Uncertainty – Is it Implausible?

Ghosts – Aliens – God

What do they have in common besides they spell GAG for athiests? Well they are all areas of uncertainty.

I have seen over 100’s of documentaries and movies on the totality of each subject area – many based on real events – from ghosts, to aliens, to faith systems.

Now none of them are defineably proveable, does this mean they don’t really exist? Because there are a lot of things we can’t make sense of – like time travel or other dimensions, yet those ideas are on the scientific table as plausible. Are things uncertain also unplausible?

Now do I believe any of the aforementioned subject areas? I am willing to at least look at each with a closer look to see if they have merit.

Talking That Faith Jive

What I like about faith is it ‘jives’ with my reality of the world I live in.

Faith is one aspect of my character that choose not to give up on someone even though others can write that person off. Maybe some people hold this kind of grace out for me as well? If so, thanks.

Nothing on this planet is certain (in someones life). I think we wish it all was scripted and written out, we would have our certainty. Thats not what we have but this uncertainty allows for us to learn and become more aware. We are never the same person from day to day and year to year, maybe that’s a good thing?

Our knowledge is limited (one person in a sea of people) and we use faith all the time to ‘fill in the gaps’. But not filling in those gaps leaves us in a state of flux, a kind of uncertainty that makes us uncomfortable, even can drive us crazy. It humbles me to know I don’t know it all and I need everyone else around me to help fill in the pieces I am lacking in, I have faith we can make the best outcome with the pieces of info we have been given.

God is a mystery. Not human, no voice, no face, no figure, no appearances, etc. It’s plausible to not believe because what is their to believe? Its also plausible to believe since it’s supposed to be mysterious. Wouldn’t it be weird to know something about someone called God and have them figured out? Wouldn’t we then be gods as well?

I’m just saying faith makes sense in many ways in the world we live in – and it’s a very acceptable way to help view the world through the lense you call life.

Euthyphro’s Dilemma & Defining Faith-Based Morality

But my warning still stands that you navigate your way through these narratives based on what you bring to them and not as you imply from what you take away.” (tildeb)

I think it’s give and take personally, as with anything we intake (ie: viewing and reading). I always admit I am part of the process in what I bring to the table and how I look at the pieces written. Warning was heeded since I picked up the scriptures to be perfectly honest. However, I also admit it’s give and take…not as one-sided as you would have some people think.

This raises the question of Euthyphro dilemma: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” (tildeb)

Good question, does it matter? If it matters so much, why?

I obey my elders and parents because I was told by them to do so at a young age. Did I do this because it was morally good or because it was commanded as good? I see the philosophical debate and the reason for it, but sometimes there need not be a definite answer for us to ‘do something’.

As for the question, each moral is on debate as to what is even the morality within it. The levels of rules people has changes as well, for some there are these strict standards and for others less. What is moral? Which is right? Are these questions God lets us answer? I think of a parent when I review this concerning the right to determine one’s own path in life, at some point parents are ruled out of our equations (ie: decisions). However, not altogether, we still have their best interests in mind as well, and faith in God functions like that for me (ie: thankfulness).

If you’re going to believe in god then you have to figure out this dilemma and good luck to you” (tildeb)

As for how I actually approach this in reality – try, test, and review. God commands a lot of things – like ‘love my enemies’. I strive to find the intent of such an idea – and it leads to quite a few morals I have developed over my years in this faith. Non-violence as a stance. Enemies are only enemies if this is what we choose to make them (ie: treatment in kind or treatment in a new way – perspective is everything). Is anybody really to be labelled as an enemy? Etc.

In the end, I think the morally good that comes from my interaction with the scriptures is through the filter of my mind, emotions, physical experience, and spiritual experience…in essence the morality derived is part and parcel God and part and parcel me. The morally good is defined via test and observation from scenario to scenario. Something may be the best moral standard and still not work in every scenario. It is quite complex, and like Euthyphro I am sure I will arrive at more questions than answers, such is life.

