that though, it’s just serving as an extreme example of a guiding principle in my writing. I do consider careful management of the level of aggression to be something of an art. And we all know tastes differ in art… (And some art is created with some real fury and aggression in the artist as well.)

    Now back to Ben’s comment! Eish, I’ve again been too full of winkey’s lately. Just look at them! They’re everywhere! Grrrr.

  • 217 saneman // Nov 29, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    You can reach people with out claiming that your preferred myth is fact, now stop being morons and trying to manufacture a counter argument just because you perceive my comments as rude. We are trying to help.

  • 218 Hugo // Nov 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I think I know how you feel. Thanks for wanting to help as well. I’ve started working on the post wherein I try to describe my desire for this blog, and my concerns with what I perceive to be “colonialist-style help”.

    I think the above discussion could have benefited from more questions in trying to understand “the other” – I think I moaned about not getting the questions I’d have liked to get. I should myself also have taken a more question-oriented approach: I could have questioned what your aim/purpose was, and thereby sidestep the whole debate.

    I’m hoping this conversation/debate can stand as an example of how, sometimes, an aggressive debate-oriented approach can result in needless arguing, when a cooperative seeking to understand “the other” first could save everyone much pain.

    I’m not defending my role in this debate now, I do apologise for the grief I’ve sowed (to everyone, including myself: it comes back to bite me), and am in this comment merely trying to look “forward” and see what I/we might learn from this.

    If you’d like, we could identify a comment or two and have a meta-discussion on it, on a higher level, about what triggered the whole argument. But maybe it’s best to just put this episode to rest.

    The lingering thought is: questions welcome.

  • 219 Hugo // Nov 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    OK, let me add: how Kenneth summarises the situation and how I do, does differ slightly. I have developed a particular worldview, one which I will defend. Demonstrated above. Rudeness (perceived?) and aggressive assault on my worldview will be defended against. The defence might be nuanced – I was mostly defending nuances above. My approach to things have significant “nuances” that Kenneth’s world-view and approach to things does not have or does not agree with. Kenneth would be in more agreement with you, but respects my nuances and considers them valuable in the greater scheme of things. This is also why Kenneth can summarise the functional value of my world-view as he did, while I feel I cannot. I can but confirm that Kenneth and Ben’s view of my world-view is a fair one, and I’d appreciate it if you could see it in the same way.

    I am very committed to the path I’ve chosen. I remain open to new insights, but there are a number of fundamentals I’m extremely unlikely to compromise on. They’re built on things that can’t be empirically tested (because we can’t simulate the whole world and determine the best course of action, the impact we might have), or built on a philosophical stance. It’s not a science, which is why I feel I can safely say nothing will change my chosen path, despite me being open to evidence and new insights. These things aren’t in conflict.

    With regards to “claiming that my preferred myth is fact”, I don’t believe I ever did that. But I do indeed believe there was a historical Jesus, a catalyst that sparked off early Christianity: I don’t consider this “myth”, and request only that you recognise this is a valid opinion to hold. By stating “I believe there was a historical Jesus”, I’m not saying “I believe he performed supernatural miracles”, I’m rather just stating that I consider it worthwhile to look at the insights that can be gained out of “historical Jesus research”, despite the challenging nature of that endeavour. I’m not insisting that you also find it interesting or worthwhile.

  • 220 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 30, 2008 at 11:24 am

    You can reach people with out claiming that your preferred myth is fact, now stop being morons and trying to manufacture a counter argument just because you perceive my comments as rude. We are trying to help.

    Another strawman. saneman, I’m not creating a counterargument due to your perceived rudeness. I am telling you that your style doesn’t work on everyone. That’s all I’m saying.

    I ask you to consider the following points:

    1) Sometimes evidence and logic don’t work as argumentative styles.

    2) The faction who won’t respond to evidence and logic are still worth talking to in terms of getting your point across.

    If you hold to neither of these points, then we have nothing to talk about. If you agree with 1 but not 2, then this blog probably isn’t worth your time. If 2 but not 1 holds, then you are clearly not living in the same universe I do. If you agree with both points, then you will have to conceed that this blogs approach is at least as valid as yours.

  • 221 Johan Swarts // Nov 30, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    @Hugo – yup, completely of the point of the post.

  • 222 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    You guys can flap your gums about unicorns, the sermon on the mount or what ever else takes your fancy as long as at no point these myths are asserted as true historical happenings.

    LOTR == BIBLE

    so that we side step the pitfalls that come with teaching lessons through myth. Some people take a myth and just run with it if unchecked.

    All I am asking for is intellectual honestly.

    P.S.(waste of time addressing this point but just to stop the extra fluff being kicked up)
    The style I have used with Hugo is in no way meant to be an example of how to address a credulous faith head, I have already stated that luring them in with waffle is often very effective. Without the lolly pop how else would you lure a child mild into the doctor’s room for his 20cc’s of atheism.

    P.P.S.
    Why when ever religion is involved, is there always a rejection of reason, logic, evidence and intellectual honestly?

  • 223 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    The style I have used with Hugo is in no way meant to be an example of how to address a credulous faith head

    Except, of course, for calling him that.

    I have already stated that luring them in with waffle is often very effective.

    Then what are we arguing about? You are basically agreeing.

    @Johan Swarts.
    I asked if we could derail the post many comments ago. Although we have apparently veered off…ummm…again…I thought that most aspects of the pepper spray incident had been addressed. At least, until we know more. Is there anything else with regard to the original post that you feel we haven’t covered?

  • 224 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    o__O

    I think….my brain just exploded.

    I like the idea of Bob the Pink Unicorn though.

    Does he live nearby? I’d really like to meet him.

  • 225 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Sorry. I just had to express my intense confusion. Understatement of the century.

    I really REALLY tried to follow all the posts, and each subsequent derailment. But it was too tough for me. Especially with all the misunderstandings, people missing each other AND the point, and of course… the odd idiotic comment. I refuse to point out which i thought were just plain stupid. but there were a few. Especially early on.

    I lost the plot around comment #104. Has the discussion been concluded? Or is everyone on hiatus until further notice? 😉

  • 226 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    @konfytbekkie
    Sorry, no idea. I think we’ve been running in circles for most of the last hundred posts.

    Re Bob. Remember, he’s invisible

  • 227 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    but…but…. I’ve SEEEEEEEEN Bob!

    Time to lay off the red wine…eh?

    I’m finding it hard to remember what the original point of the post was. And it’s just too much effort to scroll all the way up 😉

    Oh well. I’m just glad i didn’t get dragged into it. I might have been labeled a foam-at -the-mouth, bible burning, unicorn loving, uninformed, evolusionist alcoholic. or something similiar. 😉

  • 228 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    P.S. Not sure why I added the alcoholic bit. perhaps because after reading as many of the posts as i could manage, i feel like i need a drink… o__O

  • 229 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    I might have been labeled a foam-at -the-mouth, bible burning, unicorn loving, uninformed, evolusionist alcoholic. or something similiar.

    Famous last words…

    i feel like i need a drink…

    Typical foam-at -the-mouth, bible burning, unicorn loving, uninformed, evolusionist alcoholic…

  • 230 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    LOL.

    Kenneth. I’m sure there’ll be a church for me somewhere.

  • 231 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    hehe now all of a sudden there is confusion… classic

    manufactured arguments

    in Bob we trust, may his 4 little hooves be blessed for all eternity and may his pinkness be a reminder to all of us to stay on the path

  • 232 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Saneman: I must confess, I am dying to know what it is you’re smoking. Or sniffing. I’d love to have some, maybe then most of the comments will make more sense to me…

    Manufactured arguments? What are you on about? Or are you referring to a previous comment that I didn’t bother to read.

    I think the confusion has been clear since about…post # 3 onwards. And keep in mind, I only started reading this whole palawa about a month after it started. Packing 30 day’s worth of opinions and arguments into one afternoon is a little taxing…So forgive me if I’m slow on the uptake.

  • 233 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    hehe, I also battle to follow the waffle, and then catch myself waffling just to blend in. We all need to relax and follow the one true myth/historical being “BOB THE PINK UNICORN” may he be covered in sugar cubes.

    As Jesus is mentioned in the Koran so is Bob mentioned in the bible, I am also in the process of destroying all documents referring to counter arguments about Bob. But let us not burden ourselves with petty topics like did “bob really exist” let us rather wax lyrical about his 4 shiny hooves and his impressive horn of morals.

  • 234 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Haha…!

    May he be covered in sugar cubes.

    I am starting to like the idea of Bob and his impressive horn of morals (can you just IMAGINE the inappropriate sexual innuendos that will stem from that image?)

    But I digress.

    Where do I sign up? Seems like Bob’s just what the world needs now.

  • 235 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    @konfytbekkie
    Type invisible pink unicorn into google and see what you get…
    Or flying spaghetti monster. The two churches are in eternal war against one another…

  • 236 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    *googles*

    *reads*

    *dies laughing*

    TOUCHED BY HIS NOODLY APPENDAGE!!!

    Forget unicorns, invisible or not.

    I’m becoming a Pastafarian!

  • 237 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Die, heretic!

  • 238 Konfytbekkie // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    NO! I SHALL NOT!

    His Noodly Appendage shall protect me wherever my linguini shall lead me.

    Pasta be upon you, unbeliever!

    His Savoriness, the Noodle in the Sky, the Saucy Master….

    (Don’t you just LOVE the stuff people think up with too much time and a little boredom? Wonder what Hugo will say about us not just derailing the topic, but hijacking it completely and flying it into a bowl of spaghetti…)

  • 239 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Bob has revealed himself to me, designated me high priest and in doing so allows me to use his real name.

    Oh mighty Bob give me the sarcasm to continue.

    And don’t listen to those pagans trying to tell you that Bob is female. HAH! the absurdity of a female as a god, everyone knows that females are inferior, just read the bible or google “bible verses against women”

  • 240 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Hugo wanted a discussion and didn’t want to rely on fact or reason but just to talk about the myths. I am not trying to hi-jack this blog with another religion but want to rather enter into a peaceful discourse about how my religion intertwines with his and how we can come to a compromise and understanding of each other cultures.

  • 241 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    saneman, do you have a religion?

  • 242 saneman // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    None, besides the teachings of Bill Hicks the son of Bob.

  • 243 Hugo // Dec 1, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Hmm, I still don’t understand what’s supposed to be wrong with believing that the sermon on the mount is a collection of teachings from an inspiring rabbi…?

  • 244 Hugo // Dec 1, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    saneman states:

    … the sermon on the mount or what ever else takes your fancy as long as at no point these myths are asserted as true historical happenings.

    It appears saneman continues to assert that the sermon on the mount is nothing but myth, that there is nothing historical behind it.

    Look, saneman, I have no problem with you believing it is nothing but myth. But I do have a problem with you expecting that e.g. I or James F. McGrath should believe there was no historical Jesus, that would be insisting on intellectual dishonesty.

    Did you take a quick look at Did Jesus Exist on Youtube? The clip is just over 7 minutes long, but you can also just read the post if you like.

    All I am asking for is intellectual honestly.

    Then why are you complaining about people believing there was a real historical Jesus that served as catalyst to inspire the early Christianity movement? Are you complaining, or am I misunderstanding you?

    BTW, I enjoyed the irony. I like taking part in exchanges like that. I’m something of a fan of pastafarianism, and consider the IPU as heresy.

    But if it is meant as sarcasm, i.e. intentionally meant to be hurtful, then saneman is still demonstrating that he’s unable to be not-rude, and I still don’t want him on this blog. Rudeness gets interpreted as the message, a fundie reading sees “See! Atheists are rude. Thus, fundamentalism is the only answer.” And they go even deeper.

  • 245 Hugo // Dec 1, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    In fact, that is exactly the thing that I had wanted to discuss, but probably where this whole conversation got derailed. My comment #84, in fact… yea, a double digit comment:

    That clip, Did Jesus Exist On Youtube, is really cool!

    So, saneman, could I argue that someone that believes with a sufficient amount of certainty that Jesus did not exist, would fall under one of those categories? Ignorance of the historical method or of the evidence… or otherwise a “faith head” if they maintain that certainty despite seeing the counter arguments?

    A plain and simple and open question, in response to which saneman “completely freaked out” (so it seemed, subjectively, but that’s probably hyperbolic) in #85. Maybe I read you wrong, saneman, or maybe your #85 is a shitty comment. But maybe it wasn’t clear enough that the link was the important thing in my comment, and that which I was responding to. In any case, I was aiming for a calm and rational discussion. (In which case my words were maybe a bad idea, because they evoked an emotional response in saneman? and made it hard for him to actually figure out what I was trying to say?) With real-life time pressure and frustration at #85, it should be understandable that I wrote:

    I think you completely missed my point.

    Some exchanges continued, wherein saneman asks me to explain my point more clearly, and I request that saneman checks out the videoclip/post I linked to, believing that he’s got the mental capabilities to understand what I meant, if he actually goes to some trouble. And it’s pointless for me to just repeat it all. Surely I could ask him to look at a short post by someone else while real-life keeps me too busy to give details immediately?

    Well, I was just getting hopeful for an interesting conversation, when saneman whipped out this:

    perfect example of a pseudo intellectual faith head trying to square the circle with some dusty book his parents and geographical location forced on him.

    sad really

    lots of fluff and noise about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin but no real arguments.

    I don’t have time for these tired ramblings, this one isn’t a dangerous faith head, but he will keep a few people bogged down longer in theism than they should do with his long winded pointless arguments.

    And yet, saneman, you’re still here, wasting everyone’s time?

    For most of that post, I wasn’t sure who you were referring to: me or James McGrath. If you had actually read what I pointed you to, and you called McGrath these things, what hope is there? As I would have thought you would classify McGrath as an atheist(*). If it is me that you’re responding to, what’s the point of having a discussion if I can’t refer to a short blog post by someone else without you throwing a hissy-fit?

    Like I said, from there, it was all downhill, the whole thread was just a big disaster. So I’m now taking it back to #84.

    Here’s my point then, saneman’s #73:

    my apology was for jumping to conclusions not for calling him a “faith head”.

    If there is belief he holds in the in the face of real world evidence then he will qualify as a faith head.

    1. Definition: “There was no historical Jesus” is a belief. “I believe there was no historical Jesus”. Just like “I believe there was a historical Jesus” is a belief. Just like “I believe there’s a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between the Earth and Mars” is a belief. (That’s Russell’s Teapot for those that don’t know and would like to read up more about it.)

    2. saneman suggested that if you hold a belief in the face of “real world evidence”, then you get classified as a “faith head”.

    Now I’d like to note that there’s no “real world evidence” that there was no historical Jesus… so I’d firstly like to argue that this does not apply to that belief. But… suppose it does, consider everything we have that could classify as “real world evidence” against the existence of a historical Jesus… and picture that that is enough to classify someone as a “faith head”.

    Now picture the evidence suggested by James F. McGrath that there was a real-world Jesus, the kind of evidence that historians routinely use to draw historical conclusions. Remember, you can’t dismiss this as not “real-world” evidence, because what could then classify as “real-world evidence” that Jesus didn’t exist? The historical evidence is enough to convince many, many a historian that there was a historical Jesus. (McGrath even raises the point that there are interesting parallels between Jesus-as-myth believers and young-earth-creationists with regards to how they go about collecting their “evidence”. That’s not to say that young-earth-creationists aren’t ten orders of magnitude worse, it is just an analogy to highlight how these things work.)

