Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:15 PM

Dan, the source has nothing to do with it. They were only the messenger. Darwin said what he said, he recognized the limitation of his own theory.

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:17 PM

Jay, do you include every cell with your DNA in it in your persona? If so, what do you do with the mitochondria you have in every cell? They have none of your DNA, only the DNA of your mother's mitochondria. And the 5 billion or so (3 lbs. worth) of bacteria in your gut, the ones you couldn't live without. They are all individuals separate from you.

Bjorn, I don't understand what you're asking. Please clarify.

dand9959 wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:21 PM
So, Jay, I understand you to say that evil can only be understood by "studying" it in the context of Divine goodness. Are you saying then that there is no benefit to be gained from trying to understand if there are physiological reasons why man is capable of doing evil acts?

Surely you are NOT implying that the drugs we have discovered that can mitigate psychotic behavior are ineffective or not real, correct? That anitdepresents that can prevent depression-induced violence are figments of our secular imagination?

Evil is a real, tangible thing in this world. I think you should not discount secular attempts to understand it.

Edit: learning how to spell
farss wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:40 PM
Not familiar with him but I'll look him up.

Just to flesh out what I'm talking about here. The development of a Theodicy was an attempt to prove God through reason and fails firstly on the question of Evil and secondly on the concept of Free Will. That debate only involved the greatest thinking minds over thousands of years.
This isn't an attack on Theology, simply that you cannot prove or disprove a Theology based on reason. Anyone who says they can prove a Theology is to be avoided, if nothing else they're doing a disservice to those who do have faith.

One can use reason within a theology, that's fine but a theology has to have as its starting point Faith. That's almost by definition, if one could derive a theology purely by reason then it's no longer a theology, it'd be a science.

For those whose follow the Christian theology, I'd suggest reading the book of Job and using reason to explain how a benevolent God would create a world in which that happens to a good man.

To see what true faith is, read the Marquis de Sade's Justine, sadly his works have been grossly misunderstood. Of course I should warn you he inverts the whole concept of good and evil, he tries to create the ultimate evil, to cause nature itself to revolt.

And for those who feel their faith is bought into question by many of the horrid events of recent times I think the book I was referring to provides an apt example, child to parent:

"Mummy, why is the world the way it is?"
"Because that's the way it is"
"But Mummy, why exactly is it the way it is?"
"Because it's the best world God could create"

Unremarkably enough science pretty much concurs on the last point, even without God creating it.

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:45 PM

Dan, you misunderstood me entirely.

Man is capable of doing evil because man is, by his very nature (fallen), evil.

Evil is the opposite of good. It consists in disobedience to the laws of God. Everything which is fostered, inspired, and spread forth by the Devil is in its nature evil. Evil is that which is morally corrupt, wicked, and bad. Evil neither edifies nor enlightens. Those who are evil chooses darkness and secrecy to cover their evil deeds. Evil is destructive to faith, good morals, and godly virtues. Evil is in opposition to all righteousness. It leads man away from God and from salvation. Evil is sin, transgression, unrighteousness, wickedness.

Evil is present in this world, just as goodness is. Each accountable person may or may not do that which is evil; it is a basic reality without which the plan of salvation would not operate. Which course will we choose to follow?

Your second paragraph is a tad convoluted. Are you suggestion that depression, for example, is evil? I'm not certain what you're saying and/or asking here. Please clarify.

Evil is indeed "a real, tangible thing in this world," but if one depends only on secular attempts to understand it he will not achieve much in the way of understanding, and without the proper understanding he will not have the necessary tools to combat it.

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:49 PM

And for those who feel their faith is bought into question by many of the horrid events of recent times I think the book I was referring to provides an apt example, child to parent:

That suports what I've been saying. The "Mummy" in this little example does not have a full/proper understanding of God and/or His purposes (including this world).

Her answer was flawed because her knowledge was limted and her understanding was flawed as well.

fldave wrote on 2/14/2006, 4:52 PM

For what it's worth, I tend to agree heavily with your viewpoints.

There is a lot of criticism of Darwin in this thread. Here is a link to an analysis on Creationist claims: TalkOrigins. I encourage everyone to see what this site has to say.

Claim CH210:
The earth is relatively young, about 10,000 years old or less.

The problem I have with Intelligent Design/Creationist approach is the attempt to legislate equal education time to ID vs. traditional science. Since ID has defined their views for most scientific endeavors, the traditional science education time will be halved to provide time for what I personally consider the equivalent of "vaporware".

