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Author Topic: Storm  (Read 6037 times)

Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2013, 09:59:25 am »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;107396
I don't think anyone on this forum actually does that though

 
This is encouraging to hear. And I've looked around. If I thought the majority of this forum was populated by the sort of character parodied in this video, I'd be an idiot.

RandallS

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Re: Storm
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2013, 10:02:04 am »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;107357
I think it's different to be skeptical sometimes of individual religious experiences sometimes and to discount all religious experiences as bunk.

I have no problem with someone who thinks religious experiences are bunk. However, they can be bunk WITHOUT anyone lying or being mentally ill. Therefore, saying the latter is nothing more than an ad hominem attack.
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Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2013, 10:07:43 am »
Quote from: RandallS;107398
I have no problem with someone who thinks religious experiences are bunk. However, they can be bunk WITHOUT anyone lying or being mentally ill. Therefore, saying the latter is nothing more than an ad hominem attack.

 
Well yes, it's a poem, written by a musician/comedian. He doesn't necessarily follow all the protocols of debate at all times.

Still, hypothetically assuming all religious experiences are bunk, does that not mean by default that anyone who claims to have a religious experience is either lying (maybe to themselves as well as others) or mentally ill?

Sage

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Re: Storm
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2013, 10:13:42 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107400
Well yes, it's a poem, written by a musician/comedian. He doesn't necessarily follow all the protocols of debate at all times.

Still, hypothetically assuming all religious experiences are bunk, does that not mean by default that anyone who claims to have a religious experience is either lying (maybe to themselves as well as others) or mentally ill?

 
Depends on what you mean by "bunk", what the experiences are, how religious people explain them... I'm a very religious person, but I also understand that experiences that might be catalogued as "spiritual" may have a variety of rather mundane explanations. I don't really care what's "really" there; in this sense, reality is really boring to me! I'm more interested in my reactions to said experiences and what I do with them in my life.

Religion and mythic symbolism has added a beautiful richness to my life. Believing the world is full of spirits (which is something I partially choose to believe, sometimes that's partially upheld by a few completely subjective experiences) has been joyful, but it doesn't preclude my "belief" in science (does one "believe" in science?") or anything that studies the substantial world.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

Sage and Starshine (my spiritual blog): last updated 2/25.
Friday Otherfaith Blogging: last updated 2/27
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Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2013, 10:19:00 am »
Quote from: Sage;107401
Depends on what you mean by "bunk", what the experiences are, how religious people explain them... I'm a very religious person, but I also understand that experiences that might be catalogued as "spiritual" may have a variety of rather mundane explanations. I don't really care what's "really" there; in this sense, reality is really boring to me! I'm more interested in my reactions to said experiences and what I do with them in my life.

Religion and mythic symbolism has added a beautiful richness to my life. Believing the world is full of spirits (which is something I partially choose to believe, sometimes that's partially upheld by a few completely subjective experiences) has been joyful, but it doesn't preclude my "belief" in science (does one "believe" in science?") or anything that studies the substantial world.


I like this, a lot, and this is very close to how my philosophy used to be, only now when I get to the bit where I believe in, for want of a better word, spirits, or, indeed, anything 'supernatural', I'm filled with a crushing doubt lately.

Sage

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Re: Storm
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2013, 10:32:19 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107402
I like this, a lot, and this is very close to how my philosophy used to be, only now when I get to the bit where I believe in, for want of a better word, spirits, or, indeed, anything 'supernatural', I'm filled with a crushing doubt lately.

 
Wanna know a secret? I'm full of doubt too. Always have been for most of my life, especially when my conservative Christian upbringing came falling around my ears.

It's Beltane (happy May Day everyone!) and I go down to my local nature center and leave a small fruit offering at the base of a hawthorn tree and say a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful spring weather and the bounty of the earth. If I feel satisfied in some way, does it matter if that satisfaction comes from the spirits of that tree, from my ancestors approving of my marking of the first of May, or from choosing to see some time and some place as sacred, worthy of my attention whatever the "reality" behind it?

Some people think this matters a whole lot, and I'm not going to argue with them. For me though, my religion is about me. I like to think the gods participate. I often believe they do. But I'll never really know, and doubt is part of my faith.

In addition to being a Pagan, I'm also a Unitarian Universalist -- a very liberal multifaith congregation where there's no shared creed or faith, but rather a shared set of ideals for living in the world. Some UU principles are respecting the inherent worth and dignity of all peoples, engaging in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and respecting the interdependent web of existence. Things that many people from many faith backgrounds can agree on. We even have atheist UU ministers! (It's pretty rad. The largest subgroupings of UUs are the Pagans, the secular humanists, and liberal theists of some description.)

