Monday, 11 May 2009

On October 23rd, 4004BC

11 comments:

Danny said...

My old boss was talking with me one day. He said that his friend is an engineer. Him and his friend could start digging a ditch at the same time. While his friend would still be doing his measuring, my boss would have a ditch. He said, "I just know water flows downhill."
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You have a lot of good posts and I enjoy reading them. When I wrote of trusting God working, you responded that you can explain why it works. The point of this is not for you to explain it, that's up to you.
But it makes me think of this ridiculous example... I tell you that I am starving. You tell me to eat this food and it will help. I then tell you that I am not going to eat that food because I can explain why food can help with starvation.
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So. You can try to prove or disprove and try to get other people to prove or disprove. I just know that trusting God works.
Like my boss knew that water flows downhill.
While you are still doing your figuring, trusting God has and is working for me now in practical and life changing ways.

Kel said...

We know water flows downhill from previous observations, remember that we start learning how the world works from the moment we are born. It's not some innate knowledge given to us, it's learned knowledge over time. Measuring is a way of getting a better understanding, just remember that only 500 years ago people "knew" that the earth was the centre of the universe. The sun rises in the east, the sun sets in the west, repeat ad infinitum. Yet through measuring we have understood that it is not the case, that earth orbits around the sun and the illusion of the opposite is caused by the earth rotating as it moves through space.

What this demonstrates is that intuition is flawed and that reality is counter-intuitive. It was only through measuring the universe that we have computers, it was only through measuring the universe that we have modern medicine and electricity in our homes. We have put a man on the moon, sent probes beyond the solar system, cracked the human genome, made devices that can transport hundreds of people around the world in a matter of hours - none of this has come from intuition but measurement.

So if all you want is a ditch dug, then fine. Go live in a ditch. But please don't act as if your life hasn't be benefitted by measurement; your computer, your telephone, your transport, the food you eat, your house - everything about the modern world would be impossible if not for measuring first. Our society is built on pragmatic results based on measurement, and by interacting on here it seems you are quite happy to reap the benefits of those who measure as opposed to trust.

Danny said...

Is what you got from what I said actually that I don't see any good in the scientific process?
The example of two people digging a ditch was simply to say that while people are still trying to prove and or disprove the existence of God,.. trusting God is working for me now. Just forget any reference to people digging ditches in what I wrote and deal with the latter two thirds. Because we must have got our lines crossed.
Like read from "You have a lot of good posts" to "practical and life changing ways." Leaving out the sentence "Like my boss knew that water flows downhill."
Not that I think you will agree, but if you take the time to comment on it I would like for you to at least understand what I am trying to say.
Thank you for your comment and I am sorry that I don't explain things good.

Kel said...

I can see where you are coming from, I just don't agree with it. Just look at The Secret or anything really from the positive-thinking movement. People trust far too credulously and will continue to affirm that it "works for them" even when it is obvious that it is causing harm to themselves or others.

If reality is to you that a trust in God works for you, then great. But given all the ways that people can and do trick themselves into believing along those lines (e.g. psychics, homoeopathy, fortune tellers, etc.) there are just grounds to be sceptical. Would you be content to say "it works for them" if someone put their trust in a fortune teller on the notion that the fortune teller has the ability to see the future? What if it were horoscopes? What about in a spirit ancestor or in the karmic wheel of nature?

It may be that you have trust, but I'm still going to call it as bogus because time and time again that type of behaviour is exhibited for a range of different phenomena with people from all walks of life. The only way I can see of making sense of it is that the mind has a belief in belief and will do whatever it can to protect itself.


To you I ask, how is a trust in God any different from someone trusting in The Secret? Because to me it seems like the same mental process, and it seems like each concept has the same amount of validity - i.e. none. It feels like nothing more than a reason to hold a belief, a belief in belief. And that to me is a red flag on the whole endeavour.

Danny said...

1. As for things holding the same validity. I don't know of 'fortune tellers' ever helping anyone,in a practical way. So I could not say that "it works for them". Maybe you know of some, I do not.

