By Alan Miller, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon and Co-Founder of London's Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London's Barbican in October.
The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.
Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.
It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the Crusades and of course with terrorism today.
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Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.
That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.
The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.
What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?
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The accusation is often leveled that such questions betray a rigidity of outlook, all a tad doctrinaire and rather old-fashioned.
But when the contemporary fashion is for an abundance of relativist "truths" and what appears to be in the ascendancy is how one "feels" and even governments aim to have a "happiness agenda," desperate to fill a gap at the heart of civic society, then being old-fashioned may not be such a terrible accusation.
It is within the context of today's anti-big, anti-discipline, anti-challenging climate - in combination with a therapeutic turn in which everything can be resolved through addressing my inner existential being - that the spiritual but not religious outlook has flourished.
The boom in megachurches merely reflect this sidelining of serious religious study for networking, drop-in centers and positive feelings.
Those that identify themselves, in our multi-cultural, hyphenated-American world often go for a smorgasbord of pick-and-mix choices.
A bit of Yoga here, a Zen idea there, a quote from Taoism and a Kabbalah class, a bit of Sufism and maybe some Feing Shui but not generally a reading and appreciation of The Bhagavad Gita, the Karma Sutra or the Qur'an, let alone The Old or New Testament.
So what, one may ask?
Christianity has been interwoven and seminal in Western history and culture. As Harold Bloom pointed out in his book on the King James Bible, everything from the visual arts, to Bach and our canon of literature generally would not be possible without this enormously important work.
Indeed, it was through the desire to know and read the Bible that reading became a reality for the masses - an entirely radical moment that had enormous consequences for humanity.
Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the "me" generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement.
The idea of sin has always been accompanied by the sense of what one could do to improve oneself and impact the world.
Yet the spiritual-but-not-religious outlook sees the human as one that simply wants to experience "nice things" and "feel better." There is little of transformation here and nothing that points to any kind of project that can inspire or transform us.
At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position. Influenced by the contribution of modern science, there is a reluctance to advocate a literalist translation of the world.
But these people will not abandon their affiliation to the sense that there is "something out there," so they do not go along with a rationalist and materialistic explanation of the world, in which humans are responsible to themselves and one another for their actions - and for the future.
Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.
You said: "Yes, I do punish my child when they do something wrong, but my punishments fit the crime. I do not beat them when they do something minor, nor do I punish the kid nextdoor for something my child did." And no doubt it's done out of love and to protect your child whom you love. You are displaying how you are created in God's image, to express love.
The discipline of Jehovah, O my son, do not reject; and do not abhor his reproof, 12 because the one whom Jehovah loves he reproves, even as a father does a son in whom he finds pleasure.
He gives them instruction that corrects wrong viewpoints and that molds their mental faculties and course of conduct. For the Israelites during the time of Moses, the discipline included their witnessing manifestations of God’s greatness. There were displays of matchless power when Jehovah executed judgment on all the gods of Egypt, liberated his people, and destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. There were fearsome judgments executed upon disobedient Israelites. And there was miraculous provision of food and water coupled with lessons in the importance of taking to heart and applying everything that Jehovah says. All this discipline served to humble them and to impress upon them the need for a proper fear of Jehovah, to be shown by faith and obedience.
So he humbled you and let you go hungry and fed you with the manna, which neither you had known nor your fathers had known; in order to make you know that not by bread alone does man live but by every expression of Jehovah’s mouth does man live. 4 Your mantle did not wear out upon you, nor did your foot become swollen these forty years. 5 And you well know with your own heart that just as a man corrects his son, Jehovah your God was correcting you.
To illustrate the above verse:
No doubt your child need food to survive, but no matter how much food you give your child, he or she would still die if you never set laws and disciplined her when it came to playing with fire, sticking objects in the power outlets, playing on top of the staircase, the list goes on with how many time you had to discipline your young as he or she grows up in life to protect them from bodily harm or death to themselves and others living in the same house with them. In like manner, Jehovah God gives us laws and regulations to protect us and our neighbors. Once we go against anyone of those laws, it can cause you your life or those around you. Two of the most important laws god gave mankind are these two laws:
Now, look! a certain man versed in the Law rose up, to test him out, and said: “Teacher, by doing what shall I inherit everlasting life?” 26 He said to him: “What is written in the Law? How do you read?” 27 In answer he said: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 He said to him: “You answered correctly; ‘keep on doing this and you will get life.’”
Let me ask you this.... out of all the punishments your deity meted out in the bible, how many of them caused the deaths of innocent people?
What about the time god sent a bear to kill a group of children for making fun of Elijah's bald head? Are you going to defend that punishment as appropriate for the crime?
This is a conversation between Abraham and God before he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah:
Consequently Jehovah said: “The cry of complaint about Sod′om and Go·mor′rah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy. 21 I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.”
22 At this point the men turned from there and got on their way to Sod′om; but as for Jehovah, he was still standing before Abraham. 23 Then Abraham approached and began to say: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous men in the midst of the city. Will you, then, sweep them away and not pardon the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are inside it? 25 It is unthinkable of you that you are acting in this manner to put to death the righteous man with the wicked one so that it has to occur with the righteous man as it does with the wicked! It is unthinkable of you. Is the Judge of all the earth not going to do what is right?” 26 Then Jehovah said: “If I shall find in Sod′om fifty righteous men in the midst of the city I will pardon the whole place on their account.” 27 But Abraham went on to answer and say: “Please, here I have taken upon myself to speak to Jehovah, whereas I am dust and ashes. 28 Suppose the fifty righteous should be lacking five. Will you for the five bring the whole city to ruin?” To this he said: “I shall not bring it to ruin if I find there forty-five.”
