It's beneficial to believe

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Kolchak
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Kolchak » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:19 pm

That's from the 1993 release of Bat Out of Hell II by Meatloaf!! :lol: :lol: :wink: :wink:

That particular song is entitled: Everything Louder Than Everything Else.

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:57 am

I figured it was a song lyric, but I didn't know what!

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by MauEvig » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:21 pm

Sorry I haven't got back to y'all on this. I started back at my old job on Tuesday and have been busy ever since. (And pretty sore too, especially my poor aching feet! :lol: ) I'm still going to college, but I needed some income; especially since "Box of Art Creations" wasn't taking off. :lol: It might eventually, but right now I need income in the present, and I can't wait for who knows how long it might take to get recognized. Maybe one day I will be. Plus there's school to worry about and while I love college; I really need a break from it. :lol: Summer vacation will do just that hopefully.

I will say I think your idea that we are time bound, but God isn't is an interesting philosophy. It might explain why he takes so much time answering prayers, often when it's too late. If God even exists that is. But I will admit life is pretty intricate and detailed down to the last molecule. Granted, I don't think the "creation" is perfect though. If it was, I don't think we'd have genetic defects, cancer and other life threatening illnesses or things that make life difficult.

I'll respond more in detail later; however I did want to mention that I've been pretty busy lately and right now I'm working 10 hour days on my days off in order to fit in a 40 work week around school. Hopefully it won't be like this next semester and over break. So my body and mind is too exhausted to discuss theological questions. But I'll get back to this later on I'm sure. Without much of a break other than a quick 15 minutes and a couple bathroom breaks, that's pretty much all we get there. I can't complain though. A lot of people don't have a job right now.
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:54 am

Well, as a former Christian, I'm sure you know that Christianity preaches a "fallen" creation, so Christians don't think the current version of creation is perfect, either.

I hear you on the job. I probably need to look for one myself, which is a daunting idea, since I've been out of the work force for years. But my daughter is starting college next fall, and she got good scholarships, but not the full rides we had expected her to get. She is a superb student, but that doesn't seem to be rewarded currently in the way it was just a few years back. So off to work I will probably be going, if I am lucky enough to find something.

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by MauEvig » Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:12 pm

Yes this is true, I'm aware that there's a passage in the Bible that alludes to all of creation "groaning" under the wages of sin.
Which sort of makes me wonder how that would affect other planets? Assuming of course if there is a God, that God has "other children" out there.
Well anyway, studying biology has sort of pushed me slightly in favor of the theist side again. I realize I kind of wave back and forth between theistic and atheistic. I still don't really follow a set religion. I'm still very much agnostic and unsure, and as I said I don't know if it's the Christian God, the Great Spirit of Native American culture, or perhaps something else, maybe a multitude of Gods.

Anyway, Finals week is coming up so hopefully I'll get more of a chance to pick this up. Good luck finding a job, you're definitely right that it's a daunting idea, and you are lucky to find any kind of work these days. I'm seriously considering taking up Science as my 2-fer, especially since there's more jobs in that than in English Literature and I love Biology. There's plenty of part-time minimum wage work out there, or perhaps you could get into substitute teaching. I'd love to do something like that to get experience, but since I just started back at my old job I hate to take on more than I can chew, or drop it for something else.
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:23 am

Best wishes for finals!

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by MauEvig » Fri May 01, 2015 7:40 pm

