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Klassic Katbert836 - Archives
Posted by catbert836 in Writing Group
Sun Jul 02nd 2006, 07:36 PM
The Cold

The cold, dark water surrounded the swimming bear, as it had from time-to-time throughout his long life. Always he would swim for a while, then eventually he would find ice after having found and eaten a seal or something of the sort. He was not a truly massive polar bear, and so he never found it necessary to find a very big piece of ice to rest on.

That day there was no ice to be seen. That was nothing completely unusual, he had swum for plenty of days at a time before, but that had been when he was young and full of energy. Now as an older bear, he could not afford to take such risks.

But he had no choice. He kept swimming for that day, and the next, pausing at times to regain his breath, or to trap a fish that swam too near the surface. Fate, however, granted him far too few of these mercies that were necessary if he was too keep swimming for long. And still there was no ice to be seen.

He was just about to yield to the cold water when he saw a solitary piece of ice on the horizon. With his last reserves of energy, he struck out for his salvation. Although he was moving at a quite sluggish pace, he was satisfied that soon he could find rest. He had a glowing sensation that his tribulations of the past few days had been worthwhile.

He came closer and closer to the ice, and finally he was on top of it. It wasn’t as big as it had seemed from afar, but the bear knew that it would have to do. He climbed atop the icy slab, shook the freezing water from his fur, settled down, and was asleep almost immediately.

He was still asleep when his piece of ice (which had been a part of a glacier not so long ago), broke in half, sending the old bear into the arctic, watery depths. He continued to slumber as his lungs filled with water and he sunk down, down, down.

A few hours later, the two halves of his ice had lost half their mass. Half a day later, they had melted completely, leaving a bleak, cold expanse of water stretching across the horizon.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Tue Jun 27th 2006, 11:29 PM
that the 10 commandments would be much more meaningful if they were a list of do's rather than dont's. This would make them much harder to follow, true, but they would have more meaning and people would not try to claim holiness based on a simple list of prohibitions.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Mon Jun 26th 2006, 12:20 PM
Most historical evidence suggests Jesus, or at least his original followers, believed he was a herald of the apocalypse, and that the Kingdom of God would arrive during or shortly after his lifetime. Hence why the gospels were not written down until several generations after his death.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Sat Jun 24th 2006, 06:20 PM
to force God's hand. That sounds like hubris to me.

And the Mahdi is not the "Muslim messiah". Only the Jews continue to wait for a Messiah, Muslims and Christians recognize Jesus as that person.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Fri Jun 16th 2006, 01:14 PM
"What God Wants, Pts. 1-3"
By Roger Waters

-Part 1

What God wants God gets; God help us all
What God wants God gets
The kid in the corner looked at the priest
And fingered his pale blue Japanese guitar
The priest said:
God wants goodness
God wants light
God wants mayhem
God wants a clean fight
What God wants God gets

Don't look so surprised
It's only dogma
The alien prophet cried
The beetle and the springbok
Took the Bible from its hook
The monkey in the corner
Wrote the lesson in his book

What God wants God gets; God help us all
God wants peace
God wants war
God wants famine
God wants chain stores
What God wants God gets

God wants sedition
God wants sex
God wants freedom
God wants semtex
What God wants God gets

Don't look so surprised
I'm only joking
The alien comic cried
The jackass and hyena
Took the feather from its hook
The monkey in the corner
Wrote the joke down in his book

What God wants God gets
God wants boarders
God wants crack
God wants rainfall
God wants wetbacks

What God wants God gets
God wants voodoo
God wants shrines
God wants law
God wants organized crime
God wants crusade
God wants jihad
God wants good
God wants bad

What God wants God gets

-Part 2

Do you believe in a better day
Do you have faith in a golden way
If you do then we must come together this day
Come together as one united
Television audience
Brought together by the sound of my voice
United united financially united socially
United spiritually and all possible ways
Through the power of money
And the power of prayers

What God wants God gets; God help us all
God wants dollars
God wants cents
God wants pounds shillings and pence
God wants guilders
God wants Kroner
God wants Swiss francs
God wants French francs
Oui il veut des francs francais
God wants escudos
God wants pesetas
Don't send lira
God don't want small potatoes
God wants small towns
God wants pain
God wants clean up rock campaigns
God wants windows
God wants solutions
God wants TV
God wants contributions

What God wants God gets; God help us all
God wants silver
God wants gold
God wants his secret
Never to be told
God wants gigolos
God wants giraffes
God wants politics
God wants a good laugh

What God wants God gets; God help us all
God wants friendship
God wants fame
God wants credit
God wants blame
God wants poverty
God wants wealth
God wants insurance
God wants to cover himself
What God wants God gets; God help us all

- Part 3

Don't be afraid it's only business
The alien prophet sighed
The vulture and the magpie took
The cash box from its hook
The monkey in the corner wrote
The figures in his book
Crazed the checkout lady's fingers
Flash across the till
The captain posts
The menu for the day

