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Applying the same happiness index as before (% very happy – % not too happy), the following graph shows self-reported happiness by frequency of religious service attendance. For contemporary relevance responses are from 2000 onward and to avoid racial confounding only non-Hispanic whites are considered:

As in the case of marital status, controlling for age does not attenuate the relationship. To the contrary, it actually modestly strengthens it, especially among younger cohorts.

Okay, but belonging to a church creates a sense of community. Maybe the benefits are entirely secular rather than spiritual.

Yeah, maybe. Score one for Pascal, then.

On the other hand, belief alone is associated with higher levels of self-reported happiness. Happiness indices by theistic orientation using the same parameters:

Ignorance is bliss? Again, maybe. Score one for Lisa, then.

Destroy marriage, destroy the church, destroy theism–if I didn’t know better, I might think immiseration was the objective. Time to start painting everything blue.

GSS variables used: ATTEND(0)(1-2)(3-4)(5-6)(7-8), GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6), RACECEN1(1), HISPANIC(1), HAPPY, AGE

 
• Category: Culture/Society, Ideology, Science • Tags: Community, God, GSS, Religion 
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  1. Yeah, maybe. Score one for Pascal, then.

    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.

    Publicly, he was arguing that one (and people in general) could be moral without a belief in God.

    • Replies: @Talha

    it’d be extremely inconvenient for him
     
    Yup - deal with the inconvenience now or later...

    Peace.
    , @Stan d Mute

    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.
     
    Well it would screw up my personal ethics, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how I’d be able to handle the hypocrisy the Bible thumpers do.
    , @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    An atheist can not be moral for an atheist routinely breaks the "Keep Holy The Lord's Day" Commandment
  2. Yeah not surprising at all. I don’t feel spiritually fulfilled and uplifted all week if I don’t go to Church on Sunday. It gives me energy to face my week.

    Most atheists don’t know what they’re missing. Most gen z were just raised that way and are incapable of viewing religion without a snark. Come try it with an open mind and accept Jesus into your heart, you may be surprised.

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I don’t feel spiritually fulfilled and uplifted all week if I don’t go to Church on Sunday.
     
    You know, you could go to church on days other than/in addition to Sunday.

    If you are a Catholic, try the daily Mass.
    , @Mr. Rational

    Most atheists don’t know what they’re missing.
     
    I was dragged to church services weekly throughout my childhood, plus a couple years of weekday sessions for chatechism.  I don't miss them one bit!  Aside from some of the music, it was THE most crushing boredom I was ever forced to endure outside of public school.  That experience probably accounts for why I became an atheist in the first place.

    Since I went to college I have only stepped into churches for weddings and funerals.
  3. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Yeah not surprising at all. I don't feel spiritually fulfilled and uplifted all week if I don't go to Church on Sunday. It gives me energy to face my week.

    Most atheists don't know what they're missing. Most gen z were just raised that way and are incapable of viewing religion without a snark. Come try it with an open mind and accept Jesus into your heart, you may be surprised.

    I don’t feel spiritually fulfilled and uplifted all week if I don’t go to Church on Sunday.

    You know, you could go to church on days other than/in addition to Sunday.

    If you are a Catholic, try the daily Mass.

  4. Anonymous[155] • Disclaimer says:

    I think it matters what theistic orientation you have. So does Roy Schoeman, who makes this point in his talks. Schoeman spent his childhood and teen age years immersed in Hasidic Judaism before going off to MIT to study math and computer science and then becoming the youngest full professor at Harvard Business School. He said he never felt happiness in the love or presence of God until the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and led him into the Catholic Church. Decades later he is still a joyful and devout Catholic.

    https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/faith-and-character/faith-and-character/roy-schoeman-s-conversion-story.html

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The late Bobby Fischer, the greatest chess player in the history of the world, opines at the end of his life:

    According to Gardar Sverrisson, Bobby talked with him about the transformation of society by creating harmony with one another, and then professed that he thought "the only hope for the world is through Catholicism. "- Endgame by Frank Brady (Random House, 2011), p. 456
     
  5. if I didn’t know better, I might think immiseration was the objective

    Happiness that isn’t store bought can die in a fire as far as Capital is concerned. Capital loves unhappy humans who can be shown a way out through consumption.

    That said, what do you know that makes you doubt it’s a goal?

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    A desire to be allowed around polite company!

    (Or maybe it was just an attempt at rhetorical flourish, heh)
  6. To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass — the holy celebration of the Eucharist. (One could also include Eastern Orthodox churches as well.)

    I say this not out of chauvinism, but because among all forms of worship, ecumenically speaking, the Catholic mass is unique inasmuch as it is not merely a prayer service or communal worship service. To those who do not know, something vastly more sublime and even cosmic is taking place. Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they’re hedging, they don’t really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church.

    This cosmic event takes place every single day, everywhere on earth. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, well as scripture says, Come and see.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
    "Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they’re hedging, they don’t really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church."

    But of course Catholic massacres, executions by burning at the stake, and forced removal of children from their parents, all of which started the whole mess, is completely justified and had nothing to do with later Protestant actions.
    , @silviosilver
    Aesthetics and a sense of community are all that Catholicism has going for it. The minute I'm forced to contemplate its ethical positions and the ridiculous sand fables contained in its scriptures, I'm turned right off again.
    , @MikeatMikedotMike
    "To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass — the holy celebration of the Eucharist."

    I disagree. Catholic mass is a repetitive, arduous affair with bad music. (Kind of like an exorcism without any spinning heads.) And yes I was raised RC, and went to a Marianist HS.
  7. anon[177] • Disclaimer says:

    Perhaps this is merely an indication that belonging to a community increases happiness. The most ethnocentric racist group (blacks) generally report to pollsters that they think the country is going in the right direction and have relatively low suicide rates compared with whites. I wonder if data is available for the happiness of other communities: the military, racial groups, scientific associations, feminist groups …

    PS. Have you ever considered a Gofundme campaign with the aim of raising money to commission polling data on various controversial subjects?

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    I have. SurveyUSA commissions polls for fairly cheap because they're all automated. I'm not sure how wide their Overton Window is, but I should inquire.
  8. anonymous[426] • Disclaimer says:

    Soon, given the interest in HBD around here, what do the graphs look like for other self reported races and/or ethnicities? Can’t count on everyone to be WEIRD, right?

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Coming.
  9. Durkheim figured it out back in the 1890s

    destroy “normalcy” -> induce suicide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @notanon
    nb i don't think it's necessarily deliberate - it could just be a case of getting past a filter i.e. trends that damage the elite get filtered and trends that don't are ignored.

    so in the past aristo land owners might have seen discontented peasants as a potential problem whereas discontented consumers might actually be good for capital (up to a point) so it's ignored.
  10. @notanon
    Durkheim figured it out back in the 1890s

    destroy "normalcy" -> induce suicide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie

    nb i don’t think it’s necessarily deliberate – it could just be a case of getting past a filter i.e. trends that damage the elite get filtered and trends that don’t are ignored.

    so in the past aristo land owners might have seen discontented peasants as a potential problem whereas discontented consumers might actually be good for capital (up to a point) so it’s ignored.

  11. Anonymous[152] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    I think it matters what theistic orientation you have. So does Roy Schoeman, who makes this point in his talks. Schoeman spent his childhood and teen age years immersed in Hasidic Judaism before going off to MIT to study math and computer science and then becoming the youngest full professor at Harvard Business School. He said he never felt happiness in the love or presence of God until the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and led him into the Catholic Church. Decades later he is still a joyful and devout Catholic.

    https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/faith-and-character/faith-and-character/roy-schoeman-s-conversion-story.html

    The late Bobby Fischer, the greatest chess player in the history of the world, opines at the end of his life:

    According to Gardar Sverrisson, Bobby talked with him about the transformation of society by creating harmony with one another, and then professed that he thought “the only hope for the world is through Catholicism. “- Endgame by Frank Brady (Random House, 2011), p. 456

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    Anybody who is intellectually honest with himself and is willing to set aside his pride eventually realizes that the Roman Catholic Church is "The Church" simpliciter, that it is the one true body in which subsists God's redeeming grace. There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions which atheists would have a hard time explaining away. From Machiavelli to Oscar Wilde to John von Neumann, and in more recent days, James Burnham and Lawrence Auster. No one could possibly accuse these men of being feeble-minded, unworldly, superstitious, or grasping at empty hopes. Their thoughts and deeds, even those they later recanted, have a sublimity and gravity that one searches for in vain among all the works of the atheists put together. If they can believe, then belief is validated by the highest human authority. I give thanks to God for each and every one of these souls. They are all miracles of grace.
  12. @Twinkie

    Yeah, maybe. Score one for Pascal, then.
     
    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.

    Publicly, he was arguing that one (and people in general) could be moral without a belief in God.

    it’d be extremely inconvenient for him

    Yup – deal with the inconvenience now or later…

    Peace.

    • Replies: @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Out of curiosity, do Christians/Jews go to heaven for you? I know they are the other "religions of the book", and from what I've heard that's better than atheism/paganism to Muslims.
  13. @Talha

    it’d be extremely inconvenient for him
     
    Yup - deal with the inconvenience now or later...

    Peace.

    Out of curiosity, do Christians/Jews go to heaven for you? I know they are the other “religions of the book”, and from what I’ve heard that’s better than atheism/paganism to Muslims.

    • Replies: @Talha
    Ultimately, God can let into Paradise whoever He wills - because only He ultimately knows the state of a person's heart at the time of their death and the reasons why they may or may not have accepted one faith or another. Imam Ghazali (ra) wrote about this; for instance, a person that was never exposed to Islam or someone who was exposed to a distorted version of it not being judged by the same yardstick.

    And because, He is God, Who does whatever He wants without accountability:
    "And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (3:129)

    No one can disagree with Him - or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    "A man said: 'By Allah - Allah will not forgive this person!' Allah, Almighty said: 'Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.'” - reported in Muslim

    But the doctrine is clear, we are not perennialists; we have been commanded it to make it clear that God will only accept Islam:
    "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the lost." (3:85)

    Being a person of the Book is a higher status than atheism/polytheism - no doubt about this (we can eat their meat, marry their women, etc.). My teacher mentioned that the person from the People of the Book that convert to Islam get a two-fold reward as opposed to others; for adhering to a prior revealed dispensation and for accepting Islam.

    Peace.
    , @Johnny Rottenborough
    UrbaneFrancoOntarian—Some other religions receive special treatment, too. From the book of Islamic law, Reliance of the Traveller:

    o11.1 A formal agreement of protection is made with citizens who are: (1) Jews; (2) Christians; (3) Zoroastrians; (4) Samarians and Sabians, if their religions do not respectively contradict the fundamental bases of Judaism and Christianity; (5) and those who adhere to the religion of Abraham or one of the other prophets (upon whom be blessings and peace).

    o11.2 Such an agreement may not be effected with those who are idol worshippers, or those who do not have a Sacred Book or something that could have been a Book. (Something that could have been a Book refers to those like the Zoroastrians, who have remnants resembling an ancient Book. As for the pseudo-scriptures of cults that have appeared since Islam such as the Sikhs, Baha’is, Mormons, Qadianis, etc, they neither are nor could be a Book, since the Koran is the final revelation.)

    o11.3 Such an agreement is only valid when the subject peoples: (a) follow the rules of Islam; (b) and pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizyah).

    , @The KP Factor
    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.

