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rrneck's Journal
Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Thu Dec 01st 2011, 11:47 AM
and they have saturated their market. All of these various and sundry permutations of doctrine are efforts to trot out some "new and improved" Christianity to keep those butts in those pews. Unfortunately, they're clamoring for a growing share of a shrinking market.

Since religion is emotionally motivated, they have to deliver increasing emotional rewards to believers (who are just consumers of emotion) to keep the believers coming back. The result is religious extremism.

As the material wealth of religion increases in inverse proportion to its ability to deliver a satisfying emotional product, it will increasingly have to resort to force to hold market share. So far that's just been political shenanigans but they'd be burning people alive again if they thought they could get away with it.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Tue Nov 29th 2011, 02:40 PM
and require no external verification unless I seek it. As a compassionate and fair person I give to you that same option. You are at liberty to develop knowledge and to act on any part of that knowledge in any way you see fit. Some call it free will.

The only work you have been doing is engineering as many circuitous exits as possible for your own definition of knowledge. The incessant conditional waffling to fairly simple and direct questions are painfully obvious in the above sub thread. I have been trying, and failing, to get you to admit you're human. You are human now among all the rest of us, and you would be human if you were stranded on a desert island with only a volleyball for a friend.

If you have a thought, and you are aware of that thought, that's knowledge. If you are aware of that knowledge, that's knowledge too. And nothing that goes on inside your head has to be communicated to to anyone else for objective verification or subjected to empirical scrutiny to be any less so. And you know that inside your own head (some would say heart) to be true. Were it not so you would be a completely transparent human being spending every waking moment securing independent verification of every conscious thought that flies through your head.

While this has been an interesting and entertaining intellectual exercise, the cultural implications of the understanding of knowledge that you propose are terrifying. You would have nothing be real unless it is verified by another. And who would that other be? It doesn't take long to figure that one out. We have watched it play out right here in your truculent, dismissive, arrogant attitude to the opinions of others and when you started to feel cornered your angry emails to me to try to bully me into leaving you alone. Do I really need to quote your posts above or your correspondence to me?

People can think, feel, dream, believe, and imagine anything they want. All of that stuff is knowledge. People also need to eat every day, sleep warm and dry, and make more people. That's why they have to take at least some of that knowledge and verify it in the world outside their heads. When they try to use the world around them to validate their beliefs without independent verification they have to recreate a world to conform to those beliefs that simply does not exist. And by the same token, when someone tries to demand that all of the thoughts, feelings, dreams, beliefs and imaginings of others be subjected to their own independent validation, they strip others of their humanity and create people who have become dehumanized. Both approaches have led ultimately to some of the most horrifying outrages against humanity imaginable.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Sat Nov 26th 2011, 01:57 PM
It has seemed to me that science and faith have been converging at the subatomic level. I have no idea what that convergence, if it is happening, will look like. I can almost guarantee it won't be a bunch of new age woo. In my most optimistic moments I like to think that maybe we will find a new way to have faith in ourselves and the world around us by finding an attitude and a language to describe that which we can only imagine but have proven actually exists.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Sat Nov 26th 2011, 12:19 PM
The reason you don't hear about psychics that have found out differently is because they aren't psychics any more. The psychic and the fundamentalist you mentioned are one dimensional caricatures because their motivations don't conform to your definition of knowledge. Maybe they are motivated by something other than understanding of the world around them. Some call it money. Others call it power. Like I said, stupidity is just self inflicted ignorance.

If you want proof of what I'm talking about, just ask yourself if you're in there. I have every reason to believe you are not a Turing machine. Why are you posting here? Instinct? What do you think gets Richard Dawkins out of bed every morning? He's not a Vulcan. To find out, you would have to get to know him - personally. As a human being with a world inside of him. Maybe he cares deeply about truth and an accurate understanding of the world around us. Maybe he is outraged at the damage fundamentalist religion is inflicting on our culture. Maybe he's found a way to sell a helluva lot of books. I expect it's a combination of all three reasons and who knows how many more.

The last thing I want to do is insult or annoy you. You haven't done anything to deserve it and if I do so I apologize in advance. But this whole "other way of knowing" issue is starting to look like a blinkered dogma that denies great swaths of the world around us because it isn't designed to deal with it. The earth isn't six thousand years old and every man, woman, and child on this planet has self consciousnesses that compels them to do whatever it is they do, right, wrong, wise, or foolish.

There are exactly as many "other ways of knowing" as there are people. If you want a definition of what that may be or what it is supposed to find out, you'll have to get to know each one of them. Personally.