Since I "called in sick" for the day, well more like e-mailed in sick at college, I have some time to go over our discussion. :)
These are really pretty deep subjects, wondering about the origin of conscience, etc. Your Christian friend's understanding--that Christians aren't supposed to do good deeds to get into heaven, but rather out of love and gratitude to God for salvation--that is the orthodox Christian view. There are several Christian denominations that lean toward "works righteousness," the idea that somehow you work your way into heaven. That is never orthodox Christianity (technically it is a heresy), but it seems to be an idea that most people can respond to. It seems to be human nature to want to earn what you get. I read the Koran several years ago, and I saw that Islam is very much a "works righteousness" religion. Back during the Reformation, Protestants interpreted the Catholic idea of Purgatory (which is not actually in the Bible) in that way, too. Purgatory is comforting, though, since most people know they haven't been as good in their lives as they might have been. It just seems to be hard for people to accept the idea of heaven as a gift given by God in love.
That's pretty much what the Pentecostal Christians believe. I think there's too many denominations out there to say for sure which one is the right one. I haven't really read the Koran; I might have glimpsed at it once. I may have read some things on Deviant art people have posted about it, but that's about it. I'm not crazy about their anti-women attitudes though I suppose this wouldn't be true of all Islamic sects. I grew up believing that there was only two places one could go upon death: Heaven or Hell. Yet it seems a bit extreme to sentence someone to hell just for not believing, and yet if you believe in Christ, the problem I have with the salvation idea is that a murderer could potentially accept Jesus' gift prior to dying and earn a place in heaven, while a good natured Atheist would wind up in hell. Yet there's also the problem of too many works not being enough to earn a way into heaven. There's also the question of whether there's an age of innocence or not, and if there is when it ends. It also might depend on if you believe babies are sentient while still in the womb, or sometime after they are born.
I don't think Christianity "evolved" Into a religion of love. I think Jesus was very much preaching that from the beginning. After all, when he was dying on the cross he was praying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," and pardoning the thief who asked to be remembered by him, promising him Paradise that very day. Whether or not you believe that Jesus was divine, I think you can safely assert that he was preaching love.
You're probably right; however many Christian sects sort of warped and twisted the interpretation. If people had followed the teachings of Jesus from the beginning; I think there wouldn't be nearly as much violence. I doubt Jesus would have condoned the Salem witch trials or the Inquisition. Didn't Jesus also say he was breaking families apart? I don't know. I do know he did heal the sick and injured, raised a man from the dead etc. But there could have been scientific explanations for it. I do think he was a good man; I'm not sure he was divine though.
I agree with your definition of bravery, that it isn't the absence of fear, but acting morally in spite of fear.
Yeah that's exactly what it is I think. I think a lot of people agree with that definition.
I think many people who don't have children, or whose children are long grown, sort of make their pets into children. I have also noticed that several celebrities who have never had children devote themselves to animal welfare causes. I value my animal companions, too, both those I have now and those I have loved throughout my life. I have to say, honestly, that for me, the emotions I feel for them are not on a par with the way I have felt about my children. I once read that "having a child is like having your heart walking around outside of your body." I have never felt that way about any animal I have ever owned, but I have felt that way about my kids. Nevertheless, I don't mean to downplay the importance of animals in our lives. And you are absolutely right that they can somehow dispel stress, just by being there. They are definitely one of life's blessings.
Perhaps it does have something to do with the fact that I have never had kids; but I do love my "furbabies" and am very protective of them. It's perfectly alright to have a different opinion though. I just don't have any desire for children of my own; I'll have my students to take care of when I'm a teacher. The only thing that would upset me are the people who will give up a cat or dog just because they had a baby. Sadly, there are people who have done such. Even if I did change my mind, my cats aren't going anywhere. This is their home, and they are part of the family. And if I did have children, I would teach them to respect all living things. Sometimes animals need comfort too. One of my poor cats was scared to death of the thunder we had and I had to calm him down.
Of course you are right about the complexity of our love for our significant others. When you commit your life to someone, it isn't just about the erotic kind of love, even though that is part of it. But friendship is a big part of it, too, and after you have had enough years with someone (I'm not sure how many, just a good stretch of time) that other person becomes your family, too, and your feeling for him or her becomes as strong as the feelings you ever had for the family you grew up with. When I spoke about the Roman attitude toward erotic love, I was basing what I was saying on the literature they left behind. There isn't much of what we would call "romance" in ancient literature. That attitude toward love seems to have found its first expression in Medieval literature. Yet it is such a big part of human experience that I have to believe the ancients experienced it, too. They just didn't seem to elevate it as much as later civilizations did.
Indeed you're right, my boyfriend is also my best friend. Between us and our cats we have our own little family. I'm sure the ancients had romance of some kind, though a lot of ancient marriages were arranged. I do believe some Greek tragedies had some romantic stories in them though, but they usually ended up in heartbreak.
You mentioned some Christian sects that preach we "sleep when we die," and then the soul is restored to the body at the end of time. I guess that comes from some of the writings in the New Testament, where Paul talks about people who have "fallen asleep in Christ," but insists that they will be restored on Judgment Day. I personally think that this mystery has to do with our being time-bound. I am convinced that God is living outside of time altogether (in the Old Testament he says his name is "I Am," and Jesus echoes this phrase in key passages of the Passion story). When I was a kid and first read that, I thought, "What kind of name is I Am?" It seemed so weird to me. But now I believe that it means God is dwelling in an eternal present. Heaven isn't a place of infinity, which would be time marching on forever. It is instead a place outside of time, something we can't even imagine because our minds are time-bound instruments. I think for those of us still living here on earth, Judgment Day is in the future, but when we die, I think it is immediate. I think so because I think that for God, everything is Now. (Incidentally, I think that is the reason why we can have that paradox that says God is all-knowing & all-powerful, yet we still have free will to act as we choose. In an analogy I first read in Boethius, a medieval writer, if you see a man across the room sitting down in a chair, you know he is going to sit in the chair, but you don't make him do it. It is like that for God, for whom everything is happening Now.)
I think that sort of makes sense then. I'm still on the fence about God's existence or not though, but that's a good way to think about it. For me I'm just still unsure, and will likely remain agnostic. Some people say one has to choose between Atheist and Theist, but I honestly don't have a true stance because I just don't know what to believe. I think I get what you mean though, "I am that I am." And then Jesus says "Before Abraham was, I am." I suppose we won't know what will happen when we die until we do. That's just the scary part of it. But then again, if death wasn't scary, would we have holidays like Halloween? :lol:
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Sat May 02, 2015 2:35 am