By the way, I believe in God, but have a problem with many modern implementations of religion.
farss wrote on 2/14/2006, 5:40 PM
But why is man fallen, he is after all Gods creation?
Oh right, God put us to a test a long time ago. Was that a fair test?
Did man understand the consequences, I seriously doubt it, it was a bit like giving a 5 year old a hand grenade and saying they could play with it, just don't pull the pin out or a really evil thing will happen.

That line of reasoning, sort of led to de Sade and others to concluding that perhaps God is totally evil, He created us so we would fail, that we're just here for His amusement. Again the attempt to create a theodicy fails. Faith though is still intact.

You can take the Dualist view, there's a titanic struggle between Good and Evil, you see that in some Christian and most Eastern theologies. Except Chtistianity has a bit of a problem as it has a sentient omnipotent god, why can't He destroy Evil as embodied in the Devil unless he isn't omnipotent?

On the other side you have a problem too, if God did create a world without evil it'd still be a horrid boring place, the concept of heaven that I was given as a child grew increasingly scary as I grew up, actually Hell started to sound more interesting. Both of them in the end sound like unjustified punishment for our brief time in this mortal world. Anything that lasts for eternity is pretty off putting. About the only concept of heaven that makes any sense to me is Nirvana but you could probably incorporate that into Christianity without breaking the theology.

PS. Nice to have this discussion without anyone loosing their cool, totally OT but it goes to show what a decent bunch we are. Sure don't find this sort of stuff on any of the FCP fora :)
dand9959 wrote on 2/14/2006, 5:53 PM
I think you're making my point for me. No, I do not consider depression evil. However, often times people who are not evil per se may do things that are evil. You say that we can only understand the nature of that evil in a religious context.

My point is that we understand quite a bit about it in a scientific sense....thus "wonder drugs" that can make a manic or even psychotic(in some cases) person functional in the world. My guess is that these drugs were not created by religious philosophers or priests (or mullahs, or shamans, or rabbis...). They were created by scientists.

As Bob eloquently said, religion at its core is based on faith, not reason. That is perfectly fine. This whole discussion started - and always starts - when the two are mistakenly equated.
Coursedesign wrote on 2/14/2006, 6:40 PM
The problem I have with Intelligent Design/Creationist approach is the attempt to legislate equal education time to ID vs. traditional science. Since ID has defined their views for most scientific endeavors, the traditional science education time will be halved to provide time for what I personally consider the equivalent of "vaporware".

Yes, this is not good. Science is not infallible (as somebody pointed out above from a look at "100 years ago"), but it is important that the current scientific understanding be taught as such, along with the knowledge that "this may not be exactly right, but it's the best knowledge currently."

In medicine, they put a lot of effort into developing the "best practice" for all kinds of medical problems. This doesn't purport to be the end all, be all, just "best practice" as known today.

Intelligent design concepts (and there are many very different concepts, not just in Christianity) should be taught in Religions class, along with the teaching that religion is about connecting us with something that is beyond our ordinary reality and therefore difficult to define in detail.

dibbkd wrote on 2/14/2006, 6:52 PM
Come guys, let this thread die already.

Nobody is going to convince anyone in this thread to change the way they think.

There seems to be a larger than normal amount of OT threads, I wish we'd get back to Vegas and debate or watercooler somewhere else. Although as another poster said, even with a topic as heated as religion, everyone stayed very civil.

Anyway, for the record I'm a Christian who believes in creationism, and I know it doesn't always seem logical, but I believe what the Bible says is true, and science does back it up.

OK - now I'm starting to sound like you guys.... :)

And I'm promising myself not to reply to anymore OT's for at least a week! :)

Happy editing!

Edit: A lot of forums have a "general discussion" area, maybe Sony could make one of those for stuff like this?
Coursedesign wrote on 2/14/2006, 6:59 PM
Jay, do you include every cell with your DNA in it in your persona? If so, what do you do with the mitochondria you have in every cell? They have none of your DNA, only the DNA of your mother's mitochondria. And the 5 billion or so (3 lbs. worth) of bacteria in your gut, the ones you couldn't live without. They are all individuals separate from you.

I just meant that we take ourselves so seriously as individuals, while we are really walking zoos.

If we sin, do our cooties sin too? What about the mitochondria in everyone of our cells?

Perhaps not, because they latter are also complete separate beings by any measure. They just happen to have a symbiotic relationship with you, the body of flesh and bone referred to as "Jay".

