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Magnus
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16 Jan 2010, 4:51 pm

That is not true. Religion has been used by people for self-serving interests, but I haven't studied any religion that is negative. It's the most beautiful literature that describes profound, spiritual experiences. Many things get taken out of context and get perverted, but overall, it's been used for good more than bad.


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16 Jan 2010, 5:36 pm

I remember being told how great heaven supposedly is but couldn't understand why people were so upset when someone died. I couldn't understand why termily ill children were so afraid of dying. I used to envy kids that were termaly ill. I thought they were being selfish when they stated they did not want to die. I felt that dying and going to heaven where everything was peachy keen was the greatest thing that could happen to a person. As young as three, I looked foward to death and was always wishing someone would kill me or I would be killed. I didn't understand the concept of sucide and thought it was impossible for someone to kill themselves but if I found out it wasn't I probably would have tried it as young as three. I was a morbid child.


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16 Jan 2010, 5:36 pm

Magnus wrote:
That is not true. Religion has been used by people for self-serving interests, but I haven't studied any religion that is negative. It's the most beautiful literature that describes profound, spiritual experiences. Many things get taken out of context and get perverted, but overall, it's been used for good more than bad.

That is not true. Have you even read the Old Testament, for just one example? It's for the most part the most vile, hateful collection of literature I've ever attempted to force myself through. It condemns free thought, endorses stoning people to death for no good reason, teaches horrible morals and is practically a manual for mental and physical abuse. It is not profound. It is psychotic.


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Magnus
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16 Jan 2010, 5:40 pm

I had a Christian Hebrew instructor break down the old testament. It is very cool.


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16 Jan 2010, 6:01 pm

Magnus wrote:
I had a Christian Hebrew instructor break down the old testament. It is very cool.

Having a biased person break it down is not the same as actually reading it.


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17 Jan 2010, 3:53 am

Fuzzy wrote:
Its fairly obvious that the meme "Heaven is great, but people that attempt to go there early never arrive" came from just such a situation. Suicide as a short cut to the pearly gates has got to be a deadly sin so as to attempt to fix the exodus cause by the first lie.

But it just makes people even more miserable.

In my friends case, especially his mom must be torn. Shes got one son in "heaven" as a result of "gods will" and other is roasting his biscuit in the bowels of hell for circumventing the "lord's will".

She'll never see both her sons again if there is any truth to religion. Not on earth, not in an afterlife.

Maybe god could make her forget the very existence of the punished one? Some sort of "blind me lord, so I forget my love".

Maybe I could console her by saying "dont worry, pray and be a good servant and god will make you forget your son ever existed."

Do you think that would comfort her? Because that is the truth of the matter, at least according to the official party line.


This is certainly a full-on dilemma. I think the flaw is more in black and white thinking (as expressed by Janissy) than the concept of heaven. Surely there is a way this woman can adjust her thinking patterns to make her life more tolerable, and less like hell.

Don't Christian people have a belief that Jesus forgives their sins provided they accept Jesus into their heart? If so, perhaps the mother could find some consolation with the thought that perhaps her son prayed to Jesus as he was dying - thus rescuing him from the hell that would normally result from suicide? Sure it wouldn't soothe her sorrows from the loss of two sons - but IMO it would make a great deal of difference. If I believed someone I loved was in an eternal hell it would certainly be most unbearable.

Religious texts can't possibly contain relevant information for all scenarios that we encounter throughout life. So our ability to reason - to find a suitable thought pattern which is harmonious with our beliefs and creates peace in our minds is very important.

From what I understand, the reason Christians bother to continue living in this far-from-perfect existence is to spread the word of God/Jesus to help others reach the state of heaven (in accordance with their belief). As others have stated, I doubt they consider suicide as a reliable pathway to heaven. Although I am concerned by the group who anticipates some sort of rapture/armageddon thing.


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17 Jan 2010, 4:59 am

Vince wrote:
Another moral problem with the concept of Heaven and Hell is this:
Assumption no. 1: Good people who die go to a happy place, which they deserve.
Assumption no. 2: Bad people who die go to an unhappy place, which they deserve.
Based on these assumptions, it doesn't matter who gets murdered, as everyone who does get murdered gets exactly what they deserve - their just rewards or their just punishment.
Therefore, randomly murdering people doesn't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it.
Therefore, randomly murdering people is just fine, except for the fact that the person who performs the acts will go to hell on the technicality of performing the technically evil act, which he deserves.
Therefore, a person who is utterly convinced that he is already doomed to Hell no matter what he will do can fully justify randomly murdering people as automatically fair to everyone involved and having no negative consequences what-so-ever.


