Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That, Except Everything.

(Sorry, this is long-ish)

The Seventh Day Adventist Church, despite some half-decent philanthropic work and a few truly good-natured individuals, are collectively whack.

As a Church they support what’s known as Young Earth Creationism (the Earth being only 6,000 years old), ‘Intelligent Design’ and they were right in the middle of the ‘Harry Potter is evil’ PR fiasco. Oh, and they ban dancing. Because it leads to sex or something.

It’s little wonder they’re so whack given their origins - they are the offspring of the dumber Millerites.

The Millerites were a group who were convinced that on October 23, 1844, the world would come to the end and they would all ascend to heaven and shit. In Adventist circles, that day is known as ‘The Great Disappointment’.

You see, when the sun rose that morning and the the angels hadn't blown their trumpets and the sinners hadn't been cast into the bowels of Hell, many kind of said, "Oh fuck, how embarrassing," and just got on with their lives.

But, a handful of the particularly retarded Millerites (a little obsessed with numerology and mysticism ‘hidden’ in the bible) actually went on to say that the world had in fact entered a ‘seventh millenium’ on that day. My interpretation of what these arseclowns were saying (after wading through their stupid stupid texts) is that Jesus rocked up to heaven that day and started to mop the floors of Paradise in readiness for the true believers – which is the Seventh Day Adventists.

Not long after The Great Disappointment a disgraceful and bitter hag called Ellen G White started writing a lot of bullshit and she is revered by them as a prophet.

Cut forward to 2008, when the only thing that’s mainstream about this church is their ownership of Sanitarium... most famous for Weet Bix.

They have a fortnightly full colour glossy magazine called ‘Record’ which has a massive readership in Australia, NZ and the South Pacific (26,000) and it is a clever mix of softcore religion and mainstream articles. Earlier in the year they interviewed Sam Mitchell, Captain of Hawthorn, on the topic of ‘Leadership’ and put his square head on the front cover so as to attract non-aligned readers. And so they should -if they are attempting to ‘reach out’ to possible converts.

‘Record’ has a good history of avoiding the more whacky fringe elements of Adventism... all the fire and brimstone shit, and there’s nary a mention of their Young Earth Creationist stance, but at` the same time they tip-toe through issues that would confront their beliefs as well, like evolution, and (finally getting to my point) homosexuality.

This all changed on October 4, 2008, when the new-ish, young and savvy and obviously socially aware senior editor of Record, Nathan Brown, single-handedly tried to drag this dangerous and foul religion into the modern world. He wrote an editorial about homosexuality saying things like:

“From a Christian perspective, the Bible says little about homosexuality. No more than five references...”

“Belying the noise of various Christian activists, it is difficult to argue homosexuality as a specifically important moral issue from a Biblical perspective.”

“Our silence is part of the problem. When the issue is not faithfully, carefully and sensitively addressed, the unspoken pressure to conform to ‘normality’ gives rise to deep-seated personal tension, double lives and dishonest relationships.”

“...homosexual people are people, human beings with hopes, faiths, fears and failings... like us.”

“...they need places to belong and communities in which they can share and grow in faith.”


I would like to link to the article but October 4's edition seems to be mysteriously missing from the Record’s online archives.

Now, obviously, this is just ‘Real Life 101’ for most of us, but not for the Seventh-day Adventists.

Sources from within the church have told me that poor Nathan Brown has copped a hammering from the elders of the church, not to mention the readership of the magazine for which he’s responsible*. ‘Record‘ is not an independent media publication – it is owned and operated by the Church and as such, it has to toe the line.

Which explains the yet-to-be-released November 1 ‘statement’ by the same editor that has been leaked to me.

Here’s some extracts.

“The Adventist Church has a clear position on homosexuality, based on the teachings of the Word of God...”

“Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation.”

“The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships.”

“...we regret the misunderstanding surrounding the publication of (the other article)”

*

(If you would like the full articles, email me)

*

This is a fucking disgrace. This is hateful propaganda hiding behind superstitious belief, and it has no place in the modern world.

Seventh-day Adventism is on the way out, surely. They can’t cling to these archaic and vile opinions and expect to last through the 21st Century. And it's a shame, because you'd imagine that amongst the rank and file there's probably normal people, brought up in the church, who know it's whack but can't get a word in.

Religion again, fucking things up.

I say to the Seventh-day Adventist church: “Your time has been and gone. Time to close your shop. Thank you for the Weet Bix, but you can all just fuck off and go away now. You are no longer needed.”