29 But yet again he spoke further to him and said: “Suppose forty are found there.” In turn he said: “I shall not do it on account of the forty.” 30 But he continued: “May Jehovah, please, not grow hot with anger,+ but let me go on speaking: Suppose thirty are found there.” In turn he said: “I shall not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 But he continued on: “Please, here I have taken upon myself to speak to Jehovah: Suppose twenty are found there.” In turn he said: “I shall not bring it to ruin on account of the twenty.” 32 Finally he said: “May Jehovah,* please, not grow hot with anger, but let me speak just this once: Suppose ten are found there.” In turn he said: “I shall not bring it to ruin on account of the ten.” 33 Then Jehovah+ went his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
Next question.... the supposed flood wiped out everyone except Noah and his family, correct?
Those passages you just quoted.... I didn't see the part where your deity made the effort to go looking for the innocent. Maybe you left that part out?
Now the two angels arrived at Sod′om by evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sod′om. When Lot caught sight of them, then he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the earth. 2 And he proceeded to say: “Please, now, my lords, turn aside, please, into the house of YOUR servant and stay overnight and have YOUR feet washed. Then YOU must get up early and travel on YOUR way.” To this they said: “No, but in the public square is where we shall stay overnight.” 3 But he was very insistent with them, so that they turned aside to him and came into his house. Then he made a feast for them, and he baked unfermented cakes, and they went to eating.
4 Before they could lie down, the men of the city, the men of Sod′om, surrounded the house,+ from boy to old man, all the people in one mob. 5 And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: “Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.”
So first it's the men, then all the men, then all the people of sodom. Now does this include toddlers and infants as well?
Finally Lot went out to them to the entrance, but he shut the door behind him. 7 Then he said: “Please, my brothers, do not act badly. 8 Please, here I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with a man. Please, let me bring them out to YOU. Then do to them as is good in YOUR eyes. Only to these men do not do a thing, because that is why they have come under the shadow of my roof.” 9 At this they said: “Stand back there!” And they added: “This lone man came here to reside as an alien and yet he would actually play the judge. Now we are going to do worse to you than to them.” And they came pressing heavily in on the man, on Lot, and were getting near to break in the door. 10 So the men thrust out their hands and brought Lot in to them, into the house, and they shut the door. 11 But they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, from the least to the greatest, so that they were wearing themselves out trying to find the entrance.
12 Then the men said to Lot: “Do you have anyone else here? Son-in-law and your sons and your daughters and all who are yours in the city, bring out of the place! 13 For we are bringing this place to ruin, because the outcry against them has grown loud before Jehovah, so that Jehovah sent us to bring the city to ruin.”
So for those keeping track, the fact that Lot was willing to offer up his daughters (what age are they?) is apparently fine.
Jehovah god is not like man, with limitations.
O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know [me].
2 You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up.
You have considered my thought from far off.
3 My journeying and my lying outstretched you have measured off,
And you have become familiar even with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But, look! O Jehovah, you already know it all.
5 Behind and before, you have besieged me;
And you place your hand upon me.
6 [Such] knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is so high up that I cannot attain to it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit,
And where can I run away from your face?
8 If I should ascend to heaven, there you would be;
And if I should spread out my couch in She′ol, look! you [would be there].
9 Were I to take the wings+ of the dawn,
That I might reside in the most remote sea,
10 There, also, your own hand would lead me
And your right hand would lay hold of me.
11 And were I to say: “Surely darkness itself will hastily seize me!”
Then night would be light about me.
12 Even the darkness itself would not prove too dark for you,
But night itself would shine just as the day does;
The darkness might just as well be the light.
It's been fun to watch your posts go from mostly your thoughts with a little sprinkling of bible quotes, to a fairly half and half thing, to a mostly quote stance and now we have reached that fatal stage of all quotes, no thought.
Never did answer my question about the flood, but that's ok.
And I'll state yet again that if the created has limits, the creator has limits.
God can read hearts, he is extremely powerful, beyond what we can comprehend. There are things that I can't explain about God, it will take eternity to know about someone who always been in existence, that's why his purpose for us is to live forever, and that purpose never changed. Would you not want to live forever and see your children live forever, without sickness, pain, suffering, death, wars, violence will all be gone.
Hope in Jehovah and keep his way,
And he will exalt you to take possession of the earth.
When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see [it].
37 Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight,
For the future of [that] man will be peaceful.
38 But the transgressors themselves will certainly be annihilated together;
The future of wicked people will indeed be cut off.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. 2 I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. 4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
What makes you think your deity's heaven would be without those things when you all but say it thrives on punishment?
You did indeed claim that humans form their purpose of life at age 6 to which I duly replied that the human being has needs. These needs are have to become purposes otherwise we wilt and die. I also said that for every need in Abraham Maslow's theory it becomes a purpose to live for. It is not true that an organism attains purpose of life at one age or the other. Otherwise trees will not grow that big while struggling for more light and other resources. Needs and hence purpose are built into life.
so – what are you trying to sell to 'us' nii?
the need to help you find a purpose in life?
hmmmm ... ok – hmmmm – nii needs to find his own purpose in life and quit worrying about others
hmmmm ... or – nii needs to get a grip before he can even begin to work with others to find a purpose
otherwise their purpose will be to find their own purpose ... on their own
Another Dubeist troll.