2. Now, as for trusting God holding no validity. God has saved me from drug addiction. This is very real and practical. I know many different people who this has happened for. People, like me, who could tell you that they had no power whatever over it but are now free. If you think that we beat it ourselves then I guess you have never been addicted to drugs. After years of trying to be free the only thing found to work is God. That being said I'll ask this. What would make trusting God have validity if that doesn't? You say God isn't real and I think, ok then, a God that doesn't exist saved me. How interesting.

3. As for the secret, positive thinking, etc. Not that it holds validity with you, but the bible teaches a number of principles. Someone can handpick principles if they want to and get some results, but in the end they will end up with a bucket full of shit. As with faith... people in and out of the church handpick principles of faith while leaving out part of it and have some results for a time. Like in the church, some say that you can just speak whatever you want and get it. These are some of the people that don't go to doctors. Maybe this is some of the harm you speak of. I do not think this harm comes from trusting God. Not going to doctors does not equal trusting God. Trusting God has to do with what He said, He never said don't go to the doctor. How can I trust you to be somewhere at a certain time unless you sent word to me that you would be. Thus, for one to trust God it is neccessary for God to have 'sent word' and it is neccessary for them to accept that communication as being from God, and finally, to act accordingly. Like, you send me a letter telling me you will be a the golf course at 10am and want to play with me. So I bring my golf equipment to the course at 9:50am. Why? Because I trusted you. Trusting God never hurt me, it's only helped.

4. Nothing really would ever convince you that God exists. Really think about it. If you were to ask someone to prove the existence of God, it would be an empty request. You would have reasons other than wanting existence proven or disproven. Nothing could happen that would make you say there is a God. God either is or isn't. Either one chooses to trust Him or one chooses to trust themselves.
Please do not misunderstand anything I say as being an attack.

Kel said...

I could think of many ways I would come to believe in God. I've had an experiment running for over six months now where I'm seeing if God can turn my ordinary bottle of water into alcohol. If I filled up a bottle with water then it turned into alcohol, I'd convert to believe in a higher power.

And that is one example of what I am actively doing now. Other things I would accept:
* If praying was able to regrow the limb of an amputee, I'd consider that as compelling evidence.
* If the stars rearranged themselves to spell "Jesus is lord", I'd consider that as compelling evidence.
* If a busload of nymphomaniac supermodels turned up on my doorstep, I'd consider that compelling evidence.
* If someone were to take one of the many supposed relics of Christ and show that Jesus had only mitochrondrial DNA, I'd consider that compelling evidence.

I'm more than willing to admit I am wrong on this issue, but that shouldn't mean that we should forego excepticism when faced with claims of the extraordinary. It's great that you were able to beat drug addiction, and I'm glad belief works for you. But I'm not going to accept that as evidence for God any more than I would accept my mothers' similar testimony with different beliefs. To me that means there is an underlying issue rather than the belief being validated by behavioural consequences of said belief.


If believing in God works for you, then don't abandon it. I'm not advocating that you give up your beliefs, this blog is just my opinion on things. Rather I hope that you would at least try to consider opposing points of view. And honestly, I think by participating here and by both reading and engaging my posts you are doing something admirable. I thank you for your input, and have enjoyed your feedback. It's definitely changing the way I think about things.

Danny said...

I am not a fan of choosing to believe something and acting like you don't have questions or doubts. I think lots of people are scared of their doubts. I have questions about God. Some of these questions you probably have too. We just came to a different conclusion.

The water into alcohol thing I think is just silly. I can imagine God thinking,.. "Ok, ask what you really want."
The legs growing in front of your eyes, now that would really be crazy to see!
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As for experimenting...
If the reason you are doing it is to really find out something, then maybe try something else. I don't think it's our business to tell God how to help us. I think we should just admit to Him that we need help and let Him sort it out. If someone really wants to know if He exists then just ask Him. I think you should be willing to follow His instructions assuming that He does reveal Himself, otherwise what's the point if you won't trust Him. That's just a long winded way of saying, 'be sincere'. I don't think a good way to start a relationship with the person who created you is to start telling him how to do things. You don't know how He will answer you. But nobody gets to tell you, "You see, God just answered you." That's between you and Him. Just because it would be good enough for me doesn't mean it's good enough for you. The bible teaches, (i know, bear with me), If you seek God dilligently He will answer you. So I don't know, maybe He will turn water into wine, or maybe He will 'open your eyes'. I don't know, there is a million ways and that's up to Him.
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Just ask God if God is real everyday. If you are willing to follow God then say it, if not then tell Him "Well I probably won't do anything but I'd just like to know.".
That's the long way of saying... Ask God if God is real everyday, and be sincere about it. I mean really outside of God nothing I would say would help anybody. All I'm doing is enjoying having good conversations with someone who disagrees with me.
Or do it however you want, I'm not God.