**Comment aired on Carly Jo’s blog ‘Faith Hope and Love – Supernaturalism & My Reason’

Understand What Thou Readest?

“As for the Jesus stories, I accept them as are – but they are under criticism in my head as well. For example, one has to consider a few things about the gospel narratives – (a) they are narratives and a pseudo-history (they are not altogether factual events nor are they trying to be); (b) A lot of allegory and metaphorical comparison is being used (ie: Matthew writes a tale of Jesus like the great prophets – namely Moses); (c) I am aware there is an agenda to the gospels – a slant concerning winning the people over to the ’cause’. ” (Me)

I am kind of amazed at how unobvious this is about the gospels…but writers do have personalities as well.

Cut n Paste Contextualization

This is the point I am making that you seem to be having a problem understanding – you detest slavery in spite of the bible, not because of it…” (MUR)

And you are missing a point I am making – which is based on nothing more than reality. I grasp that I did not grow up in ‘slavery’ or a country ‘that had it as its base’ – so obviously I am not going to think much of slavery. So some of what you are saying is accurate – contextually I am a product of the 20th century in Canada. But you only see an angle when there is whole surface to be uncovered.

The bible has not helped me lessen my detest for ‘slavery’. I do not accept slavery more because of the NT or the Tanakh…is there any reason I should? But again, I am asking you to view the bible as a piece of literature in a certain time frame – which you fail to accept. As well, the scriptures do not ask me to advocate for the institution of slavery – if so – show me. As well, contextually the role of slavery is quite similar to our working a job these days (and I can actually prove that). Yet all of this is not enough – you play captain caveman with scripture and pretty much remain as dis-enlightened in the convo as you can with ‘bible says this, bible bad, see?’. For someone as reasonable as you are I find it strange the topic of Christianity and Judaism can almost make you go backwards in your reasonableness.

what I will say though is that not everyone Jesus said made moral sense, and not everything Jesus commands you to do – do you do, therefore you do pick and choose what to interpret to support your view that a book of fiction was inspired by god.” (MUR)

For some odd reason, and I am not sure if I am just reading this in, you act as if I should be somewhat scared of your reason and logic concerning my own faith? Cut and paste the contradictions – lets discuss them – I have very little problem with tough questions. I know they exist – you know they exist – but what level of meaning are they given is a whole nother question.

As for choosing – well I am person born with ‘choice’…and this is really not something ‘bad’. I will admit I face all interpretive problems head on and do not duck and hide from these issues – I am not ashamed of having faith – what’s wrong with that exactly? However, your demonizing choice when you say ‘therefore you do pick and choose’ – when it is my God given right to do exactly that. In fact, you do exactly that as well in basic society and daily living – and I am not about to demonize that. For example, you like a certain type of potato chip from a certain company perhaps? Well it’s taking money from another business yet I think that’s perfectly fine. You will vote for a certain political party which supports many of the views I disagree with (putting as in some opposition perhaps)…but hey – what’s choice for if not that?

So let’s get off this ‘high horse’ of cutting and pasting when you do the same thing with your version of reality as well. Yet, I am demonized for doing so? Odd really. I tend to find myself your equal – maybe I was wrong?

As for your problem with picking and choosing – the core issue – let’s discuss ‘why that is’?

The other thing you forget is the context of the bible – Jesus, was a Jew. Christianity, was written 40 years after Jesus’s death – by Paul, who wrote about 80,000 words about the Christian religion – and he got this inspiration from a dream” (MUR)

Oh read my blog – no one gets more into the fact Jesus was Jewish than me – in fact I personally promote this fact to Christians in general. So I already have that in the back of my head when I speak of Jesus and his faith in God (ie: himself being a follower of Judaism).

As for Paul, I think he is massly misunderstood. He see’s 2 paths to God, Gentiles via Jesus and Jews as Jews (via their faith system). Paul understands clearly that a Gentile need not follow Jewish law to follow God, not a requirement (not even in current Judaism).