Who is thinking about selling you anything? If you like my ideas fine. However if you do not make any sense of it you just have to move on cos eavesdropping is plain rude.
Needs are not purposes. You said people die without purpose.
I did not state that humans form a purpose at age 6. I asked you, Nii, at what age do humans form a purpose to live? I'm sure there are more than a few people who are in their 70's and 80's who have just discovered a purpose in life.
nii / gabe – you shouldn't haven't started it then
and kept it going
thinking you were going to 'win' some kinda of control
how can you say anyone is eavesdropping on an open message board like this
you make as good as target as you thought i did, you know
Google Abraham Maslow's Theory of Needs. What I explained is that a need when recognized becomes a purpose. Purpose in life is not acquired. An over 70 that has discovered a certain need has discovered a purpose to his life too. I don't know why you sadly fail to understand what I am saying. A need is a purpose by the Theory. When fulfilled a new and higher purpose is sought. I needed air to breathe when I was born and many other things so my nurse hit me when she realized I was not crying. Breathing was my purpose in life at the time. Then it gets more complex as I fulfill each one.
You do remember this your post right?
"To all intents and purposes our purpose is to eat, breathe and die".
These are the lowest needs a human has. So why say needs are not purposes?
Other humans are finding, have found and fulfilled higher purposes.
Lets not forget, the moon serves multiple purposes for the earth. Also, man and angels were created perfect, with free will. God did not want robots serving him, he wanted it to come out of love. If you are married, you would not want your wife and children to love you out of fear and because you force them to, would you? You provide your family with everything they need, emotionally, financially, and physically, to have a comfortable life. Now no doubt you have rules or laws in place, don't you? Would you stay with your wife if she came into your house with another man and had relations with him in your bed multiple times? Would you allow your child to do what ever he or she pleases and not accept your discipline? Now would that mean that you are a bad husband or a terrible father because of the actions they take? Of course not. Because of free will, people you love and care about can choose to disappoint and hurt you through no fault of your own.
you know – 'we' are not really your therapist – or anything
maybe you are confused – the religious but not spiritual opinion board might be found on fox news
why don't you go see
Excellent an.alogy. God himself uses marriage as such in the Bible.
trolls and bullies ... yeah
Some people are just too dumb to call themselves Atheists. They may be called dumbeists not Atheists.
i am the nothing that you deem me to be in your eyes gabe / nii
why don't you just stop
nothingness does as nothingness is
You are still hung up on what perfection is. I know it is a hard concept to understand and this is why it should not be used to descibe a deity.
A perfect thing would exist by itself, meaning it would not need something like the moon, or the sun to function. It could provide for itself. You can take this one step further and say that a perfect deity would need nothing else.... no justification, no worshippers, no need to create anything.
Your little thing about marriage and punishments is odd. Yes, I do punish my child when they do something wrong, but my punishments fit the crime. I do not beat them when they do something minor, nor do I punish the kid nextdoor for something my child did. I do not threaten a hell simply because they do not agree with something I said. I am concerned about what 'rules and laws' you may have in place if you are married. Yes I would divorce my wife if she were to cheat, but there seems to be more lurking behind what you said. No, I do not provide my family with every single thing that they need, hence why they have friends and other members of the family that they can turn to if needed.
You can try and say 'oh man was made perfect and he fell'. Well that means man was more powerful than a deity and was able to go against its wishes. Are you willing to say that?
I agree with the your statement and the Bible says the same thing, that anything perfect can exist on it's own and needs nothing else. That is who Jehovah God is!
The true God is infinite and beyond the mind of man fully to fathom. The creature could never hope to become equal to his Creator or understand all the workings of His mind.
O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments [are] and past tracing out his ways [are]! 34 For “who has come to know Jehovah’s mind, or who has become his counselor?” 35 Or, “Who has first given to him, so that it must be repaid to him?” 36 Because from him and by him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
“YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”
You also made this statement: "You can take this one step further and say that a perfect deity would need nothing else.... no justification, no worshippers, no need to create anything." I and God's word the Bible agrees 100%! So the question now becomes, 'Why did He create everything that exist?' Why did you and your wife and many other couples decided on having children? No doubt it was out of, "LOVE"
Jehovah God is not a selfish God who is self centered, and wanted to just enjoy His own existence. He created all things out of love. This can be seen in the physical creation itself. With what remarkable care it has been made for the health, pleasure, and welfare of man! Man is made not just to exist but to enjoy eating, to delight in viewing the color and beauty of creation, to enjoy animals as well as the company of his fellowmen, and to find pleasure in the countless other delights of living. But Jehovah has displayed his love even more by making man in his image and likeness, with the capacity for love and for spirituality, and by revealing himself to man through his Word and his holy spirit.
And God went on to say: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every moving animal that is moving upon the earth.” 27 And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.
1 Corinthians 2:12,13
Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by [the] spirit, as we combine spiritual [matters] with spiritual [words].
As for His sovereignty, it is based on "LOVE." Jehovah glories in the fact that his sovereignty and the support of it by his creatures is based primarily on love. He desires only those who love his sovereignty because of his fine qualities and because it is righteous, who prefer his sovereignty to any other. They choose to serve under his sovereignty rather than try to be independent—this because of their knowledge of him and of his love, justice, and wisdom, which they realize far surpasses their own. The Devil failed in this respect, egotistically seeking independence for himself, as did Adam and Eve. Thus the world is in this condition, because majority of mankind want's independence from God and want to worship him as they see fit, and some just rejects him or his existence altogether.
