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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alan Hirsch: God Does Not Play Baseball

The Beauty of Short Hops Heard Round the World.

As if Jews haven’t suffered enough, it turns out that Ralph Branca is a member of our tribe.  The man who served up Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard Round The World in 1951 recently learned that his mother was a closeted Jew.  The full story, told in poignant detail in a recent New York Times article by Joshua Prager, suggests that Branca’s hidden religion may have had major ramifications for baseball.

Thompson’s home run completed the miracle at Coogan’s Bluff, as the Dodgers squandered a 13.5 game lead and lost the National League pennant to the Giants in the most agonizing defeat in baseball history.  But, you ask, what does that have to do with religion?  According to Branca, everything.  Prager quotes the pitcher as follows: “Maybe that’s why God was mad at me – that I didn’t practice my mother’s religion.”  Prager observes that Branca was not joking, but rather is “a Job wondering about the root of his suffering.”  As Branca elaborates, the almighty “made me throw that home run pitch.  He made me get injured the next year.  Remember, Jesus was a Jew.”

Good grief.  If God’s vengeance over ballplayers’ religious practices determines the outcome of games, think of the ramifications for your next Fantasy draft.  Stop studying players’ statistics and bone up on their church attendance.  But seriously, “He made me throw that home run pitch?”  God has a lot to answer for, but was he really the de facto losing pitcher in the 1951 playoff s?  “He made me get injured the next year?”  The Lord supposedly sees every sparrow, but does he really micromanage the DL?  I’m not sure who should be more bothered by such silliness – believers or atheists.

Repoz Posted: August 20, 2011 at 01:52 PM | 197 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, giants, history

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   1. Bob Tufts Posted: August 20, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3904762)
what does G-d do in his spare time?
   2. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: August 20, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3904763)
what does G-d do in his spare time?

Oh, he's just a slob like us.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: August 20, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3904764)
what does G-d do in his spare time?

Online poker.
   4. Steve Treder Posted: August 20, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3904783)
I’m not sure who should be more bothered by such silliness – believers or atheists.

This atheist long ago dispensed with being bothered by such silliness.
   5. Bob Tufts Posted: August 20, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3904788)
I wrote to G-d a few times to get his opinion on the Branca article, but didn't get an answer to my letters. I guess Updike was right.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 20, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3904789)
A real Jew would at least know how to spell Bobby Thomson's name, especially when it's correctly spelled twice in that Times article he's basing his essay on. Obviously Hirsch is just faking it.
   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3904791)
Of course G-d follows baseball. If he didn't he wouldn't be G-d.

Also the Devil like the ponies.
   8. Transmission Posted: August 20, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3904792)
Yeah, I don't get why atheists or believers ought to be bothered by what Branca believes. He wants to identify the cause behind why his name is unfairly associated with failure and why his career didn't turn out the way he wanted? And given that he didn't behave in any obvious way to warrant such a fate, he wants to look for that explanation in cosmic forces beyond the human ken? ~Shrug~ ok, works for me.
   9. 'Spos Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3904798)
But does Branca believe the Giants were stealing signs?
   10. Steve Treder Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3904799)
But does Branca believe the Giants were stealing signs?

God made them do it. Duh.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3904802)
This atheist long ago dispensed with being bothered by such silliness


You haven't met many public atheists have you. They are bothered as much by the silliness as anyone(I'm an atheist but I think it's extremely petty to worry about stupid schit like saying Merry Christmas in a government office)
   12. Steve Treder Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3904808)
You haven't met many public atheists have you.

Whether I have or not doesn't dictate my behavior.
   13. BDC Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:33 PM (#3904813)
God has been trying to get the Cubs back to the World Series for 66 years, but some things are beyond His control.
   14. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3904823)
Where I come from, atheists don't stay in the closet.
   15. tfbg9 Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:52 PM (#3904825)
Yeah well, Treder does believe the NY and LA Times play it right down the middle.

The only halfway convincing philisophical/theological anti-deist argument is the problem of evil...but from the viewpoint of eternity that one falls short too.

Another nothing to do with baseball thread from Same Swing.
   16. tfbg9 Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:52 PM (#3904826)
Remove droid-caused double post
   17. rr Posted: August 20, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3904828)
Yeah well, Treder does believe the NY and LA Times play it right down the middle.

The only halfway convincing philisophical/theological anti-deist argument is the problem of evil...but from the viewpoint of eternity that one falls short too.

Another nothing to do with baseball thread from Same Swing.


Joey B. couldn't have done it any better. Classic. The double-post is just icing.
   18. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3904829)
Joey B. couldn't have done it any better. Classic. The double-post is just icing.

I have no interest at all in getting in a philosophical discussion of theology, but since you're baiting me, yes, this part here:

Another nothing to do with baseball thread from Same Swing.

Is pretty much 100% dead on the money. And I think that you know it darn well, in spite of your usual sad attempt to try and turn it around on the person who dares to say anything.
   19. rr Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3904834)
Is pretty much 100% dead on the money. And I think that you know it darn well, in spite of your usual sad attempt to try and turn it around on the person who dares to say anything.

Sure. And what else is "dead on the money" is my call-out of the amusing combination of:

baiting BTF liberals/non-religious types
escalating a religious or political discussion by bringing personal views/philosophies into it
complaining about "non-baseball" threads

tfbg's post, and yours jabbing back at me (totally understandable--I took the first shot, and you should of course hit right back if you want) had NOTHING TO DO WITH BASEBALL. They were meta posts, and personal posts.

So you are part of the "problem."
   20. tfbg9 Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3904836)
Another contribution from robinred that reminds us what a warm, charitable, truth-seeking mensch sounds like.
   21. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3904841)
Another contribution from robinred that reminds us what a warm, charitable, truth-seeking mensch sounds like.