As for the ‘dream’ part – don’t you think thats a tad simplistic? But what else can be said to someone who does not believe their may be a spiritual aspect to humanity. Viewing Paul in that light changes it from merely a ‘dream’ (one time thing) to a experience or aspect of his being? It’s gonna be very hard to convince me this is not realistic – since my own cultural tradition teaches spirituality is part of making the person ‘whole’ (ie: First Nations Canadian). Is it a bias, maybe?

If I had a dream and I said it was inspired by God, and it commanded that all the Christian’s in the world to do something would you believe me?” (MUR)

I would say ‘lets hear it’ and ‘lets discuss it’. I wouldnt ask people to willy-nilly accept something because you think you have the authority for it to have meaning. Even Jesus and Paul had to put some work in to be accepted.

*Comment lifted from tildebs blog ‘Why is suffering a fatal flaw for belief in a benevolent Creator’.

Canadians Tolerance Levels At An All Time High

PARIS – Canadians are the most tolerant people in the developed world, are terrific readers, enjoy more “positive experiences” than everyone but Icelanders, and don’t produce many babies, according to a new report released Tuesday. The conclusions were contained in the latest edition of Society at a Glance, a broad-brush analysis of social and economic indicators among the 34 member states of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

At 84 per cent on average, Canadians report the highest community tolerance of minority groups — ethnic minorities, migrants, and gays and lesbians — in the OECD, where the average is 61 per cent,” said a summary of Canada-specific findings.

The report also found:

• Canada has a fertility rate of 1.68 children per woman, below the OECD average of 1.74 “and easily the lowest of the anglophone OECD countries;”

New Zealand’s was 2.14, Ireland’s was at 2.07, the U.S. was 2.01, and the United Kingdom had a 1.94 per cent rate;

• Canada had the sixth-highest proportion of foreign-born people in its population, at roughly one in five;

• Canadian 15-year-olds rank third in reading skills, behind only Korea and Finland;

• Canadians rank second after Icelanders in having “positive experiences — feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, smiling, doing something interesting and experiencing enjoyment,” the report said; but

• “Canadians also have above-average negative experiences – pain, worry, sadness, stress and depression.”

Read more: http://www.canada.com/Canadians+most+tolerant+developed+world+Report/4600406/story.html#ixzz1JJt6AVUN

Defining the Term ‘Christian’

I do quite a bit of blogging with people from all stripes of Christian faith backgrounds and atheists, the only 2 parties that seem to like talking about the role of faith/religion in society. What I am noticing is the pigeon holding of the term ‘Christian’ (from both sides) and what it means to be one.

There are varying views on what a Christian is but the one that seems to stick the most is the one most adamantly (and ignorantly) defended is that a Christian is a conservative literalist when it comes to reality. Conservative in development of ‘morals’ and literal in their view of what scriptures ‘mean’. This idea of what a Christian is seems to be on the forefront of many an athiests definition as well is defended very strongly by many Christian denominations. Plus, if anyone reads or watches anything on athiest-religion debates, is almost always hauled out as the base foundation for tearing Christians a new one.

Well the term Christian actually is about a movement (ie: like how hippies were a movement) of people that identified with the idea of Jesus as messiah (ie: Christ means messiah in Greek). It’s like saying ‘I am from Victoria, I am Victor-ian’. However, the earliest recorded name for Christians was ‘the way’ – loosely based on ‘a way of living’ – likely also borrowed from Judaism law in which Halakah law was seen as ‘the way to live’. So we see early on it’s about having standards to ‘live by’.

Which is where 21st century meets history – ‘a way to live’. The way someone in 400 BCE is not the same way I am going to live in 2011 BCE. Heck, even socially and economically and culturally we all kind of live ‘different ways’. Point being, there is no actual designated way to live that defines you as a Christian – no social makeup so to speak. The scriptures themselves kind of point to this uniqueness as well with varying ways to build your life from Ecclesiastes to Matthew to Paul’s Letters.

So what is a Christian?