    There are a few verses in the Quran, which depending on interpretation indicates that Good Honorable Jews and Christians go to Heaven, whereas other interpreations say that was for a specific time and place period. I cant remember the verses off hand.

    As most of us Muslims would answer...God knows best.

    In another note, on a personal level, I found this article interesting as I too went from being practising to non commital to doutbful/agnostic and then found faith again and this pretty much ties up with the sense of happiness and the levels thereof.
  14. Why only give the stats for non-Hispanics whites? It would be interesting to see the stats for other racial/ethnic groups. While I suspect the overall trend would be the same (believers happier than non-believers, religious practitioners happier than non-practitioners) there might be interesting differences in degree among various groups.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Touche.
  15. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Out of curiosity, do Christians/Jews go to heaven for you? I know they are the other "religions of the book", and from what I've heard that's better than atheism/paganism to Muslims.

    Ultimately, God can let into Paradise whoever He wills – because only He ultimately knows the state of a person’s heart at the time of their death and the reasons why they may or may not have accepted one faith or another. Imam Ghazali (ra) wrote about this; for instance, a person that was never exposed to Islam or someone who was exposed to a distorted version of it not being judged by the same yardstick.

    And because, He is God, Who does whatever He wants without accountability:
    “And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:129)

    No one can disagree with Him – or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    “A man said: ‘By Allah – Allah will not forgive this person!’ Allah, Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.’” – reported in Muslim

    But the doctrine is clear, we are not perennialists; we have been commanded it to make it clear that God will only accept Islam:
    “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the lost.” (3:85)

    Being a person of the Book is a higher status than atheism/polytheism – no doubt about this (we can eat their meat, marry their women, etc.). My teacher mentioned that the person from the People of the Book that convert to Islam get a two-fold reward as opposed to others; for adhering to a prior revealed dispensation and for accepting Islam.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @silviosilver

    No one can disagree with Him – or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    “A man said: ‘By Allah – Allah will not forgive this person!’ Allah, Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.’” – reported in Muslim
     
    Lol, what a fickle bastard.

    I guess this was an example of his vaunted "mercy" on display.

    That's okay though. Let muslims torture themselves with this nonsense. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this Allah creature does not - indeed, cannot - exist.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    Dante, who loved Virgil, thought the best the poet could do was be on the outside looking in.
    , @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    God can not contradict Himself as He routinely does in the Koran
  16. Anonymous[403] • Disclaimer says:

  17. If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    People’s apologetic arguments for religious belief have changed because their beliefs about god have changed. Yuval Harari in one of his books points out that god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.

    Only with the progress of science, medicine and technology, combined with market liberalism, later generations of believers realized that god doesn’t do a very good job in these areas compared to effective human efforts. Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.

    So now believers have given their god the less obvious job of tweaking human psychology. He has the task of giving the people he favors intangible feelings that their lives have meaning and purpose.

    And notice that this turn in religious thinking didn’t happen exclusively because of the efforts of mean atheists and freethinkers who criticized their beliefs. Instead it has happened spontaneously and organically, a product of human action but not of human design, in response to the more benign living conditions of modernity. The trend towards psychologizing god happened pretty much for the same reasons as the trend away from believing in the supernatural in the first place.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Disagree: utu
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.
     
    That is an incorrect characterization of Christian, particularly Catholic, theology. What is good for human soul is good eveywhere, be it in this world or next. And no world is a “throwaway” and has consequences.

    god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.
     
    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.

    Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.
     
    I don’t know about our leaders, but pay a visit to hospital ICUs. You will find chapels and people praying for miracles/Divine intervention.

    more benign living conditions of modernity.
     
    It’s like someone built into us a hunger for struggle and a thirst for transcendental beauty, given how unsatisfying easy life is for humans. :)
    , @silviosilver
    Excellent points. But you can make no more headway with religious apologists than you can with racial egalitarians. Neither of them adopted their beliefs for rational reasons, after all.
    , @polaco

    religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation.
     
    Not at all. God told Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and SUBDUE IT, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." It's clear He intended for people to make the best use of the Earth's resources, use them to their maximum advantage, to discover and improve, to make their lives as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.
    God's directed us to make practical use of what's at hand to the best of our abilities, the physical reality is ours for the taking.

    Historical Christians (...) believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.
     
    He never promised them a rose garden, to quote a song. But He gave them the assurance that whatever evil and misfortune befalls them, it will amount to nothing after they have died and moved on to eternity. This life is just a blink of the cosmic eye, a finite amount of time, and that eternity (infinity) awaits those who have proven themselves and are worthy of spending it with God. Well, in Poland in the second grade of High School kids learn about infinite series, their limits etc., and how finite numbers, no matter how large pale to zero when compared to infinity. But High School math isn't even needed to figure these things out. Even the intensity of physical and emotional pain can be quantified, and it can be neither infinitely large or long, so when we're looking back at it from the other side, after we die- it will be a laughing matter. An adult won't even budge and isn't going to concern himself with small injuries, but the first time he cut his finger as a little kid he surely was terrified and cried. So God has also cautioned people not to take this life to seriously, for its character is quite transitory, and a lot of things we hold as extremely important will be of no consequence in the grand scheme of things in the afterlife. I'm sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    As to atheism. Although not a Christian, Fred has written many articles critical of the theory of evolution for this website making the case for the world's being created. He's made a number of excellent points. However, he begun one of his articles, using mathematical probability to explain how a monkey won't be able to write a book by randomly punching at a keyboard, not even in the amount of time equal to the believed age of the universe. He was right, but one must understand that in the physical world nothing happens randomly. The future can be calculated and predicted. We can confirm and backtrace the position of the earth in the solar system, millions of years ago, as well as into the future, because the number of variables we need to account for is small. Even if some asteroid is going to hit the earth in the future, it won't be random, our not knowing about it doesn't mean it will come out of the blue, it's there, it follows a specific trajectory, confirming to the laws of physics, and everything can be precisely calculated when all the variables are taken into account. The same goes for every particle in the universe, you just add up the three dimensional vectors that represent all of the very specific forces (non-random, every single one of them), that acted upon it since time zero, when God created the world, and you get one vector describing its position in the universe now.

    A lottery drawing is not random, randomness is an abstract concept, it only exists on paper and in theory. If you could calculate the forces acting upon the numbered balls (the electrical current that determines suction, vibrations of the building, the balls' initial positions and how they collide) to be drawn, you'd know the outcomes with 100% certainty for every given time interval when the "start" button can be pressed. You'd know the specific outcome from say one to three seconds, from four to ten it would be a different specific outcome. All you need is enough computational power and to account for all the variables to predict the future. The only randomness I can think of comes from the human side (for we don't know when the button will be pressed, when our guy will make up his mind, his random thought)- his soul, not the brain- which is a physical object and once it gets the instructions to have the body do something, we could calculate and predict what is going to happen by looking at the brain waves and the chemical reactions inside it. Some college kids made a computer device to cheat the casino roulette game in Vegas, accurate enough to beat the house, had they perfected it to take everything into account, their success rate would've been 100%, nothing is random, their case was settled in court several years back. Just shoot an arrow from a bow, right there you can predict the future, where it will go, and calculate its trajectory using simple formulas. It's the same for everything else, but we don't have the computational power and ability to account for everything in this complex, interconnected network, that is the universe, our own breathing, radiating heat, and even looking at things, reflecting, and absorbing light in our eyes for example causes domino effects we have no idea about. But the One who created everything does, and therefore it's no surprise how He knows everything that happens here. So much for the theory of evolution and its linchpin "random mutation" assumption. It can be argued that even if not random, there is no reason that evolution didn't take the course it did- well, Fred's numerous articles provide enough reasons to doubt that. Therefore, to me too, the world looks created, and I have no reason to believe God can't tweak it to our favour, if we pray for something, saint Thomas Aquinas' "first mover" argument fits my understanding. Again, as Fred has written, our mind is incapable of comprehending the questions of ultimate origin, or as my late grandmother used to say "it's [takes] the mind, not of our heads" [to comprehend these things].
  18. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Out of curiosity, do Christians/Jews go to heaven for you? I know they are the other "religions of the book", and from what I've heard that's better than atheism/paganism to Muslims.

    UrbaneFrancoOntarian—Some other religions receive special treatment, too. From the book of Islamic law, Reliance of the Traveller:

    o11.1 A formal agreement of protection is made with citizens who are: (1) Jews; (2) Christians; (3) Zoroastrians; (4) Samarians and Sabians, if their religions do not respectively contradict the fundamental bases of Judaism and Christianity; (5) and those who adhere to the religion of Abraham or one of the other prophets (upon whom be blessings and peace).

    o11.2 Such an agreement may not be effected with those who are idol worshippers, or those who do not have a Sacred Book or something that could have been a Book. (Something that could have been a Book refers to those like the Zoroastrians, who have remnants resembling an ancient Book. As for the pseudo-scriptures of cults that have appeared since Islam such as the Sikhs, Baha’is, Mormons, Qadianis, etc, they neither are nor could be a Book, since the Koran is the final revelation.)

    o11.3 Such an agreement is only valid when the subject peoples: (a) follow the rules of Islam; (b) and pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizyah).

  19. @advancedatheist
    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man's life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    People's apologetic arguments for religious belief have changed because their beliefs about god have changed. Yuval Harari in one of his books points out that god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.

    Only with the progress of science, medicine and technology, combined with market liberalism, later generations of believers realized that god doesn't do a very good job in these areas compared to effective human efforts. Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.

    So now believers have given their god the less obvious job of tweaking human psychology. He has the task of giving the people he favors intangible feelings that their lives have meaning and purpose.

    And notice that this turn in religious thinking didn't happen exclusively because of the efforts of mean atheists and freethinkers who criticized their beliefs. Instead it has happened spontaneously and organically, a product of human action but not of human design, in response to the more benign living conditions of modernity. The trend towards psychologizing god happened pretty much for the same reasons as the trend away from believing in the supernatural in the first place.

    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    That is an incorrect characterization of Christian, particularly Catholic, theology. What is good for human soul is good eveywhere, be it in this world or next. And no world is a “throwaway” and has consequences.

    god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.

    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.

    Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.

    I don’t know about our leaders, but pay a visit to hospital ICUs. You will find chapels and people praying for miracles/Divine intervention.

    more benign living conditions of modernity.

    It’s like someone built into us a hunger for struggle and a thirst for transcendental beauty, given how unsatisfying easy life is for humans. 🙂

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.
     
    Do you deplore God when you're faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God's purview when they're good?
  20. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass -- the holy celebration of the Eucharist. (One could also include Eastern Orthodox churches as well.)

    I say this not out of chauvinism, but because among all forms of worship, ecumenically speaking, the Catholic mass is unique inasmuch as it is not merely a prayer service or communal worship service. To those who do not know, something vastly more sublime and even cosmic is taking place. Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they're hedging, they don't really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church.

    This cosmic event takes place every single day, everywhere on earth. If you don't know what I'm referring to, well as scripture says, Come and see.

    “Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they’re hedging, they don’t really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church.”

    But of course Catholic massacres, executions by burning at the stake, and forced removal of children from their parents, all of which started the whole mess, is completely justified and had nothing to do with later Protestant actions.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    NASA radar tracking stations have identified my argument sailing straight over your head at a distance of 47,000 feet. Apparently you prefer finger-pointing and schoolyard chants. Perhaps one day the Almighty shall be pleased to lift you up from your sandbox.
  21. @advancedatheist
    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man's life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    People's apologetic arguments for religious belief have changed because their beliefs about god have changed. Yuval Harari in one of his books points out that god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.