This is one of Mr. NBA's favorite routines. He loves playing the self-appointed Robin (no pun intended) to Repoz's Batman. And he gets a rise out of trying to bait me in particular, because he knows most of the peanut gallery will go for it.
   22. Tuque Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3904842)
And we're off!
   23. tfbg9 Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3904844)
Treder once posted that he has seen zero evidence that the MSM, who vote Democrat monolithically (85-90%), EVER let their personal views creep into their story-editing, etc. Hence my little dig.

Have a nice life you kneejerk, constipated sophist.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3904845)
Gentlemen, gentlemen. Was there piss in the cornflakes this morning?
   25. rr Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#3904854)
This is one of Mr. NBA's favorite routines. He loves playing the self-appointed Robin (no pun intended) to Repoz's Batman. And he gets a rise out of trying to bait me in particular, because he knows most of the peanut gallery will go for it.


Heh. More vintage Joey.

I see the Repoz "issue" as being pretty simple. If you are upset with what he posts, drop him, Furtado, and/or Szym a line. If they say they are going to continue the way they are, then ignore these kinds of threads.

And if you only want to talk baseball, talk baseball. Doing what you do is similar to these guys who jump into the latest Andy/Ray/DMN kerfluffle to talk about how dumb it is and what a waste of time it is.

Another contribution from robinred that reminds us what a warm, charitable, truth-seeking mensch sounds like.


Good to see that you recognize my greatness.

On a more serious note, while I am an agnostic myself, I have a said a few times that the knee-jerk religion-baiting here should be toned down big-time, and I try to avoid doing that. I can see why you would be testy, but posting something like #15 and then complaining about non-baseball discussions--in the same post, no less--is, in fact, a classic Joey move.
   26. rr Posted: August 20, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3904856)
Was there piss in the cornflakes this morning?


Not in mine, because I am a warm, charitable, truth-seeking mensch.

Too bad it exceeds the character limit or I would be all over that as an add to my handle.
   27. Bob Tufts Posted: August 20, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3904882)
Better breakfast of champions - adding alcohol to the honey nut cheerios or to the Hawaiian Punch?

And WWTLRD?
   28. Shock Posted: August 20, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3904903)
Do people normally say "G-d" or is that a primer in-joke that I don't understand?
   29. GGC for Sale Posted: August 20, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3904904)
The only halfway convincing philisophical/theological anti-deist argument is the problem of evil...but from the viewpoint of eternity that one falls short too.


I think about metaphysics from time to time. That one never bothered me. The one argument that will give me doubt is the one where there was no Big Bang and the universe has no beginning or end.
   30. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 20, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3904905)
It's actually fairly common. I notice it more with people who are religious than with non-religious types.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3904910)
Do people normally say "G-d" or is that a primer in-joke that I don't understand?

I believe some Jews think it is disrespectful to say/write God's name, so they do "G-d" for God.

I've never heard of Christians doing it.
   32. rr Posted: August 20, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3904913)
The Echoing Green, Joshua Prager's book about Thomson and Branca, is outstanding.

As Prager tells it there, after the game on Oct 3, Branca is in his car, in a nearly empty Polo Grounds parking lot, with his fiancee and a priest--who I think was a relative of his fiancee.

According to Prager, the priest told Branca that God picked him to throw the pitch because he knew Branca would have the the strength to withstand "all that would follow", and in the book, Prager says that this idea was a great source of comfort for Branca, along with his marriage, which occurred later in October of '51. Branca in the locker room said something like "I guess I am too lucky in love to be lucky in anything else."

So, looking at Branca's demographic profile and worldview as we can see them from here, it makes sense that Branca would see the news about his Jewish connections (from the previous article linked here on this issue) in this way and how he would see that connecting to The Shot Heard Round the World is perfectly understandable.

Yes, it is also understandable that people object to the God/sports connections jocks make, but Branca is over 80, and while he has made a lot of money/stayed famous because of the HR, as the book details very well, a lot of the aftermath sucked gorillaballs for him beyond just losing the pennant, particularly since his career cratered starting in 1952. His name is and will forever be identified with defeat and, in a sense, failure.

I didn't RTFA, so Hirsch may be more aware of the nuanced context than he comes off as being in the excerpt. But in the excerpt, he comes off like a shitheel.
   33. GGC for Sale Posted: August 20, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#3904917)
what does G-d do in his spare time?

Online poker.


It sure isn't dice.

/Einstein
   34. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: August 20, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#3904923)
So, no Joan Osborne hijack? Ah well...
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 20, 2011 at 08:43 PM (#3904928)
Has there ever been a baseball player who was a public atheist during his playing days?
   36. Shock Posted: August 20, 2011 at 09:03 PM (#3904934)

I believe some Jews think it is disrespectful to say/write God's name, so they do "G-d" for God.

I've never heard of Christians doing it.


Ah, I see. Literally the only place I've ever seen it is here. Maybe I just don't know any Jews.
   37. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#3904940)
Maybe I just don't know any Jews.

Let alone tasted good smoked sturgeon!
   38. Halofan Posted: August 20, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#3904941)
1995 Angels blew a 13.5 game lead and Gentile As They Get Mark Langston blew the one game playoff in Seattle. Not even the most agonizing defeat in franchise history.
   39. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: August 20, 2011 at 09:40 PM (#3904950)
Anybody know any good Holocaust jokes?
   40. Walt Davis Posted: August 20, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3904982)
God doesn't play baseball? Is he a pansy or something?

Seriously ... if I'm omnipotent, pretty much the first thing I do is turn myself into Willie Mays.
   41. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:14 PM (#3904995)
I don't always write the name of the almighty, but when I do, I prefer YHWH.
   42. Boxkutter Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#3904998)
Anybody know any good Holocaust jokes?


Yes.
   43. BDC Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:25 PM (#3905006)
I can't believe this: 42 posts (42, no less!) and BBTF has not yet been able to adjudicate the existence of God. It has only taken 1,178 posts in another thread to maybe decide that copying movies off TCM is illegal. Come on, people!
   44. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:27 PM (#3905007)
Another nothing to do with baseball thread from Same Swing.