I need an editor.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Fri Nov 25th 2011, 08:38 PM
I don't think there should be a hierarchy between the activity outside one's head and the activity inside it. Creationists try to apply their belief systems to a world that can and should be objectively measured and fail every time. Those attempts and others liked them should be vigorously challenged because, as we all know, that kind of thinking gave us some of the worst crimes against humanity in history.

When we place unnecessary emphasis on the objective reality of our experience at the cost of understanding ourselves, we also do a disservice to our culture and our ability to survive as a species. There is ample evidence of a whole world that constitutes an interior life unique to each of us. If you want proof, just ask yourself if you're in there. Anybody else who tries to tell you what you experience inside your own head is actually attempting the impossible and doing you a disservice.

If someone hits you in the face with a pie, you will have knowledge of two things: You have been hit with a pie, and you are pissed off. Both, as far as you are concerned, are facts beyond dispute. Only one can be measured empirically, but both are equally important.
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Posted by rrneck in General Discussion
Thu Nov 24th 2011, 03:16 PM
I find myself in front of a proper computer keyboard and some time to type a bit, so I thought Iíd try a Thanksgiving post.

We donít seem to suffer from any lack of instruction about how we should behave in this world. The number of schemes, means, methods, practices, rituals, hierarchies, and other assorted structures to insure right behavior between us stretches beyond count. The number of outrages perpetrated against humanity because of these methods stretches even further. How, with this cornucopia of information, can we fail so miserably and consistently to treat others as we would be treated ourselves?

I think we suffer from an embarrassment of riches. The source of this particular plight is not material goods. Thatís another problem. This problem plagues us because we have so many ideologies from which to choose. We are like kids in a candy store of ideas and we run from aisle to aisle snatching and grabbing anything that looks tasty only to grab something else that catches our eye.

Entire industries have been developed to produce the most diverse and niggling solutions for modern living from satellite enabled telephones to the royal fridge (just Google it). There are also entire industries devoted to the design, testing, and marketing of ideologies. We can consume from a drop down menu any number of ways to think without leaving the comfort of our homes. And the marketplace for all those intangibles is fierce. Why not? The potential for profit is immense.

When people think they own something, they are usually willing to fight for it. Through most of human history possession of resources meant survival, and even though now for most of us possession means merely convenience, I donít think a few thousand years of technological development has obviated that survival response. I also think there have been, and continue to be, a lot of people that depend on that response to make money. They are perfectly willing to sell us our ideologies and prompt us to fight for them for their own aggrandizement.

To be civilized is to be generous. Perhaps the height of civilized behavior is to give away that which we hold most dear. How civilized could we become if we, even for a day, set aside our most cherished ideas? If we could, even for an hour, just be? What would we see if we simply set down the armloads of ideological obligations that we carry around? What would the world look like if we stopped investing everything we feel in ideologies that were manufactured to absorb our humanity and instead invested it in each other?

As far as Iím concerned, given the opportunity, people will choose to do the right thing. I know a great deal of scholarship has been devoted to this subject. I am aware of it and I guess Iíve read my share of it. But the older I get the less I seem to need to collect and assemble all those bits of facts and figures into something against which to measure those around me. I try to just believe in them. For me, faith is just a prediction about how we will feel. I think our task is to believe that others will, given the opportunity, return the favor of our faith in them without compelling them to do so. It is not always possible and it is all too frequently unwise to try it, but our own faith in others might be the best the best way to bring out the best in them. The return of that favor is a rare gift to be savored and cherished. It is the gift of our humanity.


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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Thu Nov 17th 2011, 12:10 PM
You'd better check that first amendment again.


http://i.word.com/idictionary/respecting
Main Entry: re∑spect∑ing Function: preposition Date: circa 1611 in view of 1 : in view of : with respect to 2 : with respect to : with respect to

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Establishme...
he establishment clause has generally been nterpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the"separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or"accommodation" interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.

This may come as a shock to you, but atheists are human beings who believe in any number of things other than God. It wouldn't occur to most theocrats that could be possible but it's true. It seems you can't separate the concept of belief from the concept of a deity. That's your problem. The fact that you can't accommodate the beliefs of others, even over such a trivial matter as a little noticed "national motto" stamped on our money, is a pretty good indication of where your priorities lie and what you're willing to allow in the interest of how you feel about your faith. Arguing about silly shit like this is a pretty good way to spot a theocrat, even in ourselves.