And in banks across the world
Christians Moslems Hindus Jews
And people of every
Race creed colour tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog
Neatly make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

Christ it's freezing inside
The veteran cries
The hyenas break cover
And stream through the meadow
And the fog rolls in
Though his bottle of gin
So he picks up a stone
That looks like a bone
And the bullets fly
And the rivers run dry
And the fat girls sigh
And the network anchor persons lie
And the soldier's alone
In the video zone

But the monkey's not watching
He's slipped out to the kitchen
To pile the dishes
And answer the phone


To me, this song perfectly analyzes the main problem of organized religion: No one knows exactly what God wants. Throughout history, there have been people who do claim to know what God wants, and they have, depending on the times, been labeled either prophets or lunatics. Some of these people have taught peace, compassion, and all that good stuff, but there are just as many who misuse their supposed power by advocating war, intolerance and sometimes even genocide, claiming that is what God demands. To me, it really does come back to what God wants. We don't know exactly what it is, so we turn to human messengers, many of whom are well aware they cannot know what God wants, who use their authority to get people's money and respect. More deeply troubling is the fact that we cannot know whether a compassionate teacher like Jesus Christ holds more authority than someone like Joseph Kony, the leader of the murderous Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

I'm interested in knowing how the religious resolve this problem for themselves, but any other kind of response would be greatly appreciated.
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Posted by catbert836 in Writing Group
Mon Jun 12th 2006, 02:04 PM
The Dead World

I look out on this world, and I see
Poisonous fruit dropping from dead trees
Particles of dirt swirl through the smoky miasma
Filthy fire flying from hazy mountains

People once lived here, I suppose
I know from the ruins:
Inky glyphs smeared on dull metal
Paper and plastic rubbish scattered through broken streets
Building skeletons, bleached by the red sun

And what happened to those who lived here?
Did some see their failures, just before the end?
Did some try to stop themselves when it was already too late?
Did they realize that they had killed their home
And themselves?

The black sky shimmers, yet
Offers me no answers.
I hear a whispering, from a long way off
The ghosts are speaking

What will they say?
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Fri Jun 09th 2006, 12:31 AM
But I would not say that Hitler - when he was using Christianity (or Bush* now) was necessarily a Christian. If you have someone who sees a religion as a tool to manipulate people and that person is using religion for his own gain - then I think that that person is no longer (necessarily) a follower of religion - but a user of religion.


I would say Hitler was both a follower and a user of religion. They're not mutually exclusive.

And I think that it's reasonable to believe that the person, Hitler, was NOT a "Christian" in the sense that he was NOT trying to follow the teachings of "Jesus". I think it is reasonable to surmise that Hitler was not concerned about others, he was not concerned about his relationship to any deities as he may have imagined them - if anything - it seems that Hitler was his own deity. And some say that Germany was his religion.


You're right that he wasn't concerned in following the teachings of Jesus. But by your own admission, that does not exclude him from being a Christian. As for claims that Germany was his religion, or that he indulged in self-worship- they're speculation, as Hitler himself contradicted them numerous times.

So say you have someone who sees through religion and sees religion (esp. Christianity) as the perfect way to manipulate people - why would you think that that person still believed in the religion for himself? Does it really make sense that someone would see through a religion so clearly to use it as Hitler did then (and as Bush/Rove/etc. do now) - at the same time embrace that which they see as just a tool. I don't see it that way.


Once again, there's nothing mutually exclusive about it. Hitler seeing the Church as a way to control people does not make him a non-believer by default.

What did Hitler believe? Who knows. I'm not saying he was an atheist or a deist or any other thing. I just don't think that someone like Hitler necessarily believed anything - except maybe that might makes right - and eugenics - and we don't really know what else.


That would be correct. We really don't know. But since we have numerous records of him affirming his Christian beliefs, it's reasonable to assume he was a Christian.

And while I think it's worthwhile for atheists to encourage people to question religion and esp. to question government leaders who use religion, I don't it's good to start demonizing people because they belong to a certain religious group (unless that particular group is responsible for encouraging atrocities) or the demonizers start to sound like the bad guys. IOW - that's exactly the kind of rhetoric that leads to problems.


Look, all I take issue with is Christians using the No True Scotsman fallacy to place bad people outside the fold. It encourages an attitude of moral superiority.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Sun Jun 04th 2006, 04:27 PM
I'm reading Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov", and in it there's a very powerful passage where the elder of a monastery dies, but before he does, he relates his beliefs regarding God, love, Earth, and hell to his friends who are by his deathbed. He states that he believes that Hell is not a place of fire and brimstone, but that those who go to Hell suffer from an inability to love.

This made me curious: I know that conservative believers have a very cut-and-dried view of Hell, but how do religious liberals believe? Do you guys think hell is even real? If so, is it a place where the damned suffer eternally? Why would God send people there?