TFA is about a famous baseball player. But you knew that.
   45. pinball1973 Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#3905017)
"God"? And you mean that horrid, bad-acid-trip monster god from the OT? Some people will believe ANYTHING!

Like being "the chosen people".

Like magic zombies flying off into space.

Like the effectiveness of diluted water.

My step-dad's a cultural Jew. He's a well-read, large self-educated radical leftist, jazz buff and all-around cool old man. But he doesn't have more than abstract historical interest in the so-called "Covenant." And the quickest way to find a clueless moron is not to attend a Yankees game, but stop in at the nearest Christian church.
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:37 PM (#3905018)
Anybody know any good Holocaust jokes?


Too soon.
   47. GGC for Sale Posted: August 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM (#3905036)
What is Same Swing, anyways?
   48. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:03 AM (#3905042)
I can't believe this: 42 posts (42, no less!) and BBTF has not yet been able to adjudicate the existence of God. It has only taken 1,178 posts in another thread to maybe decide that copying movies off TCM is illegal. Come on, people!

We've established yet again that atheists can outdo even the most fundamental of fundamentalists in their rabid enthusiasm to express scorn for anyone who doesn't believe what they believe!
   49. GGC for Sale Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#3905076)
Better breakfast of champions - adding alcohol to the honey nut cheerios or to the Hawaiian Punch?


If you could find a beer that would go with Honey Nut Cheerios that might work, otherwise, a Russo-Hawaiian Punch; just add vodka.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#3905078)
We've established yet again that atheists can outdo even the most fundamental of fundamentalists in their rabid enthusiasm to express scorn for anyone who doesn't believe what they believe!

They should take a cue from us agnostics and not give a #### about anyone else's religion. Me, I just love the music.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3905102)
Who has suffered more over the years - Ralph Branca, or Branca's daughter, who married Bobby Valentine?

And where does Job stack up in this grouping?
   52. rr Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:15 AM (#3905106)
Have a nice life you kneejerk, constipated sophist.


Good baseball post.

Me, I just love the music.


As long as you can download it illegally.
   53. rr Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:25 AM (#3905117)
@45

Your step-dad sounds cool. Calling people clueless morons is generally a bad idea, though.
   54. Srul Itza Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:39 AM (#3905123)
Not to mention redundant.
   55. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:39 AM (#3905124)
We've established yet again that atheists can outdo even the most fundamental of fundamentalists in their rabid enthusiasm to express scorn for anyone who doesn't believe what they believe!


God, Atheist & those who misjudge what's at stake
   56. rr Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#3905128)
Nieporent has used that cartoon to tweak Andy 3 or 4 times.
   57. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:52 AM (#3905130)
My God! Unclean! Unclean!
   58. rr Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:53 AM (#3905131)
Sorry. But I thought you needed to know.
   59. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#3905140)
The thing is there are irreconcilable points of contention between believers and non-believers (especially atheists), and you can't whitewash that, much less make it disappear, with cries and pleas for civility and courtesy and deference(can't we just get along) when one side sees that as weakness and would use that to do you end. I see it like the new attitude towards bullying in school: zero ####### tolerance. You don't kowtow to bullies with understanding--you kick their ass until they, at least, back off.

Atheists (thankfully) no longer believe that if you treat the religious bullies courteously and with respect (which they don't deserve) they will somehow miraculously be transformed into the gentle, tolerant ideal some believe them capable of becoming. They started this #### (and they would continue until the last dog dies, especially if they get to retro Western Civilization as they so obviously yearn to): you don't give ground to that sort; you stand up to them, and those who blame those who stand up to them (those moderates, the why can't you contest them civilly, or, like us, by looking the other way) are nothing less (but maybe more) than fellow travelers, appeasers, and Good Germans looking the other way.
   60. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:13 AM (#3905144)
And here on the internet, there can be countless discussion boards where it's actually the atheists who can gang up and be bullies, AND feel self-righteous all day long about their minority status elsewhere! Just like many other subcultures.
   61. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:36 AM (#3905150)
I'm sure there are. And I commend you for standing up to them.

I would just note at this point, simply in passing, that bullying isn't about just talking, engaging in debate and polemics. It isn't even about being self-righteous. But, in any case, feel free to interject and point out what you are witnessing. Call them out. However, balding stating one's views and contradicting one's opponent vehemently is not bullying. Making them feel they would pay with institutional repercussions would be, though. All dynamics between humans tend to go to extreme (at least by some). Sass isn't enough to plead dirty pool. But, yes, every revolution has to watch out for its Robespierre.
   62. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:49 AM (#3905154)
You guys are talking about conservative, right-wing Christians. There are other Christians, you know . . . people who feel the same way about the world as most liberal atheists, except they feel like there's a force in the universe that allows them to feel that way about the world, instead of not feeling like there is. Is it personality? Brain chemistry? The actual existence of such a force? Who knows? But I have friends who are as liberal and scientifically minded as anybody here, less judgmental than most of the posts in this thread, plenty intelligent, completely tolerant, and, well, Christian, self-identified and practicing. You and they are united against the same enemies.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:09 AM (#3905159)
You guys are talking about conservative, right-wing Christians. There are other Christians, you know . . . people who feel the same way about the world as most liberal atheists, except they feel like there's a force in the universe that allows them to feel that way about the world, instead of not feeling like there is. Is it personality? Brain chemistry? The actual existence of such a force? Who knows? But I have friends who are as liberal and scientifically minded as anybody here, less judgmental than most of the posts in this thread, plenty intelligent, completely tolerant, and, well, Christian, self-identified and practicing. You and they are united against the same enemies.

That's a very good point that's worth making and worth repeating. The problem is that for the most part, within the Christian community itself it's usually the most reactionary voices who yell the loudest and command the attention of the media and the politicians, for the simple reason that the squeakiest wheel gets the grease. It's been nearly 50 years since this wasn't the case, when the black church (and many of the mainstream northern white denominations) stood out so much within the civil rights movement.
   64. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:20 AM (#3905160)
My step-dad's a cultural Jew.