Kel said...

The water into vodka thing was a response to a theist who asked me to challenge god to reveal himself. I chose water into alcohol for three reasons:
a) it's straight out of the bible
b) it removes personal experience from it
c) it's otherwise impossible

And this is what it would take me to believe in a higher power - a demonstration of the impossible that can be externally verified. Now while you say it's not right to challenge God, I refer you to 1 Kings 18 where Elijah challenged God before the followers of Baal. Honestly if praying to god could start a fire on wood drenched in water, then I would see that as significant evidence.

Remember that the choice for me is not between God and nothing. The choice is between every living or dead deity that has ever existed and no deity at all. And I have seen nothing that signifies Christianity above all others. From everything I understand about the universe I would consider Hinduism far more likely to be true than Christianity, the notion of god in Hinduism - the pantheon Brahman fits the cosmological model of the universe far better than Yahweh does. But I digress...


I no longer have doubts about whether there is a god or not, but I'll save that for another time.

Danny said...

Elijah was really challenging the other people. He was making fun of their god, telling them to try again because their god might have just been taking a piss. I always thought it was funny.
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Honestly though. It's sad to me when I read that you reject Jesus. I've read some of your reasons and am not trying to argue about it. Really though, someone would need to accept the reality of a God before they could accept the reality of Jesus being their savior.
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a demonstration of the impossible that can be externally verified.

Well shit,.. it seems that I am unable to demonstrate the impossible that can be externally verified. I'm not God after all!!

By externally verified do you mean verified to be impossible? Anyway. If you ask a direct question I will respond, otherwise I will just wait for another post. I don't want to distract you from your writings.

PS. Lots of people argue for the existence of God and get heated and somewhat rude. I think it's because they are uncomfortable with their doubts and need people to agree with them. Maybe you can throw that in someones face on one of them sites you go to. I can't go to them anymore, the atmosphere is too heated for me.

take it easy.

Kel said...

I don't think you should be say that I reject Jesus any more than a Muslim is sad that you don't see Muhammad as the final prophet of God and the Koran as God's word. There's nothing sad in what I do or don't believe, only your perceived consequences for my lack of belief. Those consequences are simply not there for me. I don't have the fear of hell, nor do I have the desire to be with God. Yet I still have fears and I still love, I still experience as much of the human condition as anyone else.

I could say that I pity those who cannot see the intricate dance of nature for what it is. Those who don't understand the way physics works, who have no idea of what it means to be alive, it's incredibly sad that there is the need to make up myths to put humans as a special place in the universe. Yet we are a way for the universe to know itself and that makes us special. Each one of us is the end product of almost 4 billion years of replication, not a single one of our ancestors died young, not a single one didn't have what it takes to survive. That to me is an amazing and wonderful tale, more meaningful and more powerful than any fantasy that has been concocted by the human mind. And I do think it's sad that people will abandon such a story in favour of ancient storytelling by those who don't know better.

But really, we have but a few trips around the sun to take it all in before we expire. This to me is the life that matters, so if you find happiness, go after it. If you find that in Christ, then great. If you find it in Allah or in Brahman, or worshipping ancestor spirits, then all the more power to you. As long as you aren't hurting others then chase after what you think is best for you. I can't feel sorry for the Dalai Lama, even if he believes he is the reincarnation of the Tulku. He's just so full of life and spirit that even if I think his beliefs are wrong, the manner in which he lives his life is something to emulate.

MrFire said...

A great video Kel, thanks for posting it.