My view on sin is that certain behavior by its nature tends to create future problems. Sometimes we create problems for ourselves, sometimes we create problems for others, but even then it is known that these things tend to come back and haunt us.

Not because a huge Caucasian male senior citizen is sitting in a rocking chair in the sky with a big book to look everyone up and pass judgments on people, but because it is the nature of creation. You get what you give. We can confirm this completely on our own, but it's likely to take too long.

To be on the safe side, it's better to pick a developed system and stick with it. It's like picking an NLE, you try to find one you resonate with, and after that you're usually better off sticking with it to the end.

Laws, including spiritual laws and commandments, were introduced because few understood the *principles* of a healthy society, so most people just didn't know what to do. They needed more and more detailed instructions.

Some people like to flitter back and forth across the "spiritual smorgasbord" of New Age concepts, but from what I could see (from having met quite a few of them), most of them didn't seem to make much progress because they were too scattered, and worst of all, they forgot the goal.

(Wasn't there a song, "...and they forgot what they were fighting for..."?)

PeterWright wrote on 2/14/2006, 7:42 PM
My favourite subject – hard to leave alone.

Random thoughts:

There cannot be more than one Universe. The concept of Universe means everything that is.

Darwin was a humble, religious man who was interested in moving towards truth, and he helped mankind make a huge movement in that direction. He knew there were details which would be modified by later discoveries, and many major advances since Darwin have helped flesh out his account of our origins and history, including the discovery of genes.
All such collections of thoughts start out as Theories, but what he was doing as a scientist (seeker of truth) was to wonder what happened yesterday and the day before etc, and thus give us more appreciation of what we are and what led to our being here now.

To discover God we don’t need to join a religion, in fact doing so is likely to narrow down one’s view, like putting on blinkers, making it harder to see the whole picture.

Throughout the past and present there have been individuals who are spiritually clearer than the average fellow, with the ability to make far reaching observations and statements on existence and living. Amongst these are people that have been recognized as prophets by their followers. These followers however almost always find differences between themselves, and thus we get different Muslim sects, different branches of the Christian church and so on.

A common theme amongst religious followers is to say “Yes, there were certain other prophets before ours, but OURS IS THE LAST ONE!” They fail to see that whatever God is has always been, and is of course still available for inspiration. Jesus has probably had many second comings over the years, but Christians wouldn’t know ….

If the Bible had never been written / edited / selected, God would still be here exactly the same.

Amongst current writers one I really like is Eckhart Tolle. Here’s a brief quote:

“There is an eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death. Many people use the word God to describe it; I often call it Being. The word Being explains nothing, but nor does God. Being, however, has the advantage that it is an open concept. It does not reduce the infinite invisible to a finite entity. It is impossible to form a mental image of it. Nobody can claim exclusive possession of Being. It is your very presence, and it is immediately accessible to you as the feeling of your own presence. So it is only a small step from the word Being to the experience of Being.” (from “Practicing the Power of Now”)

I'm happy that God was closely involved throughout evolution, and still is.

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/14/2006, 7:53 PM

I'll close with two thoughts...

First, no one says anyone has to read an Off Topic thread. If you don't like Off Topics threads, don't read 'em. Ignore 'em; treat 'em as if they weren't even there.

Second, and this is just something to ponder...

What is more important, being comfortable with your present belief system or knowing the truth?

Each of us has to answer that question for himself.

That's all from me (did I hear a collective sigh of relief?).

