The Raving Theist

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Meet the Experts

March 2, 2005 | 56 Comments

What’s the difference between being religious and spiritual? Your puny minds took a crack at this question when I posed it a while back, but now Newsday has assembled an all-star team of theological experts to settle the matter once and for all. And it won’t be like when you ask three physicists what the speed of light is and get four different answers. These fine scholars know their stuff. None of that “let’s look at things through a microscope and just make up some ridiculous shit” that the so called scientists keep pulling on us. We’ll start with the Rev. Alexander Garklavs of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church:

The true aim of religion is to make people spiritual . . . [o]ne observes religious practices to become spiritual. Religious activity is observable and takes place in time. Spiritual life involves the invisible dimension of a person’s soul and is ultimately a timeless quality. Being religious sometimes becomes a matter of meaningless habit, but being spiritual means that one has some self-insight, self-control, empathy and understanding.

Got it? Religion = means, Spirituality = ends. None of that E = mc2 bullshit where you don’t even know what the letters stand for. Imam Faruq A. Wadud, president of the Baitul Jannah Zame Masjid, makes it even clearer:

Spirit is a metaphysical power given to human beings unlike any other animal . . . [b]eing spiritual means being energized with this power . . . [t]herefore, being spiritual means being energized by metaphysical power and being religious means a metaphysical journey toward a certain destination using spiritual energy.

See? Spirituality = means, Religion = ends. It may look like the precise opposite of what Rev. Garklavs said, but only in the way that E=mc2 is the opposite of mc2 = E. And again, it’s not in some secret letter code. As orthodox Rabbi Yackov Saacks elaborates:

[T]he worship of any deity of any kind is spiritual. The difference between all religions is their respective definition of what is “godly” or “pure” spirituality and “impure” spirituality. From the perspective of Judaism, idol worship is a spiritual worship which is anathema to our religion, as Judaism is strictly a monotheistic religion. Spirituality refers to any sense of meaning and significance beyond what can be apprehended by the five senses. Religion involves a belief in a higher power and some set of laws or rituals.

So spirituality is the enemy of religion, because it does not require belief in a higher power or rituals. Unless you consider non-monotheistic idols to be higher powers, and worshipping them to be a ritual. Sister Karen Kaelin sums it all up:

My religion, with its beliefs, rituals and moral code, is a rich reservoir from which my spirituality is drawn. Catholicism teaches me that God is love, that God is a communion of three persons, whose loving self-gift is constantly flowing into all of creation, actively working to bring all into oneness with God. My spirituality, nurtured by my prayer and contemplation, is expressed when I love the person before me with this same self-gifting, nonjudging, inclusive love that I have experienced from God. We are all spiritual beings by nature; some of us are at home within a religion.

Sister Karen thus confirms that spirituality both (1) comes out of religion and (2) develops without religion, the important point again being that there is only one God because 3 = 1. Try to get that kind of straight answer out of a mathematician!

Comments

56 Responses to “Meet the Experts”

  1. MBains
    March 2nd, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

    “Spirit is a metaphysical power given to human beings unlike any other animal . . .”

    I wonder if this means that our Dog Spammin’ friend’s li’l buddies won’t be goin’ to Heaven after all… Sheesh. What am I gonna tell my kid now!?

  2. Debbie
    March 2nd, 2005 @ 6:17 pm

    As many theists also accept evolution and that our ancestors were apes. But this exposes the timing problem where god gave a soul or spirit to an offspring, but it’s parents, lacking this spirit, were non-human and therefore missed out on eternal salvation.

  3. Mijae
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 12:21 am

    Love it, RA. As some theists love to rub in, man has embraced religion and looked to gods throughout history… and yet they still can’t keep their stories straight.

  4. Xianghong
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 7:09 am

    Hot damn I think my brains just scored a perfect 10 in mental gymnastics trying to figure that out!

  5. Emily
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    “Moon and clouds are the same;
    mountain and valley are different.
    All are blessed; all are blessed.
    Is this one? Is this two?”–Wu-men (1183-1260)

    Thanks for the smile this morning.

