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Anything goes secular spirituality thread

Old 04-22-2009, 07:45 AM
  # 181 (permalink)  
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good points freepath. I know many people say they've seen miracles happen, but I haven't. I'm sure I would be more open to the idea of a divine power if I actually saw evidence of it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:05 AM
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Depends on your definition of a miricale eroica, lol grapes can turn water into wine is that a miracle? Ok I'm being silly but you know what I mean.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:37 AM
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Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

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Old 04-22-2009, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by allport View Post
Depends on your definition of a miricale eroica, lol grapes can turn water into wine is that a miracle? Ok I'm being silly but you know what I mean.
lol yea I know. I guess if I dropped a ball and instead of it hitting the floor the clouds parted and a gigantic arm with a God tattoo swooped down to catch it, then I would be convinced. Nah, I would think, great, i'm crazier than I thought. Now i'm hallucinating too.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:08 AM
  # 185 (permalink)  
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I believe everything happens for a reason....we live in a world of cause and effect. The mistake for me would be to think that the reason has any intent...good/bad...Seems to me science is based on the law of cause and effect.

I am not a believer in "magic" although i get what people mean when they say magic or miricle...i've expereinced it. But magic or miricle just means that something happens that the cause effect relationships are soooo complicated that we can't peice them together (yet) and so we can't see the connection...thus magic/miricle.

for me there are things working in this world that i don't understand. Those things are not good or bad in intent or in what happens...i just happen to like or dislike wht happens

I dilike alot of what is happening for me right now, but I just do the best i can in the cause effect world we live in to create something i can bear.

And yes...Zencat...for me it is that we, as part of our human condition, place meaning into things..and personally I think it is one of the great gifts of being a human, the oportuinity to create meaning where there is none....course that can get me in a lot of trouble tooo
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Freepath View Post
“magic happens.”
You either agree with this statement or you don’t.
If you’re agnostic, you must not have seen any evidence of magic, and if you have seen evidence, you didn’t believe your own eyes. I don’t think that it’s arrogant to be a strong atheist, I think it is a rejection of the statement “magic happens.”
If I drop an object and it falls to the floor and I do it again and it falls to the floor, then the third time I hold the object in my hand and have all the people in the world pray that that object will not fall to the floor, would the agnostic position be that they don‘t know whether the object will fall to the floor?
If you ask physicians in theistic countries whether any of their patients are overcoming illness due to faith and miracles, many would say “yes.” But to what extent? If a patient were dead for a week, would they still believe in a possible miracle? If a patient were decapitated, would they believe that a miracle could take place? Do they believe amputees would be cured by a miracle?
Why is it that in the day and age of Jesus Christ, the sea parted, people were raised from the dead, bushes went into spontaneous combustion, and now no miracles are evident?
I have not been saved by faith, I have been repeatedly saved by a lack of faith in the supernatural.
So you would disregard a miracle based on the extent or extremity of the miracle? Either something works completely or not at all? Is chemo-therapy a miracle? It does not work 100 percent all the time. Because we can explain the process by which it sometimes works can it not said to be a miracle? We cannot explain why sometimes our bodies don't react to it, so there is still mystery there isn't there? It is measurable that attitude has an enormous effect on health isn't it? Cynical people are slower to recover than optimists. Do we understand the subtle energies behind 'fighting for your life'? What if a thousand people pray for you, is that different than none? If it alters the mood of the patient and the patient recovers, is that a miracle? What if they don't know they're being prayed for, studies have concluded that under these circumstances the patient has a measurably better chance at recovery too, is this not science? Isn't science only the measurement of results under controlled circumstance? Why does science disregard the measurable? Maybe because it cannot yet explain the process. Does it make the results any less valid? As an atheist, why would you make such a black and white statement as 'you either believe in magic or you don't'? Isn't that kinda like saying 'you either believe in god or you don't'? I don't believe nor disbelieve in 'god'. There are shades of grey everywhere around us, in the future we'll call it science but we cannot currently because we have not technologically caught up yet. Just my opinion

(Freepath ... POKE :p )

P.S. I would propose that the miracles of the old testament don't happen nowadays because we have discovered 'miracles' like electricity, physics, gravity, meteorology, tidal variations, etc...

P.P.S. Thanks for telling me about the 'secular connections' forum Freepath, you'll live to regret it!
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:06 AM
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But that's exactly my POINT. What was outside of the empirically verifiable ten years ago is completely within its scope today. And it is Humes point, if I'm not mistaken, in the last two sentences that it become the determination of the mind to observe cause and effect without variation after a time, as your observations have become reinforced by habit, though the outcome is slightly different each time. I've heard it said that nature does not have laws, it has habits. I think this probably most accurately explains an evolving, breathing, chaoticly dynamic universe fraught with a multitude of variables that the human brain can only grasp but a fraction.