I appreciate this logic, Vince. I would also add that a person could commit the act of murder and then repent the sin, feel that they have been forgiven, thus making them feel as though there are no negative consequences.

The same could be applied to the buddhist belief in karma. If someone commits a negative action it is considered that they will experience a negative effect - however, it is believed that all negative karma can be purified with regret and the application of countering positive actions. Therefore an act of murder could be committed with the thought that the negative consequence could also be avoided.

These could certainly be considered as flaws in the belief systems. However, the principles involved with teaching people correct moral actions are more involved than that. (Unfortunately I'm more than a little confused by the Christian support for capital punishment - and I think they are as well!) But generally religions teach people not to murder - not only out of fear of negative consequences - but out of consideration for the wellbeing of others. It is my understanding that people are taught how each one values their own life and to use that as enough reason to refrain from harming them. There are several techniques used to reinforce this principle. But I think that if a person commits murder or other senseless harmful actions - it can be said that they are going against the values taught to them in their religion.

I think the fear of negative consequences can be combined with a concern for one's fellow sentient beings to best ensure morality in our actions. Fear of negative consequences alone is not sufficient.


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17 Jan 2010, 5:20 am

The cockeyed logic here is that the universe adjudicates morality. As witnessed as recently as the earthquake in Haiti there is some weird assumption that only the bad people suffer like that Leslie Nielson comedy where the rescuing soldiers surprised a bunch of Nazis with innocent captives and the rescuer rakes the crowd with his machine gun and only the Nazis got shot. It certainly doesn't take much intellect to realize the universe has no morality whatsoever. To impose human standards on the random horrors daily doled out by time is worse than stupid.



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17 Jan 2010, 5:43 am

Magnus wrote:
Sand wrote:
Magnus wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Magnus wrote:
Since there is no animal on earth with perfect perception, why would you assume that humans have it? It's not speculation. I've experienced plenty of hallucinations which prove to me that there is a higher reality. ;P

That does pose an interesting issue for human knowledge. I mean, "hallucinations" are relatively common among otherwise normal individuals. I don't think that most hallucinations have been found to agree with each other to an extent we'd expect with more standard ways of knowing things. But it seems very likely and probable that some human beings will find hallucinations to be good sources of knowledge. Of course, it seems that other individuals will label such things to be absurd and be reasonable to do so....

So, in short, people are crazy, and so long as you don't blame me for that fact, Magnus, I won't blame you. :P


There have been plenty of people who believe in the after life. If enough people have hallucinations about God, maybe there is something more to it. You can dissect a brain, but you can't dissect a psyche. Just because the energy in a brain doesn't die, the brain will decay and turn back into some other form of matter.

I doubt heaven is some concrete place where we continue to live as we are, still intact of our personality. I wouldn't want to live like this forever anyway. It would get boring. I like to think that when we die, we penetrate everything and perhaps we gravitate toward similar energy fields to continue to spiral toward the infinite mind.


Since I have never had a hallucination I cannot view the matter with any authority but the very definition of a hallucination is that it is a false perception so I have to maintain very strong doubts as to any conclusions out of that no matter how many people have had brain disorders.


You hallucinate every night when you dream. Healthy minds know the difference between hallucinations and objective reality. There is much that can be learned from dreams, just like there is much to be learned from hallucinations. There is also much to be learned from the imagination. The imagination shapes reality. The imagination is subjective, however it is real to some extent. Just because the imagination cannot be dissected doesn't mean it's not there.

Thank you for reading this...sorry for being so redundant... :wink:


I don't think your ideas are redundant at all Magnus. Although I had to cringe when I saw the term 'hallucination' used to establish the possibility of something existing! Especially to a bunch of skeptics! lol

But I'm open to the possibility there is some truth in what you say. If we analyse the way we observe phenomena in the dualistic way that we do - we can see that each of us are hallucinating in everyday life. Each time we don't see the illusory nature of all phenomena it can be considered an hallucination. This doesn't actually require faith to see this - just analysis of the way we observe things.

Furthermore - science has no idea as to the subtle workings of our brain and nervous system to be able to say with any certainty that there is not some aspect of it that continues after the body has died. Yogis who can actually manipulate the channels and winds of the subtle body and anyone who has experienced the awakening of kundalini energy which is like countless upon countless orgasms occurring up and down one's spine and throughout the entire body - knows that science is a long way from explaining this phenomenon.

The buddhist belief is that the subtle mind is inseparable from a subtle body composed of wind - and it is this subtle mind which is activated when we sleep and it leaves the gross body and mind at the time of death. Of course, I can't prove this - but as Magnus said - there are enough people who have had extraordinary experiences which science cannot yet provide an explanation for.