  6. euclids child
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 11:30 am

    let a=b then
    ab=b^2 [mult both sides by b]
    ab-a^2 =b^2-a^2 [subt. a sq from both sides]
    a(b-a)=(b+a)(b-a) [factor]
    a=b+a [divide both sides by b-a]
    a=2a [since b=a substitute]
    1=2 [divide both sides by a]
    I can prove 1=2 but not 3=1 ra,
    you the man

  7. June
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 1:19 pm

    “a=b+a [divide both sides by b-a]”

    For the mathematically challenged among us: Since a=b, this is division by zero, which is meaningless or undefined in arithmetic. So, everything past that line is INVALID if a=b. Just goes to show ya that not everything we think is real is real.

    It’s most likely intended as a nice example of how religions go off track. They start with some wonderful definition of a loving omnigod, but then add all kinds of qualifications and rationalizations why god cannot do this and that, why god allows evil, how god pretends you can decide, then fries your ass if you don’t decide his way, and yadda yadda.

  8. satan
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 1:19 pm

    “a=b+a [divide both sides by b-a]”

    Nope, you can’t divide by zero since a=b, b-a=0. Your proof fails. Sorry.

  9. DamnRight
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

    But, with God all things are possible… even division by 0…

  10. ocmpoma
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

    ” “a=b+a [divide both sides by b-a]”

    For the mathematically challenged among us: Since a=b, this is division by zero,”

    Not only that, but the line above, “a(b-a)=(b+a)(b-a)” is actually a*0 = (b+a)*0, which is 0 = 0.

  11. euclids child
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 1:40 pm

    Obviously, that is why 1 doesn’t equal 2. Your math is better than your sense of humor. If you have to explain the joke it doesn’t work.

  12. PanAtheist
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 2:15 pm

    And if you don’t *understand* the joke it *cannot* work!

    Euclids, will you next be saying that when you explain the intricate delights of reality everything loses its wonder (as well as it’s humour)?

    He He! I don’t think so!

  13. PanAtheist
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    As well as being a PanAtheist (that means that I *know* that people cannot believe in a “God”), I also *know* that zero is *not* a number.

    Children of the world: “Rebel!!

    Stand up and say to your teachers, that zero is *not* a number, and tell ‘em straight that it is an *abscence* of a number!

    Take no more rote learning shit!

    And Teachers teach!
    Bring your children to *understandings*, (which can accumulate and accumulate … ) or get out of the biz!

  14. ocmpoma
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 2:37 pm

    If 0 isn’t a number, is -3?

  15. euclids child
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 3:10 pm

    Pan buddy,
    Are you really trying to tell me that 0 is not an element of the set of real numbers? I’m not talking about a philosophical discussion in the realm of “do numbers exist?”, that would be an entirely different argument. I am refering to the generally accepted field of mathematical study.

  16. DamnRight
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

    As I understand it, 0 is nothing but a place holder. The transition point between positive & negative numbers.

  17. Sternwallow
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    As I recall, the limit of A/B where A=B and B approaches zero remains 1.

    In fact, in one computer programming language, 0/0 is defined as 1 to accommodate sparse matrices.

  18. DamnRight
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    yes… any infinitely small number (approaching 0) is still greater than 0…

  19. Dave
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 4:42 pm

    I read a book on the origin and history of zero recently – Can’t remember the name, but 0 was long considered to not be a number, but has over time been accepted as a number, not just a placeholder. It specifies an exact quantity: none.
    It was considered “evil Saracen magic” for a long time in Europe, precisely because of its nature – the presence of an absence / the absence of a presence – as well as how weird trying to divide by it is. But then the Italians started using double entry bookkeeping and found it very useful. When your books balanced, you got zero.

  20. ocmpoma
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 5:02 pm

    Might the book have been The Nothing that Is?

    0 is a number, as is -3.

  21. glenstonecottage
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 7:24 pm

    Is the current occupant of the Whitehouse a zero, or a negative number?

  22. ocmpoma
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 8:17 pm

    Unfortunately, he is not an imaginary number.

  23. ocmpoma
    March 3rd, 2005 @ 8:17 pm

    Unfortunately, he is not an imaginary number.

  24. Debbie
    March 4th, 2005 @ 12:28 am

    PanAtheist,

    You can mock gods all you want but among the rational atheists who populate this forum you cause personal offense if you claim that 0 is not a number.