    So I suggest there is some “real-world” evidence that there was a historical Jesus. And thus by saneman’s criteria of wanting to classify me as a “faith head”, for believing a historical Jesus existed, I suggest that anyone that believes with a sufficient amount of certainty that Jesus did not exist, might also have to be classified as a “faith head”.

    In the light of that, #85:

    So I’m technically a faith head because I don’t believe in Zeus even in the face of all the stories about him?

    Eish. What a stupid comment, when understood in the context of what I’m trying to say. saneman, can you now see why I say you missed the point?

    The simple resolution I was hoping for, was something like this: “Ah, ok, true. You’re welcome to believe there was a historical Jesus. I believe there wasn’t. But I acknowledge that it is possible that there was a historical Jesus, and that there is sufficient evidence for sane, rational people to conclude that that is the more likely conclusion. Just like I believe there is sufficient evidence for me to conclude there wasn’t a historical Jesus.”

    saneman, you insulted people that are not prepared to read more, you wrote: “Ignorance is one thing,reading more than one book fixes that.” I could mirror that back at you with regards to historical-Jesus-belief. In the end this is going to come down to which books you read, which books I read, which philosophy we subscribe to with regards to whether we can know anything about the past with any amount of certainty.

    I would say (and I think Ben would agree?) that at some point these historicity debates become somewhat petty and not particularly important. Somewhat like intellectual noodling. But you don’t seem to agree that this debate isn’t important, as per your irony/sarcasm:

    But let us not burden ourselves with petty topics like did “bob really exist” let us rather wax lyrical about his 4 shiny hooves and his impressive horn of morals.

    Please tell me where I misunderstand you.

    UPDATE: (*) I don’t know if this is right. Ben, how would you classify James McGrath? You’ve been reading for more time than I have, and our definitions (yours and mine) are slightly orthogonal. 😉

  • 246 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 2, 2008 at 2:48 am

    I would say (and I think Ben would agree?) that at some point these historicity debates become somewhat petty and not particularly important.

    I would argue that the documentation is insufficient to support knowing how much actually happened. It is definitely insufficient to document falsifications of the conservation of energy, etc.

    Did a person actually say and do some of the things attributable to the Jesus characters in Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John? I would think that’s the simplest explanation. It’s entirely possible that someone made up Jesus as a fictional character in Q and in oral stories, I guess. But then that person be the catalyst for the stories instead of a historical Jesus – nothing significant would change.

    I don’t know if this is right. Ben, how would you classify James McGrath? You’ve been reading for more time than I have, and our definitions (yours and mine) are slightly orthogonal.

    I classified him as an atheist before, since he rejects theism. See here, here, or here to read more.

  • 247 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:05 am

    I have a multi-link comment hanging in a spam filter somewhere on the James McGrath question.

    As far as Jesus existing or not, the point is moot. The documentation is not sufficient to count as falsifications of the conservation of energy, etc. Nor is the documentation strong enough to say with any certainty that a person in history did any of the things in the Gospels.

    Were the author(s) of Q and Mark basing their Jesus characters on a historical person or making up a fictional one? Who cares? There isn’t a whole lot to go on either way. I think the simpler explanation is that there was a person in history. (shrug)

  • 248 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 8:25 am

    are we just going to keep repeating ourselves?

  • 249 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 11:07 am

    darn it , i go offline for a bit and get to return to this … *sigh*

    @ hugo’s loooong comment, and odd comment since then :
    @whitewashing god, wtf? whitewash robin hood all you want 🙂 really… no atheist is complaining about that … seriously.. robin hood doesnt get passed off as truth nor as fact … teach myth as myth not myth as fact or truth, if u must teach myth as containing truth but not as the truth itself. u wouldnt do it to robin so why for other most likely fictional character. (btw, there is some debate wether robin hood existed, u get all these crazys who insist he physically existed, but they don’t have any evidence for it. )

    Fair enough, you’re probably right on that. What I’ll keep though, is the argument that there’s a much greater body of tradition, analysis and understanding of Christian scripture. (Hehe, can’t argue with that one!)

    ehm,… Fair enough, you’re probably right on that. What I’ll keep though, is the argument that there’s a much greater body of torture, hatered , murder , child abuse , rape , gang rape, manipulation , war , purposefully orchestrated famine , destruction of nations and their people , destruction of science etc all in the name of , analysis and understanding of Christian[religious] scripture. (Hehe, can’t argue with that one!)
    *furious about people belittling shit like that, u shelters pratt*

    Scripture is what I’m sticking with though, because what I’m dealing with is the great inertia of human attachment to the “beloved stories” they grew up with (and take too literally).

    maybe its too early , maybe this convo has been going on for too long, but shit man … how can u honestly say stuff like this ?
    dont u know anything about the past? why on earth do you not see that maybe , generations of people being oppressed into just thinking in terms of scripture is a little bit more responsible for this? i mean , we’re talking about some fucking serious and fucking longstanding stuff here.
    What do you think that people were always this free to even discuss this or are u so blind to think that several thousand years of being burnt alive or have your flesh flayed from your bones is ‘attachment’ ? wtf is wrong with you? seriously, i just dont understand how u can be so apologetic for the belief in stuff like this. Just look at iran ? do u think there is such a thing as religious debate there? (they do have debate, its just debate around how many angels fit on a pin) ….

    i think ignoring stuff like this and using this argument makes you a horribly sheltered individual. It reminds me of this painting about the bulkan wars .. you have this amazing painting of this vally, its all war torn , people’s body parts lying around, there are children in the distrance playing between bombs that failed to go off . soldiers fighting, women laying there ravaged … its all horrific. but there in the corner there is this focus piece , a flower , a lilly, painted with certain shine. its meant to symbolize that nature goes on even if man doesnt.
    I look at the picture and i try see the flower in context of the entire picture .. you… you just look at the picture , and for u its a picture of a lovely flower .. why cant every picture be of a flower … to me that’s you pissing all over the , and i mean drenching, actual point of the flower…

    btw, if u require a little history lesson , there were lots of ‘scriptures’ in the past, almost ever culture has had some form of this shit.. We have however always managed to move on when it became pointless.. take roman mythology, hell take the roman empire .. just stop , walk away…
    if its filthy … then its filthy.. no need to whipe off that much shit to for sake of a belief , after all there is so much more you could try first.

    blahblahblah .. little immoral… blah blah blah train .. blah blah blah capitalism ..

    ehm. immoral is imoral .. capitalism is immoral… its not a little immoral .. however capitalism is less immoral to most of the things we’ve been able to come up with. less than does not equote to ‘little’ , the little, we add to make ourselves feel better about all of the shit so we don’t need to do anything about it.
    In other words , why you choose to say ‘capitalism is a little immoral’ is because you somehow have to make urself feel better about being immoral instead of doing something about it. (do u want me to go into details and bring psyc 101 into this for u?)

    look things don’t stop being immoral just because we want them to be or because we lack a moral options. Were you’re being evil is the bits where u choose immoral actions over moral ones. THAT is the issue i’m have with centrism. there are better moral options available to the immoral ones but fuck … rather than actually bloody choosing them you’re choosing to evolve a immoral one into a direction it can not go. Why? because people will feel better .. i mean wtf? seriously.. this thinking is waaaaay beyond my abilities ..

    now , why do i say you’re insisting on centrism on this blog? ehm … I don’t know , maybe because you keep threatening to kick people off when they aren’t centrist? u keep flip flopping on issues like this… oh no , i hate you , oh no i love you … remember , it took me 1 post for u to call me a militant dawkins bitch… why? because u wrote some very unreasonable stuff about dawkins and his refusal to use theological language when talking theology… even tho , he isnt talking theology .. he’s talking about theology … so why would i get my panties in a knot for that? at the very least compare a spade to a spade.. anyway .. look at ur other posts where u threaten to update ur comment policy if u really care to look into a mirror.

    on the criticism about sanemans comments,
    simple, read more and he’ll stop sounding stoned. Unlike me saneman isnt wasting his time trying to counter bad thinking(@least what i term this stuff) on a point to point basis. take this historical jesus thing .. i mean wtf? how many times did hugo now bring this up? in what way does that 7min video have anything to do with what was being said or relevance of jesus actually existing? I mean holy fuck, u know what this so called expert can say and says? I’m quoting here ‘in fact , reputable historians almsot unanimously agree blablah blah ‘ i mean wtf? he goes on to back up this claim with such abstract reasoning that what people should do it openly laugh at him. I mean holy jesus on rubber crutches. Jesus , didnt do what was expect of meshiahs at the time … _THATS_ all the proof you need. oh, right, how stupid of me. wtf?

    hugo *shakes head in disbelief*

    ben: who cares? well, when people start fucking killing , raping , pillaging , abuse children in the name of a fictional character then _you_ should care. stop removing urself from the worlds problems like that … stop not holding a major excuse for that shit , responsible.

    ken: and all saneman is saying is that the approach of … appeasement , fluffing up things doenst work. u end up with counter productive convos of … ‘dances with the pins’ and ‘ oh look , jesus existed because he didnt live up to Messianic expectations..’ … intellectual dead ends and intellectual dishonestly as saneman puts it.

    look, belittling people and saying , logic and reason doesnt work always … isn’t archiving anything, its setting the lowest common denominator instead of the highest common denominator.. you can reach everyone with the LCD but … in the process you’re lowering everyone else to that level. so much infact that uni professors at fucking stellies , one of the premiere unis in za, are frikken fundies seeking effective christainization of the institution.

    … you know what i was thinking when zuma announced he wanted a state religion.. nothing… because it doesnt surprise me after this convo and the’ Who cares?’ … next year jesus shall be wearing shower caps. why not? he’s already touting a surfboard. yippy

  • 250 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Here Ben confirms my thoughts “I think Ben would agree?” (that at some point these historicity debates become somewhat petty and not particularly important):

    Who cares?

    I’m going to try and get important work done and not respond to saneman’s one-liner yet. And not read gerhard’s long comment. And try my best to not simply take my blog off the ‘net in a hissy fit. *sigh*

  • 251 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Oh, and konfytbekkie, don’t you dare let me catch you reading this blog today. You’re supposed to be having a partay! Happy happy!

  • 252 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    hugo , ha!! u see! u hear something u dont like and threaten ‘take my blog off the net in a hissy fit’
    *cough*
    if you’re not going to read the comment then let me ask you this as a reflection on your thoughts .. and i dont care if ben doesnt agree here either ..

    Would think it particularly important if the majority of society believes gandalf the great with magic existed as a historic figure? sure a small portion is educated enough to say ‘he may have existed but probably without the magic’ but the majority don’t see it that way? Would you Accept people like you who say, its not as important if he existed even if people murder rape , Mame kill, abuse children etc, in the name or partly inspired by this belief? Would u admire or fight centrist ideas in this regard?
    I would call that frighteningly ignorant.
    Point is , very very few people kill , mane abuse children etc for the fictonal character of gandaf , but for Messianic gandalf… for sure. Why don’t you get that? And you think part of the solution? why the hell don’t u care, whats wrong with u?

  • 253 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    @Gerhard

    First of all, CALM DOWN.

    all saneman is saying is that the approach of … appeasement , fluffing up things doenst work.

    No. Read comment 222 again.

    look, belittling people and saying , logic and reason doesnt work always … isn’t archiving anything, its setting the lowest common denominator instead of the highest common denominator.. you can reach everyone with the LCD but … in the process you’re lowering everyone else to that level.

    This…is breathtaking. Logic and reason don’t always work. This entire thread is a case in point. People aren’t logic bots. We respond to, and are persuaded by, to all kinds of illogical arguments. Such as your “belittling people” LCD strawman, which I never advocated. Please stop twisting my words.

    so much infact that uni professors at fucking stellies , one of the premiere unis in za, are frikken fundies seeking effective christainization of the institution.

    I think of all people on this blog I know about this particular issue. Trust me when I say that there are folks keeping a close watch on developments. If the “frikken fundies”, as you put it, do something that is outside of their job description, such as suppress or alter the teaching of the biological sciences in a way outside of the scientific consensus, then you have a case.

    hugo , ha!! u see! u hear something u dont like and threaten ‘take my blog off the net in a hissy fit’

    This is hardly censorship. More likely extreme frustration.

  • 254 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Damn the broken italics tags. Apologies.

  • 255 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Would think it particularly important if the majority of society believes gandalf the great with magic existed as a historic figure?

    Yes. Similarly, it is important if the majority of society believes Jesus with magic existed as a historical figure.

    Would you Accept people like you who say, its not as important if he existed even if people murder rape , Mame kill, abuse children etc, in the name or partly inspired by this belief?

    You fail at reading comprehension. The point in dispute is whether people who believe Gandalf / Jesus are wholly fictional characters will behave significantly differently than those who believe Gandalf / Jesus were, instead, historical people who have had the stories of their lives badly documented.

    I’m at a loss for finding examples of people who murdered, raped, abused children, etc., in the name of (what they themselves considered) a mythical Jesus or Gandalf. I only know of ones who have done so in the name of (what they themselves considered) a historical Jesus whose life was well documented. No one is defending that belief as harmless. At some point, we are (or were) hoping you might notice that.

  • 256 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    take your fingers out of your ears, stop trying to argue away the fact you are believer of LOTR and you are trying to get other people to discuss and keep on the path of LOTR. Why is it so dangerous for your religion/method of reasoning to simply class jesus with robin hood, thor and bob.

    What is stopping you from doing that? Why don’t you want your myth to be seen as a myth? Are you worried that the more sensible people my not accept the other crap that your myth propagates?

    Is your only interest in keeping the myth status for “other peoples” religions so the credulous will be at the mercy of anyone commanding actions in the name of your thor or robin hood?

    Why the rejection of reason and logic? Why when it comes to the most serious of life’s decisions do you abandon reason and logic? Why you are actively pursuing a life plan that is not grounded in fact or reason?

    and when you are questioned? you either accuse the questioner of rudeness and argue against his style.

    do you not see the fucking delusion present in this conversation!!

    If you entire point comes down to the idea that “some” people need to really belief that jesus was real so they will follow his teachings and not murder and commit sin. Then you have very little faith in humanity. Only children need to be tricked into being good, any semi intelligent person should be able to arrive at some kind of basic moral guideline.

    If you wonder why some people are unable to do that it is because of fucking religion not allowing people to think for themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And religion is no moral guide as it is confusing and contradicts itself.

    Only recently have normal people been allowed to read religious writings without a priest or what ever watching over the proceedings so they don’t take something out of context or misinterpret something one of the fictional characters said.

    You are delusional and the evidence for it is in your refusal to adhere to logic and reason.

    We are frustrated, so very very frustrated with the faith heads, especially the ones who have read a few books supporting there religion all based on word twisting, romantic language, horrible shitty circular reasoning and down right intellectual dishonestly.

    all for what? so you don’t make fools of your parents? so you don’t get shunned by the credulous group?

