Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
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22-04-2015, 10:08 AM
Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
Tomasia and I have exchanged PM's and are agreed to debate and discuss our differences here.

I am looking forward to an engaging and sincere discussion.

We will get started just as soon as Tomasia posts here to confirm.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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29-04-2015, 02:35 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
(22-04-2015 10:08 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Tomasia and I have exchanged PM's and are agreed to debate and discuss our differences here.

I am looking forward to an engaging and sincere discussion.

We will get started just as soon as Tomasia posts here to confirm.

Sorry, I must of missed this, but here I am confirming.
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29-04-2015, 02:38 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
Challenge accepted! You both know the rules....comments from the peanut gallery will be deleted.

If you want to comment start a new thread outside the boxing ring forum.

Thanks!
Moms


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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29-04-2015, 07:04 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
I like to get a sense of our backgrounds when I debate/discuss religion, so that we can be clear about where we are coming from.

I am an Ex-Mormon turned Agnostic Atheist. What about you?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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30-04-2015, 08:32 AM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
(29-04-2015 07:04 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I like to get a sense of our backgrounds when I debate/discuss religion, so that we can be clear about where we are coming from.

I am an Ex-Mormon turned Agnostic Atheist. What about you?

Ah, the hard question. I consider myself as becoming a believer in my mid-twenties. I did grow up in a pentecostal home, and went to church as a kid, but I just played church. It didn't really make much sense to me, which probably also had to do with the fact that I grew up in an ethnic church, with a language barrier, which catered to my parents, but didn't seem all that concerned with us kids.

I moved away to godless California when I turned 18, for nearly a decade. Most people didn't really bother with religion, didn't go to church, except maybe to get out of military work. So I couldn't say that I gave religion, or God much thought for most of that period. When I did give thought to religion, it was pretty much in the context of my mother, and my friends back home, where I just saw it as some sort of comfort blanket, a way for many to get through an indifferent world, and life long struggles.

I didn't have any particularly bad experiences with religion, though my friends and family knew I didn't really believe, no one really treated me any different. If religions were false, than it seemed to suggest that the truth is not as valuable. But I never really been able to escape the question of truth myself, particularly as I grew a little older, while I didn't see why truth was valuable, I seemed to have some unavoidable desire to know it.

And along the way, things just turned upside down for me, I acknowledged what I had gone my life not acknowledging, recognizing a tune that was always playing in the background. I'm often startled by my belief, because I'm often given to a sense of cynicism, and nihilism. As one part of me believes, another part of me is there to remind me why not to, and that voice has just become less and less convincing as time has gone on.

I believe, because I don't particularly know how not to believe.

As far as what sort of Christian I fit into, I don't think I have any denominational loyalty, I have an affinity for catholic thinkers, and theologians, like Herbert Mccabe, and those eastern orthodox Russian novelist, like Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. I consider myself for the most part orthodox, though some of my fundie friends would say I push the envelop a little too much for their liking.
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03-05-2015, 02:16 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
Tell me more about this "tune" playing in the back of your mind. I am curious because my own experience was something of the reverse, always assuming that I was somehow malfunctioning because I could not hear the tune my friends and family hummed along with.

It seems that you have had a significant inner conversation on these matters. I am curious about any thoughts you might have about doubting religion as a believer.

When you say that you do not know how not to believe, are you expressing the view that everyone is convinced one way or the other despite their desires? If not, can you tell me more about what you mean?

What would be an example of a way in which you push the envelope?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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03-05-2015, 03:20 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
(03-05-2015 02:16 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Tell me more about this "tune" playing in the back of your mind. I am curious because my own experience was something of the reverse, always assuming that I was somehow malfunctioning because I could not hear the tune my friends and family hummed along with.

I meant it figuratively, and often to express a contrast between saying, that I didn’t come to believe by following a lengthy series of arguments, or following a trail of rational thought. It was initially more fragmented, more organic in a sense, described as a tune, for a lack of a better word, or capacity to articulate it. It wasn’t all together clear to me than as to what I believed, but I believed.

To think back on it, to give this belief a term, perhaps the term i would use is goodness. My foray into belief started when I picked Dostoeky’s The Brother Karamazov, and this sort of goodness was embodied by the protagonist of the story, Aloyosha, and in the story of the Elder Zosima’s brother. But if you haven’t read the novel, it’s unlikely that you would know what it is I’m talking about.