  25. DamnRight
    March 4th, 2005 @ 7:14 am

    Is infinity a number?

  26. ocmpoma
    March 4th, 2005 @ 7:51 am

    No.

  27. MBains
    March 4th, 2005 @ 7:58 am

    Is many a number?

    I think that I’ll continue to think of 0 and the sideways 8 as numbers as long as I’m not in a discussion with someone who has defined them differently. In that case, I’ll go along with ‘em for discussion’s sake.

    More importantly for me is the idea that we should all be mathematicians; or not. I sho ’nuff ain’t 1. ‘More of a Social sciences dude who depends upon the skills of folk with that math inclination in their brains. I thank goodness (or mathematics) that there are machines which let even challenged folk like me check the Wizard’s formulations.

    I mean it. Math sucks! LOL! For me. I LOVE what is done with it. I love that many humans are intriniscally adept at understanding and manipulating numbers. I’m just better with concepts when they’re not being postulated in some kind of mathematical formulation. I can follow and understand such: until its time for me to provide “proofs” myself. Even then I can do it if I reeeeaaallly twist my brain all up into an unfamiliar knot. Helping my s-daughter with her math homework has definitely helped me be able to see what an emotional issue Math Aptitude is. She hates it as much as I do but we are both able to get it when we calm down, take our deep breaths and somehow put aside our boredom with the repetition involved.

    My point? euclids child‘s little “proof” did nothing for me but show that Numbers can’t lie. Intelligent animals can use them to confuse and obfuscate what is happenin’ though. I ain’t raggin’ on you euclids. Seriously. Its just that, as PanAtheist stated, if yer audience doesn’t understand the joke (note that I didn’t say “if its not comprehensible,) then it ain’t funny.

  28. DamnRight
    March 4th, 2005 @ 8:21 am

    Math is just another to language, it simply gives us the “words” to describe things.

    Problem is, it’s not easily translated into English.

  29. euclids child
    March 4th, 2005 @ 8:50 am

    Folks,
    I apologize for starting all that. I was just trying to compliment RA in an unusual way. I didn’t expect my pseudo proof to be critiqued. It was susposed to look genuine and impressive. Im not here to fight.

    cheers

  30. DamnRight
    March 4th, 2005 @ 9:21 am

    I actually enjoyed your “proof”… it was very illustrative of how, if we don’t pay close attention to the details of the argument, we can be misled by the conclusion… I think it carried the point well…

  31. Dave
    March 4th, 2005 @ 11:33 am

    Yes, it was The Nothing That iIs
    MBains, your situation is not uncommon. I read two books in a row, one was”Where Mathematics Come From” and the other was “The Math Gene”, so I’m not sure from which one the following comes from:
    The author set up a logic problem for college students in 2 ways. The first was purely abstract/mathematical. The second involved a group of students in a bar, with their IDs face down on the bar. Some number of the students in the bar were underage. Solving the problem involved turning over the fewest number of IDs to determine who was under age.
    (I don’t remember all the details)
    Anyway, the point is, that the students did so-so when it was formulated abstractly, but they all did extremely well when it involved real world stuff, like beer.
    Structually, logically IT WAS THE SAME PROBLEM. It was the abstracted nature of mathematics that made it hard for the average student. Of course, it’s this same abstracted nature that makes math so useful.

    Incidentally, there’s a saying/joke that real math doesn’t use numbers. Numbers are arithmetic. (said with a sneer)

  32. MBains
    March 4th, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

    Thanks Dave. I appreciate it when someone points out that kind of info because I Used To feel Terrible ’bout being dumb at math. I’m Kind Of over it now though… ;} Basically anyhow… LOL! Still, I used the example of the trouble I’ve had helping my s-daughter because I felt Terrible when she started saying she couldn’t do the problems on which we were working because she is “dumb.” She said it like 4 or 5 times and I freakin’ wanted to cry man. Instead, I managed, somehow, to show her that she is not dumb by casually reminding her of some things at which she excells (art and story-telling), make a joke about how hard her homework is for me as well! and get her a little more relaxed so would were able to actually FINISH the assignment. The wife checker our answers. They were Almost all correct! Woo Hoo!!! LOL!