* Allegedly he also received many letters of support, but that’s neither here no there to the Elders.

119 comments:

Puss In Boots said...

Weetbix? Ew.

Melba said...

I love how cool the word "whack" is and how uncool the word "whacky" is.

Amazing how one little 'y' can make such a difference.

Sorry, that's all I've got.

squib said...

Well even the Dalai Lama is all anti-gay. That's religion for you

I've been reading a Christian novel for my review this week. It's so unfuckingbelievably condescending and moronic that I think I want to burn it a la Fahrenheit 451

Perseus said...

Or is it 'tow' the line? Probably. I don't think I've ever written that saying...

Melba: Remember Wacky Races? Now that was a cartoon! I always barracked for the cavemen dudes.

I'm with you Puss. Weetbix, particularly soggy weetbix is foul.

Jamie said...

Wacky Races was nothing without Muttley. Nothing. I wanted Penelope Pitstop on the wrong end of a semi.

Perseus said...

"I wanted Penelope Pitstop on the wrong end of a semi."

You're talking about the WOMAN I LOVE!

I was so jealous of her relationship with Peter Perfect. What a smarmy cunt he was.

Boogeyman said...

Perseus, depending on your interpretation of 'semi', Jamie's statement is flexible enough to accommodate your Penelope-lerv.

Melba said...

I had a wrong crush on Muttley. I think.

shitbmxrider said...

I had to laugh when I found out Samuel Gordon Stewart is a 'Intelligent Design'-ist....

WitchOne said...

Weetbix with butter and occasionally, vegemite. Oh yeahhhhh.

Sorry, that's me done.

Louche said...

We were taken to the Sanitarium factory on a school excursion. The teachers all giggled and told us not to mention Lindy Chamberlain.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Seventh Day Adventists are also vegetarians.

So was Hitler.

Completely irrelevant, of course, but I just like annoying vegetarians.

patchouligirl said...

The SDA's run a school at Cooranbong (halfway between Central Coast and Newcastle) and theres a lot SDA's living in the area. They have Saturday as the sabbath so the few shops they have in Cooranbong are mostly closed Saturdays. I've heard they dont believe in TV either. Someone else told me the SDA's were started by a disgruntled Jehovas Witness or maybe it was the other way around. It does my heart good to see them soundly ridiculed. I just wish it was to a larger audience. I sometimes wonder at the relationship these cults have with the Government, who allow JW's to not vote, dont tax them on their magazine income and dont take them to task over using their interpretation of the bible to discriminate against minority groups such as homosexuals. If a business was to tell flat lies they would have to deal with the office of fair trading but it seems religious organisations can claim anything they like with no accountability.

Perseus said...

That school of which you speak PG was famously advertised by Russell Crowe. See his endorsement here.

SDAs can watch TV but the women must dress modestly while doing so. The women definitely cannot masturbate while watching TV, or ever, because according to their prophet Ellen White, female masturbation leads to (amongst other things) spinal problems, dropsy, cancer and insanity. One presumes that prior to her revelations, Ellen White masturbated pretty hard.

And yes, why aren’t they accountable? In the workplace if someone says “Gays are evil and an abomination,” they will be sacked. But a religious group are able to distribute this hate-mongering to their flock (conservatively, 25,000 will read that statement) and in turn, the flock will take that ‘teaching’ out into the wider community. How come it’s not a hate crime?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I can't agree with the idea of "hate crimes"

The criminal law already has provision for incitement to murder or assault.

The solution to this sort of nonsense is through ideas, not legislation.

Perseus said...

I know, but I'm Captain Kneejerk.

catlick said...

" One presumes that prior to her revelations, Ellen White masturbated pretty hard."

Indeed Perseus. In point of actual fact, I heard that this was why she was known as a "callous' woman, and not for her teachings, writings and personal interactions.

patchouligirl said...

The solution to this sort of nonsense is through ideas, not legislation Its taking a long time to work! What about the legislation we've already got? Our Government upholds laws saying we can't discriminate against a person on the grounds of religion, race, sexuality etc, and yet the very religions protected by these laws can discriminate against homosexuals. The gay marriage issue is a product of this confusion and it wont be the last one.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I had to laugh when I found out Samuel Gordon Stewart is a 'Intelligent Design'-ist....

SGS is a dumb fuck.

I don't care if I'm accused of being a "cyber-bully", he's a weird little Tory cunt and I'm glad he's gone.

the very religions protected by these laws can discriminate against homosexuals

I'm not sure that's true, Patchy.

patchouligirl said...