    WTF!

    pathetic

  • 257 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    @ken: i’m calm. sorry where did i say u were saying this? are you hugo in disguise or soemthing? also , did i say _only_ logic and reason? i am bitching about the defeatist nature of ‘oh logic doesnt work always so lets try not use it’ It’s aiming for the lowest of the low.

    chicken and the hen man … if you bring up people and teach them to not use logic and reason then what do you get? I can easily say in the whole of my up brining , in 2 vastly different christain societies jesus as fact was always a case. Bible literalism as fluff is _the_ way of teaching this shit. Rott their mind young enough so that they dont meet expectation. Expect people to act/think more logically and guess what you’ll get? oh wait , your pessimist side will just say, people are so stupid that they can’t. That is setting up the LCD !!!! We don’t need that. (and btw wtf would u call that argument as a strawman? i missed something someplace apparently. ) btw, reread comment 222 in context of what saneman was saying..

    ben : what? now i’m lacking in comprehension? shite sorry man. i was pointing out that they will behave differently because almost no one kills in the name of gandalf/zeus but when they believe in a historical gandalf/zeus they do 🙂 apparently no one is defending that belief as harmless because obviously , saying jesus’s historical existance doesnt matter , doesnt in anyway , defend that the belief is harmless.. wow .. hopefully at some point i will notice that .. or maybe , you will be able to comprehend that.

  • 258 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    saneman, who are you talking to?

    @gerhard

    @ken: i’m calm. sorry where did i say u were saying this? are you hugo in disguise or soemthing?

    No. Irrelevant to the conversation anyway.

    also , did i say _only_ logic and reason? i am bitching about the defeatist nature of ‘oh logic doesnt work always so lets try not use it’ It’s aiming for the lowest of the low.

    No! Where have I ever said or implied this? I don’t hold this view at all! Hence the twisting my words.

    Expect people to act/think more logically and guess what you’ll get? oh wait , your pessimist side will just say, people are so stupid that they can’t.

    Bullshit. I don’t say this. I never have. You are assuming things about me that are not true.

    @everyone:
    This entire thread is beginning to feel like an exercise in SIWOTI. I get the distinct feeling we are arguing in circles. Can we at least agree on some basic things?

    1) We all agree that more logic and rationality are a good thing.

    2) People are not logical systems, and will not always react logically to an argument.

    3) If a logical argument doesn’t work, then an illogical argument (from our viewpoint) can at least get the other person to listen.

    4) 3 is a desirable outcome.

  • 259 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    ben: ehm, why are those words arent irrelevant, i wasnt talking to you? So i wasnt twisting ur words, i was responding to hugo’s looooong comment but apparently you posted some stuff since that make the words apply to you too … but thanks for clearning up that thats not how you feel.
    lets all start using muti next time when logic and reason fails …

    *sigh*
    3 is an issue for me. u can’t rape someone to ensure rape is undone. life just doesnt work like that. wish it did. u may get their attention .. but will their hymen be restored? will it do anything other than make the situation worse?

  • 260 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    ben: ehm, why are those words arent irrelevant, i wasnt talking to you? So i wasnt twisting ur words,

    You addressed your original comment to me. Not to Ben.

    3 is an issue for me. u can’t rape someone to ensure rape is undone.

    I don’t understand your comment. How is raping someone a logical or illogical argument?

  • 261 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    1) We all agree that more logic and rationality are a good thing.

    agreed.

    2) People are not logical systems, and will not always react logically to an argument.

    agreed, but all people short of toddlers and the retarded have the capacity for logic and reason.

    3) If a logical argument doesn’t work, then an illogical argument (from our viewpoint) can at least get the other person to listen.

    agreed, but once they are listening then you are obliged to educate and inform so that logical discourse can commence

    4) 3 is a desirable outcome.

    can’t agree unless the end goal is to imbue the person with logic and reason, else it is dangerous and maintains the delusion.

  • 262 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    ehm. christ now my english is going bonkers .. .
    i meant , why are those words irrelevant, i was telling u that i was not talking to u. or did i miss a @hugo someplace?

  • 263 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    can’t agree unless the end goal is to imbue the person with logic and reason, else it is dangerous and maintains the delusion.

    Aaaah, OK. Apologies, I should have been clearer. I think 4 should be read in the light of a person such as ourselves, for which 1 holds. So it is a desirable outcome for us, because it allows at least the possibility of further, rational discourse.

  • 264 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    ken : u cant rape someone and then undo it with more rape. u can’t expect someone to act logically or rationally by not being logical or rational. so u can’t say, shit theological language can be attacked with theological language when there is no hope left. that is the literal , raping someone after being raped. the damage is done , no need to do more damage just so u have someone to talk to.

  • 265 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    saneman, ehm…. i dont know if i can agree with that.. It’s like saying masturbating monkeys should be masturbated if u cant get them to stop masturbating.. u’re just swapping the evil for another evil.

  • 266 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    hehe I was trying point #3 out…

  • 267 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I’m still struggling to understand your point.
    So you are saying, don’t fight fire with fire?
    More of the same doesn’t help?
    So your point about rape was an analogy?

  • 268 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    The problem here is even in 2008 nonsense and delusion aren’t dismissed out of hand.

    So some of us have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Granted we are giving there argument some kind of relevance because we actually bothering to enter into the discussion. But because the delusion itself retards the victims ability to use logic and reason and its main objective is to create unquestioning obedience we feel the need to speak up and try and help.

    never fight with a pig, you will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

  • 269 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    ken, yes, you can’t unfuck a virgin by fucking.
    counter-productive and wasting even more time.

  • 270 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t think your analogies hold gerhard.
    Not to mention that they are slightly disturbing…

    Referring to your post 264, I’m not arguing for the use of theological language per se. I’m saying that in such a case, a non-logical counter-argument, such as an appeal to emotion, or an appeal to consequences, or an argument from the majority, would then have the desired effect.

  • 271 saneman // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    go have a read: www . evilbible . com/Rape . htm

  • 272 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    saneman, you’re preaching to the converted. I know all that stuff…doesn’t make gerhard’s analogies any less disturbing. To me, at least.

  • 273 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    ken , they are supposed to be disturbing. rape , because they had it done to them, and it permanently damaged them.. their mind is/was raped. rapeing them more doesnt help.

    your point was that if u were to rape them a bit more , then , maybe they will be more responsive to not being raped. what i termed as ‘responsive’ the words i used earlier to describe my feelings towards this thinking was ‘frighteningly ignorant’. thats what i call this ‘compromise’.
    frighteningly ignorant.
    sure not everyone will respond to logic and reason, there will always be some people left beyond hope, but does that give me permission to rape them further? like saneman tried so say, why feed the delusion? why justify it by using it?

  • 274 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    ken : btw, i feel that if i should start more p.c ways of expressing myself i would be feeding the fire..

  • 275 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    The simple question, as plain as fucking light of day, is “what is wrong with me believing there was a historical Jesus”? I clearly can’t cope with such bigotry right now, I just can’t handle it, which is why I’m considering taking this blog off the net completely.

    Here’s the comment I had started writing, and then thought better of, so I wrote the above instead. And this is in quotes:

    *censored – commented out with HTML comments*

    So no, I’m not going to read your whole comment right now, I just picked up bits here and there. You two are being immoral by shitting in my living-room and not giving a shit about another human being. That is immoral. Forgive me for giving a shit, forgive me for having a stupid sense of non-self-centred morality wherein I consider it worthwhile to choose a path for which I’m prepared to take some abuse, because it is a path in which I can contribute something useful.

    I will come back and read them later, which is what I was trying to say above. One more comment, because my eye caught another paragraph. And it shouldn’t. I should not have glanced at this site this morning:

    saneman wrote:

    If you entire point comes down to the idea that “some” people need to really belief that jesus was real so they will follow his teachings and not murder and commit sin

    What the fuck? saneman, if you’re going to be this stupid, please don’t claim you’re representing “reason”. Because you’re giving reason a fucking bad name.

    Who the fuck said anything about murder or sin? Who the fuck said I want other people to believe that? How often did I tell you what to think or believe? Did you ever once say sorry, or are you also a fucking head-up-your-own-ass narcissist?

    I said one simple thing: I said “I believe there was a historical Jesus.” And you’re such a fucking bigot that you cannot even accept that. WTF.

    Sorry Kenneth, I need to let my frustrations out somewhere. I’m sure this isn’t going to help them stay calm. But I can’t stay calm with this amount of bigotry.

    Why don’t you two go lecture Richard Dawkins about how much damage he is doing, how he is keeping people caught up in theism, because he wrote an article like this:

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,20,Atheists-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins

    Sheesh, sounds like he believes there (probably) was a real Jesus. Why don’t you guys go banish him from the internet because he dares suggest something so immoral. Damn that Richard Dawkins for feeding people’s delusions, right?

    Morons!

  • 276 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    It is a dead simple question:

    What is wrong with me believing there was a historical Jesus?

    What is wrong with me believing there was… um… water on Mars? The latter we might prove some day, or we might disprove it, it might have been something other than “real water”, say.

    Answer: there is nothing the fuck wrong with believing there was a historical Jesus. What matters is what you do with it or about it.

    Now fuck off, you two intolerant bigots. Or learn how to respect differences of opinion.

  • 277 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    gerhard, you talk about rape of a mind. The tricky thing with metaphorical things like this, is that it can be interpreted different ways.

    Rephrasing it a bit then, by another metaphor: Fundamentalists have been “bullied” into believing what they believe. And you now “bully” them out of it with intolerance and bigotry. Or you bully them deeper. Because yes, that’s what you’re doing.

    So by other opinions you’re the ones doing the raping. And I will have no mind-raping on my blog, at least not in the way I mean that metaphor. We could have had a valuable conversation with H J, but a couple of mind-rapers dropped comments, and drove her back to her cocoon, deeper in. What immoral behaviour! gerhard and saneman are highly immoral by this metric. (And I know it is relative. That’s the fucking point.)

    I’m going to have to further postpone the most useful contribution I hope to make on this blog, until such time as I have a sound-proof room where the gerhard’s and saneman’s can shout their intolerance to the skies, without raping the minds we’d like to nurture on this blog.

    Here are more of my “beliefs” (oh sorry, I’m not allowed to have beliefs, that’s immoral): Authoritative parenting style is terrible. Nurturing parenting style is great. I’m definitely going to go for nurturing, you two are authoritative. You indoctrinate.

    OK, to calm down a bit, here’s an interesting read…:

    http://www.reallivepreacher.com/rlparchive/node/869

  • 278 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Kenneth, thanks for the good job you’re doing. I seem to be unable to have a calm reasoned discussion with saneman and gerhard.

    What I’d like to get out of this conversation then: do they think it is best I take my blog off the internet completely, because I don’t have the right “beliefs” (e.g. believing there was no historical Jesus)? So should we have an ecumenical council to determine which beliefs we must hold before we are allowed to contribute to the problem of religious fundamentalism?

    It really seems they think my blog is damaging. gerhard has been around for a while, his opinion might be somewhat informed. saneman doesn’t have a foot to stand on. saneman, go read my series on the creationism seminar from the first quarter. You can get there via the About page.

    I’m not asking anyone to change their language, I’m asking them to respect my right to believe there was a historical Jesus. Could it be any simpler… If they cannot cope with something as simple as this little difference of opinion, there is no way they can be a useful contribution to this blog, given the direction I want to go.

    Not censorship, no. Just some code and infrastructure for facilitating community by encouraging relationships and conversations amongst people that actually care about one another to some degree.

  • 279 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    your point was that if u were to rape them a bit more , then , maybe they will be more responsive to not being raped.

    You are HONESTLY comparing my use of an appeal to emotion to get a point across to a recalcitrant listener…to RAPING THEIR MINDS?

    I don’t know what to say. That is just plain sick. The two are in no way, mean, shape or form equivalent! Could you PLEASE try to find a less sucky, less false, and less repulsive analogy?

  • 280 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    hugo, *sigh*
    you have a right to believe there was a historical jesus. u do:) u can believe there are pink unicorns. Same thing. But what you dont have a right to is … thinking that just because you believe it that it should be respected. I respect you man, but not _that_ belief. I do not _have_ to show respect for it. Nor do i plan to. that isnt biggoted. that isnt rude. that is calling a spade a spade. Do we understand each other?

    I’m sorry that offends you, but that belief is just as offensive 🙂 why do i say offencive ? because unlike gandalf or that pink unicorn, people out there are doing some serious fucked up shit due to it. You’re asking people to forgive / ignore etc waaaay too much shite for no reason what so ever so that you can have something that has actually nothing to do with what u are defending. u do know right that just in the last 2 weeks several hundred people died because of this religous crap. Right? Show me one other thing that caused that meany deaths … lets not bring mutilations/rapes that happend over the same period or anything else … just murder death kill…

    now you tell me one more time that i should fucking suck it up and respect it …

  • 281 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Quite simply: I’m in breach of contract by thinking about this blog too much, about devoting too much of my time to fighting fundamentalism.

    u hear something u dont like

    I hear utter disrespect, intolerance and bigotry, and I don’t like it, yes. I can’t handle it. So I threaten to take my blog off the net, yes, because I must put “full time” into my “full time job”, not sink it into (first) fighting bigotry and intolerance, so that I can (later) fight fundamentalism. (They’re kinda the same actually.)

    I’m now thinking of declaring a blog hiatus for a while. One more post is likely to be published soon (as it is pretty much finished being written anyway), and the hiatus declaration… (should I carry it through). Some personal things I want to mix in with it, but don’t want to leave right at the top for a month, so I’ll maybe split that in two.

    To reiterate my attempt this morning then:

    I’m going to try and get important work done and not read any more comments. (For the rest of today. Which I didn’t explicitly mention earlier, ’cause I thought everyone would be smart enough to understand, and know me well enough to understand, if they weren’t so self-centered. I’ll maybe extend that to the rest of the week though, if I can… only read comments again on Friday. Sounds like a good plan.)

  • 282 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    And that’s how I blow off some steam. By living in blissful ignorance of the bigotry that is uttered after my most recent comment, I can get work done. But if I even glance at a comment, my frustration at people’s narrow-minded-intolerance gets me worked up to the point where I just have to blow off some steam again. Especially since I get worked up about the fact that I’m worked up, and not focusing on work. Then it explodes in a wonderful little kaleidoscope like my comments above.

    Lovely.

    Have a good day.

  • 283 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Oh, and yet another “last thought”:

    the “sound-proof room” isn’t a case of “no-one gets access”. People may go and converse with those in the “sound proof room” if they so choose. But it will be more like an open private email conversation. Open private. Nice oxymoron. More open than email, but more private than a blog post with relevant comments below it. And I still need a name for it. It is something distinct form the “dark back alley” which is for debates, while “the pub” is for friendly chatter.

    Cheers!

  • 284 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    @ken:

    You are HONESTLY comparing my use of an appeal to emotion to get a point across to a recalcitrant listener…to RAPING THEIR MINDS?

    no man, who’s talking about an appeal to emotion? using illogic to allow us a in to create logic. the illogic is responsible for the lack of logic. raping their minds further like that isnt going to bring anything.. what am i not getting here? you just can’t break freethought like that at will. even for convenience sake.

    @hugo,

    I hear utter disrespect, intolerance and bigotry, and I don’t like it, yes.