    And I meant to include a thanks in addressing you euclids; I couldn’t tell if those who de-proofed your proof thought it was funny either. It certainly was to the point about how “expert” these religious Experts actually are.

  33. Dave
    March 4th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    MBains,
    Thanks for the thanks. Anxiety is very often the worst enemy to learning, not any kind of cognitive problem.
    What’s kind of funny is that some people have the same problem about drawing. When they learn to relax, they start to develop their skills. and to really see what’s in front of them.

  34. Frank
    March 4th, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

    Concerning the original post…

    I find it interesting that you would demand a level of accuracy of theology that you would not demand of many other disciplines. Mathematics is rare in it’s precise nature. Other areas of study have experts debating the meaning of the information at hand all the time. Interesting that you would single out theology in this regard and hold it up for ridicule when you allow other areas of study a pass.

  35. DamnRight
    March 4th, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

    … what the hell you talking about… seems to me, we beat the mathematics horse to death… I find free thinkers to be willing to debate any subject, holding all statements to a high standard of accuracy & supportability…

  36. Combat Doc
    March 4th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    Just saying keep giving ‘em hell. I agree and come by so we can piss the same people off. Keep blogging!!!

  37. June
    March 4th, 2005 @ 8:27 pm

    Religion (and with it theology) is often despised and ridiculed because those who are free of its influence recognize it for what it is: a despicable exploitation of humanity’s deepest fears like death, pain, loneliness. Religion wraps itself in a noble cloak of morals and charity, then comes among us to seduce our children and befuddle our adults. Instead of kicking it out of our midst, we tolerate it, and then struggle with the consequences.

    Religion uses emotionally loaded arguments to persuade, and that is why the math example above was quite useful (and I took it as intended that way) to show us that even a rigid-appearing proof is nonsense if one ignores a ground rule. Human reasoning is brittle and easily fooled by changing word meanings, levels of discourse, breadth of argument, or any number of fallacies.

  38. MBains
    March 5th, 2005 @ 8:28 am

    Ummm… Frank? Did you ever notice the name of this blog?

    Who’s inconsistencies do you expect The Raving ATHEIST to call out?

  39. WOMBATTLER
    March 5th, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

    MY GOD. YOU PEOPLE HAVEN’T GOTTEN ANY SMARTER SINCE THE LAST TIME I READ THIS SITE. AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS HUMANITY IS IN THE SHITTER. SHEESH. GET A HOBBY, ASSHOLES. AND LADIES, GET BACK I THE KITCHEN. WHY ARE YOU ON THE COMPUTER? AND WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO USE IT? THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE ARE SLIPPING.

  40. WOMBATTLER
    March 5th, 2005 @ 12:43 pm

    BY THE WAY, THE ONLY PRODUCTION WOMEN SHOULD ENGAGE IN IS REPRODUCTION. I’D LIKE TO MEET THE PERSON WHO TOLD WOMEN THAT THEY COULD WORK AND WHUP HIM GOOD. COOKING AND CLEANING IS WORK APLENTY. I MEAN, WE LET THEM HAVE OUR KIDS, WHAT ELSE DO THEY WANT?

  41. MBains
    March 5th, 2005 @ 9:14 pm

    Well… Wasn’t THAT special?

    Anyhow, I came ‘crost an amazing link for to give y’all mathematicians a chuckle. It involves everyone’s Favorite “Intelligent” Design speculam, er, I mean speculator, Willy Dembski.

    http://www.www.antievolution.org/people/dembski_wa/wad_factors_59.html

    Enjoy!

  42. DC
    March 6th, 2005 @ 7:56 pm

    Well first I am a Christian, even though I have often come to this site and sided with those who oppose the fundies who I feel don’t present Christianity in the best light. I like Frank but disagree with him on many things and he is most often wrong.

    I am a protestant and a baptist. I think evolution is a sound theory and the bible, while valuable is not necessarliy inerrant or unfallible. It is clear a worldwide flood did not occur, the genesis story is mythological.

    But the story as a whole is one of love and thats why I have faith. I accept my faith is irrationaland illogical. This is why I have such a problem with people like Frank who always try to submit it as a logical thing. It isn’t. The atheist argument is stronger logically. There simply is no good evidence for my faith.