    Only with the progress of science, medicine and technology, combined with market liberalism, later generations of believers realized that god doesn't do a very good job in these areas compared to effective human efforts. Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.

    So now believers have given their god the less obvious job of tweaking human psychology. He has the task of giving the people he favors intangible feelings that their lives have meaning and purpose.

    And notice that this turn in religious thinking didn't happen exclusively because of the efforts of mean atheists and freethinkers who criticized their beliefs. Instead it has happened spontaneously and organically, a product of human action but not of human design, in response to the more benign living conditions of modernity. The trend towards psychologizing god happened pretty much for the same reasons as the trend away from believing in the supernatural in the first place.

    Excellent points. But you can make no more headway with religious apologists than you can with racial egalitarians. Neither of them adopted their beliefs for rational reasons, after all.

  22. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass -- the holy celebration of the Eucharist. (One could also include Eastern Orthodox churches as well.)

    I say this not out of chauvinism, but because among all forms of worship, ecumenically speaking, the Catholic mass is unique inasmuch as it is not merely a prayer service or communal worship service. To those who do not know, something vastly more sublime and even cosmic is taking place. Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they're hedging, they don't really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church.

    This cosmic event takes place every single day, everywhere on earth. If you don't know what I'm referring to, well as scripture says, Come and see.

    Aesthetics and a sense of community are all that Catholicism has going for it. The minute I’m forced to contemplate its ethical positions and the ridiculous sand fables contained in its scriptures, I’m turned right off again.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Your language betrays the clear fact that you've never actually "contemplated" a single thing with any sort of seriousness, ever. PRO TIP: it doesn't involve sitting on a straw mat with your eyes closed, or brooding in a library carrel.

    That's okay, I really hate the strawberry Choco-Pops myself.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    ridiculous sand fables

    How much of the bible have you read? This feels like an unfair characterization to me, even for a non-believer.
  23. @Talha
    Ultimately, God can let into Paradise whoever He wills - because only He ultimately knows the state of a person's heart at the time of their death and the reasons why they may or may not have accepted one faith or another. Imam Ghazali (ra) wrote about this; for instance, a person that was never exposed to Islam or someone who was exposed to a distorted version of it not being judged by the same yardstick.

    And because, He is God, Who does whatever He wants without accountability:
    "And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (3:129)

    No one can disagree with Him - or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    "A man said: 'By Allah - Allah will not forgive this person!' Allah, Almighty said: 'Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.'” - reported in Muslim

    But the doctrine is clear, we are not perennialists; we have been commanded it to make it clear that God will only accept Islam:
    "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the lost." (3:85)

    Being a person of the Book is a higher status than atheism/polytheism - no doubt about this (we can eat their meat, marry their women, etc.). My teacher mentioned that the person from the People of the Book that convert to Islam get a two-fold reward as opposed to others; for adhering to a prior revealed dispensation and for accepting Islam.

    Peace.

    No one can disagree with Him – or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    “A man said: ‘By Allah – Allah will not forgive this person!’ Allah, Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.’” – reported in Muslim

    Lol, what a fickle bastard.

    I guess this was an example of his vaunted “mercy” on display.

    That’s okay though. Let muslims torture themselves with this nonsense. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this Allah creature does not – indeed, cannot – exist.

    • Replies: @Talha

    fickle bastard
     
    Remember to tell Him that when you meet Him.

    I guess this was an example of his vaunted “mercy” on display.
     
    Yes, He forgave a servant that was undeserving just because He wanted to in order to show that no one by He determines the locus of His Mercy and Forgiveness.

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this Allah creature does not – indeed, cannot – exist.
     
    It is good to have full conviction in your beliefs and be willing to face the full consequences of them. Bravo, sir - bravo!

    Peace.
  24. Anonymous[679] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.
     
    That is an incorrect characterization of Christian, particularly Catholic, theology. What is good for human soul is good eveywhere, be it in this world or next. And no world is a “throwaway” and has consequences.

    god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.
     
    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.

    Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.
     
    I don’t know about our leaders, but pay a visit to hospital ICUs. You will find chapels and people praying for miracles/Divine intervention.

    more benign living conditions of modernity.
     
    It’s like someone built into us a hunger for struggle and a thirst for transcendental beauty, given how unsatisfying easy life is for humans. :)

    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.

    Do you deplore God when you’re faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God’s purview when they’re good?

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Do you deplore God when you’re faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God’s purview when they’re good?
     
    If I could understand his motive, I wouldn’t be a flawed and limited human. But being a father, I have some sense about why God inflicts pain and suffering, but also why He sacrificed himself.
    , @Athletic and Whitesplosive
    As always the committed atheists (yourself along with silvio) expose themselves as both shallow ignorami who know nothing about what they criticize, but also as total ingrates. When someone gives you a gift, or even better, saves you from the consequence of your own stupidity, your first instinct is to ask "well why don't you do this every time you evil bastard?"

    When atheists aren't calling God a totalitarian slave driver for giving us the gift of law, they're complaining that he doesn't have an iron grip over our will which prevents anything bad from ever happening. If evil is impossible in principle then the world is a moral vacuum where agency is impossible. In fact, given this defective phsychology, you'd think you'd be happier; if we are mere material then consciousness is an illusion, the brain is not more than the sum of it's parts, and you really are just a chemical robot with no will or real capacity to experience evil, you have everything you want! So then why are you all such miserable bastards?

    But arguing with pathological atheists is like arguing with pathological progressives or homosexuals, evidence against their position is always just a coincidence according to their just-so stories (just look at silvio up thread, it's just a coincidence that Christianity is deeply fulfilling and allows human flourishing!), and their materialist nonsense position is of course the one that the "rational" people who aren't at all emotionally wedded to it for phsychological reasons take.
  25. @silviosilver

    No one can disagree with Him – or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    “A man said: ‘By Allah – Allah will not forgive this person!’ Allah, Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.’” – reported in Muslim
     
    Lol, what a fickle bastard.

    I guess this was an example of his vaunted "mercy" on display.

    That's okay though. Let muslims torture themselves with this nonsense. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this Allah creature does not - indeed, cannot - exist.

    fickle bastard

    Remember to tell Him that when you meet Him.

    I guess this was an example of his vaunted “mercy” on display.

    Yes, He forgave a servant that was undeserving just because He wanted to in order to show that no one by He determines the locus of His Mercy and Forgiveness.

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this Allah creature does not – indeed, cannot – exist.

    It is good to have full conviction in your beliefs and be willing to face the full consequences of them. Bravo, sir – bravo!

    Peace.

  26. @Anonymous

    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.
     
    Do you deplore God when you're faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God's purview when they're good?

    Do you deplore God when you’re faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God’s purview when they’re good?

    If I could understand his motive, I wouldn’t be a flawed and limited human. But being a father, I have some sense about why God inflicts pain and suffering, but also why He sacrificed himself.

  27. @EldnahYm
    "Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they’re hedging, they don’t really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church."

    But of course Catholic massacres, executions by burning at the stake, and forced removal of children from their parents, all of which started the whole mess, is completely justified and had nothing to do with later Protestant actions.

    NASA radar tracking stations have identified my argument sailing straight over your head at a distance of 47,000 feet. Apparently you prefer finger-pointing and schoolyard chants. Perhaps one day the Almighty shall be pleased to lift you up from your sandbox.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    Daresay the evasion was yours; moreover your voluble pretensions of superiority in so many comments sort of give the game away.
  28. @silviosilver
    Aesthetics and a sense of community are all that Catholicism has going for it. The minute I'm forced to contemplate its ethical positions and the ridiculous sand fables contained in its scriptures, I'm turned right off again.

    Your language betrays the clear fact that you’ve never actually “contemplated” a single thing with any sort of seriousness, ever. PRO TIP: it doesn’t involve sitting on a straw mat with your eyes closed, or brooding in a library carrel.

    That’s okay, I really hate the strawberry Choco-Pops myself.

  29. Well several years ago when the issue of marriage and divorce rates came up I found the following data sets interesting.

    https://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

    https://www.barna.com/research/new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released/

    I would add my two cents in regarding divorce rates among people of faith linked for lower tolerance for infidelity — but I have not looked at those numbers for some time. But all in all marriage remains the staple relational dynamic for the US population and largely successful.

  30. @Anonymous

    That hasn’t changed for faithful believers. Faithful Christians aren’t Deists. We still give thanks for good harvests and good health.
     
    Do you deplore God when you're faced with bad harvests and bad health? Or are harvests and health only under God's purview when they're good?

    As always the committed atheists (yourself along with silvio) expose themselves as both shallow ignorami who know nothing about what they criticize, but also as total ingrates. When someone gives you a gift, or even better, saves you from the consequence of your own stupidity, your first instinct is to ask “well why don’t you do this every time you evil bastard?”

    When atheists aren’t calling God a totalitarian slave driver for giving us the gift of law, they’re complaining that he doesn’t have an iron grip over our will which prevents anything bad from ever happening. If evil is impossible in principle then the world is a moral vacuum where agency is impossible. In fact, given this defective phsychology, you’d think you’d be happier; if we are mere material then consciousness is an illusion, the brain is not more than the sum of it’s parts, and you really are just a chemical robot with no will or real capacity to experience evil, you have everything you want! So then why are you all such miserable bastards?

    But arguing with pathological atheists is like arguing with pathological progressives or homosexuals, evidence against their position is always just a coincidence according to their just-so stories (just look at silvio up thread, it’s just a coincidence that Christianity is deeply fulfilling and allows human flourishing!), and their materialist nonsense position is of course the one that the “rational” people who aren’t at all emotionally wedded to it for phsychological reasons take.

  31. O/T

    Whatever political capital we have left, it would be wise to use here

    Invade/Invite

    This could turn into a stream of millions of work permits if the neocons get their way.

    Just recall how the CPAC boss was paid to just get an extra five figures of H-2B visas, now imagine what seven figures of these indefinite ersatz-visas would mean.

  32. GOP:

    Broke: Give your enemies tax cuts

    Woke: Spend donorbucks with your enemies

    All you have to do is tell the 2% to sod off, bail on twitter, and join the Gab site.

    But “the best people” can’t figure out BIG SOCIAL IS THE ENEMY

  33. @advancedatheist
    If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man's life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    People's apologetic arguments for religious belief have changed because their beliefs about god have changed. Yuval Harari in one of his books points out that god used to have the job of making the crops grow and keeping his believers healthy, hence all the traditional prayers for good harvests and good health.

    Only with the progress of science, medicine and technology, combined with market liberalism, later generations of believers realized that god doesn't do a very good job in these areas compared to effective human efforts. Notice that our leaders no longer pray publicly for a bountiful corn crop or protection from the annual malaria epidemic, for example.

    So now believers have given their god the less obvious job of tweaking human psychology. He has the task of giving the people he favors intangible feelings that their lives have meaning and purpose.

    And notice that this turn in religious thinking didn't happen exclusively because of the efforts of mean atheists and freethinkers who criticized their beliefs. Instead it has happened spontaneously and organically, a product of human action but not of human design, in response to the more benign living conditions of modernity. The trend towards psychologizing god happened pretty much for the same reasons as the trend away from believing in the supernatural in the first place.

    religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation.

    Not at all. God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and SUBDUE IT, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” It’s clear He intended for people to make the best use of the Earth’s resources, use them to their maximum advantage, to discover and improve, to make their lives as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.
    God’s directed us to make practical use of what’s at hand to the best of our abilities, the physical reality is ours for the taking.