P.S. And remember, 'mysticism, magic and miracles' of old are called science today.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:23 AM
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lol, ok, guess I'm in a fightin' mood today Or I just like to hear myself blab....
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by siamcat View Post
What if they don't know they're being prayed for, studies have concluded that under these circumstances the patient has a measurably better chance at recovery too, is this not science?
(Freepath ... POKE :p )

To answer your question, its not science. To say these findings are the result of prayer and optimism is faulty logic. The explanation can be as simple as people who are happier and have better support networks live longer. "God" isn't really doing anything for his chosen ones.. and even if he is its up to the believers to prove it. In any case, the line between "hoping" and "praying" isn't always clear. And many atheists will sometimes pray, "just in case" in situations involving health.

Also, most people who have gotten terminal diseases fight pretty hard. I think every mom who has a child who is diagnosed with an illness will pray pretty damn hard for them to recover. Unfortunately, millions of really optimistic kids still die with their parents praying beside them. The power of prayer as medicine is really not that convincing to me.

Also, we should also be aware that circumstances can be as much responsible for pessimism as the other way around.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
To answer your question, its not science. To say these findings are the result of prayer and optimism is faulty logic. The explanation can be as simple as people who are happier and have better support networks live longer. "God" isn't really doing anything for his chosen ones.. and even if he is its up to the believers to prove it. In any case, the line between "hoping" and "praying" isn't always clear. And many atheists will sometimes pray, "just in case" in situations involving health.

Also, most people who have gotten terminal diseases fight pretty hard. I think every mom who has a child who is diagnosed with an illness will pray pretty damn hard for them to recover. Unfortunately, millions of really optimistic kids still die with their parents praying beside them. The power of prayer as medicine is really not that convincing to me.

Also, we should also be aware that circumstances can be as much responsible for pessimism as the other way around.

Well, first of all it IS science under sciences own definition, these studies weren't done without taking all the variables you mentioned into account and they obviously were repeated several times in order to get a statistical average, so, they follow all the rules of scientific experimentation.

Also, you're putting words in my mouth, I never said that 'god' was doing anything, I said that direct prayer in a controlled experiment (to me prayer simply means controlled intention, it's a practice as ancient as the hills and prayer is simply the modern pop offshoot of that neuro-psychological process) could be measured by significant averages to work in a controlled experiment over non prayer. The device by which that works is open to interpretation, it could even be a statistical novelty, but it's very doubtful since the experiments on this have been repeated many times over.

The power of prayer as medicine? No, it is an aid, it can help, it helps to have other sentient beings wishing good things for you, it helps to be loved, to FEEL loved, and psychologically (and possibly morphogenetically as these experiments suggest?) it raises the probability of recovery by maybe ten to twenty percent. Not talking about miracles here, though, that is open to definition too...
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:28 AM
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The only study I have heard of into the value of prayer in recovery showed absoulutely no benefits, this is the study that is detailed in the Dawkins book the god delusion and it was funded by a religous foundation. I'm sure there are other studies that show either positive or negative results.

What is that lovely phrase, lies; damned lies and statistics.

Miracle is a very strange word and I feel in current societ it has lost all meaning, its a miracle if we get to work on time or if we find a parking space.

I hate conversation to be bogged by the definitions of the words involved but I do feel that the word miracle is so overused as to be meaningless.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:40 AM
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I have trouble with believing in a God as I was raised to believe in as a Catholic child. Nope, I can't believe in that any longer. I initially got sober thru AA and the Higher Power belief. Stayed with the meeting for a year and left but continued on in my own way keeping close to what I'd learned and reading daily AA meditation books every single day for 9 years. Then things changed for me and my faith in a God was challenged dramatically. I went thru many changes at that time and still am. What I am left with is a non-belief in God. I believe in something, I just am not sure what it is. I don't know, maybe I just believe in the power of atrraction......but maybe not so much. It's been a struggle for me for the past nine years. I have felt lost in losing what I always believed in. I feel quite directionless. Perhaps that's a good thing. It makes me search for a new direction. I do know one thing, I can't get straight again using the idea of God. I can't. I'm not that same person that I used to be. I've changed and I'm different now. Anyhow, I'm glad to have found this section of the forum.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:53 AM
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Welcome, AD.

When it comes to spirituality/religion, I'm like 7-Up and caffeine...

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Old 06-10-2009, 07:08 AM
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Hi all...