    The difference between myself and others is I admit it.

    Could I be wrong , yes. Could God not exist, yes. But the belief means something to me,but it is personal. I cannot conceive of an all powerful being who punishes people eternally for finite sins. So I hope for the best. I do not seek to impose my will on others and find many in the religion similiar to the Pharisees Jesus spoke of often.

    Just my 2 cents.

  43. Frank
    March 7th, 2005 @ 10:05 am

    DC — You say you are a protestant and a baptist and then go on to reject the Genesis account of creation and the flood. You assert that your faith is irrational and illogical and appear to leave no room for the fact that there are wonderful evidences (although not iron-clad logical proof) to support biblical Christianity. You leave open the possibility that God may not exist and say you can not conceive of an all powerful being who punishes eternally for finite sins (a clear contradiction to Scripture). Finally, you make the PC comment about not wanting to “impose” your will on others. And while it is impossible for Christians to “make” others believe in Christ (and in that way impose our will) we are clearly commanded by the very one whose name we bear, Jesus Christ himself, to go and make disciples.

    I have to wonder … is there any portion of Scripture you accept as authoritative? From where do you draw your faith? I am a protestant and a baptist but even the baptists who subscribe to a more liberal version of Christianity seem to hold to more of Scriptural teachings than I’ve seen you express here.

    I’m not bashing you, DC, I’ve always enjoyed our conversations and would honestly like to know what, if anything, you hold as authoritative in the faith you’ve claimed to have.

  44. MBains
    March 7th, 2005 @ 10:34 am

    Frank said {I} would honestly like to know what, if anything, you hold as authoritative in the faith you’ve claimed to have.

    I think DC just said he holds none. Need he? It IS an article of Faith so whyfore should any authority be necessary?

    DC I can seriously relate to your above statement. I felt/thought the same basic thing for a long time only I was comfortably agnostic about the whole issue. Unless you n me were bud’s hangin’ out and stuff, I wouldn’t even attempt to purposefully change yer mind on the matter.

    I’m not gonna read anything into why you peruse this site. I’ll just say that I came to my atheism through in depth study of human cultures and sociological statisitics. Religion, and beliefs in supernatural stuff, has been an excellent tool for building civilizations. I wouldn’t necessarily say for building Good civilizations. I think our species is just about ready to dump the whole concept of I don’t Know = God now. One person at at time. THEN we’ll be able see what this silly animal is Really Capable of Producing!

  45. Frank
    March 7th, 2005 @ 11:23 am

    MBains — I asked the question because faith, as it applies to Christianity, does not mean belief in something for which there is no proof (or evidence). It means trusting God is capable of doing what He said He will do. Christianity is not a blind faith and it has always rested on the authority of Scripture. I’d like to know from DC what measure of authority, if any, he applies to Scripture. If none, then I’d like to know on what basis he believes. After all, he has said logic contradicts his faith, surely something has compelled him to believe in something he thinks is contradictory to what logic tells him.

  46. MBains
    March 7th, 2005 @ 11:49 am

    Thanks Frank. I see that I let my disrespect for the “authority of scripture” get in the way of understanding why you would ask him that question.

    OTH, and not to be rude, doesn’t the fact that “Scriptual Authority” is a non-sequitor bother you? Biblical scripture, having been debunked in all its particulars, necessarily lacks any ability to be authoritative. As DC suggested, god may or may not exist (obviously I believe the latter because of the evidence), but the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic monstrosity has been disproven long before any of us came on the scene.

    Again though, I know that still doesn’t answer your question of DC. So I’ll butt out now.

  47. June
    March 7th, 2005 @ 11:49 am

    Frank, the legend of the Flood is absurd on its face.
    It is absurd to believe Noah collected about 500,000 species of beetles (one of each sex).
    It is absurd to believe Noah went to Australia to collect Kangaroos.
    It is absurd to believe Noah went to the Arctic to collect Polar Bears.
    It is absurd to believe Noah collected plants of every extant species on the globe.