    Historical Christians (…) believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.

    He never promised them a rose garden, to quote a song. But He gave them the assurance that whatever evil and misfortune befalls them, it will amount to nothing after they have died and moved on to eternity. This life is just a blink of the cosmic eye, a finite amount of time, and that eternity (infinity) awaits those who have proven themselves and are worthy of spending it with God. Well, in Poland in the second grade of High School kids learn about infinite series, their limits etc., and how finite numbers, no matter how large pale to zero when compared to infinity. But High School math isn’t even needed to figure these things out. Even the intensity of physical and emotional pain can be quantified, and it can be neither infinitely large or long, so when we’re looking back at it from the other side, after we die- it will be a laughing matter. An adult won’t even budge and isn’t going to concern himself with small injuries, but the first time he cut his finger as a little kid he surely was terrified and cried. So God has also cautioned people not to take this life to seriously, for its character is quite transitory, and a lot of things we hold as extremely important will be of no consequence in the grand scheme of things in the afterlife. I’m sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    As to atheism. Although not a Christian, Fred has written many articles critical of the theory of evolution for this website making the case for the world’s being created. He’s made a number of excellent points. However, he begun one of his articles, using mathematical probability to explain how a monkey won’t be able to write a book by randomly punching at a keyboard, not even in the amount of time equal to the believed age of the universe. He was right, but one must understand that in the physical world nothing happens randomly. The future can be calculated and predicted. We can confirm and backtrace the position of the earth in the solar system, millions of years ago, as well as into the future, because the number of variables we need to account for is small. Even if some asteroid is going to hit the earth in the future, it won’t be random, our not knowing about it doesn’t mean it will come out of the blue, it’s there, it follows a specific trajectory, confirming to the laws of physics, and everything can be precisely calculated when all the variables are taken into account. The same goes for every particle in the universe, you just add up the three dimensional vectors that represent all of the very specific forces (non-random, every single one of them), that acted upon it since time zero, when God created the world, and you get one vector describing its position in the universe now.

    A lottery drawing is not random, randomness is an abstract concept, it only exists on paper and in theory. If you could calculate the forces acting upon the numbered balls (the electrical current that determines suction, vibrations of the building, the balls’ initial positions and how they collide) to be drawn, you’d know the outcomes with 100% certainty for every given time interval when the “start” button can be pressed. You’d know the specific outcome from say one to three seconds, from four to ten it would be a different specific outcome. All you need is enough computational power and to account for all the variables to predict the future. The only randomness I can think of comes from the human side (for we don’t know when the button will be pressed, when our guy will make up his mind, his random thought)- his soul, not the brain- which is a physical object and once it gets the instructions to have the body do something, we could calculate and predict what is going to happen by looking at the brain waves and the chemical reactions inside it. Some college kids made a computer device to cheat the casino roulette game in Vegas, accurate enough to beat the house, had they perfected it to take everything into account, their success rate would’ve been 100%, nothing is random, their case was settled in court several years back. Just shoot an arrow from a bow, right there you can predict the future, where it will go, and calculate its trajectory using simple formulas. It’s the same for everything else, but we don’t have the computational power and ability to account for everything in this complex, interconnected network, that is the universe, our own breathing, radiating heat, and even looking at things, reflecting, and absorbing light in our eyes for example causes domino effects we have no idea about. But the One who created everything does, and therefore it’s no surprise how He knows everything that happens here. So much for the theory of evolution and its linchpin “random mutation” assumption. It can be argued that even if not random, there is no reason that evolution didn’t take the course it did- well, Fred’s numerous articles provide enough reasons to doubt that. Therefore, to me too, the world looks created, and I have no reason to believe God can’t tweak it to our favour, if we pray for something, saint Thomas Aquinas’ “first mover” argument fits my understanding. Again, as Fred has written, our mind is incapable of comprehending the questions of ultimate origin, or as my late grandmother used to say “it’s [takes] the mind, not of our heads” [to comprehend these things].

    • Replies: @silviosilver

    blah blah blah...blah
     
    If we had actual proof of God's existence, then what you said here may be a good way of understanding our relationship to him or it may not, but people would worship God regardless - simply because they'd be scared shitless of what he might to do them. (This also tends to keep people worshiping him in our own world - a world in which there's nothing like proof of his existence.)

    Of course, the last thing Christians are interested in is discussing the evidence for God's existence. Once a person has his curiosity aroused about the question, it's almost inevitable he'll ditch the faith (in a "true believer" sense), so feeble is the theistic "reasoning" that's proffered. As I've heard it put, "few people doubted God's existence until philosophers tried to prove it." And if he didn't belong to the faith in the first place, reasoning alone isn't going to get him to accept it, for as I've also heard it put, "once you understand why you reject other gods, you'll understand why I reject yours."

    , @Audacious Epigone
    I’m sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    Pretty much everything that happened in high school! That's a good, accessible analogy, thanks.
  34. “”If you want to make empirical arguments about how religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation. Historical Christians would not have understood this way of thinking about their religion because they considered this world a throwaway; they believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.”

    I think you intend to make a case that if in fact a life with Christ is to happiness or to the good, then one should it manifest in life as human beings.

    First a walk with Christ is personal and spiritual — that is primary, foremost, the cornerstone of christian thought. That walk starts with acknowledging the death of christ as a sacrifice for adam and eve’s error passed on to the rest of us. The fruit of that walk with christ varies from believer to believer, from congregation to congregation. It is not manifest by anything material . In other words, there’s no guarantee that as a christian one is going to have a wife, two kids, a house two cars and a boat. That happiness or the results of a walk with christ is manifest in how we serve. The fruits we bear as followers of christ. And there’s is no question that as a body, one could look out upon the world and bemoan mistakes that christians have made.

    But that does not touch the surface of the good, the wholesome, the reconfiguration of internal peace even when life is a mess, that a believer has in themselves in spite of self, nor does it match the goodwill that is embodied in the message. I would reference Galatians and Ephesians on this question, l’est it cause some to gnawing their arms and pulling out their hair, never mind gnashing the teeth of teeth, in castigation.

    And historical believers, more than we today in our technological cushy playpens and very accepting environment, would have grasped the hardship of life not because it was intended, but because the early faithful, depending on when you mean by early, lived in a hostile world. They made it better. and in my view, it is they who hold back the tide – even now. To the believer, all men are possible fellows and there is none that are throw away save those who wish to be.

  35. Heh, I notice that the bar graph lines are blue.

    Even though I’m intellectually an atheist, I was raised heavily in a church and still feel like I belong there culturally. “Religious but not spiritual,” is what I say when I’m not in a circumstance where I have to stay in the closet. I can definitely understand why people would generally be happier being part of such a community.

    • Replies: @iffen
    Why wouldn't you say, " spiritual, but not religious"?
    , @Audacious Epigone
    How many people politely glide over that, assuming it was a malapropism for "spiritual but not religious"?
  36. Accelerationism

    https://www.businessinsider.com/majority-of-liberals-support-slavery-reparations-insider-poll-shows-2019-3

    The poll found a majority of liberals (54%) support reparations.

    https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/247178/reparations-black-americans-attitudes-race.aspx

    We know that blacks remain dissatisfied with their current situation and want the government to do more to address it. This provides a supportive attitudinal context for the concept of some form of reparations

    President Trump’s approach so far has been to emphasize the improved situation of blacks as a result of the positive overall economy

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/247046/americans-support-affirmative-action-programs-rises.aspx?g_source=link_newsv9&g_campaign=item_247178&g_medium=copy

    Americans’ Support for Affirmative Action Programs Rises

    At a time of growing dissatisfaction with the way women and minorities are treated in the United States, affirmative action programs — touted for decades as a way to give both groups a boost — are gaining favor with the American public. Sixty-five percent now say they favor affirmative action programs for women, up from 60% in 2016. At the same time, 61% favor such programs for minorities, up from 54%.

    Peter Brimelow has a dated position on A/A, not fully grasping the marination of white guilt that has set in, see: The SJWs are winning.

    The data seems to indicate that the moronic Trump/Turning Point pandering on black unemployment is the only feasible method of assuaging Boomer whites to show up in large numbers, while relying on a leftist freakout to scare the same Boomer voters. More racial populism is going to fail, but some econ populism might defang some Dem attacks and triangulate the Dem House. A Dem Senate is likey no matter who wins in 2020.

    This strategy can only work once, and probably only if there is a splinter Dem running as a centrist. By 2024 this strategy is rekt, as I don’t see anything that will get non-whites to abandon the Tribal Gun, presunably since a recession will have occured by then, too.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    How seriously have you looked at the 2020 map? I actually think Rs will keep control of it.
  37. Feelings Don’t Care about your Facts

    Record-Low 46% of Women Pleased With Society’s Treatment

    Also worth noting that male satisfaction wrt women also dropped.

    My tendency is to favor the GOP as “the men’s party” and its adoption of some “male rights issues”, but this indicates a longer run trend of dissatisfaction that we see above and in the post yesterday. On a personality basis, this would move Yang into the pole position, and a preference for Trump not running again with Pence replacing him (ideally with someone other than Haley as VP)

    While it is our trope to say that feminism is the cause of declining female happiness, feminism is also the enabler of male disengagement. The loss of “chivalry” and a growing exposure of male boorishness is imo the root cause of female anger.

    “Cares about people like me” tripped up Romney in ’12, and it will do the same to the GOP in ’20 unless they reckon with it.

  38. @Jokah Macpherson
    Heh, I notice that the bar graph lines are blue.

    Even though I'm intellectually an atheist, I was raised heavily in a church and still feel like I belong there culturally. "Religious but not spiritual," is what I say when I'm not in a circumstance where I have to stay in the closet. I can definitely understand why people would generally be happier being part of such a community.

    Why wouldn’t you say, ” spiritual, but not religious”?

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    My guess would be that it's a cute way of emphasizing that he doesn't believe there is anything to the very concept of "spirituality" (ie any real spiritual aspect to human existence), but is willing to "belong" to some organized religious group for non-spiritual reasons (cultural familiarity, sense of community).
    , @Audacious Epigone
    Because he likes the communal and regimental aspects of the religion without feeling any spiritual connection to it. It's the opposite of the more common "spiritual but not religious" which in practice usually just means a preference for arbitrary, lazy mysticism whenever the feeling strikes.
  39. @iffen
    Why wouldn't you say, " spiritual, but not religious"?

    My guess would be that it’s a cute way of emphasizing that he doesn’t believe there is anything to the very concept of “spirituality” (ie any real spiritual aspect to human existence), but is willing to “belong” to some organized religious group for non-spiritual reasons (cultural familiarity, sense of community).

  40. @polaco

    religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation.
     
    Not at all. God told Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and SUBDUE IT, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." It's clear He intended for people to make the best use of the Earth's resources, use them to their maximum advantage, to discover and improve, to make their lives as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.
    God's directed us to make practical use of what's at hand to the best of our abilities, the physical reality is ours for the taking.

    Historical Christians (...) believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.
     