First of all, not all children are conceived in love and not all couples have children, so that argument is flawed. Not to mention the fact that you are using the finite (human life) to try and describe some supposedly infinite (your deity), again a flawed way to look at things.
Now you are arguing from a posistion of wanting to feel special as in you want to think a deity made humans in general and you in particular. I guess everyone wants to feel special ad there is nothing wrong with that, but everything in moderation, yes? If I am special in the eyes of my child or my wife or my friends, that is all I require. I could care less if no one outside of that rare group is even aware that I am on this planet.
As to your last bit.... if a deity only desires those qualities in its creation, then it should certainly be able to create only those beings that have those qualities. Since the angels were flawed, it points to a flaw in the creator. If humans are flawed, it is because the creator is flawed.
Your second paragraph is the less than original argument that we can't know the mind or ultimate plan of a deity. It's a copout ploy used by believers when all else fails.
I am not saying that all of them are conceived out of love but those who decides to are usually moved by love to do so, why else would a woman want to go through birth pangs?
So you are a flawed father when ever your child chooses to disobey your laws and reject your discipline out of her own "free will?"
Your statement: "If I am special in the eyes of my child or my wife or my friends, that is all I require. I could care less if no one outside of that rare group is even aware that I am on this planet."
If that is the case, your family should not get upset if a terrorist decided to go to your work place or within your vicinity and sets off a bomb, killing you because they couldn't care less about the existence of their neighbor, Damocies, whom God said he should love as himself? You should care whether your neighbors care of your existence and your families existence, it can mean yours and your families life.
I said that trying to argue the infinite by using the finite is flawed. I also said that I don't care if I am special to the masses, not that I don't care if I am special to my family. If I am killed by a bomb blast or any other act of violence then I want them punished for the act, not for who I am. Do you understand that?
As for the flood, the Bible states:
Noah and his family were the only ones living according to God's laws. The whole world at the time was full of violence just like our time if not worse. So what was God to do, reward the faithfulness of Noah and his family by allowing the wicked to flourish and cause his righteous obedient children to suffer. If you own a house, and you had three families renting from you. Two of the families were destructive, destroying the property, noisy with extremely loud music, violent, always fighting. While the one family are law abiding tenants, and keeps their apartment clean, and never causing you any problems. They complain to you everyday about the other two families. What would you do? Would you not evict the violent and destructive families? In like manner, God evicted the wicked from the earth in Noah's days and preserved his righteous tenants, Noah and his family.
This is the history of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the [true] God. 10 In time Noah became father to three sons, Shem, Ham and Ja′pheth. 11 And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the [true] God and the earth became filled with violence. 12 So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth.
13 After that God said to Noah: “The end of all flesh has come before me,+ because the earth is full of violence as a result of them; and here I am bringing them to ruin together with the earth.
So all of mankind, every man, woman, child, fetus, almost born, those with down syndrome, those of diminished capacity.... ALL of them were guilty?
As to your ridiculous tenant theory, yes I would EVICT them, I would not MURDER them. Again I fear for your family when you seem to be ok with awesomely out of proportion punishments.
is it better to be poor and no war
or war and poor and a few who are not poor?
or everyone poor – and therefore war
by the poor if made to go to war – for the non poor?
ideas to end springsteens new obama tune:
and mitt's son gonna cause obama trauma
if he doesn't guit calling his dad a lia
... and those dems know how to put people in a conscious coma
to make them say and do what they want them to do-a
... you could tax the rich more so they can't afford a llama
but then turn the world into soilent green causing even more stigma
... even before the debates mitt's own state did not want him out of the gate
religious dogma and how they rate – and hate are the topics of debate
... you could wear a radioactive gps digitized plastic rubber oil based color-coded bracelete
or take a fake stand and become whatever mitts plans are that are not supported by his own state
The eternal Paradise shall be the destiny of all good people here:
****UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES****
I agree with both statements 100%!
If I may add:
While biologists and geneticists continue to probe the cell to understand why mankind grows old and dies, God’s Word reveals the real reason. It simply states: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Yes, human death results from a condition that science will never be able to cure—inherited sin.—1 Corinthians 15:22.
Please supply evidence for the existence of your god.
everything grows old and dies
except that which might not
everything is not sin
do you think beyond scripture?
What of living things? Do they not require a maker? For example, consider a few of the amazing features of a living cell. In his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, molecular biologist Michael Denton states: “Even the simplest of all living systems on earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, . . . each is in effect a veritable microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery . . . far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.”
Regarding the genetic code in each cell, he states: “The capacity of DNA to store information vastly exceeds that of any other known system; it is so efficient that all the information needed to specify an organism as complex as man weighs less than a few thousand millionths of a gram. . . . Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced [products] appear clumsy. We feel humbled.”
Denton adds: “The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event.” It had to have a designer and maker.
For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable;
Lets also discuss our incredible brain
Denton says: “In terms of complexity, an individual cell is nothing when compared with a system like the mammalian brain. The human brain consists of about ten thousand million nerve cells. Each nerve cell puts out somewhere in the region of between ten thousand and one hundred thousand connecting fibres by which it makes contact with other nerve cells in the brain. Altogether the total number of connections in the human brain approaches . . . a thousand million million.”