    Anyone who reads the bible must at least occasionally say “Wait a second, that is absurd” or “What a lovely metaphor” or “What a charming creation tale”. I don’t think Christians are somehow absolved from a duty to use their brain, are they? God educated you, gave you tools to communicate, eyes to observe, — yet all you can do with this is spread ancient lore about some obviously absurd Flood? Given the overwhelming scientific evidence, it seems quite possible that some Big Bang (call it God if you must) created Evolution and then left things to fend for themselves. So why this absurd insistence on a childlike, literal interpretation of legends from the dawn of time?

  48. DC
    March 7th, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    Frank you responded pretty much as I thought you would.

    I am a Baptist, and a Christian, I was also educated at a Baptist university where the origins and history of the bible was presented. I am also a scientist professionally. Faith is a personal matter for me. Having said that I do not think got expects me to hand over my intellect and accept things I know not to be true. In my view becoming a Christian, which I did at a young age, has been about growth and development-becoming more ‘Christlike’. It is not about reading a book as if it was a rule book.

    The religion was never meant to be about rules but rather freedom. Freedom from fear, from death, from oppression and Pharisees. Unfortunately modern fundies in an attempt to elevate the bible to godlike status perform in my opinion a kind of idolatry, ignoring the plain truth of reality while accepting the reality of people who lived 1000’s of years ago.

    You said:
    ‘You say you are a protestant and a baptist and then go on to reject the Genesis account of creation and the flood. ‘

    Not reject, just understand they were not meant to be literal events but metaphor of a man trying to understand the improbable beginning to everything.

    ‘You assert that your faith is irrational and illogical and appear to leave no room for the fact that there are wonderful evidences (although not iron-clad logical proof) to support biblical Christianity.’

    See Frank I am an honest man, with myself and others. I simply accept my faith will never be proven in reality. If I could prove it I wouldn’t need faith. I’d have evidence. Again being honest, there is no good evidence to support my belief, but I believe for my own reasons. All the evidence we supply can be supplied equally well for the 1000’s of other religions.

    ‘You leave open the possibility that God may not exist and say you can not conceive of an all powerful being who punishes eternally for finite sins (a clear contradiction to Scripture)’

    Of course I leave open the possibility. I’m honest. I’m not an all knowing all seeing being. I could be wrong. I believe in God, I have my faith but it is possible I am incorrect. Whats so hard to comprehend about that? It’s called being humble.

    And yes I find it hard to rationalize an all loving God and infinite punishment for finite sins. Call me crazy but I’m in good company on this one. If you understood the origins of the ‘hell’ doctrine you may have a different view as well.

    ‘I have to wonder … is there any portion of Scripture you accept as authoritative? From where do you draw your faith? ‘

    I accept the entire book as a metaphor for a God who loves his creation, who cherishes everyone of his created. How can YOU take a book as authoritative which no one can agree on anything about? What authority does confusion have? Which is always where a literal reading takes you.

    ‘I am a protestant and a baptist but even the baptists who subscribe to a more liberal version of Christianity seem to hold to more of Scriptural teachings than I’ve seen you express here.’

    Really? Which scriptural teachings am I discarding? Genesis? Most see it as a metaphor. Revelations? metaphor. Hell? again once you get out of local churches-metaphor.

    I agree with much of what you do Frank just in a different form. I am a baptist for one reason- the priesthood of the believer. I think evolution is clearly a correct theory based on evidence. I think Genesis is clearly allegory based on evidence. I think a global flood never occured based on evidence.

    My belief, which is part of me, is not.

    you also said:I’m not bashing you, DC, I’ve always enjoyed our conversations and would honestly like to know what, if anything, you hold as authoritative in the faith you’ve claimed to have.

    Frank this is insulting, but I will not insult you in return. You have essentially questioned my faith. I do not claim to have it, I HAVE it. I am just honest in admitting it is irrational in that I believe in something I cannot prove. Apparently my honesty offends you.

    I am not called to have faith in the myths of a people 6000years ago, I am called to have faith in Jesus. Period.

  49. Frank
    March 7th, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

    DC — forgive me if my post was insulting, it certainly was not intended to be. My statement about the faith you claim to have was not directed at whether or not you have faith at all but rather toward the nature of your faith as described in your previous post.

    You said you accept the “entire” book as a metaphor of a god who loves his creation. So none of it is actual? Jesus did not die? He did not rise from the dead? I’ll agree (to some extent) that the Genesis account being actual or metaphor is really not completely central to Christianity, but the nature and history of Jesus Christ is. Do you accept that Jesus is real and lived substantially as the Bible says, or do you consider that some kind of metaphor as well?