Anywho, the point about my UU faith is that it's centered around action, not belief. I often tell people that social justice is my religion. How am I being a good religious person? By treating others with respect, calling out inappropriate behavior, engaging in conversations that are hard to have (like those about privilege), taking care of my dog and my family, doing well in school, caring for my partner, being politically involved. If there are gods, then I hope they're the type to celebrate this behavior with me!
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

Sage and Starshine (my spiritual blog): last updated 2/25.
Friday Otherfaith Blogging: last updated 2/27
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013.

Darkhawk

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Re: Storm
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2013, 10:44:40 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107393
A common comparison but not a particularly effective one. Love for real people and religious experience are two different things. "Love without evidence is stalking." - Tim Minchin


I make the comparison because from where I sit they're exactly the same damn thing, but somehow it's okay to slag off people who experience one thing and not the other.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Darkhawk

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Re: Storm
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2013, 10:48:57 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107393
"Love without evidence is stalking." - Tim Minchin


Adding to previous comment:  someone who can't tell the difference between an internal experience and an action has problems.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Darkhawk

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Re: Storm
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2013, 10:50:23 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107402
I like this, a lot, and this is very close to how my philosophy used to be, only now when I get to the bit where I believe in, for want of a better word, spirits, or, indeed, anything 'supernatural', I'm filled with a crushing doubt lately.

 
I consider "supernatural" a fancy word for "stuff that doesn't exist", and honestly have a hard time worrying about it.  The world is.  Experiences of the world are.  Emotional responses to the world also are.

Meaning is constructed by conscious minds interpreting the sensory facts.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Rainbo

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Re: Storm
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2013, 02:53:41 pm »
Quote from: Humphrey;107338
As I've mentioned, I used to hold quite religious beliefs, and then I found myself skeptical. I'm still drawn to a fairly occultic path though, which is why I'm here.

One of the turning points for me was this video: Tim Minchin's 'Storm'.

[video=youtube;HhGuXCuDb1U]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U[/video]

I would like to know from those of you here who want to answer, what is your take on the arguments found in this poem? Do you have counter arguments? Do you find them challenging or pointless, and why?

 
Actuallyyy, I kind of really like this poem. I laughed a lot because I understand sooo much what he's talking about. To me it's not the beliefs she holds but the arrogance and ignorance behind it. It's not that she's a pagan, it's that she is a proudly ignorant one who's glad to crash an entire party by spouting crap she was basically spoonfed. She's a fluffy bunny to the core. I don't care what your beliefs are, if you act like that, you're liable to be trolled by someone like me - or someone like Tim Minchin. I absolutely understand the looks people give him - knowing his painful urge to troll - and the cracks slowly wearing away at his polite nature until he finally relents and trolls away. Been there, done that, got a collection of T-shirts.

That being said, as for the beliefs themselves and the issues brought up, I hold a very aloof viewpoint of most of them. I am a strict believer in evidence. I believe that the more evidence something has, the more credit I can give it - the less evidence it has, the more I keep it at a healthy distance and refuse to believe too firmly. If I have no concrete evidence behind one of my beliefs, I think of it more as a fun thing to think about, something I prefer, or something that makes me happy, in the same way that a nice story makes me happy or in the same way that saying "Wouldn't it be nice if..?" makes me happy. I do not put weight on things that don't have a firm foundation beneath them. I've seen too many times what baseless, rabid fanaticism - in ALL circles of religion and spirituality! - can do to people. It makes them just crazy, it foams at the mouth and leaves a stinking fart cloud of stupid everywhere it goes. It breeds cults and closed-minded cliques and conversion therapy and abuse and hate and us vs. them, it makes people into children squabbling about whose invisible figure is superior, it makes hoards and hoards of fluffy bunnies on all sides. I hate it!

And yet, I am a pagan, someone who believes in spirits, magicks, so on and so forth. It seems dichotomous. But for me, it was a really weird journey. I was an agnostic atheist for a very long time. It wasn't until some experiences I don't prefer to go into came around that I began to change my mind. As Minchin says, he would change his mind if given enough evidence - in my case I was given evidence that was not only demonstrable (in other words, concrete, something you can see/taste/smell/touch/hear with your physical senses and that is readily measurable, quantifiable, evident, with all other explanations carefully eliminated) but repeatable (in other words, that same evident manifestation can be repeated reliably under controlled conditions). I balked at it, because again, I was a firm agnostic atheist. I said it was BS, I outright denied it. And then it just kept happening, and the evidence kept coming more and more and more. I eventually had no choice, as someone who firmly believes that none of my beliefs are to be immutable and that if evidence is sufficient I MUST adapt accordingly. I never asked for the journey, I never sought it. It just happened, and now I believe weird things because weird things went on in my life that were not otherwise explainable.