Denton continues: “Even if only one hundredth of the connections in the brain were specifically organized, this would still represent a system containing a much greater number of specific connections than in the entire communications network on Earth.” He then asks: “Could any sort of purely random process ever have assembled such systems?” Obviously, the answer has to be no. The brain must have had a caring Designer and Maker.
The human brain makes even the most advanced computers look primitive. Science writer Morton Hunt said: “Our active memories hold several billion times more information than a large contemporary research computer.” Thus, brain surgeon Dr. Robert J. White concluded: “I am left with no choice but to acknowledge the existence of a Superior Intellect, responsible for the design and development of the incredible brain-mind relationship—something far beyond man’s capacity to understand. . . I have to believe all this had an intelligent beginning, that Someone made it happen.” It also had to be Someone who cared.
I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
As my soul is very well aware.
The Bible states: “Every house is built by someone, of course; but God built everything that exists.” (Hebrews 3:4, The Jerusalem Bible) Since any house, however simple, must have a builder, then the far more complex universe, along with the vast varieties of life on earth, must also have had a builder. And since we acknowledge the existence of humans who invented devices such as airplanes, televisions, and computers, should we not also acknowledge the existence of the One who gave humans the brain to make such things?
The Bible does, calling him “the true God, Jehovah, . . . the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it.” (Isaiah 42:5) The Bible rightly declares: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”—Revelation 4:11.
Yes, we can know that there is a God by the things he has made. “For [God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things [God] made.”—Romans 1:20.
The fact that something made is misused does not mean it had no maker. An airplane can be used for peaceful purposes, as an airliner. But it can also be used for destruction, as a bomber. Its being used in a death-dealing way does not mean it had no maker.
Similarly, the fact that humans have so often turned out bad does not mean they did not have a Maker, that there is no God. Hence, the Bible correctly observes: “The perversity of you men! Should the potter himself be accounted just like the clay? For should the thing made say respecting its maker: ‘He did not make me’? And does the very thing formed actually say respecting its former: ‘He showed no understanding’?”—Isaiah 29:16.
The Creator has shown his wisdom through the amazing complexity of what he has made. He has shown that he really cares about us by making the earth just right to live on, by making our bodies and minds in such a wonderful way, and by making so many good things for us to enjoy.
questions: In relation to your questions about the poor and wars, God show similar wisdom and care by making known the answers to such questions as: Why has God permitted suffering? What will he do about it? If you wish, I can share those answers with you as well.
If I might offer a counterpoint to this, I would like to point out that all religions initially started presumably, with one free thinking individual having an idea or event in their life or any other number of causes that eventually grew to become a religion, therefore regardless of it's cultural implications or your accusations of lazyness, this is, nothing more than mankind slowly learning to distrust the thoughts of individuals in our past that have proven to be willfully destructive and objectively evil in many cases if the objective standpoint were today's morality. Now, I personally don't like anything, I think the world is a horrible nasty terrible place, and I'd rather burn it down than interact with it, aren't you glad I don't have my own cult, don't you feel safer at night knowing that I have no interest in any form of organized belief system? I'm not a violent person but I am moved to disgust by those who interact in organized religion primarily because the bigoted undertones of the abrahamic religions are a pox on mankind. Kill gays, oppress women, ostracize widows and orphans, slaughter animals as offerings, cut people's limbs off for petty theft. No, spirituality is not evil, it is religion in all it's organization, it's petty hateful smirking sense of superiority, that's the cop out, you need to feel like part of the club no matter how wrong they are, no matter how disgusting.
there are some really beautiful aura pictures on the website spaceweather.com right now
there is a "realtime aura link" about midlink
sometimes auras look just like angels
look in october / november 2011 and this october too – lots of them look like angels
What a silly article. Being SBNR could merely implies that one has a curious open mind about spiritual matters but does not feel well enough informed or have enough hubris to declare a belief in any particular religious dogma.
thoughts: It's interesting how you still have not been able to answer any questions and just run in circles with excuses.
Why do we exist?
I don't know. I believe that this question must be answered on an individual basis.
Why do we grow old and die?
Sometimes when our cells divide they divide imperfectly. These imperfections acc.umulate over time and eventually the cell can no longer function, this is the cause of ageing. When enough of the cells can no longer function you die.
What is our purpose? I don't know. Again I believe that this is something that everyone must answer for them selves.
You see why I was talking about therapists to her?
thoughts: LOL, I'm not angry at you thoughts, I'm not one to get angry so easily. I am sorry if I made you feel that way. But i am passionate about this subject, because it involves "Lives".
ok – i have told you to stop
seriously – you are being way overtheboard mean
bullies and trolls
like i said
"are you serious?
now you are calling me ignorant?
get a life"
"you are being a troll"
The hypocrisy is amazing!
The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
gabe – leave me alone ok
who cares – you only make yourself look bad
why are you so angry at me anyway
i am not going to answer your questions – get a grip
why would anyone want to be a christian – if they thought that gabriel m. was a representation of one
someone who keeps hounding people on an opinion board that is obviously populated with people who have grown past religion into something more substantial and self life fulfilling than can be found in any one religion or discipline
Go get your money back, I say. lol
You said "self life fulfilling", interesting. Listen! I am not against anyone making there own decision as to how they should live their lives. I'm just a man, it is not my place to force you or anyone to believe in or worship God. God himself does not force anyone but gives them the decision to make on their own, but with consequences.