    He never promised them a rose garden, to quote a song. But He gave them the assurance that whatever evil and misfortune befalls them, it will amount to nothing after they have died and moved on to eternity. This life is just a blink of the cosmic eye, a finite amount of time, and that eternity (infinity) awaits those who have proven themselves and are worthy of spending it with God. Well, in Poland in the second grade of High School kids learn about infinite series, their limits etc., and how finite numbers, no matter how large pale to zero when compared to infinity. But High School math isn't even needed to figure these things out. Even the intensity of physical and emotional pain can be quantified, and it can be neither infinitely large or long, so when we're looking back at it from the other side, after we die- it will be a laughing matter. An adult won't even budge and isn't going to concern himself with small injuries, but the first time he cut his finger as a little kid he surely was terrified and cried. So God has also cautioned people not to take this life to seriously, for its character is quite transitory, and a lot of things we hold as extremely important will be of no consequence in the grand scheme of things in the afterlife. I'm sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    As to atheism. Although not a Christian, Fred has written many articles critical of the theory of evolution for this website making the case for the world's being created. He's made a number of excellent points. However, he begun one of his articles, using mathematical probability to explain how a monkey won't be able to write a book by randomly punching at a keyboard, not even in the amount of time equal to the believed age of the universe. He was right, but one must understand that in the physical world nothing happens randomly. The future can be calculated and predicted. We can confirm and backtrace the position of the earth in the solar system, millions of years ago, as well as into the future, because the number of variables we need to account for is small. Even if some asteroid is going to hit the earth in the future, it won't be random, our not knowing about it doesn't mean it will come out of the blue, it's there, it follows a specific trajectory, confirming to the laws of physics, and everything can be precisely calculated when all the variables are taken into account. The same goes for every particle in the universe, you just add up the three dimensional vectors that represent all of the very specific forces (non-random, every single one of them), that acted upon it since time zero, when God created the world, and you get one vector describing its position in the universe now.

    A lottery drawing is not random, randomness is an abstract concept, it only exists on paper and in theory. If you could calculate the forces acting upon the numbered balls (the electrical current that determines suction, vibrations of the building, the balls' initial positions and how they collide) to be drawn, you'd know the outcomes with 100% certainty for every given time interval when the "start" button can be pressed. You'd know the specific outcome from say one to three seconds, from four to ten it would be a different specific outcome. All you need is enough computational power and to account for all the variables to predict the future. The only randomness I can think of comes from the human side (for we don't know when the button will be pressed, when our guy will make up his mind, his random thought)- his soul, not the brain- which is a physical object and once it gets the instructions to have the body do something, we could calculate and predict what is going to happen by looking at the brain waves and the chemical reactions inside it. Some college kids made a computer device to cheat the casino roulette game in Vegas, accurate enough to beat the house, had they perfected it to take everything into account, their success rate would've been 100%, nothing is random, their case was settled in court several years back. Just shoot an arrow from a bow, right there you can predict the future, where it will go, and calculate its trajectory using simple formulas. It's the same for everything else, but we don't have the computational power and ability to account for everything in this complex, interconnected network, that is the universe, our own breathing, radiating heat, and even looking at things, reflecting, and absorbing light in our eyes for example causes domino effects we have no idea about. But the One who created everything does, and therefore it's no surprise how He knows everything that happens here. So much for the theory of evolution and its linchpin "random mutation" assumption. It can be argued that even if not random, there is no reason that evolution didn't take the course it did- well, Fred's numerous articles provide enough reasons to doubt that. Therefore, to me too, the world looks created, and I have no reason to believe God can't tweak it to our favour, if we pray for something, saint Thomas Aquinas' "first mover" argument fits my understanding. Again, as Fred has written, our mind is incapable of comprehending the questions of ultimate origin, or as my late grandmother used to say "it's [takes] the mind, not of our heads" [to comprehend these things].

    blah blah blah…blah

    If we had actual proof of God’s existence, then what you said here may be a good way of understanding our relationship to him or it may not, but people would worship God regardless – simply because they’d be scared shitless of what he might to do them. (This also tends to keep people worshiping him in our own world – a world in which there’s nothing like proof of his existence.)

    Of course, the last thing Christians are interested in is discussing the evidence for God’s existence. Once a person has his curiosity aroused about the question, it’s almost inevitable he’ll ditch the faith (in a “true believer” sense), so feeble is the theistic “reasoning” that’s proffered. As I’ve heard it put, “few people doubted God’s existence until philosophers tried to prove it.” And if he didn’t belong to the faith in the first place, reasoning alone isn’t going to get him to accept it, for as I’ve also heard it put, “once you understand why you reject other gods, you’ll understand why I reject yours.”

    • Replies: @polaco

    If we had actual proof of God’s existence
     

    “once you understand why you reject other gods, you’ll understand why I reject yours.”
     
    The proof that God exists is the existence of the universe itself, look at the world around you, nothing happens without a cause, absolutely nothing, it would be against the laws of physics. Neither we, nor the universe came into existence randomly. For example, if you have a car accident due to a mechanical failure, an insurance company statistician can produce an actuarial table that says that a certain percentage of drivers get into similar accidents randomly, and show you the mathematical calculations of what that probability had been for you, but a car mechanic or a mechanical engineer would tell you that parts wear down and fail, and had you, or the guy whose car you hit, known and kept the score of the number of the piston strokes inside your brake cylinder, you would've known exactly which cycle wasn't going to complete, that it wasn't random but completely predictable.

    People's arguing about which religion is correct in its understanding of God has nothing to do with this fact, which holds true for the whole universe. With our limited intelligence we'll never be able to answer every question about the world.
  41. @Anonymous
    The late Bobby Fischer, the greatest chess player in the history of the world, opines at the end of his life:

    According to Gardar Sverrisson, Bobby talked with him about the transformation of society by creating harmony with one another, and then professed that he thought "the only hope for the world is through Catholicism. "- Endgame by Frank Brady (Random House, 2011), p. 456
     

    Anybody who is intellectually honest with himself and is willing to set aside his pride eventually realizes that the Roman Catholic Church is “The Church” simpliciter, that it is the one true body in which subsists God’s redeeming grace. There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions which atheists would have a hard time explaining away. From Machiavelli to Oscar Wilde to John von Neumann, and in more recent days, James Burnham and Lawrence Auster. No one could possibly accuse these men of being feeble-minded, unworldly, superstitious, or grasping at empty hopes. Their thoughts and deeds, even those they later recanted, have a sublimity and gravity that one searches for in vain among all the works of the atheists put together. If they can believe, then belief is validated by the highest human authority. I give thanks to God for each and every one of these souls. They are all miracles of grace.

    • Agree: Old Palo Altan, Twinkie
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions
     
    Includes one of my grandfathers.
    , @Truth
    With Priests and Popes and Saints putting themselves between you and the word of God? Celebrating Pagan festivals (Christmas and Easter)? Promoting worship of the virgin Mary and a drawings of a 3rd-rate noble's son as Jesus Christ? Worshiping on a Sunday?

    Somehow I doubt it. Although IMHO, a connection with the bible beats none at all.

    BTW, small hint for you; anyone you are still reading about 400 years later was probably part of the Deist/Satanist deceiver cult that runs the world.
  42. @U. Ranus

    if I didn’t know better, I might think immiseration was the objective
     
    Happiness that isn't store bought can die in a fire as far as Capital is concerned. Capital loves unhappy humans who can be shown a way out through consumption.

    That said, what do you know that makes you doubt it's a goal?

    A desire to be allowed around polite company!

    (Or maybe it was just an attempt at rhetorical flourish, heh)

  43. @anon
    Perhaps this is merely an indication that belonging to a community increases happiness. The most ethnocentric racist group (blacks) generally report to pollsters that they think the country is going in the right direction and have relatively low suicide rates compared with whites. I wonder if data is available for the happiness of other communities: the military, racial groups, scientific associations, feminist groups ...

    PS. Have you ever considered a Gofundme campaign with the aim of raising money to commission polling data on various controversial subjects?

    I have. SurveyUSA commissions polls for fairly cheap because they’re all automated. I’m not sure how wide their Overton Window is, but I should inquire.

  44. @anonymous
    Soon, given the interest in HBD around here, what do the graphs look like for other self reported races and/or ethnicities? Can't count on everyone to be WEIRD, right?

    Coming.

  45. @Kirt
    Why only give the stats for non-Hispanics whites? It would be interesting to see the stats for other racial/ethnic groups. While I suspect the overall trend would be the same (believers happier than non-believers, religious practitioners happier than non-practitioners) there might be interesting differences in degree among various groups.

    Touche.

  46. @Talha
    Ultimately, God can let into Paradise whoever He wills - because only He ultimately knows the state of a person's heart at the time of their death and the reasons why they may or may not have accepted one faith or another. Imam Ghazali (ra) wrote about this; for instance, a person that was never exposed to Islam or someone who was exposed to a distorted version of it not being judged by the same yardstick.

    And because, He is God, Who does whatever He wants without accountability:
    "And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (3:129)

    No one can disagree with Him - or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    "A man said: 'By Allah - Allah will not forgive this person!' Allah, Almighty said: 'Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.'” - reported in Muslim

    But the doctrine is clear, we are not perennialists; we have been commanded it to make it clear that God will only accept Islam:
    "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the lost." (3:85)

    Being a person of the Book is a higher status than atheism/polytheism - no doubt about this (we can eat their meat, marry their women, etc.). My teacher mentioned that the person from the People of the Book that convert to Islam get a two-fold reward as opposed to others; for adhering to a prior revealed dispensation and for accepting Islam.

    Peace.

    Dante, who loved Virgil, thought the best the poet could do was be on the outside looking in.

  47. @silviosilver
    Aesthetics and a sense of community are all that Catholicism has going for it. The minute I'm forced to contemplate its ethical positions and the ridiculous sand fables contained in its scriptures, I'm turned right off again.

    ridiculous sand fables

    How much of the bible have you read? This feels like an unfair characterization to me, even for a non-believer.

  48. @polaco

    religious belief and observance improve man’s life in this world, then you basically operate from a humanist value orientation.
     
    Not at all. God told Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and SUBDUE IT, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." It's clear He intended for people to make the best use of the Earth's resources, use them to their maximum advantage, to discover and improve, to make their lives as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.
    God's directed us to make practical use of what's at hand to the best of our abilities, the physical reality is ours for the taking.

    Historical Christians (...) believed that their god intended for their earthly lives to suck as the result of the Fall.
     
    He never promised them a rose garden, to quote a song. But He gave them the assurance that whatever evil and misfortune befalls them, it will amount to nothing after they have died and moved on to eternity. This life is just a blink of the cosmic eye, a finite amount of time, and that eternity (infinity) awaits those who have proven themselves and are worthy of spending it with God. Well, in Poland in the second grade of High School kids learn about infinite series, their limits etc., and how finite numbers, no matter how large pale to zero when compared to infinity. But High School math isn't even needed to figure these things out. Even the intensity of physical and emotional pain can be quantified, and it can be neither infinitely large or long, so when we're looking back at it from the other side, after we die- it will be a laughing matter. An adult won't even budge and isn't going to concern himself with small injuries, but the first time he cut his finger as a little kid he surely was terrified and cried. So God has also cautioned people not to take this life to seriously, for its character is quite transitory, and a lot of things we hold as extremely important will be of no consequence in the grand scheme of things in the afterlife. I'm sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    As to atheism. Although not a Christian, Fred has written many articles critical of the theory of evolution for this website making the case for the world's being created. He's made a number of excellent points. However, he begun one of his articles, using mathematical probability to explain how a monkey won't be able to write a book by randomly punching at a keyboard, not even in the amount of time equal to the believed age of the universe. He was right, but one must understand that in the physical world nothing happens randomly. The future can be calculated and predicted. We can confirm and backtrace the position of the earth in the solar system, millions of years ago, as well as into the future, because the number of variables we need to account for is small. Even if some asteroid is going to hit the earth in the future, it won't be random, our not knowing about it doesn't mean it will come out of the blue, it's there, it follows a specific trajectory, confirming to the laws of physics, and everything can be precisely calculated when all the variables are taken into account. The same goes for every particle in the universe, you just add up the three dimensional vectors that represent all of the very specific forces (non-random, every single one of them), that acted upon it since time zero, when God created the world, and you get one vector describing its position in the universe now.