I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of atheists are liberals. Its no secret that the Republican party has spent the last four decades pandering to people's religious sensibilities. They've done that because they know it works. By conflating the very real and legitimate impulse toward faith with the exercise of power they can convince people that the most vile injustices are moral acts. That, I hope to you, is obvious. But there is a corollary effect. It divides their political enemies by dividing their loyalties.

We've got a lot of shit to straighten out in this country and we need a focused political coalition to do it. Democrats don't need to hear other Democrats supporting an illegal position wholly owned by Republicans.

Liberal Christians decry the relationship of politics and religion on the right while cutting off their share of the government pie by privatizing social services. Liberal Christians enjoy the national celebration if their holy days. And they enjoy the word "God" stamped on our money. You can't have it both ways. If you don't believe me just look at the Tea party. The Republicans have created a monster they may not be able to control, and that monster is overwhelmingly fundamentalist Christian.

The desire to have something so near and dear to us as our faith supported by force of law is so imperceptibly insidious that the framers included the word "respecting" in the first amendment. That means "don't even start to go there" in today's nomenclature. Your floundering apologetics indicate you are clearly well on your way.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Tue Nov 15th 2011, 03:28 PM
"There is nothing to forbid God from government", no matter how well intentioned, creates a pernicious one way street. Needless to say God himself won't show up, but it gives his trusted representatives wide open access to the levers of power.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with elected officials having faith, but to Foster the idea that God, and by extension his representatives here on earth, would enjoy unfettered access creates a dangerously inequitable relationship between government and select members of the electorate.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 09:09 PM
but it does leave open the question what we would be observing.

For instance, at this moment I am furious with someone. I know why and yet there is the obvious emotional component that cannot be ignored. The examination of that is an introspective exercise and only I can access that information for analysis. That information cannot be measured with any of my five senses or any extensions of same. Yet I can say without any doubt that I am annoyed, and that emotion will have measureable consequences in the form of a fairly straightforward conversation.

That would indicate that awareness of one's feelings is another way of knowing something.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 03:35 PM
What's the point of amassing all that data and recombining it into something new? You may believe we are just vessels for the replication of DNA and all our efforts are just efforts to make more that look like us, but the vast overwhelming majority of the people who have ever lived would disagree with you. Surely that merits further study. The scientific method may provide those answers, but it's gotten a late start.

The study of all that "other stuff" has been going on since we've been here. I don't expect the scientific method to replace art, literature, poetry, music and all the rest any time soon.

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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 03:23 PM
I also consider it nonsense.

You just have to use the right tool for the job. The items listed above are useless in the way they are used (unless it's to part fools from their money). But to not consider flights of fancy, emotions, brain farts, myths, legends, beliefs and all the rest unnecessary makes no sense. If we know about something, it is knowledge. That doesn't mean we have to believe it or act on it, but it is knowledge nonetheless. To do otherwise is to discount the whole of literature, drama, art, music and every other art form that has ever been.

Every scientific discovery began with a hypothesis. What prompted the hypothesis? Why do scientists devote their entire lives to the investigation of the most excruciating minutia in existence. The legitimate "other ways of knowing" are half the human experience. If you didn't care you wouldn't be posting here. The fact that unscrupulous scoundrels use peoples need to know why to rob them doesn't mean that need is not important. Science can be used to further scurrilous ends as easily as faith. But we need them both.

Form and content.

Damn phone.
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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 11:39 AM
furthermore, if a spike in supply is needed it can easily be produced. This natural resource can be exploited with little capital investment and managed without much more. The potential for profit from the exploitation of this resource is among the greatest the human race has ever seen and has been used by capitalists for thousands of years. That resource is human emotion, and we are living in the nerve center of capitalist exploitation of natural resources and wealthy churches are making money hand over fist at it.

Even if you are a confirmed atheist, even if you never set foot in a church, there is a pump jack between your shoulder blades right now. If the church can't exploit your feelings with plain old capitalism, it will exploit them with disaster capitalism. It's a win win for them in the culture wars.
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Posted by rrneck in Guns
Tue Nov 01st 2011, 04:20 PM
Firearms give liberals the heebie geebies. Conventional wisdom requires Democrats to root for peace, progress, and the nurturing of others so they can achieve their greatest potential. Shooting holes in people doesn't do that. Guns symbolize all that is opposite of most liberal ideals.

The most vociferous critics of guns are those who most passionately embrace their self image as liberals and have probably spent their entire lives identifying themselves as such. Such acolytes cannot be expected to approach the issue objectively.

Supporters of RKBA on the other hand are more likely to have moved to the left from somewhere in the political center or the right. They are much more likely to have considered the gun issue and care enough the express their views in an abashedly liberal forum. Liberalism for them was a choice and converts to a cause generally care more about it than those who were handed their convictions by default.