So yeah, there are some people that consider the mind and the brain to be separate things. This is not to say that cognitive processes and emotions don't occur in the brain. It's just considered that there is a subtle mind that doesn't depend on the brain for it to exist. The buddhist belief in a subtle body and mind is very similar to others' idea of a soul - it is a continuous stream of consciousness that is carried from life to life. This, to me, makes more sense than the idea that we came from nothing and when we die there's nothing. Also it is considered that all animals, including the microscopic worms in our intestinal tract have this subtle mind and body as well.


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17 Jan 2010, 11:36 am

Thanks for explaining that further SporadSpartan.

Quote:
Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar's gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throught the world. There in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul. -- Carl Jung


I believe the mind and brain are separate. That is, I believe in the collective unconscious theory.


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17 Jan 2010, 2:40 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
dddhgg wrote:
A more serious flaw, I think, is that not everyone I love will be in it, at least if it's true that you can only be saved by faith. Of course it is said that the love we will be experiencing from God will transcend all earthly bonds of love and friendship, yet I cannot but feel that it will then, in a very deep sense, not be me anymore who is in Heaven if I cannot grieve for those who didn't make it past the gate, because I feel I am at last partly made into who I am by the people I love. But grief (or regret at the very least) is a negative emotion, and doesn't really seem compatible with the concept of paradise.

Yeah... that has come to mind to me before.

Actually, I have a universalist friend who argues that the reasons you are giving are part of the reason why he thinks all people to be saved.

Also, in order for heaven to be heaven, I have to change in ways that may make me unrecognizable to myself. I mean, if heaven is the perfect world, then think about it. Every morose feeling, agitation, or even minor cognitive flaw or false belief has to be gotten rid of. The question is, what kind of person is left over after all of that? It seems hard to distinguish the intrinisic me, from what I think, how I think, or what I believe.


But what would be the point of believing if you're going to be saved regardless?


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17 Jan 2010, 6:15 pm

dddhgg wrote:
But what would be the point of believing if you're going to be saved regardless?

Believing is supposed to be intrinsically good and good for the believer.

I think most universalists are against the perspective of where people need to get religion because otherwise they'll burn.



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18 Jan 2010, 10:05 pm

Sorry if this has been mentioned by anyone else. I'm particularly fond of acerbic, misanthropic humor directed towards religion- the Bill Hicks's, the George Carlin's, etc.

"If you really believe that death leads to eternal bliss, then why are you wearing a seatbelt?" - Doug Stanhope


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18 Jan 2010, 10:16 pm

masterdieff wrote:
Sorry if this has been mentioned by anyone else. I'm particularly fond of acerbic, misanthropic humor directed towards religion- the Bill Hicks's, the George Carlin's, etc.

"If you really believe that death leads to eternal bliss, then why are you wearing a seatbelt?" - Doug Stanhope


I find the concept of "eternal bliss" formidably frightful. What makes life interesting and fun is being presented with problems that are ultimately solvable. An existence with no problems devoted to total subservience to some sort of superbeing sounds to me more like hell than heaven.



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21 Jan 2010, 7:43 pm

Vince wrote:
Magnus wrote:
but I still believe that energy never dies.

And somehow energy=person? Energy separates. Once the impulses in your brain no longer have a system in which to form a mind, there is no mind. Just because "energy never dies" doesn't mean that you don't cease to be. "You" is a much more complex concept than "energy". To say that just because energy can't be destroyed, the mind can't be destroyed, is just about as logical as saying that thick paper can't be ruined by a person blowing on it, therefore a house of cards will not fall down if you blow on it.


There's a possibility of another existence entirely that's beyond the 5 senses. I'm sure somebody's gonna try to argue with this though, but I don't care.



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21 Jan 2010, 7:50 pm

Greshym_Shorkan wrote:
Vince wrote:
Magnus wrote:
but I still believe that energy never dies.

And somehow energy=person? Energy separates. Once the impulses in your brain no longer have a system in which to form a mind, there is no mind. Just because "energy never dies" doesn't mean that you don't cease to be. "You" is a much more complex concept than "energy". To say that just because energy can't be destroyed, the mind can't be destroyed, is just about as logical as saying that thick paper can't be ruined by a person blowing on it, therefore a house of cards will not fall down if you blow on it.


There's a possibility of another existence entirely that's beyond the 5 senses. I'm sure somebody's gonna try to argue with this though, but I don't care.


Aside from the fact that we have more than 5 senses there are other existent species that have senses outside those in humans. So what? The universe has all sorts of energy forms we do not detect without instruments but it is the same universe we all exist in. Energy itself is neither consciousness nor a sense of self and it continuously transforms from one form to another. This has nothing to do with living consciousness except it is merely one necessary component.