    A lottery drawing is not random, randomness is an abstract concept, it only exists on paper and in theory. If you could calculate the forces acting upon the numbered balls (the electrical current that determines suction, vibrations of the building, the balls' initial positions and how they collide) to be drawn, you'd know the outcomes with 100% certainty for every given time interval when the "start" button can be pressed. You'd know the specific outcome from say one to three seconds, from four to ten it would be a different specific outcome. All you need is enough computational power and to account for all the variables to predict the future. The only randomness I can think of comes from the human side (for we don't know when the button will be pressed, when our guy will make up his mind, his random thought)- his soul, not the brain- which is a physical object and once it gets the instructions to have the body do something, we could calculate and predict what is going to happen by looking at the brain waves and the chemical reactions inside it. Some college kids made a computer device to cheat the casino roulette game in Vegas, accurate enough to beat the house, had they perfected it to take everything into account, their success rate would've been 100%, nothing is random, their case was settled in court several years back. Just shoot an arrow from a bow, right there you can predict the future, where it will go, and calculate its trajectory using simple formulas. It's the same for everything else, but we don't have the computational power and ability to account for everything in this complex, interconnected network, that is the universe, our own breathing, radiating heat, and even looking at things, reflecting, and absorbing light in our eyes for example causes domino effects we have no idea about. But the One who created everything does, and therefore it's no surprise how He knows everything that happens here. So much for the theory of evolution and its linchpin "random mutation" assumption. It can be argued that even if not random, there is no reason that evolution didn't take the course it did- well, Fred's numerous articles provide enough reasons to doubt that. Therefore, to me too, the world looks created, and I have no reason to believe God can't tweak it to our favour, if we pray for something, saint Thomas Aquinas' "first mover" argument fits my understanding. Again, as Fred has written, our mind is incapable of comprehending the questions of ultimate origin, or as my late grandmother used to say "it's [takes] the mind, not of our heads" [to comprehend these things].

    I’m sure everybody can relate, and think about something from his past he used to take quite seriously that is of no importance today.

    Pretty much everything that happened in high school! That’s a good, accessible analogy, thanks.

  49. @Jokah Macpherson
    Heh, I notice that the bar graph lines are blue.

    Even though I'm intellectually an atheist, I was raised heavily in a church and still feel like I belong there culturally. "Religious but not spiritual," is what I say when I'm not in a circumstance where I have to stay in the closet. I can definitely understand why people would generally be happier being part of such a community.

    How many people politely glide over that, assuming it was a malapropism for “spiritual but not religious”?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    Have to admit, it caught me too and I like it.
  50. @216
    https://twitter.com/NickJFuentes/status/1108067931940892674

    Accelerationism

    https://www.businessinsider.com/majority-of-liberals-support-slavery-reparations-insider-poll-shows-2019-3

    The poll found a majority of liberals (54%) support reparations.
     
    https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/247178/reparations-black-americans-attitudes-race.aspx

    We know that blacks remain dissatisfied with their current situation and want the government to do more to address it. This provides a supportive attitudinal context for the concept of some form of reparations

    President Trump's approach so far has been to emphasize the improved situation of blacks as a result of the positive overall economy
     
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/247046/americans-support-affirmative-action-programs-rises.aspx?g_source=link_newsv9&g_campaign=item_247178&g_medium=copy

    Americans' Support for Affirmative Action Programs Rises

    At a time of growing dissatisfaction with the way women and minorities are treated in the United States, affirmative action programs -- touted for decades as a way to give both groups a boost -- are gaining favor with the American public. Sixty-five percent now say they favor affirmative action programs for women, up from 60% in 2016. At the same time, 61% favor such programs for minorities, up from 54%.
     
    Peter Brimelow has a dated position on A/A, not fully grasping the marination of white guilt that has set in, see: The SJWs are winning.

    The data seems to indicate that the moronic Trump/Turning Point pandering on black unemployment is the only feasible method of assuaging Boomer whites to show up in large numbers, while relying on a leftist freakout to scare the same Boomer voters. More racial populism is going to fail, but some econ populism might defang some Dem attacks and triangulate the Dem House. A Dem Senate is likey no matter who wins in 2020.

    This strategy can only work once, and probably only if there is a splinter Dem running as a centrist. By 2024 this strategy is rekt, as I don't see anything that will get non-whites to abandon the Tribal Gun, presunably since a recession will have occured by then, too.

    How seriously have you looked at the 2020 map? I actually think Rs will keep control of it.

    • Replies: @216
    Other than Alabama, which was stolen in the first place, the GOP has long odds to pick up any seats. Arizona is probably a loss. Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Maine and Georgia could also be lost.

    The "Illinois or Bust" strategy appears to have no takers in the RNC, instead we have "Boomers or Bust".
  51. @iffen
    Why wouldn't you say, " spiritual, but not religious"?

    Because he likes the communal and regimental aspects of the religion without feeling any spiritual connection to it. It’s the opposite of the more common “spiritual but not religious” which in practice usually just means a preference for arbitrary, lazy mysticism whenever the feeling strikes.

  52. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    NASA radar tracking stations have identified my argument sailing straight over your head at a distance of 47,000 feet. Apparently you prefer finger-pointing and schoolyard chants. Perhaps one day the Almighty shall be pleased to lift you up from your sandbox.

    Daresay the evasion was yours; moreover your voluble pretensions of superiority in so many comments sort of give the game away.

  53. @Audacious Epigone
    How many people politely glide over that, assuming it was a malapropism for "spiritual but not religious"?

    Have to admit, it caught me too and I like it.

  54. @Audacious Epigone
    How seriously have you looked at the 2020 map? I actually think Rs will keep control of it.

    Other than Alabama, which was stolen in the first place, the GOP has long odds to pick up any seats. Arizona is probably a loss. Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Maine and Georgia could also be lost.

    The “Illinois or Bust” strategy appears to have no takers in the RNC, instead we have “Boomers or Bust”.

  55. Snapshot of Boomer Civnat cringe

    Surprised or not, this is what a large part of the low information public actually believes. This sentiment is a sitting duck for any leftist that knows a modicum of immigration law.

  56. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Out of curiosity, do Christians/Jews go to heaven for you? I know they are the other "religions of the book", and from what I've heard that's better than atheism/paganism to Muslims.

    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.

    There are a few verses in the Quran, which depending on interpretation indicates that Good Honorable Jews and Christians go to Heaven, whereas other interpreations say that was for a specific time and place period. I cant remember the verses off hand.

    As most of us Muslims would answer…God knows best.

    In another note, on a personal level, I found this article interesting as I too went from being practising to non commital to doutbful/agnostic and then found faith again and this pretty much ties up with the sense of happiness and the levels thereof.

    • Replies: @Talha

    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.
     
    That's the interpretation of the Shafi'i school which is the strictest on this issue and in general regarding strictures on non-Muslim citizens (most of it stemming from the initial premise that they pay jizyah as a penalty for their disbelief rather than as a fee/debt for military protection). The Hanafi and Maliki schools differ on this and allow anybody (even mulHids* [atheists]) to become ahl al-dhimmah; this is important because the Hanafi and Maliki schools have been the schools adopted by the majority of Muslim polities in history.

    Interestingly, the late Shaykh Ramadan Bouti (ra) of Syria - one of the greatest Shafi'i scholars of our age and the unofficial mufti of that area - sided against his school on this matter. If I recall, one of his reasons was that the Shafi'is (like the other schools by concensus) do not charge non-Muslim women the jizyah (only military-age males) and - if the case were that it was a penalty for disbelief - they would also be charged.


    As most of us Muslims would answer…God knows best.
     
    Always the safest bet.

    How are the brothers in SA? Are you in Transvaal or near CapeTown? Is the crime getting better or worse?

    I remember the great time I had on Hajj when I went wandering in Mina and found some SA Muslim scholars (some were Cape Malays, some were Indo-Pak and some were local converts) who invited me in and treated me so well and had me give a talk about the state of the Muslims in my area of America to their Hajj group. Beautiful people.

    Wa salaam.

    *I don't know if you know, bro, but the word for atheist or godless in Arabic derives from the tri-letter root l-H-d which is the root of the verb "to dig a grave".

    , @Audacious Epigone
    Wrt your last paragraph, there seems to be a lot of that on our side of things.
  57. @The KP Factor
    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.

    There are a few verses in the Quran, which depending on interpretation indicates that Good Honorable Jews and Christians go to Heaven, whereas other interpreations say that was for a specific time and place period. I cant remember the verses off hand.

    As most of us Muslims would answer...God knows best.

    In another note, on a personal level, I found this article interesting as I too went from being practising to non commital to doutbful/agnostic and then found faith again and this pretty much ties up with the sense of happiness and the levels thereof.

    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.

    That’s the interpretation of the Shafi’i school which is the strictest on this issue and in general regarding strictures on non-Muslim citizens (most of it stemming from the initial premise that they pay jizyah as a penalty for their disbelief rather than as a fee/debt for military protection). The Hanafi and Maliki schools differ on this and allow anybody (even mulHids* [atheists]) to become ahl al-dhimmah; this is important because the Hanafi and Maliki schools have been the schools adopted by the majority of Muslim polities in history.

    Interestingly, the late Shaykh Ramadan Bouti (ra) of Syria – one of the greatest Shafi’i scholars of our age and the unofficial mufti of that area – sided against his school on this matter. If I recall, one of his reasons was that the Shafi’is (like the other schools by concensus) do not charge non-Muslim women the jizyah (only military-age males) and – if the case were that it was a penalty for disbelief – they would also be charged.

    As most of us Muslims would answer…God knows best.

    Always the safest bet.

    How are the brothers in SA? Are you in Transvaal or near CapeTown? Is the crime getting better or worse?

    I remember the great time I had on Hajj when I went wandering in Mina and found some SA Muslim scholars (some were Cape Malays, some were Indo-Pak and some were local converts) who invited me in and treated me so well and had me give a talk about the state of the Muslims in my area of America to their Hajj group. Beautiful people.

    Wa salaam.

    *I don’t know if you know, bro, but the word for atheist or godless in Arabic derives from the tri-letter root l-H-d which is the root of the verb “to dig a grave”.

  58. @silviosilver

    blah blah blah...blah
     
    If we had actual proof of God's existence, then what you said here may be a good way of understanding our relationship to him or it may not, but people would worship God regardless - simply because they'd be scared shitless of what he might to do them. (This also tends to keep people worshiping him in our own world - a world in which there's nothing like proof of his existence.)

    Of course, the last thing Christians are interested in is discussing the evidence for God's existence. Once a person has his curiosity aroused about the question, it's almost inevitable he'll ditch the faith (in a "true believer" sense), so feeble is the theistic "reasoning" that's proffered. As I've heard it put, "few people doubted God's existence until philosophers tried to prove it." And if he didn't belong to the faith in the first place, reasoning alone isn't going to get him to accept it, for as I've also heard it put, "once you understand why you reject other gods, you'll understand why I reject yours."

    If we had actual proof of God’s existence

    “once you understand why you reject other gods, you’ll understand why I reject yours.”

