My Conversation with Jamie M.

Jamie M.
Nice. I’m sure you got under my skin because I am surrounded by those who chose not to challenge my intelligence and simply go with the flow of life. People who really think things through can fascinate and infuriate me all at once. Ignorance is bliss…usually those who choose to be simple will lash out when you force deeper knowledge on them. So…Thank you for the challenge. While I don’t think you and I will always agree, I find you to be “Awesome” as well.

Jamie M.
As for my beliefs…Its not like I haven’t been driving down the road some days and thinking to myself that as much as I’m certain there is a God and all the stories in the Bible are true, is as certain as the those in the past believed in Zeus and others believe in “Allah” and Mormons in that prophet and baptizing the dead and if they can be “perfect” they can become Gods themselves…I am not devoid of intelligence and find myself seeking out “proof” articles, historical documentation of the places, people and things in the Bible and yet even then, is it simply a very dated glorified book of history? And then I was pregnant a second time and realized that while I could take the side of total ignorance and believe in blind faith, and I could take the total side of demanding impirical proof and believing in nothing…there are people in life who see each other person as just bags of skin, bones and fat. While technically I want my surgeons to see me that way…much like a computer and every single symptom can be resolved biologically, I don’t want anyone else to view me as a human being as void of intrinsic value. I feel that intrinsic value lies within that “light” inside a person and my heart would break at the thought that the soul doesn’t contain that, and that this part of you would die with the body…so…I choose to “blindly” believe there is “more” to life and to death then I honestly can know, or prove, I don’t know what it is for sure, there are convincing sides on each side, but I want to believe in Angels, I want to believe there is a God…but the ultimate truths to me are this: NO ONE will ever know until they are dead. And if there really is a God, if there really is an omnicient being so perfect and so intelligent to create all this, why the HELL are we so sure our primitive, limited brain capacity could POSSIBLY understand, decipher, and interpret all that He/She/It has created and made available? Why on earth do we fight over things we will never know for sure till we either take that eternal dirt nap and nothing else ever exists or cross to the other side and find out well DAMN…it WAS true.?? SO…that dream I was confiding in Jeff? More of a personal want/desire/need…sure my brain synapsis probably fired off a simple dream to convince me of what I already wanted to believe was true…but again who is to say that God, in the whole “infinite wisdom” couldn’t have created that dream because he knew thats what could convince my silly small mind? Who says Big Bang and DNA and Science isn’t all God created and he’s up there smiling and laughing at us for trying to interpret his ultimate design? *shrug* Thats why I don’t judge you for not believing, because hell, you could be right, I don’t judge Jeff for believing because again, he could be right. And as for me? I believe in the Golden Thread…one simple golden truth runs through all religions, faiths, beliefs, and we probably couldn’t pinpoint it if we tried…we all have a small portion right (likely the “goodness morality etc.. part” but we also likely have the majority of it wrong. I’ll know when I’m dead I guess. Meanwhile the subject and the belief systems of others will continue to fascinate me.

Hey Jamie,

To be clear, I never challenged your intelligence. I have no doubt that you’re intelligent. I challenged your claims. It may not seem it, but there’s a very big difference. No, we may not always agree, but I find it’s through discourse that progress is made.

See now, you state both that you’re certain that there is a God and that the stories of the Bible are true. First, how do you know this, and second, are you referring to all of the stories of the Bible, or just the ones that seem reasonable? As in, do you believe that the entire universe was created in six literal 24-hour days? Do you believe that Noah literally built a boat capable of holding at least two of every single species on Earth? In both cases (and more), we know the earlier origins of these stories. I think they’re both Sumerian. In the case of Noah, I think there’s an almost 1:1 correlation between it and some parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh, though I’m not sure on that one.