What does that mean? He likes to go to the opera but he'll only pay for a standing-room-only seat and then sneak down?
   65. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#3905162)
Posted in wrong place
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:30 AM (#3905166)
The Power and the Glory

Bookmark it, Morty. TCM, Sunday, September 18 @ 10:15 PM (ET). Considering that it's a FOX movie that I've never seen on FMC, you'd probably best be advised not to wait for it to show up again. I've never seen it, either, although like you, I've heard about it for a long time.
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:32 AM (#3905167)
My step-dad's a cultural Jew.


What does that mean? He likes to go to the opera but he'll only pay for a standing-room-only seat and then sneak down?

Actually it means that he's a thief!
   68. CrosbyBird Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3905176)
Where I come from, atheists don't stay in the closet.

I had an interesting moment on the subway the other day.

I was reading God Is Not Great, and I looked up to see the person sitting across from me wearing a big cross. I spent most of the remaining ride thinking about what the appropriate angle was to hold the book. I considered the balance of not wanting to be one of "those" atheists with the freedom to read whatever the hell I wanted.

And here on the internet, there can be countless discussion boards where it's actually the atheists who can gang up and be bullies, AND feel self-righteous all day long about their minority status elsewhere!

I try very hard not to be self-righteous, but there's also a feeling that religion is ridiculous and dangerous to the health of society, and that there's a lot religion-reinforcing propaganda that requires a response. Christopher Hitchens can be a miserable jerk, but the ideas that he conveys are important ones.
   69. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:51 AM (#3905182)
Actually it means that he's a thief!


You would know, Video Valjean!
   70. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:55 AM (#3905205)
Too soon.


Hah!

As for the whole Christian/Athiest dichotomy, join the UUs! They'd love to have you all and then talk about it!

I'm a cultural UU, if you can tell. My vegan buddhist seders are the ####.
   71. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:00 AM (#3905207)
Christopher Hitchens can be a miserable jerk, but the ideas that he conveys are important ones.


Christopher Hitchens IS a miserable jerk, and is one of the only human beings I don't immediately feel empathy for. His arguments are made in a manner that incites conflict rather than seeking accord and improvement. He's a dick for the purpose of being a dick, and his arrogance is so great that he's imagining himself as a martyr while he dies.

I'd totally deathmatch him against William Graham Sumner, another incourrigible ####. (that cuss is meant to have assonance).
   72. Jay Z Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:10 AM (#3905214)
I try very hard not to be self-righteous, but there's also a feeling that religion is ridiculous and dangerous to the health of society, and that there's a lot religion-reinforcing propaganda that requires a response. Christopher Hitchens can be a miserable jerk, but the ideas that he conveys are important ones.


This seems to be painting with a broad brush.

I attend church relatively regularly. My faith comes and goes. Now right there I've said two things that relate to much of Christianity that don't necessarily apply to all religions. Different religions have different beliefs about church attendance or about faith.

Religion exists because people want it to exist. In 100 years everyone posting here will be dead; I don't think science has that one licked yet. I'm a computer programmer. I'm well acquainted with logic. But since we're only here for a limited time, it all only matters so much. I can pursue logic to the nth degree, but in the end the best I can hope for it I'll have been a guy who pursued logic, then got old and died. At some point it all only matters so much. Someone who believes probably is not impeding their own survival, and most don't harm other people. If that's the case, then what's the harm?

The proselytizing athiests tend to come across as bitter people. I can have sympathy, but I don't have a lot of desire to live a bitter life. I've had enough problems with this one.

I try to keep in mind that the universe doesn't really revolve around me, and will continue long after I'm not here. On the other hand, about a trillion things had to go right for homo sapien life to come to be. Seems rather impossible if the universe is indifferent towards that happening. The universe would be equally content if a bunch of rocks were bouncing around and nothing else. I think the least we can say is that the universe is strongly disposed towards order and the creation of life-forms.

The universe doesn't really make any sense to me, anyway. The most logical thing would be for there to be nothing. Either some force created matter and the rules of the universe, but we have no explanation of why the force exists. Or there is no external force, but then why do matter and the rules exist. It would be much cleaner for there to be nothing, but that's not the case. The existence of the universe is irrational.
   73. CrosbyBird Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:45 AM (#3905219)
Someone who believes probably is not impeding their own survival, and most don't harm other people. If that's the case, then what's the harm?

Our culture tolerates a specific hole in logic with religion that it doesn't tolerate with other things, and that tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development. That's a fairly significant amount of harm.

There is no way to maintain the logical high ground against "you can't just say God wants you to kill infidels" when you're maintaining that "God doesn't want men to have sex with other men" and using the same sort of non-evidence. You can't call someone wrong to say "God has strong negative feelings about homosexuality" but maintain that "Jesus died and rose from the dead" when both are supported through scripture.

The greatest issue I have with religion is that it ends moral discussion. Why is this bad? Because God says so. How can you respond to that? You can only shake your head at the reasoning.

The proselytizing athiests tend to come across as bitter people. I can have sympathy, but I don't have a lot of desire to live a bitter life. I've had enough problems with this one.

I don't feel bitter. It can be frustrating in the way it's always frustrating when the world isn't as we'd like it to be, but not so much so that it turns every joy to ash.

I try to keep in mind that the universe doesn't really revolve around me, and will continue long after I'm not here. On the other hand, about a trillion things had to go right for homo sapien life to come to be. Seems rather impossible if the universe is indifferent towards that happening. The universe would be equally content if a bunch of rocks were bouncing around and nothing else. I think the least we can say is that the universe is strongly disposed towards order and the creation of life-forms.