When I read the gospels for the first time really, some time after this, it was this sense of goodness that I found to be captured in the person of Jesus.

Quote:I am curious about any thoughts you might have about doubting religion as a believer.

When I first became a believer, I was plagued with doubt, I’d say I didn’t particularly like believing, I’ve grown comfortable with my own cynicism, that the very idea of believing seemed like I was perhaps just fooling myself, overvaluing a temporary sense of enchantment. So when I came to believe, it was very minimally, and almost immediately surrounded myself with atheists, who served as my counter balance here. I would go back and forth with these questions for a great deal of time.

And I found that the more and more that I confronted these questions, the doubts, my beliefs began to grow more orthodox, and less doubtful. What I can tell, for many atheists the common theme is the inverse, that one starts with something traditional, and works it’s way down to something insignificantly benign, only to be discarded all together.

Quote:When you say that you do not know how not to believe, are you expressing the view that everyone is convinced one way or the other despite their desires? If not, can you tell me more about what you mean?

I was speaking exclusively of myself, in regards to where I am as a believer now, this wouldn’t have been true several years ago. I was saying something about my confidence as a believer, in the truth of my beliefs, that i find godless alternative positions, quite unbelievable, like telling me the earth is flat. The voice of doubt in my head has became more and more quiet over the years, as my views have grown and developed.

Quote:What would be an example of a way in which you push the envelope?

I don’t think my beliefs are as dependent on literalism the way my evangelical friends are. I don’t have a problem with literalism, but accepting literalism solves no problem for me, nor does rejecting it provide a solution.

An example would be, telling my friend that I don’t believe there was an actual Garden of Eden, or a historical Adam and Eve, that I don’t think the writers here were trying to describe, or fabricate historical events. Or my view that the Bible is a very human book, suffering all the limitations of the writers being people like ourselves, even if the writers were better able see what might have remained imperceptive for us. I had a friend who lost his faith for a bit, and he half blamed me for it, for sowing doubts in his head. That’s what I mean by pushing the envelope.
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06-05-2015, 11:55 AM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
Is there a more specific way you could describe this organic process than "goodness"? Is it that you are attracted to positive moral aspects of religion? Is it that you feel happy and engaged when thinking about gospel related matters? Is it something else entirely?

I don't mean to act as an interrogator, only if I do not understand and contextualize what you tell me, we cannot rise above a confusion of simple ambiguity, and I may misrepresent what you mean to express.

As far as Dostoevsky, I know of him and his works, but have not read them myself. My only main reference to them is a character who comments "If there is no god, is not everything permitted?" or something along those lines. I don't know which character, only that I am in sharp disagreement with him.

I am curious, having come to your current state of mental development by this more organic route, what are you thoughts and impressions on religious apologetic? What do you think of the rational arguments for god?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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06-05-2015, 05:34 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
(06-05-2015 11:55 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Is there a more specific way you could describe this organic process than "goodness"? Is it that you are attracted to positive moral aspects of religion?

Sure, I’ll try at least. It should be noted that I’m using the term “goodness” in retrospect. And I’m primarily speaking of an early period in which I believed in something, but only vaguely.

At this point there wasn’t any real religion so to say. I didn’t know much of this or that about any particular one, perhaps pieces here and there. And I don’t mean good in a purely moral sense either, as if I was drawn to feeding the homeless or something, or even to do such and such deeds. Rather in a sense that we might mean when we say, such and such is a good person, rather than such and such did a good thing. Good as a sense of being, rather than doing.

It was Aristotle who claimed that all men aim for the Good, and Plato who claimed that “in the realm of all that is knowable the last to be seen, and only with considerable effort is the Good, and once seen, one must conclude that it was cause of all that is beautiful and true”. Cormac McCarthy in an interview, when speaking of his scientist friends at the Sante Fe Institute, considered them to be “really bright guys who do really difficult work solving difficult problems, who say, "It's really more important to be good than it is to be smart." They all seem to be noting something here, perhaps inklings of the same thing.

It was also the same Cormac McCarthy who used his character, Black, in the Sunset Limited to describe the Good: as that thing “at the bottom of the mine. “…that pure ore. That forever thing. That you don’t think is there….That thing that makes it possible to ladle out benediction upon the heads of strangers instead of curses. It’s all the same thing. And it ain’t but one thing. Just one.”