dand9959 wrote on 2/14/2006, 7:56 PM
Having said all that, do any of you still use the Media Manager? Think it'll be improved in v7?
B.Verlik wrote on 2/14/2006, 8:30 PM
I like that on the first page of the Bible it says "LET US CREATE MAN IN OUR IMAGE". And with all the changes that have been made in the Bible over the last couple of thousand years, that statement has never been changed. In fact, that statement has been traced back nearly 5000 years and read the same then as it does now.
I also wonder what happened to the "Wars of Yahweh", a chapter of the 1st Testament that disappeared, but can be proven existed among ancient writings of different cultures referring to the same thing, a chapter from the ancient Jewish Torah. Who was the God of Israel at war with?
Also many many stories of Gods from ALL ancient countries, fighting with each other. But you've been told not to believe in those stories anymore. You listened well. But are you really listening? Are you listening to your heart?
If I were living in the future, when science has made it so we could live hundreds or thousands of years, so that we can space travel very long distances, I'd think the plan would be, to create "space stations" everywhere, and the only feasible way would be to make them 'self-sustaining'. How? To make a man in your image, from the materials from the planet you plan to use as a "spacestation". Combining DNA with the closest thing to a man you could find, until you get a reasonable facsimile. You start small pockets of life all over this Planet. You teach your creations just enough and then leave and "let the seeds grow". Then one day, you would come back and with your superior knowledge and abilities, you'd simply take over again, mainly because you left a few "Kingships" with knowledge behind and they were able to keep their level of "Evolution" higher than most (selective breeding) and are able to keep most things under some kind of "psychological control" (Religion), while everything (the seeds) is growing. Almost like creating a world of inferior beings to do your dirty work and using psychology to make them feel that they are the only ones in the universe. Oh, and we get to burn in Hell for all eternity, if we make a mistake somewhere. Is this something I would expect from an all loving being that forgives. No, that's the kind of thing I expect from a typical earthling who wants to scare the S**t out of you.
In spite of what I said, I do believe in a God. I don't believe he looks anything like a man or related to man except that we were accidentally created, and ultimately, he/it is responsible.
What has happened on this planet is highly suspicious. The evidence is out there, but unfortunately, people can be trained better than Pavlovs dogs. Most are too afraid to even think about questioning their religion or origins. That's how strong the power of belief is.
God told me, to especially question religion, because all religions have been exploited by man to include things that greedy men and governments need to gain more control and get wealthier. ALL RELIGIONS.
If you don't believe me.....Listen. A bell is ringing. It's time for your dinner.
farss wrote on 2/14/2006, 8:36 PM
I think the Hindus have a word that sums that up nicely, Om.
Similar words exist in other languages but oddly not in English.

I think "Vegas" comes close though.

Just trying to get this back on topic....
markrad wrote on 2/14/2006, 8:53 PM
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.”

Stuart Chase
Coursedesign wrote on 2/14/2006, 11:24 PM
Similar words exist in other languages but oddly not in English.

Where did you think "Amen" came from?

In the beginning was the Word, "and the Word was Aum (aka Om)".

God said "I am [one], may I be many." This caused a vibration that got stronger until it became the sound [Word] "AUM" that created the world.

(Even Australian aborigines have a similar story that Bob can probably relate better.)

The A in Aum is pronounced "Ah!" and this is the first sound a human makes after birth. It represents awakening and the waking state.

"U" (pronounced approximately like a short "ooh") is the "dream state" that sustains maya (the perceivable world). It is inbetween the waking and the dreamless state (and can be seen as a mix of these), as also befits each Creation... (The Vedas say that each Creation lasts 157,680 billion earth years, then it collapses into "nothing", and after a period of nothing, God creates a new Creation. This concept of recurring expansions and total contractions of the universe is also the current hypothesis in astronomy, replacing the single Big Bang theory.)

"M" (pronounced "umm") is the state of dreamless sleep, and also represents death, as well as the end of each creation.

Om in Sanskrit is considered so important that it has its own single character.

When we transliterate it to English, we can use either Aum or Om, but Om being shorter has made it more popular.

The character/symbol for Om is on a lot of T-shirts, but few know what it means.

It consists of four curves and a dot. The first three curves make up what looks like a stylized "3" with a tail, and these represent the three normal states of a human being (or a creation): awake, asleep, and dreaming.

The fourth curve is not connected, it looks like a shield for the dot. The shield symbolizes maya ("the worldly illusion"), also referred to as a difficult to pierce "veil" (remember those from the Bible?), and shows that you cannot pass this with the faculty of thinking or reasoning we use in the three normal states.

The dot represents oneness with Creation/The Supreme Creator/God.

How to pierce the veil? Go beyond thinking. It is called getting into the state of "No mind", but it is not dreamless sleep which is a state in which one can't do anything.

Turns out there are several more (higher) states, described very lucidly in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Book I, and the step-by-step methods for reaching them are described in Book II. Book III talks about the problems you have to be careful to avoid, and so on. Very terse and technical writing, but written at a time when it was a mortal sin to write something with even one more word than necessary, and certainly fascinating (because it's about us!) :O)

The higher states are reached through improving concentration to the point that it becomes the very different state of meditation, then progressing through that to go through higher and higher states of samadhi.