I don't think the universe is disposed toward anything. It simply is. That means it most certainly doesn't revolve around me; I am less than a grain of sand on a beach or a drop of water in an ocean. And yet to those I share this world with, I can be significant. That's good enough for me. It should be enough for anyone.
   74. Shock Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:09 AM (#3905227)
That's a great post, Crosby.
   75. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:43 AM (#3905232)
The Power and the Glory
Bookmark it, Morty. TCM, Sunday, September 18 @ 10:15 PM (ET). Considering that it's a FOX movie that I've never seen on FMC, you'd probably best be advised not to wait for it to show up again. I've never seen it, either, although like you, I've heard about it for a long time.


TCM has run this movie several times. The significance of the film to Sturges' and Welles' careers is a little more interesting than the movie itself, but it's fine. You're sure to enjoy it more than most of the other cinematic options airing in the same time slot, whether it's "Bad Boys II," "Bloodsport," "Madea's Family Reunion" or "Apocalypto" (in Spanish). The airing I have circled in red is "Hands Across the Table" next Sunday night at 10 PM-- if TCM has also broadcast this one several times before now, that means I've missed hearing about it several times.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:48 AM (#3905233)
Our culture tolerates a specific hole in logic with religion that it doesn't tolerate with other things, and that tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development. That's a fairly significant amount of harm.


I love that sentence.(or two)

The greatest issue I have with religion is that it ends moral discussion. Why is this bad? Because God says so. How can you respond to that? You can only shake your head at the reasoning.


This is what I think is funny, you talk to some religious people and they imply that it's impossible to be moral without religion, that they need someone to guide their moral actions(and that by that definition it's impossible for an atheist to be moral). I've gotten the impression in the past from some religious people that they would be cheating on their wives, stealing rampantly and committing murder if only God didn't say they couldn't do that. It's a pretty sad state of affairs, when the only reason someone is moral is because of an outside voice and not an inside voice.

The proselytizing athiests tend to come across as bitter people. I can have sympathy, but I don't have a lot of desire to live a bitter life. I've had enough problems with this one.

I don't feel bitter. It can be frustrating in the way it's always frustrating when the world isn't as we'd like it to be, but not so much so that it turns every joy to ash.


I have a problem with the vocal atheist and the vocal religious nutters, unfortunately the vocal religious nutters are way more plentiful. The atheist nutters go looking for a fight, they are proactive in being dicks. Sure some religious nutters are the same way(see the protesters against military funerals) but because there are so many of the religious nutters, including mainstream ones(see Fox News for example) that the reactionary ones generally outweigh the proactive ones. With the atheists you have guys looking for fights, arguing stupid crap that they don't even care about, but want to bring the light onto their subject. I've been rewatching episodes of the West Wing and one of the thing they mentioned a few times, is that people get too worried about the small crap and fixate on that while there are legitimate beefs out there. Who cares if there are christmas decorations on the desk of a government employee. Get over yourself and focus on important issues.


I try to keep in mind that the universe doesn't really revolve around me, and will continue long after I'm not here. On the other hand, about a trillion things had to go right for homo sapien life to come to be. Seems rather impossible if the universe is indifferent towards that happening. The universe would be equally content if a bunch of rocks were bouncing around and nothing else. I think the least we can say is that the universe is strongly disposed towards order and the creation of life-forms.


And I don't see why you have to put the hand of god on those things. Heck why would a god who created a massive universe, care about this one speck of rock way outside from the center of the universe? Heck why would this one god, with all these massive powers, be so egocentric that he dictates a particular way you must worship him, and has never ever given a truly clear sign in what that way really is, and then leave vague enough scripture that his followers can ignore the most obvious message in nearly all of the major religions(be good people) to subjugate, or kill non-believers.
   77. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:59 AM (#3905236)
you talk to religious people and they imply that it's impossible to be moral without religion


You and I hang out with very different religious people.

Heck why would a god who created a massive universe, care about this one speck of rock way outside from the center of the universe?


Because they're omnipotent and cares about all of their creations?

leave vague enough scripture that his followers can ignore the most obvious message in nearly all of the major religions(be good people) to subjugate, or kill non-believers.


It's really not that vague. As for free will, atheism has it's own problems there.
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:05 AM (#3905237)
As for free will, atheism has it's own problems there.


I can't remember the last time a terrorist has killed 3000 people, or even 3 people, because they weren't like them and didn't believe in a higher power. I'm fairly certain no wars were ever fought in the name of atheism. Atheist have lack of killing people in the millions over religions to hang their hat on. Yes I know that people who do this crimes are not true representative of their religion, but it doesn't matter, they still did them, the crusades happened with the blessing of the Pope(mind you a large minority, if not outright majority, of the popes were evil in a funny hat, but still, they were the face of their religion.

Because they're omnipotent and cares about all of their creations?


Has a funny way of showing it. I don't mind free will at all, but man the christian god is one of the biggest dicks to ever exist. Me personally I love my dog, and if I see him starving, just because he has the free will to eat on his own and could forage for his own food, doesn't mean I'm not going to open him a bag of Kibbles and Bits and put it in his bowl.
   79. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:17 AM (#3905239)
has a funny way of showing it. I don't mind free will at all, but man the christian god is one of the biggest dicks to ever exist.


I think you mean pretty much every god. And I wouldn't put the christian God first, the new testament is massively less cruel than the old. And it gets better if you ignore Paul, who never even knew Christ.

As for atheism and free will, you're not accounting at all for determinism. We're our own genetic destiny, it was fated by my genes that I stayed in tonight to watch the Red Sox lose and drink a bunch of Harpoon and then "decide" to engage in a religious debate on an internet forum.

(for the record, I'm agnostic with Abrahamic deist tendencies)

Edit: Reaching back, I'm interested in tfbg9's answer to the problem from evil. Also, the answer to St. Anshelm that's not a cop out.

Edit edit: I've also actually been to a vegan seder. The bitter herbs were way better than faux zeroa and beitzah. At least they didn't skimp on the manichewitz or try to feed me carob.
   80. Swedish Chef Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:35 AM (#3905242)
Our culture tolerates a specific hole in logic with religion that it doesn't tolerate with other things, and that tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development.