    The proof that God exists is the existence of the universe itself, look at the world around you, nothing happens without a cause, absolutely nothing, it would be against the laws of physics. Neither we, nor the universe came into existence randomly. For example, if you have a car accident due to a mechanical failure, an insurance company statistician can produce an actuarial table that says that a certain percentage of drivers get into similar accidents randomly, and show you the mathematical calculations of what that probability had been for you, but a car mechanic or a mechanical engineer would tell you that parts wear down and fail, and had you, or the guy whose car you hit, known and kept the score of the number of the piston strokes inside your brake cylinder, you would’ve known exactly which cycle wasn’t going to complete, that it wasn’t random but completely predictable.

    People’s arguing about which religion is correct in its understanding of God has nothing to do with this fact, which holds true for the whole universe. With our limited intelligence we’ll never be able to answer every question about the world.

  59. @Intelligent Dasein
    Anybody who is intellectually honest with himself and is willing to set aside his pride eventually realizes that the Roman Catholic Church is "The Church" simpliciter, that it is the one true body in which subsists God's redeeming grace. There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions which atheists would have a hard time explaining away. From Machiavelli to Oscar Wilde to John von Neumann, and in more recent days, James Burnham and Lawrence Auster. No one could possibly accuse these men of being feeble-minded, unworldly, superstitious, or grasping at empty hopes. Their thoughts and deeds, even those they later recanted, have a sublimity and gravity that one searches for in vain among all the works of the atheists put together. If they can believe, then belief is validated by the highest human authority. I give thanks to God for each and every one of these souls. They are all miracles of grace.

    There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions

    Includes one of my grandfathers.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Because you seem like a genuinely gracious good-willed person, I think I have an idea as to what your answer will be, but how does that make you feel? From a Catholic perspective, does it feel like 'cheating' at all?
  60. @Intelligent Dasein
    Anybody who is intellectually honest with himself and is willing to set aside his pride eventually realizes that the Roman Catholic Church is "The Church" simpliciter, that it is the one true body in which subsists God's redeeming grace. There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions which atheists would have a hard time explaining away. From Machiavelli to Oscar Wilde to John von Neumann, and in more recent days, James Burnham and Lawrence Auster. No one could possibly accuse these men of being feeble-minded, unworldly, superstitious, or grasping at empty hopes. Their thoughts and deeds, even those they later recanted, have a sublimity and gravity that one searches for in vain among all the works of the atheists put together. If they can believe, then belief is validated by the highest human authority. I give thanks to God for each and every one of these souls. They are all miracles of grace.

    With Priests and Popes and Saints putting themselves between you and the word of God? Celebrating Pagan festivals (Christmas and Easter)? Promoting worship of the virgin Mary and a drawings of a 3rd-rate noble’s son as Jesus Christ? Worshiping on a Sunday?

    Somehow I doubt it. Although IMHO, a connection with the bible beats none at all.

    BTW, small hint for you; anyone you are still reading about 400 years later was probably part of the Deist/Satanist deceiver cult that runs the world.

    • Replies: @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    Jesus was the God-Man who created His Priests as a mediator between man and God.

    It is through His priests that Jesus sacramentally represents the Holy Holocaust in which, like on Calvary, is both priest and victim

    Rare is the christian who understands that were The Holy/Holocaust Mass to disappear the world would cease to exist.
  61. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
    Yeah not surprising at all. I don't feel spiritually fulfilled and uplifted all week if I don't go to Church on Sunday. It gives me energy to face my week.

    Most atheists don't know what they're missing. Most gen z were just raised that way and are incapable of viewing religion without a snark. Come try it with an open mind and accept Jesus into your heart, you may be surprised.

    Most atheists don’t know what they’re missing.

    I was dragged to church services weekly throughout my childhood, plus a couple years of weekday sessions for chatechism.  I don’t miss them one bit!  Aside from some of the music, it was THE most crushing boredom I was ever forced to endure outside of public school.  That experience probably accounts for why I became an atheist in the first place.

    Since I went to college I have only stepped into churches for weddings and funerals.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
    Same here except some of the cathedrals are architectural marvels and I take photos of them. St Patrick’s in Manhattan alone I’ve taken 100 photos inside and outside. At Notre Dame in Paris I must have taken a couple hundred at least.
    , @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    You are an idiot who only has his self to blame as once you attained unto majority you had the duty to learn the Faith yourself.
  62. @Twinkie

    Yeah, maybe. Score one for Pascal, then.
     
    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.

    Publicly, he was arguing that one (and people in general) could be moral without a belief in God.

    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.

    Well it would screw up my personal ethics, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how I’d be able to handle the hypocrisy the Bible thumpers do.

  63. @Mr. Rational

    Most atheists don’t know what they’re missing.
     
    I was dragged to church services weekly throughout my childhood, plus a couple years of weekday sessions for chatechism.  I don't miss them one bit!  Aside from some of the music, it was THE most crushing boredom I was ever forced to endure outside of public school.  That experience probably accounts for why I became an atheist in the first place.

    Since I went to college I have only stepped into churches for weddings and funerals.

    Same here except some of the cathedrals are architectural marvels and I take photos of them. St Patrick’s in Manhattan alone I’ve taken 100 photos inside and outside. At Notre Dame in Paris I must have taken a couple hundred at least.

  64. @The KP Factor
    My understading of the Quran is that only Jews and Christians and Sabateans are people of the book in the most strictest sense.

    There are a few verses in the Quran, which depending on interpretation indicates that Good Honorable Jews and Christians go to Heaven, whereas other interpreations say that was for a specific time and place period. I cant remember the verses off hand.

    As most of us Muslims would answer...God knows best.

    In another note, on a personal level, I found this article interesting as I too went from being practising to non commital to doutbful/agnostic and then found faith again and this pretty much ties up with the sense of happiness and the levels thereof.

    Wrt your last paragraph, there seems to be a lot of that on our side of things.

  65. @Twinkie

    There have been many piercingly beautiful and totally sincere deathbed conversions
     
    Includes one of my grandfathers.

    Because you seem like a genuinely gracious good-willed person, I think I have an idea as to what your answer will be, but how does that make you feel? From a Catholic perspective, does it feel like ‘cheating’ at all?

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    does it feel like ‘cheating’ at all?
     
    Not at all. We Catholics have this concept of Purgatory (or the Church Penitent), so late converts don't get to just skip the line. :)

    I welcome all - however later in their lives - to the Community of Saints (the still alive, aka the Church Militant, the aforementioned the Church Penitent, and those already in Heaven, aka the Church Triumphant).

    a genuinely gracious good-willed person
     
    I am to all those of good will. I am, though, quite vengeful and bloodthirsty toward my enemies and the enemies of those I hold dear. I have discussed this at length with my confessor and have received much counsel, but find it difficult to change.

    But thank you for the very kind words.
  66. @Audacious Epigone
    Because you seem like a genuinely gracious good-willed person, I think I have an idea as to what your answer will be, but how does that make you feel? From a Catholic perspective, does it feel like 'cheating' at all?

    does it feel like ‘cheating’ at all?

    Not at all. We Catholics have this concept of Purgatory (or the Church Penitent), so late converts don’t get to just skip the line. 🙂

    I welcome all – however later in their lives – to the Community of Saints (the still alive, aka the Church Militant, the aforementioned the Church Penitent, and those already in Heaven, aka the Church Triumphant).

    a genuinely gracious good-willed person

    I am to all those of good will. I am, though, quite vengeful and bloodthirsty toward my enemies and the enemies of those I hold dear. I have discussed this at length with my confessor and have received much counsel, but find it difficult to change.

    But thank you for the very kind words.

  67. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass -- the holy celebration of the Eucharist. (One could also include Eastern Orthodox churches as well.)

    I say this not out of chauvinism, but because among all forms of worship, ecumenically speaking, the Catholic mass is unique inasmuch as it is not merely a prayer service or communal worship service. To those who do not know, something vastly more sublime and even cosmic is taking place. Protestant sects too have this element, or at least pretend to, but I sort of think they're hedging, they don't really believe it. If they had really believed it, then they would never have persecuted the Church.

    This cosmic event takes place every single day, everywhere on earth. If you don't know what I'm referring to, well as scripture says, Come and see.

    “To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass — the holy celebration of the Eucharist.”

    I disagree. Catholic mass is a repetitive, arduous affair with bad music. (Kind of like an exorcism without any spinning heads.) And yes I was raised RC, and went to a Marianist HS.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Let me see if I got this straight. The supreme Author of Being Itself, the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, of All Things Seen and Unseen, deigns in His unfathomable graciousness during the holy sacrifice of the Mass to make Himself personally present to you, no matter where you are, in any humble spot whatsoever where two or more of His servants are gathered together in His name... and you complain about the toons.

    @Mr McKenna -- it is not one's problem if you are unable to tell the difference between "pretensions of superiority" and, well, superiority. I don't own a ladder factory, I only know what ladders look like, from experience.
  68. @MikeatMikedotMike
    "To those searching for comfort and happiness in church services, let me express the simple truth that there is no more sublime form of worship than the Catholic mass — the holy celebration of the Eucharist."

    I disagree. Catholic mass is a repetitive, arduous affair with bad music. (Kind of like an exorcism without any spinning heads.) And yes I was raised RC, and went to a Marianist HS.

    Let me see if I got this straight. The supreme Author of Being Itself, the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, of All Things Seen and Unseen, deigns in His unfathomable graciousness during the holy sacrifice of the Mass to make Himself personally present to you, no matter where you are, in any humble spot whatsoever where two or more of His servants are gathered together in His name… and you complain about the toons.

    — it is not one’s problem if you are unable to tell the difference between “pretensions of superiority” and, well, superiority. I don’t own a ladder factory, I only know what ladders look like, from experience.

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    "Let me see if I got this straight. The supreme Author of Being Itself, the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, of All Things Seen and Unseen, deigns in His unfathomable graciousness during the holy sacrifice of the Mass to make Himself personally present to you, no matter where you are, in any humble spot whatsoever where two or more of His servants are gathered together in His name… and you complain about the toons."

    I wish Catholic mass had some toons, maybe some Bugs Bunny or old Tom and Jerry vignettes. But anyway you offered your opinion, and I offered Mine. I don't accept your premise that Catholic mass is anything like that fantabulous retort of yours. It's 40 minutes of reruns surrounding 5 minutes collecting money in wicker baskets.

    It's not a complaint, just an observation. :)
  69. @Twinkie

    Yeah, maybe. Score one for Pascal, then.
     
    One well-known and militant atheist admitted off-camera at a debate that, if God existed, it’d be extremely inconvenient for him, and he’d have to change many things about his life.

    Publicly, he was arguing that one (and people in general) could be moral without a belief in God.

    An atheist can not be moral for an atheist routinely breaks the “Keep Holy The Lord’s Day” Commandment

    • Troll: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Truth
    The Lord's holy day is Saturday.
  70. @Talha
    Ultimately, God can let into Paradise whoever He wills - because only He ultimately knows the state of a person's heart at the time of their death and the reasons why they may or may not have accepted one faith or another. Imam Ghazali (ra) wrote about this; for instance, a person that was never exposed to Islam or someone who was exposed to a distorted version of it not being judged by the same yardstick.