    Stop demanding respect. Start explaining why it deserves resepect. Respect that people can disrespect you for stupid beliefs you can hold.
    I would equate this situation to way back when , u know , before you were born. the 70s *sarcasm* When people in south africa generally thought it was disrespectful for white people to critizize other white people for believing black people were nothing but lesser unevolved ‘kaffir’ animals. (and i’m not using the secular idea of animal here )

    You see, they had all this socially acceptable, biblical and scholarly evidence (and by that i mean rhetoric) that backed up their ‘tollerant’ and ‘accepting’ society. Sure, once the rest of the world was no longer doing it or ‘tolerant’ the ‘evidence’ suddenly wasn’t there anymore. the damage was done. I’m calling u a racist in a time when racism is a norm and you’re being defensive about it.

    replace racism with theology and you have our example. I do very much think theology as almost entirely evil. I keep pointing out to why i think it is evil. Its entirely reasonable for me not to want to excuse these evil things for the one or two good things you’ve managed to point out over the year i’ve been reading here. So where exactly lies the problem? Why do i need to respect these evil things? Now , hugo, please my friend. calm down and think about what i am saying here? is your wanting that level of unquestionable respect for such beliefs really so tolerant? please i made a comment earlier which was paraphrasing one of yours almost word for word because it enraged me :

    Fair enough, you’re probably right on that. What I’ll keep though, is the argument that there’s a much greater body of tradition, analysis and understanding of Christian scripture. (Hehe, can’t argue with that one!)

    ehm,… Fair enough, you’re probably right on that. What I’ll keep though, is the argument that there’s a much greater body of torture, hatered , murder , child abuse , rape , gang rape, manipulation , war , purposefully orchestrated famine , destruction of nations and their people , destruction of science etc all in the name of , analysis and understanding of Christian[religious] scripture. (Hehe, can’t argue with that one!)
    *furious about people belittling shit like that, u shelters pratt*

    do you understand why i was enraged? Have you ever been part of any of those listed things?
    directly or indirectly , that doesnt matter. you just need to have been able to observe the destruction first hand. please go back to an earlier example about hundreds of people’s death at religion’s iron hand. I’m not saying you don’t know this stuff goes on , or that you ignore religions effect. I just believe that you’re being very unreasonable.

  • 285 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    saying jesus’s historical existance doesnt matter

    Oh, that was the entirety of my thoughts on the topic? No. Stop quote-mining like a creationist.

  • 286 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    you have a right to believe there was a historical jesus. u do:) u can believe there are pink unicorns. Same thing…because unlike gandalf or that pink unicorn, people out there are doing some serious fucked up shit due to it. You’re asking people to forgive / ignore etc waaaay too much shite for no reason what so ever so that you can have something that has actually nothing to do with what u are defending.

    Wow. So Richard Dawkins and Paul Kurtz are insufficiently hostile to religion.

    Is there anyone besides you who is sufficiently logical and reasonable, gerhard?

  • 287 Hugo // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    @gerhard… There are many accusations, many strawmen, many jumped-to-conclusions. Pointless to discuss. This is why I say *ask more questions*, understand before you criticise. All the incorrect strawmen you both build are what frustrates me. That’s the thing that makes me feel insulted and disrespected the most. The worst, absolute worst thing you could do, is to accuse me of not being dedicated to fighting the problem of dangerous religious fundamentalism. It is this “dedication” that’s very unhealthy to me personally.

    Here’s a summary of incorrect accusations and strawmen in the last many comments. Bear in mind the single exception that I personally believe there was a “historical Jesus”, irrespective of what we can or cannot know about him. I place less direct accusations… “suggestions”… in italics:

    by saneman #256:

    You have your fingers in your ears
    You don’t want your myth to be seen as myth
    You want your myths to propagate other crap
    You are interested in keeping the myth status.
    Maybe you want to keep credulous people at the mercy of leaders.
    You reject reason and logic.
    You abandon reason and logic when it comes to the most serious of life’s decisions.
    Your life plan isn’t grounded in fact or reason.
    You are delusional.
    You refuse to adhere to logic and reason.

    Something worth responding to in #256:

    and when you are questioned? you either accuse the questioner of rudeness and argue against his style.

    Hmmm… this whole conversation is about rudeness and style. If we had managed to get past the rudeness and bad style, we might have had a decent conversation.

    In response to gerhard #257:

    i am bitching about the defeatist nature of ‘oh logic doesnt work always so lets try not use it’ It’s aiming for the lowest of the low.

    It is not defeatist. So let me bitch about how you consider it to be defeatist… take your defeatist attitudes elsewhere. And stop insulting people by calling those that aren’t as interested in “logic and reason” the “lowest of the low”. I don’t like insults. Especially not to great swathes of humanity, that care more about living their lives than arguing about things down to the minutiae.

    I vote Yes on Kenneth’s 4 points, but don’t particularly care to argue about them.

    @gerhard #259: stop discriminating against females that choose to ride horses like men. 😛 (Adding a bit of humour to a post shouldn’t hurt. But sometimes it does. *sigh*.)

    I’m staying out of gerhard’s objection to (3), but could maybe agree that the words “an illogical argument” might have been badly chosen in Kenneth’s 4 points. A completely different approach need not be based on “arguing” or “arguments”. Primary thing to base it on: good relationships.

    @saneman #261:

    can’t agree unless the end goal is to imbue the person with logic and reason, else it is dangerous and maintains the delusion.

    My “end-goal” is to remove dangerous fundamentalism, intolerance and bigotry. If fundamentalists agree that other ways of living are also okay, then they’re no longer fundamentalists. Then I’m happy, my primary job is “done”, the rest is just mopping up. My suggestion is thus that people will be for something rather than against something else, because fundamentalism (against-something-else) feeds itself in an endless loop. Paul Kurtz, “Embracing the Power of Humanism”, check it out. A prime example of a good for-something book.

    all people short of toddlers and the retarded have the capacity for logic and reason.

    Sure, but not necessarily the inclination. But this isn’t even something I want to argue about right now. My only real grief in this entire thread is with rudeness and style, bigotry and intolerance. You’re welcome to believe I’m silly for believing the evidence is strong enough for some “historical Jesus” to have existed, but common decency about it is what I’m testing and striving for.

    Hehe, surprising to have Kenneth, of all people, respond with this:

    I’m saying that in such a case, a non-logical counter-argument, such as an appeal to emotion, or an appeal to consequences, or an argument from the majority, would then have the desired effect.

    Logical fallacies are always logical fallacies when engaged in a logical argument… but I’m not going for such arguments. I’m at the point where I’d like to encourage people to think a bit. That doesn’t require arguments, that just requires some thought provoking ideas. 😉 But yea, you could probably cast some of the things I wrote into the mould/straight-jacket of “arguing” and then start looking for appeals to consequences or emotions or whatnot. Still too straight-jacket modernistic a lens through which to view the world though.

    Then in #273 gerhard calls me frighteningly ignorant. I do remain curious as to how much experience both gerhard and saneman have with fundamentalists that they are really, really close to. Or maybe even first-hand experience of that kind of culture. But anyway… moving on.

    The lovely #275, #276, #277, #278… me throwing a hissy fit, but in words, rather than in actions (removing my blog). Of course I’m quite ashamed of these comments, and apologise profusely… dropping comments like these without having read the discussion is certainly embarrassing. This is where my “no censorship whatsoever” policy started: my refusal to delete my own little horrors. Though I know they will come back to haunt me. *sigh*.

    So I do apologise for that, I hope you guys can forgive me.

    [that was sincere, now some sarcastic humour:] (If “forgiveness” is an allowed word, so hard to know which parts of English have too much to do with religion to be “allowed”. “Faith”, “believe”… being faithful to your husband, believing the scientific method to be worthwhile…)

    #280: respect to gerhard for handling it well. But pink unicorns don’t have any historical evidence. Much less so than that which I choose to believe. So you’re still ridiculing my “belief”.

    I’ve got six bookmarks on delicious tagged “historical+jesus”. (http://delicious.com/hugovdm/historical+jesus). One comment argues that there’s less reliable evidence for Julius Ceasar than for Jesus. (http://telicthoughts.com/there-will-be-repercussions/#comment-140859). Firstly I haven’t checked those facts, but secondly I also know there’s some significant differences in the nature of the two texts that make this comparison slightly useless. You can read those links if you like, but I’d like to put this to rest. If you think believing there was a historical Jesus is the same as believing in the IPU, then fine, I apparently believe in an IPU. But at least I have a bunch of interesting historians with me, that clearly rely too much on the historical method. 😉

    Now to continue with the incorrect accusations, gerhard in #280:

    You’re asking people to forgive and forget some seriously fucked up shit
    You’re asking me to suck it up and respect religion

    Nice, I only spotted two. (I didn’t dig though.)

    But we continue in #284 (more gerhard, more incorrect accusations)

    You say it deserves respect
    …some analogies I’m not responding to… they refer to a strawman

    In your quote, yea, I didn’t argue with that, I agree with that. That’s perfectly fine.

    do you understand why i was enraged?

    Yes. You’re touchy about scripture, clearly. 😉

    It seems to me the primary reason you were enraged is because you thought I was arguing for something in particular, when I was rather trying to express why I have more interest in Christian scripture than some book that everyone considers fiction. The fact that it was used for horrors is maybe the much more significant reason why I’m not just letting it go.

    And your response was not about “reason and logic”. If it was, my logical points would stand, untouched by emotion: there is a major difference between the LOTR and the Bible. In terms of a mythos on which to talk about how to live a good life, the latter has a lot more study and analysis that has gone into it, so it is more useful than LOTR. Full stop. That’s a logical argument. You could add to that: “yes, but the ugliness of what’s been perpetrated as a result of it is too terrible to permit its continued use”. That’s a fair opinion to hold, but wasn’t related to the original question or that which I’m defending. And it isn’t backed by empirical evidence, seeing as the problem was not that people read the Bible, but that people didn’t understand what the Bible was.

    you just need to have been able to observe the destruction first hand.

    That is an argument from consequences, by the way. Just thought I’d point it out. I probably misunderstood when I came under the impression that the use of a “logical fallacy” like that as an argument is an act of “rape”.

    I just believe that you’re being very unreasonable.

    Let’s just leave it at that.

    Back to saneman, excuse me if I duplicate things, my notes as I wrote this comment got a bit jumbled:

    You’re asking people to forgive / ignore etc waaaay too much shite

    I didn’t ask anyone to ignore or forgive any shite.

    for no reason what so ever

    Even so, that’s a false accusation. I have reasons for all the things I do. Some of them good, some of them in an attempt to do good. Some of them probably misguided. Oh, and “I’m an emotional being” is also a reason for e.g. my crazy comments. Hmm, I’m going to unapprove them until saneman’s responded to this comment. So my comment numbering will be off. (I’ve planned mengelmoes commenting system features to fix all these problems.)

    stop trying to argue away the fact you are believer of LOTR

    The counter:

    “saneman, stop arguing away the fact that you are Hitler’s great grand-son and would like all Christians and Jews and Muslims executed in a gas chamber.”

    That, saneman, is a straw-man analogous to what you’re calling me. You have no clue who I am and what I believe. (Except for the fact that I believe there was a “historical Jesus”, of course. *grin*.)

    you are trying to get other people to discuss and keep on the path of LOTR

    I want only to get people to discuss the good life, what it means to be a moral person, live a moral/ethical life, and to keep on that path. ‘Nuff said. Bye bye now.

    @Kenneth: I fixed your italics.

  • 288 gerhard // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    @ben 2:86,

    look i wasn’t saying thats the extent of it, was a reply to 255. You flipped my example around, accusing me of standing in the name of the thing i’m attacking. then you finished it off with , At some point, we are (or were) hoping you might notice that. ..

    Wow. So Richard Dawkins and Paul Kurtz are insufficiently hostile to religion.

    Is there anyone besides you who is sufficiently logical and reasonable, gerhard?

    Richard dawkins is a hippy, you realize? he’s as liberal as they come. I also don’t for a minute doubt that dawkins has to keep a certain respectability with in the community and probably won’t openly discuss his honest feelings. but remember , speculation.
    is hitchens too abrasive for you?

    why do you feel to need to attack people personally when they are attacking your reason? what will we get out of it? chill bro. weren’t you one of the people waving the flag of civility a moment ago?

  • 289 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:25 am

    @gerhard #259: stop discriminating against females that choose to ride horses like men.

    lol.

    Then in #273 gerhard calls me frighteningly ignorant.

    did i? i called the compromise that? thanks for questioning my experience ;(

    #280: respect to gerhard for handling it well. But pink unicorns don’t have any historical evidence. Much less so than that which I choose to believe. So you’re still ridiculing my “belief”.

    Maybe with gandalf. but unicorns ? I like using it because it’s on the alexander the great level in terms of literature and physical evidence except they have more questionable ‘ufo’ type evidence. plus they get mentioned in the bible so you can bring that into it.

    In terms of a mythos on which to talk about how to live a good life, the latter has a lot more study and analysis that has gone into it, so it is more useful than LOTR. Full stop. That’s a logical argument.

    Another logical argument would be it may be more useful in terms of good, clearly, because of all those things i mentioned, is just as (if not more) useful in terms of bad. fine, it may be more useful in terms of stufy and analysis but i am not promoting it as a life guide , i’ve been saying dont promote the bible over all the other works by making it a life guide. Don’t promote it as fact or truth. Myth as myth remember? Myths may contain truth but are not truth.

    @everyone , what are your thoughts on this. (this isnt a straw man…so i ask you not to set fire to it )
    Humans , as evolving animals, must have at some point functioned without consciousness.
    One would assume , as animals have proven emotions , that such a human’s higher functioning was probably driven by emotion.
    Emotion tends to be driven sub conciously, by that i mean , we can’t really decide to get angry, its not a concious choice. ( i know there are ways to hack anger, but i’m not talking about such rare instances)
    when do we tend to feel we have lost control? When we act sub consciously, emotionally, like the animal inside us trying to break free from conscious control. So i ask you this? What is it like for you to have that animal inside you? Do you like it? Does it frighten you? Do you secretly pet it and call it by name? Do you accept it as you or something that was?

  • 290 Hugo // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Sorry gerhard, I guess I misread this:

    what i termed as ‘responsive’ the words i used earlier to describe my feelings towards this thinking was ‘frighteningly ignorant’. thats what i call this ‘compromise’.

    Granted.

    For the rest, I declare peace with your comment. My niggles/nuances aren’t worth pursuing, and hopefully I can “deal” with such things better should any of this come up again in the future.

    With regards to the “reptilian brain” or something like that, which might be a bit of a misnomer, but nevertheless an interesting way to talk about parts of the brain: the only comments I have to add is that it’s part of what it is to be human, that even if some people don’t meet that part of themselves much, or “don’t have it”, broadly denying its influence and existence doesn’t really help. Which is why good psychologists are so aware of it and its role. (This blog is probably more about psychology and “man’s search for meaning” than it is about “logic and reason”.)

  • 291 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 3, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Humans , as evolving animals, must have at some point functioned without consciousness.

    Hmmm….Each individual human probably functions without consciousness as they grow up. My conception of consciousness includes other primates and other mammals as conscious, which would make homo saps conscious for the entire existence of the species.

    My picture of my mind is not of a conscious / subconscious divide.

    Do you accept it as you

    Basically, yes.

  • 292 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 3, 2008 at 2:46 am

    is hitchens too abrasive for you?

    Not at all. He’s very easy to read, too. I like Dawkins, love Dennett and Richard Carrier and A.C. Grayling and Stephen Pinker and Owen Flanagan, and find Harris a bit muddled.