No, it doesn't, it tolerates similar holes in politics and the arts. And why not, we simply don't know enough to base everything on hard facts. It's not like we can quit holding elections until a point where we don't have to take the effectiveness of proposed policies on faith.

And it's not like there are some substantial subjects in science (and far more in the humanities, of course) itself that are based on little more than a few dogmas. But I guess it all would be worth it if economics was branded a religious cult.

That part of how our tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development has plenty of nasty implications. I can't even begin to think how you propose to aid scientific development by intolerance, but please refrain.
   81. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:58 AM (#3905243)
I'd like to ask how many of those who have issues with religion have actively worked with religious people or institutions in charity work. Because my vast experience with every faith is that there's a lot of people who have serious empathy for others and take the whole golden rule thing seriously. Not saying there's not religious ########, but generalizations are one of the dumbest things we do as a species.

(though it is fun)

(yankees fans are #####)
   82. CrosbyBird Posted: August 21, 2011 at 08:12 AM (#3905244)
No, it doesn't, it tolerates similar holes in politics and the arts. And why not, we simply don't know enough to base everything on hard facts. It's not like we can quit holding elections until a point where we don't have to take the effectiveness of proposed policies on faith.

I don't think we tolerate logical holes in politics. The stupid stuff we tolerate is politics is less about reasoning and more about lack of knowledge; we also acknowledge that political positions are highly subjective (or we should). As for the arts, most people acknowledge that the arts are fairly subjective; we don't insist on universal truths about art based on preferences (or we should not).

And it's not like there are some substantial subjects in science (and far more in the humanities, of course) itself that are based on little more than a few dogmas. But I guess it all would be worth it if economics was branded a religious cult.

The very nature of science is opposed to dogma. Belief only exists so long as there is no better explanation, and there is a constant search for better explanations. Science exists through its own evolution. That isn't to say that some scientists, as imperfect humans, does have dogmatic beliefs, but that's not science.

Macroeconomics is pretty cultish, but I think microeconomics is pretty scientific.

That part of how our tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development has plenty of nasty implications. I can't even begin to think how you propose to aid scientific development by intolerance, but please refrain.

Consider stem-cell research. We should not need to even entertain the discussion of whether God approves of stem-cell research. If there's a good moral argument against such research, it can be made without the reliance on superstitious nonsense. Every bit of energy that must be spent combating the religious objections (which would be ignored entirely if from non-religious principles, or even the principles of the many religions that have little power in this country) is energy wasted.

Every bit of discussion about the ethics of homosexuality, a discussion driven almost entirely by religion (as I have yet to see a single non-religious objection) is a fight between the moral and the morally bankrupt. Our counterproductive, costly, and immoral War on Drugs has, at its heart, the puritanical ideals of prohibition.

Our finest moral principles predate our current mainstream religions by thousands of years, and make practical and emotional sense on their own, so we need not take the bad with the good.
   83. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 08:41 AM (#3905245)
Macroeconomics is pretty cultish, but I think microeconomics is pretty scientific.


More like microeconomics is pretty scientific, but the results don't scale well and there's an insane number of variables to account for so everyone who actually works in econ views macro as a complete shitshow.
   84. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM (#3905246)
God Does Not Play Baseball

I always thought of Jesus as more of a tennis star. He served, then he returned.
   85. Bob Tufts Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM (#3905259)
All that's dead are your stupid laws and rules! You've forgotten what being a Catholic is all about. This... book. You see, these are just stories. Stories that are meant to help people in the right direction. Love your neighbor. Be a good person. That's it! And when you start turning the stories into literal translations of hierarchies and power, well... Well, you end up with this. People are losing faith because they don't see how what you've turned the religion into applies to them! They've lost touch with any idea of any kind of religion, and when they have no mythology to try and live their lives by, well, they just start spewing a bunch of crap out of their mouths!


Father Maxi, "Red Hot Catholic Love" episode
   86. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#3905263)
Father Maxi, "Red Hot Catholic Love" episode


I was thinking of the Passion of the Jew when I went to be last night, I love the line "It's a three hour snuff film". There was something in this thread that made me think of that episode, but now I can't remember what it was.
   87. covelli chris p Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3905274)
More like microeconomics is pretty scientific, but the results don't scale well and there's an insane number of variables to account for so everyone who actually works in econ views macro as a complete shitshow.

reminds me of this link somebody sent me the other day: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1773169
   88. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3905275)
The airing I have circled in red is "Hands Across the Table" next Sunday night at 10 PM-- if TCM has also broadcast this one several times before now, that means I've missed hearing about it several times.


Hands Across the Table is an excellent romantic screwball--my favorite Lombard/MacMurray collaboration. MacMurray in particular shines. If you like his way with dialog in Double Indemnity, HATT, almost ten years earlier, shows he always had it, and in HATT employs it to great success in a lighter vein, although the softer/sadder moments can remind you of the sense of fatalism that exudes from Double Indemnity. Ralph Bellamy has his usual thankless second lead--but, then, he does it very effectively. Here, again, there's a spin on it: he's a cripple full of self-pity, rather alcoholic, who thinks the Lombard character is his salvation. That adds an emotional bite to the proceedings. Lombard has probably never been so beautiful. She's a good foil for MacMurray--it's about two similar characters from different social levels who are about to give up on themselves, just like the Bellamy character. This doesn't make it sound like a comedy, but it is very funny at times. However, it also has serious emotional texture.
   89. Morty Causa Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3905323)
Our culture tolerates a specific hole in logic with religion that it doesn't tolerate with other things, and that tolerance stands in the way of scientific and moral development. That's a fairly significant amount of harm.