You mention the historical documentation of the Bible. Are you aware that places mentioned in the Odyssey literally existed and exist? And yet I feel safe in assuming that you don’t think that Athena literally spoke to Odysseus. Also, though there are accounts in the Bible that can be corroborated by external sources, do you thus believe that such corroboration is sufficient evidence of the supernatural claims made? If you do, I refer you to the Odyssey and other semi-historical epic literature.

I take issue with your assertion that to rely on empirical evidence is to “believe in nothing.” We atheists believe in a large number of things, including, but not limited to, the value of life, love, happiness, compassion, etc. To suggest that a value of compassion, for example, necessarily arises from a belief in the supernatural is demonstrably false.

Your suggestion that to understand that humans are biological machines and thus devoid of intrinsic value is a false dichotomy. It’s obviously possible to find intrinsic value in lots of things without the hand of the supernatural.

I don’t understand why you say it would break your heart to consider that a “light” isn’t contained in a soul. First, I don’t honestly know what you mean by that and second, we know from biology and neurology that all that we are is defined through brain activity. This has been demonstrated. Why is it such a terrible thing to find value in what we have in our brains?

What convincing ideas are there in support of life after death?

If you consider yourself an honest person, which I’m sure you do, don’t you want to believe in things that are true rather than things that you want to be true? I want it to be true that if I were to leap off the top of the Empire State Building that I would land safely without a scratch, but the evidence for gravity is overwhelming. To deny such is completely delusional and useless.

Why do you want to believe in angels and God? What about those ideas is attractive to you? We actually know exactly what happens upon death. Brain activity ceases. End of story.

I understand what you mean by the possibility of an omni- God, but the question is, how do you prove this? By that same reasoning, I could justify a belief in Zeus and leprechauns because I want to believe in them. At least Zeus has direct, physical evidence of His power. I’ve seen lightning.

Assuming that “damn it was true” is logically equivalent to assuming that there is a Valhalla and that the ancient Norwegians were right. Why not assume that the Egyptians were right and that the area outside the Nile is the land of the dead? Better start building that pyramid. According to them, it’s the only way by which you get to Heaven.

I understand your feelings on your dream, but even by your own admission, you recognize that you employed the Confirmation Bias fallacy. You sought that which would convince you of what you wanted to be convinced and, surprise, you were convinced. You already recognize the testable possibility that it was generated by your brain. Thus, acknowledging the inherent flaws in your dream hypothesis and the inherent value in an empirical explanation, why even bother with the dream hypothesis?

The problem with suggesting that the Big Bang, DNA, and Science are the products of God is that they include a whole host of ethical questions which the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent,
omnibenevolent god doesn’t answer. For example, why would God implement a system that requires that sentient beings devour each other? Where the vast majority of all living things have gone and will go extinct? Where most of those living won’t live past the age of 20? Where most living will die of starvation, disease, and worse? And God knew all of this would happen before He created it. A God laughing indeed. The cruel, cosmic jester.

I appreciate the lack of judgement, but honestly, there’s no need and it’s a bit of arrogant presumption on your and Jeff’s part. You don’t take the notion of Zeus seriously and I wager you’d find the idea of someone who does laughable. Yet the amount of evidence for Zeus and Yahweh is identical. Zero. It’s only by sheer chance and government backing that your chosen belief system is socially acceptable.

I also find it pretty intellectually dishonest to suggest that *anyone* could be right. You don’t actually believe this. You don’t believe that leprechauns might exist. You don’t believe that Osiris may have died for your sins. And you don’t for exactly the same reason that I don’t believe in Yahweh or His family. No evidence.

I disagree with your assertion on the Golden Thread. That compassion exists is not a result of religion. This is demonstrable in the least in the historical appearance of religion occurring after the historical appearance of compassion. How do I know this? There’s evidence that pre-historic man took care of its elderly and weak at no benefit to itself. Compassion, kindness, good will, whatever you’d like to call these things, all have group benefits that outweigh self-promotion.

In short, all things that you’ve asserted to be good and attributable to a god are demonstrable through science. As for the rest? No evidence.

Best,

Anton.

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