Wow, I feel so complimented that you paid such close attention to what I had written, and responded in such depth!

I agree with you that once pets are part of the family, they should have a home for life. The only reason I can imagine for getting rid of a pet after the birth of a child would be if the pet somehow endangered the child--if it attacked the child out of jealousy, or if the child had a really bad allergy or breathing problem around the pet. Even then it would have to be a last resort.

There are a lot of stories out there, old wives' tales, about cats suffocating babies. I didn't own cats when my own children were little, and I don't know how much a person would need to fear that. But the story I have heard is that cats seek out warm spots, and sometimes they will settle on the face of an infant because it is warm and smells like milk. So if you ever do have children, remember to keep the cats out of the nursery!

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by MauEvig » Sat May 02, 2015 7:23 pm

Thanks Murf! I try.

This kind of reminds me of a little joke that goes "We got rid of the kids; the cat was allergic!" Of course it's meant to be a harmless joke, but since we don't have kids and only have our cats, I think it makes for an interesting conversation piece.

I like the scientific explanation better; the cat is likely seeking the infant as a warm place to curl up. I honestly don't think cats suffocate babies. But really, any animal can be dangerous for a baby. I think it's all about perspective. Not nearly as many people think about that German Shepard or Great Dane that's around the child. I actually saw a video once where a cat protected a child against an attack dog (The child in the video was past the baby stage of course though). On the reverse, some dogs become so fiercely protective of a child it might bite the parents. My grandma did say they had a red cat when my aunt was a baby and he tried to jump into the crib. I'm willing to bet the cat was just trying to keep the baby warm.

Speaking of which; there is a religious Christian legend about a mother cat who kept baby Jesus warm. Now two versions of the story goes as follows; in both cases the cat gets rewarded with an "M" marking upon their forehead, which would be passed onto it's descendents respectively (which is why Tabbies have that "M" on their forehead). One version says Jesus gave the cat the mark, and the mark stands for "Messiah." The other is that the Virgin Mary gave the cat the mark, which of course would stand for Madonna or Mary. Since my Church didn't think Mary was divine, I think we favored the idea that Jesus gave the cat the mark. For me I suppose it's just a Christmas folktale. But I think it somewhat relates. Still I think it's one of my favorite Christian folktales...though I'm biased because it has to do with cats. Back when I was still more religious I even thought about writing a story about a descendent of that same cat who lives in the North Pole with Santa Claus and his Reindeer. This kitten however, doesn't have a mark and is trying to find her place in the Christmas celebrations. This kitten is a pure snow-white kitten so of course they aren't going to have the tabby markings. So she decides to spread the "true meaning of Christmas." But I've since kind of abandoned the idea since leaving Christianity. I think at the end the Holy Spirit was going to bless her with a gold marking on her forehead. The kitten's name was going to be Angel. I think she might have earned "angel wings" as well. Ever notice how tabbies seem to have little "wings" on their back? I think of them as angel wings. Maybe that is just silly. I think of cats as benevolent creatures. Then again, I don't think any animal is capable of evil, except for humans. (Though if there's aliens out there, with the same intelligence as us, I'm sure they are capable of evil as well.)
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Sun May 03, 2015 3:31 am

What a wonderful little story! I'm sorry you don't feel that you can develop and publish it at this time.

I had never heard the legend about the origin of the tabby "M," although of course I am familiar with that marking.