It also stands in the way of both personal and cultural development. If you think it doesn’t matter, then you are engaging in what looks to me to be intellectual welfare-queenism. If the thinking you disprove of comes up with something, you want to partake; yet, you want to maintain your right to kibbutz and throw spanners in the works at every opportunity. Those people need to turn in and eschew forever those perquisites that came about through cultural evolution and advancement—things like antibiotics and air-conditioning, condoms, movies, and recorded music (illegally obtained or no).

There’s nothing noble about maintaining an attitude of “well, ultimately I don’t know, you don’t know, let’s give up.” Moreover, it’s not an attitude conducive to advancement. We are not here because we gave up; our attitude is not one of supervening acceptance of the way things are—and that’s what religio-mystic-mythic-metaphysical opt outs promote. The history of great men and of mankind is not one of giving up. It’s of always pushing the boundaries. The give-up mentality would smother that—if taken seriously, but, of course, it never is. How can it be? It’s just a psychological palliative.

Although it isn’t taken seriously by the best of us, and in us, we make it really hard for them (and that which is in us)—and we pay for it. Every day thousands die because they (or those who have oversight) decree they can’t go there because of some illogical, unreasonable, but sacrosanct bit of thinking. Any time a mental attitude justifies itself by holding that your thinking shouldn’t go there, no use learning and understanding the opposition, there’s going to be a problem. And it’s been a continuing one—because we will not curb that psychological dog.

This stance, where the person says he opts out of thinking and reasoning at a certain point doesn't withstand the slightest scrutiny--for how is it supported and justified? With logic and reason, of course. Inferior logic, reasoning according to poor evidence, but nevertheless. That dictum defeats itself at its inception by this inherent contradiction. You can't get around it. Yet, some people expend more thinking and do their best analytical parsing explaining why here at this point right here you should stop thinking than if they just went ahead and worked at getting on with the job of figuring it all out. Why? Why this apotheosis of studied focus on maintaining a state of ignorance and sacramentalizing stupidity. And we all do it in some ways—and we all should be called on it when we do it—that’s the game we should be playing.

Why We Create Gods

"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." -- Isaac Asimov

There’s a way of taking what I write here personally. That’s just another cop out. If you like, in the immortal words of Sam Goldwyn, include you out. Because it’s, again, avoiding the real issue. As Richard Dawkins says somewhere, when he was asked why so many are so offended by what he says and writes: "Those people who take offense take offense because taking offense is all they got left." At best, they are like Ned Flanders's beatnik parents: "We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas. ..."
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3905329)
and recorded music (illegally obtained or no).


I'm not a pirater and think that it's morally wrong to illegally obtain movies or music, but my brother in law, a weird ass religious person, has argued with me that illegal downloads is not stealing because you are taking no product and that his opinion on the matter is supported by the bible. (mind you this is a guy who believes the earth is less than 50,000 years old, that being gay is a choice, that marriage is historically about a man and women--and not selling that useless female daughter into slavery, that the Grand Canyon was created by the flood, that global warming is a conspiracy created by the science community to profit on green technology and to hurt existing big business's, etc...so he's not the best example of the normal religious nutters)
   91. Jay Z Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3905418)
I try to keep in mind that the universe doesn't really revolve around me, and will continue long after I'm not here. On the other hand, about a trillion things had to go right for homo sapien life to come to be. Seems rather impossible if the universe is indifferent towards that happening. The universe would be equally content if a bunch of rocks were bouncing around and nothing else. I think the least we can say is that the universe is strongly disposed towards order and the creation of life-forms.

And I don't see why you have to put the hand of god on those things. Heck why would a god who created a massive universe, care about this one speck of rock way outside from the center of the universe? Heck why would this one god, with all these massive powers, be so egocentric that he dictates a particular way you must worship him, and has never ever given a truly clear sign in what that way really is, and then leave vague enough scripture that his followers can ignore the most obvious message in nearly all of the major religions(be good people) to subjugate, or kill non-believers.


I'm really not making a religious argument there. Consider Occam's razor, where the simplest explanation is often the best. Consider three possible scenarios:

1) There is a universe and a god created it.
2) There is a universe, but it was not created by a god.
3) There is no universe at all.

1) explains how the universe came to be, but not how the god came to be. 2) eliminates the god, but leaves no explanation of why the universe exists at all. 3) is the most rational, since it eliminates objects or beings that have no known origin. Yet we know 3) is the incorrect answer. Now what?

A second scenario. We know the universe exists. Three choices:

1) The universe exists. The universe is indifferent to its own existence and what happens in it. The universe is chaotic and unordered.
2) The universe exists. The universe is indifferent to its own existence and what happens in it. Yet the universe contains a high degree of order.
3) The universe exists. Some force in the universe has a predisposition or favors order. The universe contains a high degree of order.

1) would be my preferred choice because it's the easiest explanation. However, 1) is incorrect. That leaves 2) or 3). Given those choices, I prefer 3). All that means is there is some motive force behind it all. Could be a god, could mean that the universe itself is somehow alive and "prefers" its current existence to chaos and disorder. My explanation is irrational, but then the existence of the universe is irrational anyway.

Scientific laws are not completely reducible. At some point the answers are just "well, that just the way the universe works." Given that, why should they work out to anything ordered if the universe itself has no stake in the outcome? Seems like way too much trouble.

All of does not speak for or against any particular religion or moral system.
   92. Swedish Chef Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3905429)
Those people need to turn in and eschew forever those perquisites that came about through cultural evolution and advancement—things like antibiotics and air-conditioning, condoms, movies, and recorded music (illegally obtained or no).

You should work some on your moral development.

Seriously, what is this crap? Scientific and technological advancements are not the hardcore atheists' to dole out. If anything, they belong to us that actually work with these things. And lawyers are not all that much higher in esteem than fundamentalists.
   93. CrosbyBird Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#3905452)
1) would be my preferred choice because it's the easiest explanation. However, 1) is incorrect. That leaves 2) or 3). Given those choices, I prefer 3). All that means is there is some motive force behind it all. Could be a god, could mean that the universe itself is somehow alive and "prefers" its current existence to chaos and disorder. My explanation is irrational, but then the existence of the universe is irrational anyway.