  • 293 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 3, 2008 at 8:32 am

    no man, who’s talking about an appeal to emotion?

    You don’t find the use of a rape metaphor to describe a difference in opinion insufficiently emotional?

    using illogic to allow us a in to create logic. the illogic is responsible for the lack of logic. raping their minds further like that isnt going to bring anything.. what am i not getting here? you just can’t break freethought like that at will. even for convenience sake.

    You can, and do! Are you telling me you are rigidly logical, absolutely rational, completely and utterly unaffected by the emotional appeal of an argument? Your entire attitude towards religion, over the course of this thread, suggests otherwise.

  • 294 Konfytbekkie // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:22 am

    yikes….

    I go away to have a birthday and I come back to this???

    Geez!

    Ok….I’m sticking my neck out again, and I’ve tried to read through all the comments but my time is a tad limited at the moment (pesky “real-life” is interfering again…Stupid MSc…)

    Hugo: One of gerhard’s comments caught my eye. The one about respecting you vs. respecting your beliefs. Wasn’t there a similiar discussion about this little topic on one of your other posts? I can’t quite remember which one… Maybe you have an idea and can dig it out. But yeah…just place the link and refer to some of those comments instead of repeating the whole conversation.

    gerhard: Your last post. The one aimed @everyone…

    Maybe I’m missing something, but why are you bringing up this point?

  • 295 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:14 am

    ken , yes but weren’t u saying : ‘you’d call my use of an appeal to emotion …raping of mind ‘.. so we werent talking about my use of an appeal to emotion .. but yours. I’ve used apeal to emotion and i dont think i’ve really spoken emotionally and illogically. I may have responded emotionally once or twice, but i dont think they had anything to do with the argument. I may be wrong however as i dont feel like checking 200 off comments. I would however love you to point out illogic so i can ridmyself of it 🙂

    ben: you’re right , consciousness is something that develops in childhood that was going to be my next point.(what was it at around 4 or 6 someplace? ) I would love to hear your thoughts on the other questions raised. why? I find people have serious issues with this animal. It seems almost alien to them. To me that is what the bible/religion/gandalf was historically for . To distance ourselves from that animal. Take this concept of daemon or that everything that comes natural is a sin. Take sex? Isnt that act, the willing surrender of the female, the willing dominance of the male , the closest you’ll come to being that animal? Don’t we indulge the animal though it?

    Pinker is a hero, did you go see him when he was at technopark? fuck man, i went up to him after the lecture like a school girl and instead of asking him his opinion i just welcomed him blushingly to south africa… felt like a fanboyish type girlyman.

  • 296 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:19 am

    konfy: happy happy , clappy clappy. congrats at being one year older.

    about my last post , i’m trying a new approach. For me to do that i need to know how people feel about being animals. feel free to answer the question too. 🙂 would be interesting to hear from another foam-at -the-mouth, bible burning, unicorn loving, uninformed, evolusionist alcoholic. or something similiar.

  • 297 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:42 am

    consciousness is something that develops in childhood that was going to be my next point.(what was it at around 4 or 6 someplace? )

    No one can agree on what they mean by consciousness, but I would say much earlier than that. I would have classified my daughters as conscious sometime around 1…dunno.

    I probably had some un-examined dualism in my thoughts when I was younger, but basically, I’ve been a naturalist as long as I can remember. Catholic upbringing did give me some baggage with sex but not too bad. If you’ve never considered yourself more than an animal, most of the questions you listed seem strange. They’re assuming a viewpoint of humans that I don’t share. I was definitely pretty solidly materialist in my high school days; I remember thinking myself pretty witty with ‘we don’t really think, we just think we do.’

    I’ve never seen Stephen Pinker – I’m writing from the northeast U.S. I did get to meet Richard Heinberg once (if fossil fuel depletion is one of your areas of concern, you might know of him)…no one else leaps to mind.

    I’ll try and answer the questions…

    when do we tend to feel we have lost control? When we act sub consciously, emotionally, like the animal inside us trying to break free from conscious control. So i ask you this? What is it like for you to have that animal inside you?

    I have no idea what it would be like to NOT have that animal inside me. I am not just my conscious thoughts; my brain and body do much more than that.

    Do you like it? Does it frighten you?

    I like life, generally. Lots of things frighten me, including human fallibility and frailty, especially my own and of my loved ones.

    Do you secretly pet it and call it by name?

    ? No, unless you mean by my own name.

    Do you accept it as you or something that was?

    I accept it as me.

  • 298 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I would however love you to point out illogic so i can ridmyself of it

    Good luck. I think trying to rid yourself of illogic is asymptotic…you never quite get there 😉

    Isnt that act, the willing surrender of the female, the willing dominance of the male , the closest you’ll come to being that animal?

    Well…I would argue this differently. Every time you breathe, every time your heart beats, every time you sweat, or fart, or eat, or exercise, or feel pain, you are being an animal. The reason being, you are an animal…people just aren’t used to thinking of themselves in such terms.

  • 299 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Oh, konfytbekkie, belated happy birthday!

  • 300 Konfytbekkie // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Thnx for the birthday wishes 🙂

    gerhard: I’m going to have to think a bit more about your questions re the animal within. But I’ll give you my immediate response, which usually tends to be the most honest:

    We ARE animals. Hence the primitive instincts and responses to situations and emotions. What sets us apart from other mammals (or so we like to believe 😉 ) is our ability to consciously control these instincts and urges. Some people do that with more success than others.

    I’m a little confused though. Are you referring to the whole ‘reptilian brain’ thing…primitive instincts, remnants of our evolution (oh and how loosely i use the term just to accommodate everyone reading this :D) or are you taking a more metaphorical approach? A reference to our darker side?

    Or have I just had too much coffee this morning? 😉

  • 301 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

    ben:

    No one can agree on what they mean by consciousness, but I would say much earlier than that. I would have classified my daughters as conscious sometime around 1…dunno.

    I’m not seeking to define consciousness itself but rather the conditions that need to be there for it to apply. The line itself is very blurry as it isnt really a line. More as a loose collection of abilities that give consciousness a meaning. Why i feel young kids aren;t concious is because of their inability to distinguish themselves from their parents. A child yonger than 3 has no concept of i. if something happens to a parent then it may as well be happening to the child from the child’s point of view. (i can point you to some good documentaries that explain this part of human development)

    as for the dualism, don’t you struggle like everyone else between your conscious want and the sub conscious want? (ie. practice self control / discipline so u can do that stuff u need or should? ) That to me implies some dualism within you. I’m not saying that there is a physical separation between the two , but i do perceive this to be a struggle for dominance. i’m sure you’ve heard in the past about how personality is almost purely chemical stimulation inspired by experience, hence people having different personalities depending on chemical state. Have you had that experiance where you’ve been locked out of memories only to gain access again when in a similar state?(if you’ve been a drug taking hippy or heavy drinker than you can relate to that easier) Doesn’t this imply a onion skin like concept?

    ken:

    Every time you breathe, every time your heart beats, every time you sweat, or fart, or eat, or exercise, or feel pain, you are being an animal.

    Well, The reason i used sex is because it is a willing surrender to the animal side of things. It seems to be amongst very very few situation where we seek out that animal and revel in it. I also am seperating , sub concious animal from the biological processes such as heartbeat , as that stuff can continue without something inside of you seeking / directing it. (heart can beat outside the body, farts are a byproduct etc)

    the animal or ‘sub conscious’ as i layed out originally is more BIOS of man. It keeps the basic stuff happening and lets the OS (consciousness) run on it. Have i lost anyone ?

  • 302 Konfytbekkie // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Oh…and on a bit of a somewhat unrelated point (although we’re so well-versed in derailing the point of the discussion, it might aswell branch out into yet another direction…):

    ” Isnt that act, the willing surrender of the female, the willing dominance of the male ..”

    I take offense to that statement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 303 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:58 am

    nonfytbekkie: huh? why would you? shoe , you must be find it hard to sit though a david attenborough episode. Should we rather say ‘the willing putting out for the male’ or something?
    I dunno , i perceive the act of women laying down to get mounted as surrendering your dominance , just like one does for lionesses. After all you are allowing the male to enter your body. Remember we’re talking about animals here, to quote you 🙂

  • 304 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    @konfi sorry , remove the ‘find it’ in the first line..

  • 305 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Why i feel young kids aren;t concious is because of their inability to distinguish themselves from their parents. A child yonger than 3 has no concept of i. if something happens to a parent then it may as well be happening to the child from the child’s point of view. (i can point you to some good documentaries that explain this part of human development)

    I can point you to some direct experiences of my two year old pulling my chest hair and absolutely NOT feeling any of my pain. 🙂 A 2 year old definitely has some conception of I…there’s not much point in discussing this, though, unless we can agree on what the criteria are for classifying a being as conscious or non-conscious. Let’s just agree somewhere in the single digits?

    as for the dualism, don’t you struggle like everyone else between your conscious want and the sub conscious want?

    I was referring to dualism in the philosophical sense. But yes, I have conflicting desires. Heck, my dog has that, when he knows both that I’m calling him to come inside and that he wants to run around outside some more.

    I don’t have an idealistic notion of a ‘conscious self’ that is more rational or more values-oriented than an ‘unconscious self.’ There are plenty of competing sub-processes that make up my self.

    Have you had that experiance where you’ve been locked out of memories only to gain access again when in a similar state?

    Absolutely. My memory is exceedingly iffy.

  • 306 gerhard // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    i’d say those pulling hair moments are her learning the differences. i was more talking in terms of say you being beaten by a thrid party (ie, cleanly not her or her parents).. in that situation she’d feel that it was being done to her ..

    Let’s just agree somewhere in the single digits?>

    that the wonder of being a self organizing being , no real line you can draw where u can say , all humans experience this in that way.. hell even death is over simplified 🙂 Single digits we can agree on, then.

    <blockquoteI don’t have an idealistic notion of a ‘conscious self’ that is more rational or more values-oriented than an ‘unconscious self.’ I do , i feel like the sub concious tends to direct the consciousness towards the animals needs. We as humans , compared to other conscious animals, have differentiated ourselves by specializing on that one evolutionary trick because it gives us the ability of generalization.
    Unlike the ant hive man kind , as a society , and man , as the individual is capable of truly dynamic societies. Thereby able to overcome any environment because there isn’t ‘overspecialization’ (i use this loosely) into a specific environment. Hence the conscious being the ideal and sub conscious, which is also easily exploited, the perceived enemy.( again, take it loosely)

  • 307 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Well, The reason i used sex is because it is a willing surrender to the animal side of things.

    Unless I am missing your point, I still think that it is very difficult to uphold a duality between “animal” behaviour and “human” behaviour. Human behaviour, if anything, is a subset of animal behaviour, with some extra bits and bobs tacked on for flavour. There are very few examples of purely “human” behaviours not found in other animals, particularly other great apes.

    So I feel this is a bit of a false dichotomy…

  • 308 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    addendum: regarding your conscious vs unconscious self.

    I basically agree with Ben’s synopsis in 305. I don’t think modern science upholds such a dualistic concept of conscious vs unconscious. But this isn’t my area of expertise, so I’ll bow to the knowledge of any lurking neurologist or psychologist…

  • 309 Konfytbekkie // Dec 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    gerhard: Refer to the 2nd paragraph of my comment in #300

    I take offense to the statement because even though I am a mammal (and thus an animal), I believe we as a species are set apart from the others because of our conscious actions and thoughts. etc etc etc.

    The offensive bit (and, I suppose this is where my feminist streak shines through) is that you imply that sex involves the surrender of the woman… Now (and I don’t want to get too personal here…) I’m not sure what your…erm… ‘history’ is or how meek, mild and surrendering the woman you know are….But that’s a sweeping statement, as well as an uninformed one. Not to mention naïve…

    As for the whole ‘allowing the male to enter the body’ thing… I can’t help how my body was put together but I sure can control what I do with it. Permission does not equal surrender.

    Oh and one last little vent…

    “Laying down to get mounted”?????

    Please tell me you’re kidding and that this isn’t how you experience sex….?

    Besides…a crucial (and perhaps most important ) point in this discussion, is that while animals might ‘dominate’ and ‘surrender’ when it comes to mating, their goal is purely to mate. To propagate. The race must continue. They’re driven by nothing more than their instinct.

    Humans, thankfully, have many other factors that influence the act. Apart from (animalistic) lust and sexual drive, there are also things like love and pleasure to consider. Something which mating lions definiteyl don’t ponder while doing the nasty 😉

    ********Hugo: What do you think of this added branch of the discussion? 😉 *********

  • 310 Hugo // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    @konfytbekkie:

    Hugo: One of gerhard’s comments caught my eye. The one about respecting you vs. respecting your beliefs. Wasn’t there a similiar discussion about this little topic on one of your other posts? I can’t quite remember which one… Maybe you have an idea and can dig it out. But yeah…just place the link and refer to some of those comments instead of repeating the whole conversation.

    Indeed! I need to get much better access to all the things I’ve laid out as well as I can already. Ideally I want to refer to posts, rather than to discussions in comments. But we’re getting there. (And mengelmoes, vapourware!, is supposed to make that kind of linking trivially easy and quick.)

    In response to @gerhard’s comment, I come to the realisation that we probably could do with avatars of some sort. There’s too much confusion about who said what. (I think something attributed to Kenneth was actually me.)

    @konfytbekkie (last comment): It feels like a miracle has happened. I want to thank you all for the roles you played in bringing that about! I love you all! 😉

    Men are in constant surrender to females, when females “surrender” to males, it is just when they want males to think they actually have some control!

    Hehe. Go Konfytbekkie, go! I know you’ll stand up for your rights! 😉

  • 311 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Kenneth Oberlander said:

    I don’t think modern science upholds such a dualistic concept of conscious vs unconscious.

    Actually, I don’t think you can uphold that divide without real dualism – a soul. Without a soul, the ‘conscious’ thinking is still being done by the brain, which means it reduces to groups of neurons firing and not firing, which makes the actual workings of ‘conscious’ thinking subconscious instead of conscious…

    Some good stuff here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_Drafts_Model

  • 312 Werner // Dec 3, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    (And mengelmoes, vapourware!, is supposed to make that kind of linking trivially easy and quick.)

    I laughed at this… so hard. Kak snaaks. ( BTW I just got my first “hello world” app running in appengine. Clearly overestimated myself there 😉

  • 313 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Actually, I don’t think you can uphold that divide without real dualism – a soul.