I agree that no animal is "evil," since that is a moral term, and I don't think morality applies to animals. Strangely, we were just talking about something like this last night in the car on the way home from that new Avengers movie. One of the characters in the movie got my kids off on the subject of what it means to be human, and that launched us into a discussion about morality and conscience. My daughter proposed that those are the attributes that make us human. My husband, OTOH, has always maintained it is imagination--the ability to imagine a future different from the present. I have always been impressed by my husband's definition, although I think my daughter has a point, too.

As for animals--my mother once said to me that we are never the same as animals. We are either better or worse than they are, but never the same.

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Kolchak » Mon May 04, 2015 12:23 pm

What separates us from animals?

I think Denis Leary said it best....Humans can pay for whoopie! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :P :P :P :P :P :P :P

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Tue May 05, 2015 5:33 am

Kolchak, you're bad! :lol:

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by MauEvig » Mon May 11, 2015 2:23 pm

Well since I'm no longer a Christian I suppose I just wouldn't feel comfortable writing it now. I could probably still write a Christmas story of some kind involving a magical white kitten though. :)

I think perhaps your husband and your daughter may have a point. Although animals do have a sense of morality somewhat; it's not as advanced as humans. When a mother cat decides to adopt a baby squirrel, or orphaned puppies I consider that a form of morality. My aunt had a male cat that actually defended some kittens that weren't even his! That doesn't normally happen, but it did with this cat. It sort of makes me wonder what would happen if we encountered aliens to be honest. If they are as intelligent as we are, or more so, where would they fall into the grand scheme of things? Would they have their own culture and belief system? A friend of mine said once it would challenge his beliefs. But my dad thinks it's possible God could have "other children" out there. I think I might have mentioned it before. I guess I need to see the Avengers 2 then. Not everyone in the movie was technically human yet they experienced human feelings and emotions. Plus as AI gets more advanced it kind of makes me wonder if AI may end up having a soul. A lot of Japanese anime certainly likes to explore that possibility.

I think you're mother is right in a way, but I lean more toward the better side of things. Animals aren't destroying the planet, they just do what is natural to them. Granted every species is different. It can also be said that animals respond to love in a very positive manner. I think animals are capable of greater love than we humans are in many ways.
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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Murfreesboro » Tue May 12, 2015 4:44 am

I'm more like your dad on the subject of aliens. I may have said it before, but I think the Bible is a "need to know" document. It tells me what I need to know for my salvation, but it doesn't tell me everything there is to know. If we were to discover intelligent life elsewhere during my lifetime, I would just think that's cool. (Or maybe threatening, depending on what those others were like, and how close they were to us!) But I don't see how an infinitely creative God could put so much diversity on earth and have everything else in the universe just be sterile.

I'm not sure where I stand on artificial intelligence. I know it's coming and in some respects is already here. I just don't know about the "soul" thing with it. I guess I come down on the side of the creeds that emphasize the difference between something being "made" and something being "begotten." You "beget" something like yourself, but you "make" something inferior to yourself. IDK, though. I perhaps should reserve my judgment until I see it.

Are you familiar with the writings of Jacob Bronowski? He was a popular scientist (on PBS shows, etc.) back in the '70s but died years ago. Anyway, he was always emphasizing creativity and imagination as the key human characteristics. He once wrote about AI and said something to the effect that "Of course, computers can out-calculate us, but will they ever out-love us?" That is an interesting question.

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Re: It's beneficial to believe

Post by Kolchak » Wed May 13, 2015 6:38 pm

If aliens exist, and they are coming from somewhere, then it stands to reason they are pretty smart. Just being smart does not mean they are good guys though. It is easy to jump on the conspiracy band wagon and do the X-Files thing and say that the government is keeping the truth from us. But if these things are out there, they could show up at any time and say 'howdy'. They have not done that. Don't blame it on the government or say that humanity is not enlightened enough. That's a load of hooey. If they are there, they have their own selfish reasons for staying hidden.

Religion. ALL religion. Has a Dogma. It is not doing anyone any good to criticize one and laud the other. Religion is based on faith. Religion is based on belief. People are looking for something tangible and something you can say you have concrete proof. Spoiler Alert. Religion and philosophy are not based on concrete evidence and were never meant to be. The last I heard, there are over a thousand of religions and belief systems world wide. It does no one any good to try and force a religion to bend to your whims. That is not what religion is about. Find one that makes you feel good and gives you peace of mind in your daily life. If you can't find one, then start your own. No law says you can't. If you don't like the notion of a supreme deity, then go to the library and spend a day or two in the philosophy section, and chances are you will find something that fits your desires.

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