I am not hear to pass judgement, then I would be going against scripture, it is not my place. All I've been doing is asking questions to understand why one thinks and see things the way they do. If one wants to be sarcastic and I called them out on it, how can you get upset at me? All you have to say from the beginning is, I'm not interested in answering that question, it's that simple. No need to call people trolls, or any other names just because they don't believe in the same thing you believe in.
Now if it is bad in YOUR eyes to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom YOU will serve, whether the gods that YOUR forefathers who were on the other side of the River served or the gods of the Am′orites in whose land YOU are dwelling. But as for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah.”
Stop judging that YOU may not be judged; 2 for with what judgment YOU are judging, YOU will be judged; and with the measure that YOU are measuring out, they will measure out to YOU.
you guys have attacked me since i made a comment on how religions seem to be used to control women
do you think these attacks on me is controlling anyone but yourselves
thoughts: When did I attack you on that subject? All I remember doing was making a few statements with supporting scriptures. You then replied, saying you don't need a book to tell you what you already knew. Then I asked you a few questions based on your statements, in which you did everything in your power to avoid answering when all you had to say was I don't want to answer the questions. You took me around in circles with your sarcasm as you stated, to later say, "I don't want to answer your questions, so leave me alone."
i was being sarcastically nice to you because i knew you just wanted to talk anyway
you attacked me for a very simple statement which was stated to give you the option to talk if you wanted to
you couldn't handle it – and still can't
why is that?
LOL, I promise you I am not upset, and was never upset. And if it appeared that way, this is my third time apologizing, I am sorry. Please forgive me! All I used was the word ignorance and you took offense to it. There is no man or woman on this planet who lacks ignorance, we all are still learning about each other and the world around us. I am ignorant when comes to many things, that is why i am always seeking, asking questions, you can teach me a thing or few, I never take a person's view points for granted and I do try to respect them even though I may fall short miserably many times over. That's what being imperfect is all about, though it's not an excuse for bad behavior. And base on your response, and many others, I try to make adjustments to my approach and how I reply to everyone, again, I'm still learning.
you just showed what an ass you are
just because you apologize doesn't mean its ok if you keep lashing your ego at me for no reason except that you think you can
apology not accepted – sorry – leave me alone
i watched part of an interesting video
it tried to show how the earth did not really revolve around the sun
but the earth (and planets) kinda did a spiral following along behind the sun – and all were heading outward
i had to think about it some – but it did make sense – since i have watching spaceweather.com for years now
which shows the sun – and the sunspots – auras etc.
in the picture of the sun – where the sunspots are shown rotating around toward the earth on a cycle of bout 2 weeks (i think – not sure) – many very large sunspot eruptions occur on the far side of the sun – that head out away from the earth.
the thing that finally struck me after i watched the video that demonstrated the spiral rotation on one side of the sun only – was that is exactly what i have seen for the past many years on this sun picture showing new and emerging and then disappearing sunspots toward the far side of the sun – the earth is never in the farside of the sun projectory – the sunspots always rotate around to the sun – but the earth does not seem to.
It is time to be truly Spiritual, and also rightfully Religious,
for a GOOD reason now!
===UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!
It appears all these Christians bashing and trolling each other, can't even agree even though they read the same supposed book are behaving in a way that goes against what Jesus preached.
I am convinced that the religion of Christianity is barely capable of creating Christ-like beings, which is why I left and have become "spiritual but not religious."
There must be a better way and perhaps striving for a personal two-way connection with God (in this life) as Jesus had is that way. So I will continue to search and experiment with different practices from all the various religions.
I hope you're able to find the ONE TRUE faith, because there is only ONE!
One body there is, and one spirit, even as YOU were called in the one hope to which YOU were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all [persons], who is over all and through all and in all.
this is why many no longer are religious in the christian faith
it is so much about bashing people over the head to try to make them believe
and then trying to convince them that this is the one true way
gabriel: a true faith is what is true to the faithful. to claim that yours is the CORRECT one is incredibly pompous. also, quoting a book to those who do not accept the supposed authority of that book is ludicrous. probably skipped logic class, eh?
There is only one truth to everything in life, either there is a God or there isn't, we were created or we wasn't. The question is, who's right? I don't go around saying because you don't believe in God that you go off supporting or promoting war or violence. Not all religion supports war or violence.
Sam: What is logic?
So you chopped your life down to one question? Wow.
Sam: My apologies, the statement on wars was meant for thoughts.
Damocles: What question?
You said that it all boils down to is there a deity or isn't there a deity.
log·ic noun \ˈlä-jik\
Definition of LOGIC
1a (1) : a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning (2) : a branch or variety of logic (3) : a branch of semiotics; especially : syntactics (4) : the formal principles of a branch of knowledge
"Spiritual but not religious", that sounds like Whitman or Emerson–nothing but a bunch of noncommittal heretics!
you really do not 'get' sarcasm very well do you?
are you feeling better about yourself – now that you've put down someone else?
why is that?
that's for gabe – in case any one else is wondering if this applies to them ...
thoughts: No need to play the victim just to avoid answering questions. There is nothing wrong with not having the answers.
There is nothing wrong with being ignorant, I am ignorant to a lot of things, and don't shy away from it. I do love knowledge and will always seek for answers to questions I don't have the answers to.
If I hurt your feelings, I apologize.
gabe – you didn't hurt my feelings
just don't see any reason to talk to a person who can only spout definitions and scripture
like you know what you are actually talking about (or something)
you are being a troll
"I do love knowledge and will always seek for answers to questions I don't have the answers to."
should you not seek truth, even you already have an answer?