What is the motive force behind the motive force? You're not really solving anything, but just pushing back the problem a step further. "You think you're clever, sonny, but it's just turtles all the way down!"

At some point the answers are just "well, that just the way the universe works." Given that, why should they work out to anything ordered if the universe itself has no stake in the outcome? Seems like way too much trouble.

If the universe (or the motive force behind the universe) is not sentient, the idea of "trouble" is meaningless. It just is. It seems like the physical laws of the universe are ordered perfectly for us, but the reality is that we are ordered perfectly for the physical laws. In a universe with different physical laws, we'd say that THOSE were designed.

Why should it work out to anything ordered? Because we're inside it and we have a compulsion to transform chaos into order. For all we know, there are infinite universes with infinite sets of laws. If you roll a thousand fair dice in an infinite number of universes, there will be some where you come up with all sixes. From the perspective of an observer within that specific universe, with no ability to experience all of the other possibilities, it seems like a miracle, but it is just one random possibility.
   94. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3905466)
Royce da .590 OPS

Just wanted to say that is a great handle.
   95. scotto Posted: August 21, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3905550)
While the cartoon linked above is cute, I'd argue that someone like Karen Armstrong brings infinitely more the table than all of the blowhards that dominate public discourse on matters related to faith from either side.

For every Crusade-lovin', pogrom inspirin' Pope there's a Stalin to even things out. It's not difficult to find depraved examples from almost any belief system. People are people and capable of extraordinary acts of kindness and cruelty regardless of belief system.

It's far easier to identify differences between one's self and others than it is to identify similarities. Rendering judgement is much easier that way. My preference is to be with people whose belief systems, whatever they may be, tend to make them act more like the latter than the former.

I've met some mighty altruistic atheists, and some incredibly selfish religious people, and the other way around. I think this is where King's comment about judging people not by the name of the book that inspires their beliefs but by the content of their character comes into play.

But I think we can all agree that the sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists are reductionist pinheads that deserve to be burned at the stake.
   96. CrosbyBird Posted: August 22, 2011 at 04:26 AM (#3905741)
For every Crusade-lovin', pogrom inspirin' Pope there's a Stalin to even things out.

It's not a fair analogy. Stalin ran a system that was essentially a religion, with State as the body of worship instead of God. He had more in common with fundamentalists than he did atheists.

People are people and capable of extraordinary acts of kindness and cruelty regardless of belief system.

That is true, but not particularly relevant. I never claimed that religion is the source of all (or even most) evil. It is merely that every good thing ever provided by religion could be provided without it, with none of the intellectual and moral baggage that comes along with belief. There's nothing that religion does positively that couldn't be done by a fundamentally decent human being without religion, but there's much that is done that harms people that is done specifically because of religion.
   97. Steve Treder Posted: August 22, 2011 at 04:38 AM (#3905745)
Stalin ran a system that was essentially a religion, with State as the body of worship instead of God. He had more in common with fundamentalists than he did atheists.

Absolutely. The (or, at the very least, a) core essence of atheism is to be skeptical of received wisdom, of top-down orthodoxy. Stalinism (which wasn't just about worship of the State, but also about Stalin himself as a cult-of-personality figure) bore just about nothing consistent with atheism.
   98. Morty Causa Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:22 AM (#3905756)
Moreover, were those dictators killing people in the name of atheism because their victims were believers? Yeah, watch out for those wild-eyed secular humanists.

I've pondered some about it, and I've decided that if 92 and 95 are going to be representative of the quality of the thinking and discourse on this subject, I'm not interested at this time. There's only one way this can go--and that's down, down, down. Maybe some other time, though, but for now, I'll leave it to others here, who seem very capable of defending atheism.

I will say in reference to 91 that it nicely defeats its own speculation--it negotiates with itself quite adroitly to a redress back to everyone's original position. That does not support a belief in a God, especially a God that most current religions understand, represent, and promote. To the extent that there could be an organizing force or principle beyond what we now know, sure--but that certainly doesn't have to have anything to do with a God. Again, simply because you have a yen doesn't obligate reality in the least. As more than one scientist has said, just because you have a brain that sees problems and can raise questions doesn’t mean there is an answer. If there is teleology beyond mere pattern or order, it could just be another natural law, one in a series of endless onion-like layers. That, though, seems about the best that can be said for belief in God, from an intellectual standpoint, when it comes to making a case on the merits for their being a god. It's justified by some form of anything's possible, anything goes hopeful monster. Then those so incline can do sneaky-pete back from this last-ditch refuge to anarcho-nihilism to a kind of funny resolution that can be taken to the ultimate reversion--that of justifying creationism (why not?).

And with that, in the words of Paul Harvey, I bid you good day. Carry on.
   99. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#3905759)
I'm not religious but I always entertained the possibility that the poster who used (uses? haven't seen any comments from him/her/it in a while) the handle "God" here was, in fact, God. He/She/It seemed like a reasonable person or entity, although I can't remember his/her/its views on xFIP.
   100. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:40 AM (#3905760)
Morty, I am literally a card-carrying Mensa member, fwiw, and I don't know what you are talking about.

And I'm a moderate, so it's not like you can blow up my belief system with one dazzling blow or something. Maybe you can dumb it down for the rest of us?

"If there is teleology beyond mere pattern or order, it could just be another natural law, one in a series of endless onion-like layers. That, though, seems about the best that can be said for belief in God, from an intellectual standpoint, when it comes to making a case on the merits for their being a god. It's justified by some form of anything's possible, anything goes hopeful monster. Then those so incline can do sneaky-pete back from this last-ditch refuge to anarcho-nihilism to a kind of funny resolution that can be taken to the ultimate reversion--that of justifying creationism (why not?)."

Really? Are there performance-enhancing drugs involved here? Because that could take even this thread in a whole new direction.
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