    Agreed. I was picking up a dualism flavour from gerhard’s comments, which is why I responded. I think in retrospect I was reading too much into what he was saying…

  • 314 gerhard // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Konfytbekkie:

    you imply that sex involves the surrender of the woman…

    Say what? so you’re saying that the a recent feminist revolution in the western culture, has , in its entirety converted the majority worlds general population to your particular sensitivities and in the process undone how things have worked for close to a 100 billion generations? (is this really such a huge assumption assumption here , based on what we know of traditional culture , recent social attitudes and how other animals behave..)
    I am very well aware that some societies have managed to overcome this stuff but when generalizing like i did , one talks about the norm not just the particular fishbowl you live in. please don’t assume i’m taking an anti-feminist attitude, i just don’t think feminism as a modern intellectual ideal , can be taken as a norm when talking about the species. ( i’d actually call doing that, what you termed .. naive or what saneman calls intellectually dishonest)

    Besides…a crucial (and perhaps most important ) point in this discussion, is that while animals might ‘dominate’ and ’surrender’ when it comes to mating, their goal is purely to mate. To propagate. The race must continue. They’re driven by nothing more than their instinct.

    for the record, other animals like bonobo monkeys participate in sex for much the variety we do, not just in action (the diversity of how they perform it) but also in purpose (use it for pleasure,enjoyment, reassurance, empathy, reinforcement of social standing etc the diversity is amazing actually ).
    if you want i can point you towards literature/docus if you need/want to catch up on it. So i don’t consider the point you’re trying to make as even close to topical. I see it more as an emotional outburst because you felt, as a women (u are right?), offended at the idea of being subordinate to man, which surrendering to a male to get mounted may imply to you. For me and my point however, surrendering and ‘subordinate’ are two very different ideas.

    Something which mating lions definiteyl don’t ponder while doing the nasty 😉

    even Lions aren’t as simple as that. They don’t _just_ mate for sake of mating. Almost no mamal which lives within a society does that, we all mate for a varity of reasons the only difference is the depth of the reasoning. My point tho had more to do with the surrendering to the animal. It makes us do all this stuff sub conicously and consciously that consciously we’d normally or generally reject. Like sucking/fingering/licking/prodding on someones sewage system. Hell, i’d go as far as saying that irrationally , that sewage system, otherwise always associated in cultural and personal settings as ‘disgusting’ or ‘dirty’ becomes one of the more ‘enticing’ things in existence. i’d call that surrendering to the animal side of things.

    i wanted to use the lion/lionesses example because of the generally shared dominance. The lioness is the lions equal but equal in different ways and have to share dominance by mutually submitting on different things at different times.

    @everyone : do we really need to get personal very time someone says something that you feel is disagreeable? I’m not asking people to stop criticizing each others thinking , but fuck , do we really need to stoop so low as to bring each others sexual behavior/grammer into it just to make a point? are we really _that_ childish? nobody is asking you to be respectful of the ideas just be respectful to the person. (i know there may be some irony in it for you that i am the one asking this , but this was the point between hugo and my , rudeness debate, to respect the person not the idea/belief).

  • 315 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:27 am

    please don’t assume i’m taking an anti-feminist attitude, i just don’t think feminism as a modern intellectual ideal , can be taken as a norm when talking about the species.

    Do you have any evidence to support your contention that surrendering to a male during sex is the norm for human societies?

    for the record, other animals like bonobo monkeys participate in sex

    Don’t forget the dolphins.

    do we really need to get personal very time someone says something that you feel is disagreeable?

    For the record, I have taken you on where I feel you are wrong. The “personal” aspect is over and above the truth or falsehood of your statement.

    I think the issue here is your choice of the words surrender and dominant. These have implications that don’t reflect human sexuality adequately. These implications are also, to put it bluntly, rather offensive (surrender implies passivity, docility, meekness etc. etc.). I don’t know if you mean it that way.

  • 316 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:36 am

    hmmm..

    Poor Hugo. He really has lost control of this particular post 😉

    @gerhard:

    I really think (and as soon as I have the time, i’ll go sift through Hugo’s archives and post the link here) you should go scan through the discussion that came about after another looooong “debate” which ended with a discussion about respecting the person vs respecting the opinion. I REALLY think you should read it. As soon as I find it. Drat.

    You don’t need to point me at any literature. I’m quite aware that we’re not the only species who have sex for pleasure. But I didn’t want to get into a long David Attenborough about it. But if you’re interested: Animals who do the dirty for the sheer fun of it are us, Bonobos, Chimpanzees and Dolphins. These species are also known to engage in homosexual behaviour. This is because they’re highly intelligent species with a complex social structure. More “evolved” if you will. Close to humans, definitely. [Lions definitely don’t mate for fun. Felines never do, because of an anotomical peculiarity in the males. Males that take over a pride of lionesses will kill the offspring of the previous dominant male(s). This is to ensure the propagation of his genetic material above that of any other male. So it think it’s safe to say in the lion’s case, mating is about procreation and nothing else…]

    OK. So. JUST TO BE CLEAR (and this is the essence of what i’m trying to say here):

    I reacted to how you phrased your comments. You used words like ”submission” and ”mounted”. Which is just not applicable. To me or almost anyone I know (so, any women that share “my fishbowl”). I think it’s safe to say that in our society, women are (in most scenarios, and of course not including abusive situations) very much in complete control of when, where and with whom they have sex. I CAN however identify with the word “surrender”. You surrender yourself to the moment, to the passion, love, lust or whatever is relevant at that moment. You surrender to the person in a way that relates to giving up control because you trust them enough to let them share this momentand action with you. Just be careful with your word choice. “Surrender” can also have a negative connotation, conjuring up images of dominance and submission.

    Perhaps it’s the way you phrase things…the way it comes across… that makes people want to be defensive about it. I’m not attacking you here, i’m just saying you might want to look at your approach to others. We ALL have to check ourselves in that regard (and I include myself in this statement. I’ve re-edited this comment 3 times now, to ensure that I get my point across without just blindly reacting to what I read.) That also ties in with respecting the person more than respecting the opinion. (refer to my first paragraph) To be honest, some of your comments re the ‘rape’ discussion were quite disturbing and unnecessary. Also, randomly dropping a “fuck” here and there makes it harder to take you seriously and also points out that you’re getting emotional and personal in your comments. but i digress.

  • 317 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:40 am

    @ gerhard:

    One more thing. I will find that discussion about respect, and when I do, I hope you will read it. I respect other people. And (unless they’re heretics, way-out fundamentalists or just plain crazy) I can also respect their opinions / beliefs, BUT that doesn’t mean I agree with said opinions / beliefs. You picking up what i’m putting down?

    @ Kenneth:

    Thanks. You jsut said exactly what I was trying to get at, but so much more concise. Less coffee for me before my next post!!! 😉

  • 318 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:52 am

    @konfytbekkie

    More “evolved” if you will

    AAAAAAARGGHHH.

    Sorry, one of my pet hates. I see you used apostrophes, but NO species is more or less evolved than any other! PARTICULARLY with reference to humankind! It’s a meaningless phrase.

    Not aimed at you personally konfytbekkie! But this just sticks in my craw.

    OK. Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  • 319 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

    hehehehe….hahahahahahaha… LOL!

    Sorry Ken. As I was typing that sentence, that word in particular, I wondered what the reaction would be. Especially considering this crowd 😉

    Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to rephrase (since I am juggling two of my evil science experiments with ranting here on the blog)

    Just to be clear, I was simply referring to how certain animals have more complex social structures than others. Perhaps I should have said “more developed” in stead of the “e-word”? 😀

  • 320 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    No problem! More of a kneejerk reaction on my part, due to the trouble I have explaining this to students! And this concept is entrenched among the general public. So I have developed a tendency to…ummm…react (overreact?)…if I see it expressed.

    What experiments are you busy with?

  • 321 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    hehe.

    understood. Actually, I sometimes have the same reaction when people abuse the term evolution. Suppose I just wasn’t thinking. And sadly, when communicating with people that perhaps dont have much of a scientific background, it’s easier to just throw the term around than to go into a long, detailled explanation. But again, my apologies. Next time I’ll be more thoughtful about how I use it 🙂

    I’m actually trying to get a specific protein expressed in a bacterial system, but something’s wrong and I don’t quite know what. I need it in order to finish a large part of my masters degree…but the sneaky little peptide keeps eluding me…! So now I’m busy with yet another Western blot….(not sure if that term would mean anything to you at all. What’s your background, btw…?)

  • 322 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Hmmm…those terms are vaguely familiar…from my Honours and undergraduate days. Aaaaah, the Stone Age was a good time…good luck with the Western.

    My background is in phylogenetic systematics. Which is why I have a more than usual interest in discussions surrounding evolution…

    So is this thread finally winding down?

  • 323 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Phylogenetic systematics… aaaaah. Researcher? Professor? What’s your place in the world of science? 🙂

    Yes, i think it finally is winding down. Although i suspect gerhard will still reply…

  • 324 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Just handed in my PhD. Two weeks ago. Now for the long wait during external evaluation…

    Yourself?

  • 325 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    2nd year MSc, going into my 3rd.

    I just love how molecular biology works. A protocol works fine in one person’s hands (i.e. my supervisor who did the bacterial protein expression in his PhD) but I’ve been struggling with the same thing for 3 months… Seems I made a breakthrough today though! Final verification by Monday…

    Holding thumbs on the evaluation. My sup went through all of that earlier this year. So I know it’s pretty stressful…

  • 326 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Excellent! Good to hear about the potential breakthrough…

    I know how you feel. I had the exact same problem with gel cleanup and sequencing…DNA sequencing from gel-separated PCR product works perfectly in one lab, just does not work in my own! Tried changing the buffer, agarose, water, gel apparatus…nothing worked. I ended up running all my gels in another lab in a different building!

  • 327 gerhard // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    @ken

    Do you have any evidence to support your contention that surrendering to a male during sex is the norm for human societies

    ken : evidence? seriously? Is there evidence to suggest anything to the contrary? I would point to ancient south american tribes, african culture (older school ones), pre-christian paganism , i would also point back at those bonobos. (i’m not even bringing bronze age cultures into this yet, which you know have always tended to enforcing their male / female roles, just look at pre-feminist revolution christain cultures or existing islamic cultures)
    What about the eastern cultures? Freedom from dominance of the male over the female (for sex or otherwise ) was exactly the point about behind the feminist revolution. (have u read marx enough to have read his criticism of the feminist movement?)

    For the record, I have taken you on where I feel you are wrong. The “personal” aspect is over and above the truth or falsehood of your statement.

    great , thats the ideal, take on when you feel someone is being wrong. just leave the personal insult out of it. No one is trying to insult you so why does one need to add insult over and above the validity of the statement? If you must ridicule something then ridicule that persons idea not the person.

    I think the issue here is your choice of the words surrender and dominant. These have implications that don’t reflect human sexuality adequately.

    yes, i agree that the word choice was limiting in terms of what is being expressed and that they don’t reflect the entirety of actual situation. It was afterall , a lil side point to a greater point which i have actually given up on making now and wasnt meant to be actually discussed to this level. I feel however that they do reflect some of the issue.

    These implications are also, to put it bluntly, rather offensive (surrender implies passivity, docility, meekness etc. etc.). I don’t know if you mean it that way.

    yes, offensive:) agreed. wrong, i honestly don’t know. I suspect they may be right , but whether you’d accept this is whether you believe humans evolved from other animals who didnt already work according to what humans today find offensive.

    @Konfytbekkie:

    you should go scan through the discussion that came about after another looooong “debate” which ended with a discussion about respecting the person vs respecting the opinion

    you mean like the repeated conversation i’ve been having with ben/ ken / hugo over the last year about this topic?

    Animals who do the dirty for the sheer fun of it are us

    seriously, fun … pleasure.. sex for sex sake. exactly the assertion i’m trying to avoid here. I’ve been talking on a subtle level here, like enforcing the social structure , securing yourself a place within the society. A whole lot of sub conscious and conscious reason for doing what they do.
    your lion example doesnt hold up, because you’re declaring the result ( ensurring procriation ) as the cause . Lions are more complex than that. Lionesses use sex as a way to affirm their ranking amongst other lionesses for instance 🙂 yes being ‘the big boys bitch’ does just make sure your children survive but it also means you get first pick in terms of food etc. See thats the thing , almost all mammals use sex for more than just procreation, it is just that animals like dolphins and humans have a much greater diversity … that still doesn;t mean that the older way of doing this is less evolved or relevant.

    To be honest, some of your comments re the ‘rape’ discussion were quite disturbing and unnecessary

    well, you remembered it , it made people question what was being discussed , it made people emotionally disturbed enough to give a fuck beyond someone just talking into nothingness. cant say the same for like 90% of the points raised.

    as for your ‘fuck’ comment , my response would be , go listen to what george carlin , bill hicks, penn and teller and other comedians/public intellectuals/mentalists have to say about the use of it. I think they’d say it best anyway …

  • 328 Rinus // Dec 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    @Konfytbekkie: I believe the post you are looking for is this one:
    http://thinktoomuch.net/2008/06/30/abusing-the-story-of-job/

    or more specifically at post 27: http://thinktoomuch.net/2008/06/30/abusing-the-story-of-job/#comment-8598

    See Hugo, it IS helpful if some people read the comments 😉

  • 329 Kenneth Oberlander // Dec 4, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Regarding “surrendering” and “dominance”, I feel I haven’t made my point clear. When you used dominance, the implications (connotations) of that statement include complete control, taking the active role, doing all the work, etc. etc. Surrender implies the woman gives up passively, lies back, and takes it. These are the aspects I take issue with.

    Again, I don’t know if this is what you initially meant. I take it by some of your comments that English isn’t your first language? It might be that an aspect of what you are trying to say is being lost in translation.

    No one is trying to insult you so why does one need to add insult over and above the validity of the statement?

    Did I insult you? Where?

  • 330 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    gerhard:

    You don’t have to keep pointing me in all the directions you want me to go (the reference to literature you could point me to re animals having sex for pleasure etc. I am well versed in Carlin and Hicks, Connolly and the Pythons. But they’re famous because THEY said it best.

    It’s effective in a stand-up situation. But in print, it just seems like you’re running out of vocab. Sorry if you felt offended by my comment, I was just loudly voicing my opinion in the hopes that you might dig up some respect for it.

    Ok. Enough sarcasm for one day. Home time.

  • 331 Konfytbekkie // Dec 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Sorry. That was me making that last comment. Switched to my laptop. Forgot to change the Name. Ah well.

    [Ed: I fixed ya name for ya.]

  • 332 Hugo // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    @Rinus, 328 – people, see #328 if you missed it, it was in the moderation queue due to 2 links. (1 was max.) I’ve now upped the link quota from 1 to 3, should solve most of the comment-moderation problems.

    @Konfytbekkie, [Ed] was me, “of course”. Forgot I’d be leaving a comment anyway.

    I propose that gerhard is taking up trolling again.

    but when generalizing like i did , one talks about the norm not just the particular fishbowl you live in

    I take exception to that attitude, we live in a fishbowl. This blog is a fishbowl. Every human interaction is a fishbowl. When generalizing, you need to take your current fishbowl into account, otherwise you’re going to come across as a rude, insensitive, self-righteous prick, even if you aren’t one. We can argue logic and science and that kind of thing, but you MUST REALISE that you are interacting with REAL HUMAN BEINGS.

    (OK, enough serious, now humour)

    If you rather want a logical AI robot to interact with, … you’ve provided an example corroborating Ben’s suggestion that God would not be interested in sentient beings. 😉

    And this is not a logical statement, this is humour. Obviously there’s much wrong with it, and assumptions to be questioned, like “can a sentient being not be an unemotional, logical robot?” And that’s a fair question. But I have an answer for it, which is mostly a philosophical one and a psychological one, to do with the ability or inability of an entirely logical entity to simply exist peacefully. I’d argue it can’t, but that discussion is a long one, and there isn’t enough space in this here margin.