    P.S. the baptist doctrine of “priesthood of the believer” is often misunderstood. It is actually (and has historically always been) “priesthood of the believers.” — plural. We do, as you well know, have the ability to go to the Bible and read it for ourselves but we are, and always have been, accountable to one another for the lessons and doctrines we draw.

  50. EclecticGuru
    March 7th, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    “We do, as you well know, have the ability to go to the Bible and read it for ourselves but we are, and always have been, accountable to one another for the lessons and doctrines we draw.”

    Sounds like Frank and his fellow Fundies need to account for themselves before more rational believers like DC, or else they’re not protestants anymore.

    Until that time, Frank is just a member of a fringe resurrected god-king cult.

  51. DamnRight
    March 8th, 2005 @ 9:06 am

    … had I knoe Christians like DC, I may still be one… as it is, having lost all faith in the “scriptiures”, my total authority basis was gone… DC got it right… faith is not based on evidence (even if some exists)… I have always found it interesting that Christians claim their lives are based on faith, then go through contortions to “prove” their faith is fact… is it that they really look to underpin their weak faith by convincing themselves they have a leg to stand on… I admire you DC… a man of faith & conviction…

  52. St. McHinx
    March 8th, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

    Not to beat the mathematical horse to death, but why did everyone seem to miss that

    a(b-a)=(b+a)(b-a) [factor]

    is wrong, unless “factoring” has changed since I was in high school a few years ago? Ok, more than a few. Anyway, in the interest of Truth(TM), yay scarily I say unto you that

    a(b-a) = ab – aa

    So you don’t even get to the next divide by zero statement.

  53. June
    March 8th, 2005 @ 3:11 pm

    The algebra in #6 is correct, but two factoring methods are involved.
    Given ab – a^2 = b^2 – a^2, factoring a out of the left side gives a(b-a).
    Factoring the right side as the difference of two squares gives (b+a)(b-a).

  54. bill
    March 8th, 2005 @ 5:54 pm

    “Spirituality refers to any sense of meaning and significance beyond what can be apprehended by the five senses.”

    As Skinner writes “We respond to our own body with three nervous systems, two of which are concerned with internal features. The so called interoceptive system carries stimulation from organs like the bladder and alimentary tracts, from glands and their ducts, and from blood vessels. …….The so-called proprioceptive system carries stimulation from thr muscles, joints, and tendons of the skeletal frame and from other organs involved in the maintenance of posture and the execution of movement. We use the verb ‘feel’ in describing our contact with these two kinds of stimulation. A third nervous system, the exteroceptive, is primarily concerned with seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling things in the world around us, but it also plays an important part in observing our own body.”

    So spirituality comes from our interoceptive and proprioceptive nervous systems which are “beyond” the exteroceptive five senses. That’s why religion is such a visceral experience!!!

  55. bill
    March 8th, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

    “Spirituality refers to any sense of meaning and significance beyond what can be apprehended by the five senses.”

    As Skinner writes “We respond to our own body with three nervous systems, two of which are concerned with internal features. The so called interoceptive system carries stimulation from organs like the bladder and alimentary tracts, from glands and their ducts, and from blood vessels. …….The so-called proprioceptive system carries stimulation from thr muscles, joints, and tendons of the skeletal frame and from other organs involved in the maintenance of posture and the execution of movement. We use the verb ‘feel’ in describing our contact with these two kinds of stimulation. A third nervous system, the exteroceptive, is primarily concerned with seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling things in the world around us, but it also plays an important part in observing our own body.”

    So spirituality comes from our interoceptive and proprioceptive nervous systems which are “beyond” the exteroceptive five senses. That’s why religion is such a visceral experience!!!

  56. St. McHinx
    March 9th, 2005 @ 1:54 pm

    Woa! Thanks June. I stand corrected. I knew something was fishy when only *I* could see something so obvious that seemingly everyone else “missed.” Must be a lot of hydrated ferric oxide blocking synapses in my algebra cortex.

    Anyway, on the topic of spirituality:

    Let spirituality = body …

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