    And because, He is God, Who does whatever He wants without accountability:
    "And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (3:129)

    No one can disagree with Him - or, I guess they can disagree and see what happens:
    "A man said: 'By Allah - Allah will not forgive this person!' Allah, Almighty said: 'Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive someone? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.'” - reported in Muslim

    But the doctrine is clear, we are not perennialists; we have been commanded it to make it clear that God will only accept Islam:
    "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the lost." (3:85)

    Being a person of the Book is a higher status than atheism/polytheism - no doubt about this (we can eat their meat, marry their women, etc.). My teacher mentioned that the person from the People of the Book that convert to Islam get a two-fold reward as opposed to others; for adhering to a prior revealed dispensation and for accepting Islam.

    Peace.

    God can not contradict Himself as He routinely does in the Koran

    • Replies: @Talha
    If you found coherence in the Qur'an, you would be a Muslim. It is primarily addressed to those who believe in or accept its message. What indication have you found in the Qur'an that it is, in any way, concerned with the opinions of those that don't believe in it?

    Peace.
  71. @Truth
    With Priests and Popes and Saints putting themselves between you and the word of God? Celebrating Pagan festivals (Christmas and Easter)? Promoting worship of the virgin Mary and a drawings of a 3rd-rate noble's son as Jesus Christ? Worshiping on a Sunday?

    Somehow I doubt it. Although IMHO, a connection with the bible beats none at all.

    BTW, small hint for you; anyone you are still reading about 400 years later was probably part of the Deist/Satanist deceiver cult that runs the world.

    Jesus was the God-Man who created His Priests as a mediator between man and God.

    It is through His priests that Jesus sacramentally represents the Holy Holocaust in which, like on Calvary, is both priest and victim

    Rare is the christian who understands that were The Holy/Holocaust Mass to disappear the world would cease to exist.

  72. @Mr. Rational

    Most atheists don’t know what they’re missing.
     
    I was dragged to church services weekly throughout my childhood, plus a couple years of weekday sessions for chatechism.  I don't miss them one bit!  Aside from some of the music, it was THE most crushing boredom I was ever forced to endure outside of public school.  That experience probably accounts for why I became an atheist in the first place.

    Since I went to college I have only stepped into churches for weddings and funerals.

    You are an idiot who only has his self to blame as once you attained unto majority you had the duty to learn the Faith yourself.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    Oh, yeah, calling me names is REALLY gonna convince me that I'm wrong and you're right.  Uh-huh.  Suuuure.

    Especially because my IQ is at least 2 SD higher than yours.  Yes, multiple tests have confirmed that I am in the top 0.1% of the intelligence distribution.  (I'm one of those who think that this thermodynamic proof that heaven is hotter than hell is hilarious.)

    I'd tell you to try again, but you just earned a spot on my ignore list so I'll let you save the effort.  Try hellfire and brimstone talk with the next one, I hear it works with the impressionable.
  73. @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    You are an idiot who only has his self to blame as once you attained unto majority you had the duty to learn the Faith yourself.

    Oh, yeah, calling me names is REALLY gonna convince me that I’m wrong and you’re right.  Uh-huh.  Suuuure.

    Especially because my IQ is at least 2 SD higher than yours.  Yes, multiple tests have confirmed that I am in the top 0.1% of the intelligence distribution.  (I’m one of those who think that this thermodynamic proof that heaven is hotter than hell is hilarious.)

    I’d tell you to try again, but you just earned a spot on my ignore list so I’ll let you save the effort.  Try hellfire and brimstone talk with the next one, I hear it works with the impressionable.

    • Replies: @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    That is a very funny response and illustrative of the great weakness of Pride vs the puissant strength of humility.

    IF you are as intelligent as you claim to be then you would not have fallen for such idiocy as atheism.

    You are not so much super intelligent as you are intellectually indolent.
  74. @Mr. Rational
    Oh, yeah, calling me names is REALLY gonna convince me that I'm wrong and you're right.  Uh-huh.  Suuuure.

    Especially because my IQ is at least 2 SD higher than yours.  Yes, multiple tests have confirmed that I am in the top 0.1% of the intelligence distribution.  (I'm one of those who think that this thermodynamic proof that heaven is hotter than hell is hilarious.)

    I'd tell you to try again, but you just earned a spot on my ignore list so I'll let you save the effort.  Try hellfire and brimstone talk with the next one, I hear it works with the impressionable.

    That is a very funny response and illustrative of the great weakness of Pride vs the puissant strength of humility.

    IF you are as intelligent as you claim to be then you would not have fallen for such idiocy as atheism.

    You are not so much super intelligent as you are intellectually indolent.

  75. [26] And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days: in the day when the Lord shall bind up the wound of his people, and shall heal the stroke of their wound. [27] Behold the name of the Lord cometh from afar, his wrath burneth, and is heavy to bear: his lips are filled with indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire. [28] His breath as a torrent overflowing even to the midst of the neck, to destroy the nations unto nothing, and the bridle of error that was in the jaws of the people. [29] You shall have a song as in the night of the sanctified solemnity, and joy of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe, to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. [30] And the Lord shall make the glory of his voice to be heard, and shall shew the terror of his arm, in the threatening of wrath, and the dame of devouring fire: he shall crush to pieces with whirlwind, and hailstones.

    Mr. Rational Mr. Atheist is so intelligent he linked to an inanity that took the word of God literally in an instance when the word of God, spoken through His prophet, Isaias, was symbolic.

    And then calculations were performed to mock God but those who say there is no God are fools- according to the text Mr. Rational/ Atheist cites as his source

    In this chapter, Isaias is berating the Jews for falling for what Egypt had to offer them.

  76. @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    God can not contradict Himself as He routinely does in the Koran

    If you found coherence in the Qur’an, you would be a Muslim. It is primarily addressed to those who believe in or accept its message. What indication have you found in the Qur’an that it is, in any way, concerned with the opinions of those that don’t believe in it?

    Peace.

  77. @Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque
    An atheist can not be moral for an atheist routinely breaks the "Keep Holy The Lord's Day" Commandment

    The Lord’s holy day is Saturday.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Oh, I get it now, you belong to one of the smaller more peripheral Christian churches which hold to some rather specific doctrinal positions. They and you most surely have their importance, and their reward, in the eyes of Our Lord. Praise Christ the King.

    Nothing wrong with that, I'm an ecumenical Catholic, but it forces me to see the problem: a great danger in religion is that people have a tendency to begin worshiping their doctrine, rather than worshiping God. It is the heart of the error of Pharisaism and Talmudism, which have human roots rather than Divine roots, and are therefore at grave risk of error. It's the same reason Catholics can be easily blinded by the serpentine details of the Catechism and the Magisterium, and become deaf to the Sermon on the Mount. It's good to have deep well-considered intellectual and philosophical roots, but it's a mistake to worship them, and thereby to ignore the sincerity of more plain-spoken folk.

    Getting back to the Saturday/Sunday issue: for some folks I am sure it is a sticking point, but for the life of me I can't imagine a historical time machine where we go back to an antediluvian starting point and find a printed calendar where we say, SEE?! THAT is the Saturday we're starting from! The commandment commands us to keep the seventh day holy. The commandment has reasons of its own: viz., it is pointing at the moon and not at the finger. I personally don't care which specific seventh day is in order. Our Lord said similar things about gleaning or healing when the Pharisaic cuckoo-clock said Naughty!

    As Sonic Youth used to say, Feel around in the dark til you get the idea.
  78. @Truth
    The Lord's holy day is Saturday.

    Oh, I get it now, you belong to one of the smaller more peripheral Christian churches which hold to some rather specific doctrinal positions. They and you most surely have their importance, and their reward, in the eyes of Our Lord. Praise Christ the King.

    Nothing wrong with that, I’m an ecumenical Catholic, but it forces me to see the problem: a great danger in religion is that people have a tendency to begin worshiping their doctrine, rather than worshiping God. It is the heart of the error of Pharisaism and Talmudism, which have human roots rather than Divine roots, and are therefore at grave risk of error. It’s the same reason Catholics can be easily blinded by the serpentine details of the Catechism and the Magisterium, and become deaf to the Sermon on the Mount. It’s good to have deep well-considered intellectual and philosophical roots, but it’s a mistake to worship them, and thereby to ignore the sincerity of more plain-spoken folk.

    Getting back to the Saturday/Sunday issue: for some folks I am sure it is a sticking point, but for the life of me I can’t imagine a historical time machine where we go back to an antediluvian starting point and find a printed calendar where we say, SEE?! THAT is the Saturday we’re starting from! The commandment commands us to keep the seventh day holy. The commandment has reasons of its own: viz., it is pointing at the moon and not at the finger. I personally don’t care which specific seventh day is in order. Our Lord said similar things about gleaning or healing when the Pharisaic cuckoo-clock said Naughty!

    As Sonic Youth used to say, Feel around in the dark til you get the idea.

    • Replies: @Truth
    Well my friend, it is a slippery slope. We all have to decide individually which parts of God's word we are willing to bend, to suit our earthly lives.
  79. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Oh, I get it now, you belong to one of the smaller more peripheral Christian churches which hold to some rather specific doctrinal positions. They and you most surely have their importance, and their reward, in the eyes of Our Lord. Praise Christ the King.

    Nothing wrong with that, I'm an ecumenical Catholic, but it forces me to see the problem: a great danger in religion is that people have a tendency to begin worshiping their doctrine, rather than worshiping God. It is the heart of the error of Pharisaism and Talmudism, which have human roots rather than Divine roots, and are therefore at grave risk of error. It's the same reason Catholics can be easily blinded by the serpentine details of the Catechism and the Magisterium, and become deaf to the Sermon on the Mount. It's good to have deep well-considered intellectual and philosophical roots, but it's a mistake to worship them, and thereby to ignore the sincerity of more plain-spoken folk.

    Getting back to the Saturday/Sunday issue: for some folks I am sure it is a sticking point, but for the life of me I can't imagine a historical time machine where we go back to an antediluvian starting point and find a printed calendar where we say, SEE?! THAT is the Saturday we're starting from! The commandment commands us to keep the seventh day holy. The commandment has reasons of its own: viz., it is pointing at the moon and not at the finger. I personally don't care which specific seventh day is in order. Our Lord said similar things about gleaning or healing when the Pharisaic cuckoo-clock said Naughty!

    As Sonic Youth used to say, Feel around in the dark til you get the idea.

    Well my friend, it is a slippery slope. We all have to decide individually which parts of God’s word we are willing to bend, to suit our earthly lives.

  80. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Let me see if I got this straight. The supreme Author of Being Itself, the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, of All Things Seen and Unseen, deigns in His unfathomable graciousness during the holy sacrifice of the Mass to make Himself personally present to you, no matter where you are, in any humble spot whatsoever where two or more of His servants are gathered together in His name... and you complain about the toons.

    @Mr McKenna -- it is not one's problem if you are unable to tell the difference between "pretensions of superiority" and, well, superiority. I don't own a ladder factory, I only know what ladders look like, from experience.

    “Let me see if I got this straight. The supreme Author of Being Itself, the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, of All Things Seen and Unseen, deigns in His unfathomable graciousness during the holy sacrifice of the Mass to make Himself personally present to you, no matter where you are, in any humble spot whatsoever where two or more of His servants are gathered together in His name… and you complain about the toons.”

    I wish Catholic mass had some toons, maybe some Bugs Bunny or old Tom and Jerry vignettes. But anyway you offered your opinion, and I offered Mine. I don’t accept your premise that Catholic mass is anything like that fantabulous retort of yours. It’s 40 minutes of reruns surrounding 5 minutes collecting money in wicker baskets.

    It’s not a complaint, just an observation. 🙂

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