I was just reading this thread for the first time and thought I'd join in the fun

As far as miracles go, the only one I have ever had any experience with is my children, as silly and cliche as that might sound. Having a life grow inside my body just totally blew me away. I mean I know the biology, etc of the process, but their little personalities and souls developing is just really amazing to experience. I know there's the whole nature/nuture arguement about personality developent, but anyone who has kids will know what I mean when I say that they each had their own way of being from the moment they were born.

I was raised an Irish Catholic and from childhood I had a really hard time with the whole idea of "be good or you'll burn in hell." I always felt that people should "be good" because they wanted to, becuse they thought that was the right way to live. After I moved out of my parents house, I stopped being involved in organized religion. After I had my kids, I started remembering the only positive association I had with my early church going days was the sense of community we had. After spending two years feeling it out, I became a Unitarian-Universalist last autumn. I swear my Mom thinks we've joined a cult! I try not to laugh at her questions, but man they are really funny sometimes.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Daisy09 View Post
I know there's the whole nature/nuture arguement about personality developent, but anyone who has kids will know what I mean when I say that they each had their own way of being from the moment they were born.
Oops - I meant nurture...I'm a really poor typist
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:59 PM
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Lately I'm having a hard time dealing with my hatred for organized religion. I just get so angry, and I think it really affecting my opinions of others and it contributes to my distate for society in general.

I'm bringing this up to ask people how they've gotten past any anger they carry towards organized religion? I try to think of the good people have done in the name of religion-art, music... but it seems to be overshadowed by the bad. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:38 PM
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Eroica, I'm having trouble with that myself.

When it comes to society in general, there's not much for me to do about my anger at the moment. I suppose that when I'm well enough I can focus my energy on speaking out against groups that wish to legislate "morality" to the nth degree. I tire of certain groups and their quest to treat certain members of society as second class citizens.

When it comes to individuals, however, I try to focus on their good qualities.

Most of the people I talk to do have religious beliefs, but they really don't talk about it...and if they do they aren't pushy.
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:45 PM
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Eroica--

I never really *hated* organized religion, or any religion in general. I have a dislike of people who can't leave me alone and try to force their religious opinions on me though. I had to get over it fast though. I got an uber-Baptist roommate when I was 19, and we lived together for 2 years. We'd never met until the day we moved in together, and the first thing she asked me after introductions is where I went to church. We had our moments but we both learned a lot about religious tolerance and we remain good friends ten years later.

It's true lots of bad things have been done in the name of religion. But I don't think atheists get a pass on this; the non-religious people of the world have a few skeletons in the closet (lest we forget Stalin was allegedly an atheist, if you want an easy example... plenty of people were sent to the GULAG for practicing their religion of choice). All people have a capacity for good and bad, regardless of religion. Religion is an easy cloak to wear for someone with political ambition and/or a ruthless killing streak because it taps into people's emotions and they are more likely to follow along. I started viewing religion as a tool used for various purposes, some good and some bad. In a way I guess I think of religion the way people think of screwdrivers. I could use a screw driver for its intended purpose, or I could use it to stab someone to death. The screwdriver itself is not responsible for the actions I take (Right. Screwdrivers don't kill people, people kill people. Where's Charlton Heston to tell us we can have his screwdriver when we pry it from his cold, dead fingers? ) Likewise, any religion can be turned to any purpose you can think of.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:25 PM
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I find it so difficult not to hate; and when I do not hate I feel we few are so lonely in the world. ~Bertrand Russell, Letter to Colette, 1918

Hi Eroica,

A disclaimer: I tend to ramble, and I'm not always good at getting my point across in a way that other people understand...

I recently read a really good book. It's called Nonviolence: Twenty-five lessons from the history of a dangerous idea by Mark Kurlansky. It's pretty much what is says it is: a brief history of the non-violence movement. The author is definitely not a big fan of organized religion, and spends a lot of time discussing its role in much of the violence throughout history, but manages condemn actions as oppposed to people. He discusses the importance of nonviolence as a way of life: nonviolent thinking, speech, and action. It helped me to come to terms with some of the anger I felt towards organized religion, and to realize that fighting hatred with hatred just isn't going to work.

One needs to create one's own society. Simply standing by and hating the way things are is not going to change them. Find like minded people, and engage with them, and actively support any facet of society you can feel good about. Changing the world is another one of those things that needs to be taken one day at a time. Baby steps are still forward motion

All the best,
Daisy
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:46 PM
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my religion tonite was makin homemade bbq sauce. carolina-louisiana style. i was god of teh sauce. i was the saucemeister.

bow down and worship teh Sauce Jaysus !!
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