Sam: Have you stopped seeking for God though you already have your answer?
gabe: not at all. how about you? do you find an answer that is comfortable and just go with it?
I sought the truth through research and observation. I can truly say that I have found it, and I would be lying if I said that living according to my found faith is easy, especially when I was used to doing things my way. But from my experience, this new lifestyle is more peaceful and less stressful I understand the world around me and see things through Jehovah's eyes.
I understand why some don't believe in God or don't want to have anything to do with religion. Some wan't to live their lives as they see fit and don't want anyone telling them how to live it, and what's interesting is that it's a God given right. He does not want to force anyone to worship him, he could have created us without free will, like robots, but he didn't, he wants us to do it out of love. Some don't wan't to believe in a god they don't understand. With all these different religions and all of the atrocities done by religion in the name of God, one can understand why so may want nothing to do with religion. Some religionist has used the Bible to oppress, kill and enslave many, and many who use the Bible today in their churches are misleading many with falls doctrines and teachings, so people get confused and frustrated and give up altogether in searching for the truth. So my aim is to "bare witness to the truth." And I can't force anyone to believe in it, I'm just searching for those who's seeking for truth. That's what I do everyday, and many appreciate it, and ask for me to study the Bible with them, and some wants nothing to do with it. I accept that. God accepts it as well, so who am I to judge?
in that case, gabe, peace be to you
Sam: Thank you, and same to you.
it is weird how r. does not really have a plan – except for warmongering
anyone here seen the movie z – e ig – est?
wish 'they' would explain that one first before the elections.
that would truly be religiously and spiritually enlightening
i would rather see that happen – that 'they' take responsibility – and quit lying like WE are ALL ignorant.
enough is enough
Since humans are emotional rather than rational animals we need a purpose to live. If you do not do it consciously you do it sub-consciously. Like you have decided that discussing religion on these blogs is one of your purposes. It has been proven that humans who live without purpose die quickly.
In all honesty our purpose is to eat, breathe, procreate and die.
Nii: Provide a link to this supposed truth
Not everything comes on a website. I read a lot on the Neurosciences because I will be a cleric soon and I need to help people grow their relationships. You can buy a Good relationship book or even read THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill. Happy reading.
How quickly do they die because I have to wonder at what age a human gets a purpose to live? I mean, if people died in 5 years if they didn't have a purpose but humans didn't form their purpose of life until age 6, that doesn't bode well, does it?
Yours as well. Well maybe not the procreating since you are going to be a 'cleric', but try to sustain a purpose without eating or breathing and see how well that works out.
As you may well know or may not know, Maslow's theory of needs when reversed could also be a plot of purpose in life. Since you never stop needing the things you talk about they will become your first purpose. Whichever it is humans deteriorate quickly when they feel they do not need anything and thus have no purpose. By your own admission if I decide I do not need air and hence it is not a purpose of my life to breathe I will die.
Truly shocked at your comment on procreation and my becoming a cleric. Why is it only Roman Catholic priests who can be termed clerics in your di.ctionary? I thought you were open-minded. Oh well, if you were you wouldn't be an Atheist, would you?
You didn't answer my question, but that's ok.
Good grief Nii, don't get all bent out of shape. Some clerics/monks/whatever take vows of celibacy, my comment wasn't an insult.
i THINK YOU DIDN'T LIKE THE ANSWER AS i DID ANSWER YOU. i CAN REHUSH IT FOR YOU FROM THE TIME YOU ARE BORN YOU NEED A PURPOSE OR A NEED TO LIVE. iF YOU DON'T YOU WILL WHITHER AWAY QUICKLY.
Here is part of what you posted earlier: It has been proven that humans who live without purpose die quickly.
Here are my questions based on what you said: How quickly do they die because I have to wonder at what age a human gets a purpose to live? I mean, if people died in 5 years if they didn't have a purpose but humans didn't form their purpose of life until age 6, that doesn't bode well, does it?
From your other posts which amounted to a little rant when you thought I was attacking you, I don't see where you answered my question, but again, that's ok.
i do not need a book to tell me what i already know and experience – more frequently than one would expect – in this day and age.
thoughts: Why do we exist? Why do we grow old and die? What is our purpose?
i don't know gabe – what do you think are the answers to your questions
If I may first ask, it is unclear to me based on your discussions with others on this blog, whether you believe in God or not?
Are you and atheist, agnostic...or you believe in a god?
really? hey – i must have learned something along the way afterall
why do you need to know that in order to answer your own questions?
I know the answers, so I don't need it explained to myself? It is you who admit to being ignorant to the questions I asked.
It's always best to understand a person's view point in order to speak in terms that one can understand.
Let me just start with the definition of "LIFE," and let me know if you agree or disagree.
Definition: An active condition that distinguishes plants, animals, humans, and spirit beings from inanimate objects. Physical living things generally have the capabilities of growth, metabolism, response to external stimuli, and reproduction. Vegetation has active life but not life as a sense-possesing soul. In earthly souls, animal and human, there are both active life-force to animate them and breath to sustain that life-force.
Now, going back to one of my previous questions: What is the purpose of life?
Basic to having "PURPOSE" in our lives is recognition of the "SOURCE" of "LIFE". If we were the product of mindless chance, our existence would, be "WITHOUT PURPOSE" and there would be no dependable future for which we could plan.
Please, your reply, if anyone...?
are you serious?
now you are calling me ignorant?
get a life
Do you know what ignorant means? You seem to be a bit sensitive!