I also believe that my weird beliefs are often theories attempting to explain what became evident - I often surmise, suppose, or ponder these explanations, instead of spouting them concretely, unless they have proven themselves in a reliable way. I believe they are as reliable as a medicine man who says he speaks to trees and has found a real remedy but explains it with stories and myths and spirits - yes he found something true, but he wasn't sure how to explain it, so he explained it the very best he could and knew he could rely upon it because it was evident that (for example! Aspirin!) this substance worked. I am STILL agnostic, in a sense, because I refuse to allow any of my beliefs to become too firm, too overconfident, and if someone came up to me tomorrow and offered a sufficiently valid and demonstrable alternate explanation for the conclusions I came to based on previous evidence - I would be forced, again, to change my mind because otherwise I'd be an idiot in denial; and I would graciously do so. Thus far, however, my conclusions are that SOME kind of energy forms exist (spirits, ghosts, deities, etc.). I believe the dead exist and that they can only be verified by evidence - if a ghost says "I died in the year 1823 in a house fire and my name is James", and you find a news story to that effect, and you could not have had any knowledge of this beforehand, obviously there is something going on here and the best explanation is a ghost, occam's razor style. If the ghost says "My name is Susan and I lived in the year 1856 and I died of a gunshot wound in a hunting accident" but there is no evidence to back it up, I am not going to treat it as being quite as reliable, and to me it's just as likely to be the cheese I ate before I went to bed. So yeah, as a pagan, I am highly skeptical toward everything, and I believe that science and magic are not mutually exclusive, just haven't met in the middle yet where evidence begins to explain what was formerly mystifying. I think it's a good way to go and I don't think it excludes pagan beliefs. I actually respect agnostic atheists far more than rabid fluffbunny new agers because the former is intelligent about their beliefs, the latter has read a book and just started regurgitating its contents to everybody without bothering to carefully dissect or seek evidence for their beliefs in any way. I hold people like that on a certain arm's-length level where I find their beliefs fascinating, beautiful, poetic and sometimes inspiring, but sometimes extremely annoying when they get pushy and rude about it.

If I came across Storm, I'd be rolling my eyes too.

RandallS

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Re: Storm
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2013, 04:49:59 pm »
Quote from: Humphrey;107400
Still, hypothetically assuming all religious experiences are bunk, does that not mean by default that anyone who claims to have a religious experience is either lying (maybe to themselves as well as others) or mentally ill?

In addition to what Sage says, it is possible to misinterpret what one sees or experiences without lying about it or being mentally ill. I don't think lying or mental illness come into religious (or "supernatural") experiences until someone absolutely refuses to even consider the possibility of a mundane cause. For example, I know someone who "miraculously" recovered from what all his doctors had said was a terminal illness. He attributes his recovery to a divine miracle, but when pressed will (reluctantly) admit that it might simply be pure luck, the doctors all being wrong, etc. -- but in the absence of any real evidence for these alternatives, he believe it was God. I don't see any lying or mental illness there.
Randall
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Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2013, 08:23:11 am »
Quote from: RandallS;107440
In addition to what Sage says, it is possible to misinterpret what one sees or experiences without lying about it or being mentally ill. I don't think lying or mental illness come into religious (or "supernatural") experiences until someone absolutely refuses to even consider the possibility of a mundane cause. For example, I know someone who "miraculously" recovered from what all his doctors had said was a terminal illness. He attributes his recovery to a divine miracle, but when pressed will (reluctantly) admit that it might simply be pure luck, the doctors all being wrong, etc. -- but in the absence of any real evidence for these alternatives, he believe it was God. I don't see any lying or mental illness there.

 
I just want to pop in to say I'm really enjoying these responses. I have very little to contribute right now but you're giving me some excellent food for thought. (Also I'm fast becoming Sage's biggest fan.)

Sage

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Re: Storm
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2013, 09:42:43 am »
Quote from: Humphrey;107543
I just want to pop in to say I'm really enjoying these responses. I have very little to contribute right now but you're giving me some excellent food for thought. (Also I'm fast becoming Sage's biggest fan.)

 
Everyone thinks I'm really awesome, but it's just a bid to gain more reputation than Darkhawk. One day I will have the most rep on the board, mark my words....
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

Sage and Starshine (my spiritual blog): last updated 2/25.
Friday Otherfaith Blogging: last updated 2/27
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013.

Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2013, 09:43:31 am »
Quote from: Sage;107551
Everyone thinks I'm really awesome, but it's just a bid to gain more reputation than Darkhawk. One day I will have the most rep on the board, mark my words....

 
All I know is I'm pretty much not allowed to give rep to either of you anymore.

Humphrey

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Re: Storm
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2013, 09:52:33 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;107406
I make the comparison because from where I sit they're exactly the same damn thing

 
Nope. I disagree.

I think love and faith both exist, but there's clear evidence that the objects of love exist. There's a significant lack of evidence that the objects of faith exist.

I often meet people in online gaming who claim to have supermodel girlfriends who adore them - but they can't *actually* prove they exist. I think that's a closer comparison than simply the emotion of love.

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