Thank you in advance.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Fri Jun 02nd 2006, 09:21 PM
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science


When Nietzsche said that God was dead, he was not talking of a physical death of God. Rather, he was making an observation that the humans of his time behaved as if God were dead, without fear of divine retribution for even great debaucheries. He felt that the idea of God was no longer capable of acting as a source of human morality. Humans would be no longer capable of believing in God or a divine order because they didn't recognize the concept anymore.

Nietzsche thought that God's death had not yet been recognized by man out of a deep-seated fear or angst. He predicted that once it was widely acknowledged, people would despair, and nihilism would become rampant.

However, the death of God would play a role in humanity's greater development. Once the Christian God, with his arbitrary commands and prohibitions, no longer stood in the way, humanity would have a blank slate. Nietzsche says that once humans turn their eyes away from a supernatural realm, they would focus more on this world and its value. A new morality would develop from this realization. This new stage of human development would be the Übermensch.

Discuss.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Wed May 31st 2006, 09:17 PM
He has been very misunderstood since his time... I suggest you read some of his works. I would reccomend "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" or "Will to Power".

He has been labelled the Nazi philosopher, a statement which is almost the exact opposite of the truth. He was opposed to anti-Semitism, however works published after his death were edited by his anti-Semetic sister to make them appear to have that leaning toward that viewpoint. Here's a quote regarding Nietzsche and the Nazis:

"Nietzsche hated German nationalism, mass movements, and socialism, so naturally, he was made the mascot of the National Socialist German Worker's Party."
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Mon May 29th 2006, 06:07 PM
It all depends on how you define a Christian, of course. To some, but not very many, anyone who says they are a Christian is one, regardless of how they behave. Clearly, nothing in Hitler's behavior would make him a Christian


"No True Scotsman" again, kwassa. The reason I trust that anyone who says they are a Christian is one is because that's really all anyone has to go on. Sure, you may think he never behaved like a Christian, but that begs the question of who gets to decide what behavior constitutes Christianity. Who is it? You? Fred Phelps?

]he was not active in the Church throughout his adult life. He was quite repressive towards many religious figures.


Yes, however the German Conference of Catholic Bishops during the Nazi era saw fit to began their meetings with a "Heil Hitler". He and the Church, as well as many various Protestant sects, were just fine with each other. And I've never heard of any prominent religious figure who was oppressed by Hitler or even stood up to him within the Reich.

Hitler really created his own state religion of Naziism. It was not an atheistic state religion, nor was it Christian, founded primarily on racial and nationalistic ideas.


Although several higher-ups in the Reich wanted to replace Christianity with National Socialism, Hitler felt that all such attempts would be foolish, and never tried to create a state religion of any kind. Rather, he saw the Church as another way to hold sway over the masses.

This "Hitler was a Christian" meme is a central agenda item of certain atheists who have a political agenda at stake; quite simply, to make Hitler's crimes Christian religious crimes. This is the real truth of the situation. There is little historical basis for this if the whole of Hitler's life and acts are considered.

The transparency of this agenda is incredible, the false arguements easily defeated, yet it goes around and around and around on this group. This is only because it is so important to some atheists.


Now you're just whining. I have never heard the blame for the Holocaust or the Third Reich being laid at Christianity's door. You're grossly overreacting. I wonder why so many Christians are offended by the fact that Hitler was one of them. We're not blaming all you guys for what Hitler did, but its very obvious from a historical viewpoint that he indeed was a Christian.

Please, point me to any false arguments you have easily defeated in this conversation.
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Mon May 29th 2006, 02:23 PM
From is many public statements concerning his faith in Christianity, plus the fact that most to all of his allegedly anti-Christian comments he never said, we have to conclude that he remained a Christian throughout his life. However, his Christianity was influenced a great bit by Odinism, and he only reconciled worshipping Jesus, who was a Jew, by a theory that said Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier, thus technically making him an Aryan. So, Hitler's Christianity was certainly warped, just like that of Robertson and Falwell, we can't say that he wasn't a Christian.
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Posted by catbert836 in The DU Lounge
Wed May 24th 2006, 04:33 PM
Here's mine:

"When all else fails, we can whip the horse's eyes
and make them sleep, and cry"

- The Soft Parade, by the Doors

I'm told that this lyric was written by Jim Morrison as a tribute to his idol, Frederich Nietzsche. There's an apocryphal tale that Nietzsche's psychotic break was caused by seeing a horse being whipped across the eyes. The Doors' drummer, John Densmore, was very weirded-out by this lyric as well.

Yours?
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Tue May 23rd 2006, 10:43 PM
It's been so long since I read HDM... maybe I should get to it again.

Ditto for me, but here's my second place:

"Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Posted by catbert836 in Religion/Theology
Mon May 22nd 2006, 08:15 PM
but I agree for the most part with what that poster is saying. One of the most compelling reasons I turned away from Christianity in particular and organized religion in general is because it teaches humans that they need to be saved from ourselves. I think our species is just fine, it's just we haven't realized our potential to solve our problems. Also, organized religion, especially the Abrahamic brand, teaches people that it will all be better in the next life, which tends to make people lethargic in solving injustices in this life.
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