In the lower samadhis, the mind for the first time doesn't exercise any judgment about an outside object, it just perceives it directly, concluding with all aspects of the object being taken in, including what we call past, present, and future (there is no time paradox here, because from a "higher vantage point" we can see something float down the river towards us and we can estimate when it will reach us).

In higher samadhis, we gradually become free of all afflictions (those are a deep subject), and then we get to what's described in Mahabharata this way:
"As a man on a hill top sees the man on the plains, so one having ascended to the palace of knowledge, becoming free from sorrow, sees others who are suffering."

This is referred to as leading to "liberation" in Yoga, which has many interesting implications.

I'm not even touching "enlightenment" because there are too many definitions of it, and it's in a sense a meaningless term. I like to think of it as when you understand what the problem is, not when you have the solution.

Interestingly, several very different methods are given to reach the highest states.

One method is through a lot of methodical hard work, so it fits intense people.

Another method is simply developing a high level of faith in God. Tthe more faith you have, the faster you will reach the goal. It is said very unambiguously that if you have a truly super-intense faith in God, you will get to the highest state immediately, without doing any complicated exercises at all.

This means that even totally uneducated people can reach the same advanced goal, but they can't have any reservations, because then not much will happen.

"Knowledge and Devotion are two sides of the same coin. Work on one and you get the other automatically," said Vivekananda, an interesting Vedantic intellectual who traveled the world (including to the U.S.) to teach this stuff in the late 19th century.

Btw, the Vedas also say that a long time ago (about 450,000 BC), the average lifespan was 1,000 years and 50% of the world's population had God consciousness, compared to the 100 years and 25% they give for the current "Kali Yuga" period. Methusaleh rocks!

And looking forward? They say that in about 425,000 years, the human life expectancy will be only 20 years.


The good news is that after that there will be 1,728,000 years of an era where nearly 100% of humans have God consciousness, and the life expectancy is 100,000 years (although the bodies of humans in this era will have a lighter composition than what we are schlepping around today).

And plenty more life after that, gradually descending into the muck again.


Coursedesign wrote on 2/14/2006, 11:32 PM
To discover God we don’t need to join a religion, in fact doing so is likely to narrow down one’s view, like putting on blinkers, making it harder to see the whole picture.

I like the hardcore Zen ways to dissolve people's endless tendency to seek familiar forms and supports.

Such as the saying, "If Buddha is standing in your way on the path, kill him." (To Buddhists, Buddha is the hero, life is holy, and killing is about as bad as it gets.)

It is just another way of making the same point as Peter Wright above.
Serena wrote on 2/15/2006, 2:26 AM
Why is this running on this site? Obviously it's a serious matter in the USA, and that's worrying enough. People should understand the scientific definition of "theory" and what this means in the context of scientific thought. Science deals with natural phenomena, religion is a matter of the supernatural. Really there is no overlap, so it's difficult to understand why fundementalist Christians are so afraid that their belief-needing-no-proof can be undermined by material arguments. There is a good Australian word for the "intelligent design" debate, but I won't write it here.
farss wrote on 2/15/2006, 4:40 AM
thank you SO MUCH for that explaination of the Sanskrit character.
Just before our travels through India a kind Hindu had placed it on our motorcycle along with a symbol of Garnesh. I understood the concept of what Om stood for but when pressed the Hindus would say it's true meaning was very difficult to explain in English.

I had never thought of "Amen" in that context, it certainly is different to what I was taught but I guess my religious upbringing was influenced by freemasonary in which it means "so mote it be".

Sadly I know far too little of our own aboriginal peoples beliefs but I can certainly see a connection with the idea of all things being one as they see no separation between themselves and the natural world.

cervama wrote on 2/15/2006, 10:35 AM
Since this is an OT: Here it goes, I will post it here for my Vegas users who believe GOD or Don't believe GOD. It doesn't really matter what you belive the Word is True. Many of you who mock GOD remember this. What you Reap is what you Sow. It's appointed to man to die once, and then give an account. Then judgement comes.

What if we believers in GOD are right? We have GOD's Promise of eternal life. (a lot to gain).

What if you unbelievers are wrong, you have a whole lot to lose. The lake of fire is the reward.

Vise versa,
If we believers are wrong and you're right that there is no GOD, it don't matter.

So I'll believe In GOD.

Here is something to ponder,

Isaiah 55:8 NIV Version or check out your other versions NKJV, KJV, etc.

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oh, marquat, That's GOD's WORD.


B.Verlik wrote on 2/15/2006, 11:04 AM
Heavens = Outer Space