  • 333 Hugo // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Do Not Feed The Troll. But do care about gerhard, he is a real human being. If you are able, find ways to feed the human without feeding the troll inside at the same time. If that is too hard, remember: don’t give money to street children. 😉 It is evil, it encourages their behaviour.

  • 334 Hugo // Dec 5, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I’m sorry gerhard, I realise that I’m being a bit unfair, when I look at it from your perspective. If you are able to look at it from other people’s perspective though, you should understand what I’m on about. You really have to learn that we live in a fishbowl, if you want good social interactions. And this blog is a social interaction, make no mistake about it.

    Everyone else: before you reply to gerhard, you can see he enjoys “logical debate”, or what he believes is entirely logical, but it will continue going around in circles. Because you will also see he enjoys being right, and pedantic enough about his differences that he will continue arguing about them.

    So I assign you a task which you must tackle first. After tackling it to your own satisfaction, you may continue in your discussion. Make a collection of examples where gerhard or saneman sincerely admit they were wrong in what appears to be a heartfelt manner, and/or make a collection of examples where gerhard or saneman sincerely apologise for something in a heartfelt manner. Also make sure you first understand the significant differences between an apology and admitting to being incorrect. They are completely independent concepts.

    And sorry, the comment policy might have to wait for a day, I’ve received some Divine Inspiration to first write about Logic with a capital L.

  • 335 Hugo // Dec 5, 2008 at 1:57 am

    I must sleep. So both posts are being postponed. Let’s hope they don’t mill in my head too much, the fact that I have mostly finished writing it should help a mil. If I choose to be social tomorrow, it’ll only get published on Saturday. :-/

    In the meantime, play nice! (Which is as much an instruction to myself as any.)

    @Konfytbekkie:

    Sorry if you felt offended by my comment, I was just loudly voicing my opinion in the hopes that you might dig up some respect for it.

    Good luck with seeking some respect by loudly voicing an opinion. Seriously. I’ve tried many things that failed. With some people there is only one way you can possibly earn respect: agree with what they say, see things their way, tell them they were right. You know, crusade style. This is conversion by the sword, even if it isn’t in the physical world.

  • 336 Werner // Dec 5, 2008 at 8:29 am

    With some people there is only one way you can possibly earn respect: agree with what they say, see things their way, tell them they were right.

    This is also what I thought could be the only way to handle the situation. Clearly unwilling to budge one bit. However, this sort of tactic only works if the subject(s) are not aware of the fact that you are falsely agreeing with them.

  • 337 trollboyG // Dec 5, 2008 at 9:09 am

    hugo ,

    agree with what they say, see things their way, tell them they were right.

    yes, agreed , i’m being a troll .. obviously because i can’t agree with or respect some of things said i must be a troll
    you’re right. I should be more centrist. I need to start respecting opinions unconditionally so that we can continue what we’ve been doing for the last , god know how long, without success ..
    more of the same , _thats_ what we need, _thats_ the solution.

    lets contradict our selfs when someone has a disagreeable opinion by throwing hissy fits, name calling, question their intelligence and generally argue in circles about why their are being rude and why you have issues with their language. so much more constructive than debating the content of the opinion. Lets argue the world according to my fishbowl. lets talk about the universe by burning the telescopes, and only by only talking about what we know from the earth.

    bigot , troll, intolerant… some wonderful words of tolerance in the name of tolerance.. You’re right, when you’re not getting anywhere in a discussion about opinions, lets make it personal.

    such achievement, such a model of respectability.

    Yes hugo, thats the way.

  • 338 trollboyG // Dec 5, 2008 at 9:19 am

    ken :

    No one is trying to insult you so why does one need to add insult over and above the validity of the statement?

    refers to this comment by u:

    For the record, I have taken you on where I feel you are wrong. The “personal” aspect is over and above the truth or falsehood of your statement.

    wasn’t really saying u’ve insulted me, just asking why you’re brining ‘personal’..? make sense

    and yes, no english isnt my first language, i’m one of those kids brought up between culture. Have had a rather strange variety of cultural experience. Hence i feel i have a little bit of experience with a variety of fishbowls.

  • 339 Hugo // Dec 6, 2008 at 1:12 am

    @Werner:

    However, this sort of tactic only works if the subject(s) are not aware of the fact that you are falsely agreeing with them.

    I wasn’t actually recommending false agreement, though that thought did also cross my mind. 😉 It was more a statement of futility, of giving up. I’m striving for respect within diversity, respect within the context of disagreeing about the facts. I don’t care for the other kind of respect, that’s the kind of respect I got in the past, while I was agreeing with everyone instead of being myself. Who’s being respected then, anyway? A mask, a fake. A person is not his beliefs, I don’t care about being respected on the grounds of the latter.

  • 340 gerhard // Dec 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    saneman: i believe your pointed this out about this conversation.

    ‘Anyone who has tried to have an argument with a religious believer about the many contradictions and errors in religious texts will find themselves in sympathy with my lecturer. Each logical step forward seems to be met with another piece of twisted logic or wilful blindness. Typical examples can be found in many places on the web: for instance, at the Secular Web site or Ebon Musings where intelligent and dedicated people have given up hours of their time trying to pin down religious believers on the many contradictions in the Bible, only to be met by increasingly convoluted and unlikely twists of logic and inference.’

    http://atheistwiki.wikispaces.com/Why+you+can%27t+win+an+argument+about+what+the+Bible+says

  • 341 saneman // Dec 10, 2008 at 11:49 am

    see here’s the thing with intellectual “believers / faith heads” like Hugo, logic discourse is near impossible.

    As the comments in this topic have shown, non of the logical arguments are addressed with actual logic. Words are twisted, offense is taken and invariably the “cant we all just get along” line comes out sooner or later. And eventually and unfortunalty we almost always arrive at the same place:

    “If you don’t play along then you should leave”.

    add in some swearing and name calling because emotion is all they have left and you have a template for any religious discussion ever had between faith heads and apologists

    The problem here is the delusion has taken such a hold mind that they cant or won’t allow themselves to even entertain the idea that the whole reason of there view is created from a delusion set on them from a very early age. When the brain is developing in a young child the “logic and reasoning(the “why” questions children continuously ask) that should be allowed to run rampant over all aspects of the brain, are contained to only specific sections, effectively allowing certain beliefs or instructions to have a free uncontested rein in most aspects of there lives.

    Weather enough damage is done early on or the foundations have been laid for a belief system to take hold later on is insignificant. The point is the damage is done.

    Getting Hugo and others to address why they even take up there stance using logic, reason and evidence based on the here and now is almost impossible.

    The reason why people like myself are reluctant to read every single piece of waffle,fluff and shitty circular reason text is simply we don’t have the time.

    If I read every groundless article/book made by theists and big foot believers they would keep us in the fluff and chasing our own tails forever while they continue to recruit more people to brain wash.

    Bring me one proper piece of evidence taking into account the hodge podge of historical documents we have to work with and the blender they went through over the centuries or find me an amputee that your supposed god has healed and we can take it from there.

    But if your argument consists of:

    We like to talk about our particular myth as if it was fact just to ally our fears of believing in a myth and to vindicate our parents for forcing in on us as well as to fit into some ignorant social group.

    well that just isn’t good enough. And the idea that because the sermon on the mount echo’s some universal morals isn’t even a reason same could be said about LOTR.

    enough all I wanted to say is the delusion has taken hold or the damage is so severe that until these people allow themselves to look at the situation they are in or why they feel the need to even make there assertions from a purely objective point of view. Arguing with them using logic and reason won’t work. But at no point will I drop to their level and just agree so they can continue there myth/fluff fest.

    I’m not the one with a website trying to square the circle, under what ever guise you want to use.

    The intellectual dishonesty that is apparent when they ask us to leave because we are breaking there spell is gob smacking.

    I am sick and tired of this type of discussion like the article Gerhard posted rather just make a sure an audience is present when u blow there beliefs out the water, use shame and embarrassment like they use guilt and fear to recruit followers

    And those who apologize for them and try argue away the bad logic or the emotional attachment that we are supposed to respect is just.. words fail me, GROW A SPINE stop being scared of contradicting your friends.

    They will respect you for it, don’t let them bully you into being a doormat.

  • 342 skinpuppy // Dec 10, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    saneman:

    If I read every groundless article/book made by theists and big foot believers they would keep us in the fluff and chasing our own tails forever while they continue to recruit more people to brain wash.

    Why should I respect that? Are you honestly comparing a big foot believer to a theology professor? The one involves spending years looking at questionable evidence but the other spends years in study at university to become a scholar. He learns not just one religion but many and their implications.

  • 343 saneman // Dec 10, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    @skinpuppy:

    ??
    did you miss the words “groundless” and “theists” in that sentence?

    maybe try asking the question again.

    and by “theology professor”

    do you mean someone who studies the history of religions and how they where created by man to first explain our world and then to control civilizations?

    or

    Someone who went to some kind of religious institution who got a degree in being an expert in believing and explaining why the religion of his parents is in fact true?

  • 344 Al Lovejoy // Dec 10, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Hugo, you probably engaged in the usual about how stupid your beliefs are and the topic as usual has probably gone so far off topic as to be another conversation. I haven’t got the time and don’t care to wade through it all either.

    Since Shofar chose to drag me into this personally by using the press rubbish – this is my public response to the pepper-spraying incident:

    Senior Pastor Fred May
    C/o Nilands Attoneys
    Box 5217
    Cape Town
    8000

    Hi Fred

    I’m sending a hard copy of this open letter to your lawyers. This way I can be certain that you are made aware that an open letter has been written to you, Lucille and your Shofar “leadership”. Certain aspects of it are beyond personal and will address the greater issues you sought out as Regional co-ordinator of the IFCC and therefore also addresses Rhema and obviously TBN. And I am going to post it on http://www.thinktoomuch.net – a website hosted by a friend named Hugo who often introduces and then debates and referees topics surrounding Shofar.

    I don’t expect a response to this letter, it is too late and besides – you are utterly barren in spirit. Recent events prove it utterly – you have no response.

    I am going to deal with you in sections Fred, and when I am finished I will deal with Lucille. There are very good reasons for this letter and none have to do with me or our family. My deplorable past is all yours – enjoy spreading your version of it around. In fact, as a man, a businessman, an author, a professional fine arts photographer and most of all – a Christian father, I do believe I might be as alien to you as Christ Himself. Let me put it this way – you do not want to and cannot know someone like me or our friends because I am my Father’s child and our faith lies in His unchanging love, your faith lies in the gospel as a means to obtain material wealth and adulation from susceptible adolescents and in demons and the way they respond to you when you invoke them in vulnerable people using Christ’s name. Your only power over people’s lives comes through manipulation, Biblical threats and paper creeds – not love. We have nothing in common and quite frankly we never will. I am not The Devil’s Advocate as you call me. I’m simply being utterly honest before my Father when I tell you that you are an empty and predatory human parasite and quite possibly one of the most consummately despicable liars I have ever had the displeasure of knowing – and Fred, in my opinion you have become nothing more powerful than a satanic puppet who has convinced himself – he is the puppet master.

    I am a child of my Father who has given everything to my children.

    First off and let’s be clear – so I am going to repeat it often like a few other things to come. What I am saying to you is being heard in Heaven and always will be. So while I speak be very, very aware that all of Heaven is also listening to me.

    It is impossible to lie to my Father … and Fred, you obviously do not realise it but the person you lie to most is: yourself.

    Some months ago my Father led me to go offline and stay offline. And not only that but to delete everything I have the power over, all the pages I have written and all the things I have ever said about you on the Internet. So I did that too. I killed the pages on my website, shut down my Facebook profile, handed all of my personal affairs over to the trust’s international lawyer, stopped accessing e-mail and began being our premature baby’s primary care-giver 24/7. So technically this is to communicate to your laywers that I deleted everything as they previously requested in May 2008 some time. I’m not sure when I finished doing it all but it was all done by June. In the lawsuit you threatened me with, they mentioned hate speech and criminal whorriwarries and public apologies and all the other legal PC garbage you pharisaic types need to cling to for protection and when confronted with the truth – but none of that concerns me. My Master promised us who followed Him that we would be threatened and dragged before the judges for teaching His truths. I am equally as utterly unconcerned as to whether you hear me or not because my Father is listening and in front of the judges – He will tell me what to say. And dragging me before the judges will not appease you either – because I am a man who owns nothing and my only employment is that of being a stay at home father to our baby. And as my Father brings my lost orphaned children home to me it will always be the only man I am called by Him to be. A father to the fatherless. The reason my Father told me to do this was because He said you were going to be revealed for what you are. I had no clue as to what was going to happen, or when – He only told me the time had come to reveal you and to be obedient. He reminded me of the gardener in Scripture watering and pruning for three years without fruit before cutting down and burning a fruitless and therefore worthless tree.

    Months later, when the press called Natasha to try and contact me for an interview because Shofar was convinced I was somehow behind the streakers and pepper spray attack – I knew the time had come and my Father had allowed this to happen to reveal you. Read your Bible liar – It is impossible to be blasphemous to the Holy Spirit without being destroyed. There is no way my Father would have allowed those events to take place amongst His children and in His midst. An old man at another church of Stellenbosch’s service single-handedly turned away those very same six strong young men – whom police, ADT and all your Shofar bouncers could NOT – right in the middle of a Shofar “praise and worship” session until it dispersed.

    Why?

    Because my Father put a barrier of angels with the old man. It is that simple. No matter how strong and determined those young men were, they would not get past them and cause harm to themselves or the people inside. My Father allowed this to happen to you and no one else.

    Remember, all of Heaven is listening while I speak and I am surrounded in my Father’s love. This is the absolute truth of the matter and it bears itself out in the actual events.

    Where shall we start with you Fred?

    How about being a false prophet seeing that you were determined to admit publicly, “your timing was off”. Read your Bible liar, a prophet is never “off” and in the Old Testament – prophets like you with “off timing” were stoned to death. My Father is not confused and he doesn’t need a calendar.

    You never saw it coming until they came running in the door. My Father told me it was coming in May. Ask one of your clones to do an IT forensic test on my statement on the Internet. It’s true. And I know nothing about those men.

    My Father will never use the bittersweet mouth of a liar to speak His heart.

    Moving on rapidly, I think we should get into demons. Do you remember that girl you used to cast the six or seven demons out of every week? I do. So does Siebe I’m sure. We watched you. I am going to tell you something that you simply cannot hear – there is only one person who brought the manifestation of satanic spirits to Stellenbosch using Christ’s name – YOU. The only occult and Satanism being preached in Stellenbosch comes from you. It’s called Shofar. That’s why stark naked drunken men can run around in your Shofar meetings with teargas and with impunity. You have no spiritual covering because you wanted money and power over “jezebel spirits” instead. Like I said – the puppet whom is utterly convinced he is the puppet master. There is another Biblical and very real reason but that is still coming and my Father is still listening to me as I speak, are you?

    Now let’s go back – see … you and Lucille use a continuous flow of young people up and when they don’t have what you want from them any more, you throw them away. Parasites. My Father is not like that. Read Matt 18 liar. Siebe, myself, Guys, Chris, Ag the list will just go on and on. Maybe I should explain myself better.