The children of the rude, crude, gun toting, hardhat wearing white guys that were aleniated by identity politics are coming back to the Democratic party where they belong. And they're bringing their guns with them. Instead of confronting them with some sort of wedge issue litmus test Democrats would do well to welcome them with open arms because those who don't move this way are joining the Tea Party.

The labor struggles of the ate nineteenth and early twentieth century are no longer a living memory. The identity politics of the sixties and seventies brought long overdue social justice to a lot of people, but somehow in the process they turned "solidarity" into "nurturing". That was fine in a time of peace and prosperity, but now liberals need to think less about the latter and more in terms of the former. The term "solidarity" assumes conflict, which has finally begun. If that conflict can be resolved by voting and peaceful demonstrations we will be fortunate indeed. But income disparity in this country is worse than it was in the Gilded Age, and it took a helluva fight to get an even shake then.

And that may explain why gun ownership in on the rise generally and among Democrats in particular.

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Posted by rrneck in Religion/Theology
Sat Oct 29th 2011, 12:06 PM
The Sunday school ladies were feeling bored and sanctimonious so they decide to put up a cross. They cabbage up some money from the wives of their businessman town father friends and one of them calls her brother in law/ cousin/ uncle/ son/ brother (who is a deacon in the church) to put it up. He pockets the money, the church gets advertising on public property, and the good Christian wives get a pat on the head.

Then somebody complains and the FFRF sends them a letter. The owner of the lumber yard/ hardware store/ farm store/ (another church deacon) makes little crosses in protest and scores advertising points with his God fearing customers. The mayor (another church deacon) gets pissy and pays the guy that put it up there four grand to half ass take it down. Cousin/brother in law/ uncle/ son/ brother Billy Bob pockets the money again and hizzonor the mayor strokes his culturally inbred constituency to get reelected.

And it's all paid for by the taxpayers. Its Carl Rove/ Grover Norquist privatize profit and socialize risk dirty politics 101.
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Posted by rrneck in Guns
Sun Oct 23rd 2011, 04:46 PM
Let me help.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia
The term militia (play /mɨˈlɪʃə/)<1> is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens<2> to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service.


And just as a reminder...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendm...
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


The people have the right to be armed, from which a militia would be drawn. Any moron could figure that out.

Wow! That was a real chestnut! It took a whole sentence to debunk.

Now, as for the "need" for a militia. While it's true we don't have a militia, we still have a population that may need to defend itself in an emergency. Now, before you trot out the same old bullshit about pistols against cruise missiles, American citizens have already clashed with the United States military without having to face heavy ordinance. That's because repressive governments use any number of methods of political repression to cow an unruly populace before they even consider the prospect of a pitched battle across the countryside using heavy weapons. Forced disappearances, politically motivated paramilitary organizations, selective police protection, show trials, selective distribution of resources, and selective prosecution have all been used by unscrupulous governments to punish unruly segments of the population or target leaders of movements that may threaten their repressive actions. Those methods don't require a battalion of troops and armor. Just cops and judges and maybe a few criminals in the know who have the right political leanings. If they have to face a crowd of citizens who can rally and pop a cap in their ass they will find their unscrupulous activities much more difficult, thus hampering the unscrupulous activities of the government that might facilitate them.

The citizens of the United States have already had to fight with private security organizations and the military to secure their rights and even a cursory awareness of American history will tell you that. Try reading a book sometime. Now, we may not have much need for a Second Amendment right now. That's good. Why don't you tell us all how we will never need it. Time marches on you know. Before you answer with another glib missive, please note you are a citizen of a nearly bankrupt declining empire in a world what will be populated with seven billion people in about two weeks. It is a world that faces, for the first time in human history, a shortage of resources for which there is no viable replacement as well as environmental changes beyond comprehension. In case you have forgotten, we recently had eight years of a presidential administration backed and staffed by fascists. Those same fascists have already started forming a cadre of ideological devotees willing to do their will without troubling themselves to think too much about the consequences. Income disparity is the highest it has been since the labor unrest that prompted people to take the streets and fight, really fight, the last time. So please, regale us from the security of your fucking sailboat how nobody will ever need to take up arms to defend themselves against institutionalized injustice. Thrill us with your plan to use a the proper "demeanor" to keep desperate criminals, unscrupulous public servants, and megalomaniacal politicians from kicking the living shit out of us when resources run short and people get desperate. You might want to load your fucking flare gun just in case.
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