I mean something like this, to describe what I mean by goodness, though I don’t have the particular means to express it as well as McCarthy. Black, goes on to describe the relationship between Jesus and that one thing, as one and the same: “Here’s what I would say. I would say that the thing we are talkin about is Jesus, but it is Jesus understood as that gold at the bottom of the mine. He couldn’t come down here and take the form of a man if that form was not done shaped to accommodate him.”

Of course these thinkers, their thoughts and concepts are also being applied in retrospect. To give what at the time might not had any real language or words and descriptions. But this perception of what I refer to as Good confronts ones own sense of nihilism, and cynicism, the world that is all but pointless, becomes a world that’s now pointed.

I’ve grown comfortable with a pointless world. While some of my religious friend would believe it to be depressing, I found it agreeable. I liked not believing. I wasn’t there hoping or waiting to believe that’s for sure. So when that perception of something more arose, I wouldn’t say that it was welcome, it was sort of more like an uninvited guest that stays a bit to long, and starts to put your house in disorder. I felt I was dragged out, against my own volition, to believe, while other’s might use the same description to say this of their disbelief.

That supposed light of the human race, doesn’t tend to make you look as well as you thought. It’s to perceive a sense of being, that only reminds how fallen short you are from it. Prior to this perception one might have grown comfortable with who he is, accepted it for all that is, accepted this lesser sense of life, as the only sense of life, as meaningful as it comes—life leveled to a series of creature comforts. Better to not be reminded of whats absent, then to be reminded of it, and see it so out of reach, that pearl one would give his whole life for to obtain, and perhaps requires one’s whole life to obtain. That thing so trampled in the mud, so beaten and worn, we live our lives never really noticing it. A song we tune out like elevator music, that makes every argument about religion, about god, never really about god or religion.

That thing, that at this point you’re likely wondering what it is he’s going on and on about. And that’s understandable.

Quote:Is it that you feel happy and engaged when thinking about gospel related matters?

If there’s one thing the Gospel makes me acutely aware of, is that at anytime I feel happy and engaged, there’s always a gut to the punch around the corner. That Hope is a broken cord, that the joy or peace that passeth all understanding comes at great cost. When the theologian James Cone, wrote of slave spirituals, he noted that slaves were not waiting for the hereafter, but were living as if the hereafter was actively living in their community, in what he called the “transcendent present”. Those filth ridden, oppressed, and ignorant negros, laying to asunder all the wisdom of our age, partaking for a moment in that thing so few ever do.

Do I find the Gospel uplifting? I do. But I also find them tragic and haunting. Sometimes it all seems like a pile of dead bones, a long ditch of battered bodies, a tragic wreckage, and some times you see those faint glimpses of something more profound and transformative, and unimaginable, waiting at the cusp, and doing so even now.

Quote:What are you thoughts and impressions on religious apologetic? What do you think of the rational arguments for god?

Are they good tools to win converts? I don’t think so. But I think they are a good way, for believers to work through their beliefs, their doubts and confusions. I’m weary of any form of Christianity that sees itself built on these arguments, or apologetics, but then again I don’t think any forms of Christianity are. Often times they serve merely as a means of reassurance, a sort of way to fortify ones walls, to feel comfortable in one’s dwelling place, void of certain anxieties. But in our age, naive belief is no longer possible, now we must carry in our pocket doubts, that can often humble us and ground us, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

Many christians hold their beliefs quite close. Their faith, means a great deal to them, that even the slightest possibility that it’s not true is troubling enough. So they keep the questions out, any voice of suspicion must be drowned out. But once rooted there’s very little reason to worry, they can peer under blankets of disbelief and find there’s nothing really there to worry about.
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12-05-2015, 10:07 AM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
I think you may have managed to be even less specific with more words. Tongue

If you don't mind the observation, you are not at all what I expected. You have clearly given this a great deal of thought. Please know that I write this with a smile on my face because I am enjoying your comments.

One of my very first thoughts after reading all of your comments is that I do not think we will have much to quarrel over after all. It is usually quite a verbal street fight to get your average believer to admit that his/her Christianity is not based on rational argument or evidence. The only thing I could say in disagreement is that I personally consider reasons outside of rational ones to be invalid.

I find myself not prone to cynicism or nihilism, nor does my unbelief generate those attitudes. My view of human purpose is that we seem to be the only part of the universe that insists upon having one. I think we often project our inner need to have purpose onto our surroundings by inventing stories about how the universe could have a cosmic purpose. I think this takes valuable time and energy away from the subjective purpose I have chosen for myself, to have and achieve love throughout my life.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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