Definition: lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular
Were these not your words in answer to my questions thoughts? "i don't know gabe – what do you think are the answers to your questions?"
Humility is a beautiful quality, you expressed it when you said you didn't know. Not so many people admit to not knowing something because of fear of appearing unintelligent. Now if you were pretending to be ignorant, or looking for a way to avoid replying, because you are baffled by the truth, take responsibility for it, don't put it at my feet that you lack knowledge.
You yourself said though: "i do not need a book to tell me what i already know and experience – more frequently than one would expect – in this day and age." That statement was saying pretty much that you knew it all. Does not appear to be the case.
have you seen ze – i – ge – i -s t yet?
how bout if you get that laid at your feet
gabe: what makes you think we must have a purpose?
What makes you think we don't?
Now it's obvious, you're an atheist.
i don't know whether we have a purpose or not.
i don't understand why you think we MUST have one.
Based on the "FACT" that we all live purposeful lives.
"Based on the 'FACT' that we all live purposeful lives."
Confusing fact with opinion again?
What is your definition of 'purposeful'?
Damocles: Why are you still alive till this day Damocles? Is it not cause you have purpose in your life?
I'm alive because I eat food, breathe the air and generally avoid things that would shorten my life.
Damocles: And why do you avoid things that would shorten your life?
Because they would shorten my life. There doesn't have to be a purpose to life, some people seem to thrive on doing nothing or seemingly contributing nothing to the world around them. Some people are content to do nothing and suddenly nothing is now a purpose for living.
sam stone; thoughts; Damocles
True or False?
Everything created by man, technology (cell phones, computers cars, etc), the roof over your head, the clothes on your back, hospitals, airports, planes, the list goes on.......! Would serve no "PURPOSE" if man did not exist.
ALL INVENTIONS TO SERVE MANKIND, ARE BASED ON THE HUMAN ANATOMY.
When it comes to NATURE, the sun, trees/plants and water, just to mention a few, provides energy to sustain the life of humans and animals. They all serve that one "PURPOSE." Without HUMANS & ANIMALS, everything, as far as our eyes can see, would be PURPOSELESS.
Thus, we live life with purpose. Thats why we have laws, we go to school, we eat to sustain our lives and so on.....To think otherwise would be "ILLOGICAL."
So your deity is illogical based on the fact that there are 7 other planets in this solar system that have no life as we know it and have no purpose. Not to mention all that wasted energy the sun just spews out into space. Not all plants provide nourishment, some can be lethal. Too much sun can be lethal. Some animals are lethal. If there is a deity, it seems a bit confused.
Just cause these things you mentioned are lethal does not mean they serve no purpose. Water sustain life, but used improperly you can drown can't you? Fire keeps us warm and cooks our food, use it improperly, it can burn down your house and kill everyone inside, can't it? Cars helps with transportation does it not? But use it improperly we can kill ourselves and others. The ozone layer, the atmosphere and weather cycle serves as three layers of forcefields to shield us from harmful rays from the sun, was that by accident? You see everything in life has purpose, but there are "LAWS" set in place, that one must follow so they don't injure themselves and others. LAWS & ORDER are essential for life to be sustained. Thats why there are laws in place for our planet to stay on it's exact location as it orbits the sun, we have the laws of gravity to keep us from floating out into space, the list goes on.....I am surprised you asked about the other planets, thought you learned that in school already, unless you're joking with me? lol We must first understand the purpose of all these plant life and animals and everything else in our home planet before we can even get into understanding the other celestial bodies.
I think you, like any other believer, are pretty much unaware of the problems you pose for yourself when you like 'perfection' and 'all knowing' and 'all powerful'. Perfection needs a consensus, meaning that something that is 'perfect' would be perfect to every viewer viewing it. If one person says it is not perfect then it can't be. A perfect flower or animal would cause people, all people, to say 'wow, that really is perfect'.
Now we can discuss whether or not it is possible for something perfect to create something imperfect. For me, the answer is no because a flaw in the created reveals a flaw in the creator and is thus disallowed from 'perfection'. Nature, that thing you like to think is made by a creator, is imperfect, chaotic.
My comment on the other planets goes back to this argument of 'perfection'. If a deity has created one specific instance of 'perfection' then anything else is detrius, flawed. If the perfect earth is orbiting the perfect sun and has the perfect companion moon (and by the way, the simple fact that the earth needs a sun and moon point to its imperfection) then there is no need to make anything else. Now you may argue and say that a deity created the stars and galaxies for our wonderment, but if we were born under an empty sky, we wouldn't know the difference.
Sorry if this rambled a bit, like you, I get passionate when lives are at stake.
I appreciate your passion and understand your view point, and why you see it that way, I also asked the same questions once upon a time.
Please read the three sections I posted above to Huebert & questions, it touches on exactly what you stated.
nii – you make no sense
and yes – i was talking about how religions seem to be used to control women
so – yes – i am differentiating gender in this discussion
get a clue
Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you're speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my web site =). We can have a hyperlink change agreement among us
Nii, a good scripture to keep in mind, and I'm sure you already know it, you seem to be holding your ground pretty well.
1 Peter 4:4
Because YOU do not continue running with them in this course to the same low sink of debauchery, they are puzzled and go on speaking abusively of YOU.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. It is I, the great and powerful Oz!"
The low sink of debauchery? You know nothing about us. Try not to be so pompous.
Thanks needed that.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.