    I had a man fired from Pick ‘n Pay yesterday and for a very good reason. Like you and your beautiful and saccharine mouthed oreo-cookie façade – he is actually an enemy of the gospel. He despises certain shoppers, I’m one of them (mostly because of my skin art), and so is my wife. Certain other shoppers all received his repeated unwelcome attentions too. I’ve spoken with him about it and he will not stop it – so I had him fired. Exactly like you – he is a man so deeply dishonest and so cowardly that he uses the eternal, beautiful truths Jesus gave us all as a blunt and clumsy weapon to hide behind and use against people he doesn’t like or is deeply resentful of. Exactly like you. An ugly dishonest man who thinks a beatific smile and the spouting of Scripture he clearly does not understand or even truly believe – hides his bitter grasping heart. I had him fired not because of either Tash or myself – we are impervious to people like you but because of people who are not and would hate Christ because of the ugly spirit in him. Like you, he has had a long time to stop. Like you – he refused.

    I am going to tell you an eternal truth, which you and your bloated brethren are not going to hear. It’s already written in Scripture – God is not interested in how many demons you cast out. He is not interested in how many sick you “healed” or what you “sowed” and how much material blessing you “reaped”. He does not watch your DVDs or listen to your music.

    My Father counts lost sheep and you try and make them deliberately.

    You have spent years and years breaking people’s relationships and tearing people out of fellowship with false doctrines, gossip, slander and subtle lies. You have continuously and unrepentantly tried to sow disunity into the church of Stellenbosch from your pulpit to the point where kids on the Internet describe your sermons as hate speeches. I will never tolerate or listen to your garbage, its what they say. In the Bible Jesus says we only need two witnesses here on earth to establish a matter in Heaven so for the record let’s make it Chris, Siebe and me makes three. All ex-members of Shofar. Heaven knows the whole score, every single person. Every single broken relationship. Every broken heart. Every single person who hates my Father’s Word because of your lusts, pride and lies.

    When you tried to lie to Major Rodney Barkhuizen, you were trying to lie to a Christian and a man who was truly my friend. Something extremely rare between a warder and a convict. And there is no way in hell you could have known that I worked with a cop named Christine and him as a registered CI. There, the HUGE secret is out. The one no one knows about me. You stupid, stupid fool. A Warder does not take a convict home to meet his wife and children either!! I helped Christine catch a man doing illegal abortions in the Somerset West / Strand area and who was killing girls. I helped them get information they could not get access to and they caught him. And then I helped them with some other stuff. And you tried to tell my Christian friend I was kapping buttons across the road in an attempt to try have me locked up. That isn’t even “off timing” – it is plain off and a filthy, cowardly, ugly and utterly horrible thing to have done.

    Just like manipulating your own five-year-old son. That is why I gave my boom box to Stefan but I have a suspicion you know that. He was just a tiny boy and you used him to get what you couldn’t get but wanted from a man you hated. Over and over. That is the man and father that you really are. Remember the whole of Heaven is listening Fred, just like then when I sat down with Stefan gave him my cassette player and told him about forever and forever. Did he make you ask permission to borrow it from him – like I told him to? I loved Stefan, like I love all children and it was the only thing I could do for him that might last – living with two parents like you.

    Oh, and with Rodney, your hatred – it’s on record. That is why I wanted a public trial when you threatened me. To see the look on your face when it came out that I worked undercover for the police. Also, Lucille finally admitted to Tash that you did try and have me imprisoned falsely because “I wouldn’t give you the names of all the dealers”, utter rubbish because you never asked me anything, by that time you despised me so much you couldn’t even bring yourself to speak to me, remember, you used your little boy instead – and you’ve had years and years to make it right but you never ever have. I waited for three years for you to be a man – living right next to you until the end of 2007. I wasn’t going to badly hurt your bouncers and fight my way through them like Natasha had to and your security guards at Oude Molen banned even her from coming though the gates. I got the message. Those guys at the Oude Molen gate were our friends too, we knew their names, went to the shop at night for them when we went out. We gave them stuff to read. You embarrassed them badly because they really liked Tash. Especially Patrick, the little one who was night studying accounting in their box.

    Now you cannot any more because you have proven utterly that you have no character, and zero moral fibre – either as a man or a Christian.

    When that didn’t work and you went to M’s father to have me chased to the street like a dog because you suspected I was sleeping with her, what you didn’t know was that we did have a brief affair much, much earlier but we realised it was wrong and why it was wrong and we stopped it. Then we repented before God, sat down, broke bread and never touched each other again. See, your “timing was off” again. Our Father saw what we did and Heaven heard when we prayed together alone that day as we broke bread and cried. Rodney knew about it ALL and counselled me through it. Her sister took care of her. She also knew. She is my sister in Christ and my Father has never ever let one of His children go even when they go astray in relationships. It is something you might possibly never know except as a word you use in sermons called – grace. It is why we cling to Him as His children and most especially in our weaknesses or mistakes. Whatever it was that made her father D put her on a plane to Germany and then chase me to the street, whatever you told him to hurt me and ultimately – that whole family – was only in your own ugly mind. And all of Heaven heard what you told him. You did nothing except cause incredible unnecessary hurt and harm like you usually do. Rodney thought you were sickening. And neither of us is ashamed that we did the right thing.

    Lucille, that was your “Long list of Virgins” you lied to my wife about and I apparently seduced in Shofar not that either M or I were in Shofar at the time and please, you have no clue what goes on between two people including what went on between J and myself before she ditched me and left for Germany. I am going to tell you something that is not going to sound very Christian but I suppose it cannot be helped because you are in fact the most poisonous and ugly bitch it has ever been my displeasure to have known. It is horrifying to have nothing else to say about a woman. Truly horrifying. Keep trying to hide your face and scrurrying off or pretending not to see us. I try and pretend you don’t exist too. Shop somewhere else. Take your filthy mind and get out of Stellenbosch completely. And here is a little wake up call for the next time you look in the mirror and pile on the fishpaste. Those underlying hidden lines of resentment and bitterness, which drew you and Fred together as a young woman and you both think no one sees behind the fake sweetness – start showing up faster in a woman as you get older and Lucille, you are starting to show. The makeup isn’t hiding it any more.

    Now let’s take both of you back to Stellenbosch Christian Fellowship and the fact that by your own public admission – you could not submit to my Father’s anointed leadership in His renewal church – and as manifested in people like my brother Peter Twycross, who laid hands on me, anointed me with oil and sent me out as a missionary to children. Yes, you admit you would not submit to God’s authority in the renewal church of Stellenbosch and which is still at work in the renewal church, my Father does not change His mind – so you went off to campus looking for youngsters emotionally susceptible to your demonic jezebel spirits. You have never submitted to my Father’s authority in the church of Stellenbosch, therefore you have none.

    In the face of all Heaven – drunken, naked men make a mockery of you and spray teargas to disperse the fake noisy rubbish you call church. Can my Father make Himself heard in your midst any LOUDER?

    You cannot stop my Father moving. And my Father’s gifts and callings are irrevocable. That’s why when I use my writing talents to speak what is on His heart – things change, in spite of the fact that I very deliberately made many Christians furious with me. I don’t want kudos and I really and truly don’t care about anything except my Father’s love being given His lost lambs. It is His heart. Their fury is at being shown their own hypocrisy.

    I have a message for you both and the message includes your leadership and all your parasitic cronies in the IFCC, Rhema and TBN. Your heroes like Angus Buchan and Benny Hinn and such ilk that you say you “imitate” in the press. It is something that came out of speaking with my Father over this and what you all do for a living and I prayed for a long, long time.

    It started in a solitary prison cell in a faraway country, when I was shattered and thought I was lost. Listen carefully even if you can’t hear me.

    My Father’s Word is His and it will not return to Him void. Your reward for preaching it – is in your pocket.

    Did you hear that?

    My Father’s Word is His and it will not return to Him void. Your reward for preaching it – is in your pocket.

    It is your word and your prophecy that return to you void Fred – so that you say you feel so “sexually violated” when drunken naked men spray teargas in your face. It is of little concern to Him that you rape and try and sell his free Truths – because that is your reward. And the money and material things are your only reward because that is what you chose. I chose being a father and servant to orphaned children a very long time ago. A choice which has broken me, an orphan myself – over and over in the church from hurt, but one I will never change. When my bones are dust and you come to Him with your long list of DVD sermons, books, miracles, dead raisings and demon castings – He will tell you He never knew you. And then He will count the lost sheep that you caused to be harmed and scattered by raping their minds through twisting His Word. The families you harmed.

    Those you will pay for. You and all your bloated brethren. He will begin judgement in the church. And he will begin with all of you.

    My Father’s Word will not return to Him void.

    At the end of this year 2008 in Stellenbosch there were two astonishing events that have never occurred before in the church of Stellenbosch. The one event was the streakers and pepper spraying of Shofar – the other was the opening of the permanent Children’s home for orphans in Kayamandi by Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

    One night around three years ago Tash and I found a small child screaming in pain from hunger, loneliness and sheer terror outside Oude Molen’s security gates. We fed him but we didn’t know where to take him – there was nothing in Stellenbosch for him. We found nine orphans but we could do nothing for them, except bake bread and take them some food. There was nothing for them in Stellenbosch. Tash asked you for help but you ignored her.

    I wrote that tract on tithing and hit parked cars outside churches all over Stellenbosch and Somerset West. Three years later:

    The Merriman Street Children’s night shelter is re-opened.
    The permanent children’s shelter at Toit Station is re-opened.
    So now there are two orphanages and an orphaned children’s home linked directly to the church of Stellenbosch. NGO Foreigners run the other two.

    You, on the other hand, imported a state of the art video studio to make church-in-a-box movies of yourself with student’s food, education and inheritance money. Kids actually starved themselves to slake your lust for money and technical self-adulation. I have been sent letters I never asked for and all Heaven hears me. Church is not a DVD you can sell Fred, it is this greater fellowship of believing and clinging to our Father’s eternal unconditional love that you don’t want and have never wanted.

    My Father’s Word will not return to Him void.

    Rest assured, I have nothing more to say to you, since the church of Stellenbosch now has a permanent home for orphans, I can rest from my fight for the church to stop being apathetic and to start caring and give myself completely to caring for our baby and I personally promise never to mention either of you utterly despicable and truly horrible people again. Not even in our home. There is nothing more to say other than – watch movies of yourself often, enjoy Oude Molen and your cheap covetous rewards while they last. After that child, we used to drive home and prayed that we would never hear an orphaned child screaming in pain outside the gates of Oude Molen again and that inside it instead all we would be able to hear would be their shrieks of laughter and play. That’s what we prayed for.

    That is ALL we prayed for. For three long years. The Lord rebuke you.

    Al Lovejoy.

  • 345 saneman // Dec 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    oh snap!

    shofar just got effed in the A

  • 346 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    see here’s the thing with intellectual “believers / faith heads” like Hugo, logic discourse is near impossible.

    Try reading about how far off you are. Stop assuming things. You might even want to consider an apology.

  • 347 saneman // Dec 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    @ben:
    oh relax, I’m taking about his inability to see the reason why he believes what he does and why he thinks he choose this particular flavour of belief. If that isn’t on the table at every discussion it makes logical discourse very hard as we have a base to work from.

    The smarter you are the better you are at justifying your beliefs.

  • 348 saneman // Dec 10, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    “as we don’t have a base to work from”

  • 349 gerhard // Dec 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    ben: saneman is saying that , yes, hugo can justify his beliefs but that doesn’t mean they are logical enough for logical discourse. Take the ongoing jesus debate we’re having. Take the teach myth not as myth but as truth.
    What happend? Every bit of esoteric/anecdotal proof/reason gets pulled out. So in the end , jesus existed because he didn’t ‘end’ the way messiahs are supposed to and myth should be truth because some people retreat like childish gits because they were instructed to do so. (yes, from what i hear sofarians get told to run , because you wouldn’t want satan/daemons to confuse you)

    like a drug pusher, encouraging/justifying the escapism instead of trying to fix the reasons to escape. yes, maybe if we refine the drug then it may work better, but in the end , you’re still just escaping into a drug induced haze. Fine, you can logically justify the drug but we’re not working from _that_ base now are we? So why would someone apologize for pointing that out? Why would you even want someone to consider that?

  • 350 Ben-Jammin' // Dec 11, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    @saneman:

    as we don’t have a base to work from

    We don’t? Well, color me surprised then. I thought you would have agreed with things like:

    “Human experience is known by observable evidence interpreted by reason. This is solid ground on which to build.”

    “On the other hand, many people find value in their religion, it makes them happier people…If it does no harm, need we worry about it? It does do harm though. I have seen harm all around me, I have both first and second-hand experience of that harm. ”

    I’m assuming you read the links I provided. A difference in tactics is not a base difference.

    Take the teach myth not as myth but as truth.

    Strawman, as has been explained to you patiently numerous times. You are refusing to attempt to understand how he uses the words.

    I’m very ornery when people re-define words since I think it leads to less confusion if we just use the meanings they already have. Nevertheless, I will attempt to listen to people’s new definitions (or resurrection of old definitions) and apply them to what they are saying in an honest attempt to understand what ideas they are trying to convey. You are not doing that and willfully misunderstanding (or mis-stating) Hugo’s position.

    So in the end , jesus existed because he didn’t ‘end’ the way messiahs are supposed to

    From my very limited understanding of historical methods, this is a standard method.

    There are plenty of historians’ blogs where you could dispute that this is a good reason to raise or lower the probability that a story represents a complete fiction as opposed to being a story based on some real events.

    Look at comment 246 again. The only point being disagreed on here is whether a wholly fictional story or an actual historical cult leader was the inspiration for the Gospels. If you convince someone who already holds one of those opinions to hold the other, what other beliefs that the person holds are likely to change? None of them.

    Here, I’ll give you an [url=http://www.freeratio.org/vbb/showpost.php?p=4192423&postcount=16]example[/url]. You convince this person that historical methods…no, that doesn’t work. First, you convince the historian community at large that they’ve been using bad criteria, then you convince WishboneDawn of this new conclusion. Is she more likely to base her ethics on empathy instead of authority? Oops, she already does. Is she less likely to reject solid empirical knowledge? Oops, she already accepts that. Is she less likely to consider herself a Christian? No. Is she less likely to challenge authoritarians and people of willful ignorance? No, she already does that.

    like a drug pusher, encouraging/justifying the escapism instead of trying to fix the reasons to escape.

    Pshaw. There is no simple way to influence people. People are very complex.

    Attempting to convince people of true things is, in the end, a very poor method of influencing large numbers of people. [url=http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html]This[/url] works much better.

    you can logically justify the drug but we’re not working from _that_ base

    The base we’re working from was clearly articulated in comment 163.

  • 351 saneman // Dec 12, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I think we are all reasonable people here and share similar base that we work from. Faith and belief in religions ,myths and sci-fi in the privacy of your own home is fine. But when it enters the public domain and starts effecting others who have not pulled those beliefs onto themselves that is when people get oppressed and controlled.

    I have already explained my tactics when it comes to Hugo and other intellectuals, you don’t need to pussy foot around them.

    Now can we all stop taking offense its just annoying.

  • 352 saneman // Jun 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    For the Fourth Time Jesus Fails to Qualify as a Historical Entry In The Oxford Classical Dictionary

  • 353 saneman // Jun 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    For the Fourth Time Jesus Fails to Qualify as a Historical Entry In The Oxford Classical Dictionary

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2015/06/for-fourth-time-jesus-fails-to-qualify.html

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