You can get disfellowshipped from the JW's for smoking a cigarette - I'd like to see what happenned when a homosexual wanted to join the congregation.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That's not discrimination, Patchy.

If I wanted to join the Liberal Party and they said, "are you a member of another political party?" and I said "why yes, I'm a current member of the ALP" they would be well within their rights to show me the door.

Boogeyman said...

Seventh Day Adventists are also vegetarians.

So was Hitler.


I recall Andrew Bolt once arguing this in a Courier Mail article.

Hitler was a vegetarian and greenie. Therefore all vegetarians and greenies are people-hating fascists.

Perseus said...

On that logic Ramon, if they are free to not let homsexuals into their religion, then society should be free to not let their children into our schools.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Therefore all vegetarians and greenies are people-hating fascists.

Yes. Yes, they are.

society should be free to not let their children into our schools

Come again Pers?

patchouligirl said...

Could they also publish magazines saying you are evil and an abomination and going straight to hell?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Well, yes.

Perseus said...

Well Ramon, you're saying that organisations in society have a right to discriminate against certain types for whatever reason. I argue that society then should be free to discriminate back.

I don't want my (metaphoric) kids to go to school with homophobes, so, if someone chooses and is legally free to be a part of a homophobic religion, then maybe the trade-off should be that they must have to send their kids only to denominational schools and not infect ours with their voodoo nonsense.

I'm totally sick of Religions getting a free-ride. Lleyton Hewitt calls a French linesman a 'spastic' and is thrown from pillar to post, then SDAs say 'Gays are an abomination' and everyone says, "Oh, but they are allowed to say that."

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

you're saying that organisations in society have a right to discriminate against certain types for whatever reason

No, I'm not saying that.

What I am saying is that if someone who is gay wanted to become a SDA, then they would have to accept that a central tenant of their new faith is that their sexuality is evil.

And how do your know your (metaphoric) kids won't infect them with militant atheism

And are you donating to the Dawkin's atheist bus?

Perseus said...

Okay, so if an Adventist kid goes to a Government school, he then must accept that a central tenet is that Adventist theology is wrong, horrid and evil. He will be taught that homosexuals are equal to heterosexuals on every measure, and that Creationsim is wrong wrong wrong.

My atheism is not militant. It's just a bit loud is all.

I LOVE the Dawkins atheist bus! But no, not donating. If an Aussie one is launched I might.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Okay, so if an Adventist kid goes to a Government school, he then must accept that a central tenet is that Adventist theology is wrong, horrid and evil. He will be taught that homosexuals are equal to heterosexuals on every measure, and that Creationsim is wrong wrong wrong.

Yes, exactly.

Perseus said...

But schools aren't allowed to run a topic called 'Why Seventh-day Adventists Are Wrong'.

But Seventh-day Adventists are allowed to run a topic called 'Why Homosexuals Are Wrong'.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

But Seventh-day Adventists are allowed to run a topic called 'Why Homosexuals Are Wrong'.

Meh.

We live in a liberal democracy.

Annoying, sometimes, but there we have it.

Perseus said...

S'pose.

I just wish the liberal democracy had the guts to occasionally stand up to religion. At the very least they should pay tax.

patchouligirl said...

At the very least they should pay tax especially if they dont assist charity. So to recap, if you are a school or a business you can't exclude homosexuals but if you are a religion you can. The Government can prohibit discriminiation based on sexuality but can also deny equal rights for homosexuals who want to be recognised as defacto or marry. Liberal democracy is so simple I can't imagine why anyone would be confused. I still don't get how a religion can claim that I am going straight to hell for my beliefs/values/lifestyle and I can't sue them for defamation.

Perseus said...

Consider this Ramon: A 15 year old checkout chick earning $11 an hour at Coles has to pay tax. A religious organisation that claims a creature called Yahweh who is everyhere at all times and always was and always will be created us and will judge us upon our death doesn't have to pay tax because of that belief.

You and I live in a liberal democracy, but that religious organisation is given a legal exemption to not partake in our democracy's revenue system.

They exist in their own little bubble of 'theocracy' and it's blatantly not fair and worse still, it's fucking ridiculous.

I think my soap-box is about to collapse under the weight of my foot stamping.

patchouligirl said...

The JW's take legal exemption even further by refusing to vote or serve in the armed forces as it would be recognising a Government other than God. They can refuse a blood transfusion for their child even if it will die as a result. I know its all very emotive but they really do push the limits.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I agree, I'd tax the bastards until their eyes popped.

I still don't get how a religion can claim that I am going straight to hell for my beliefs/values/lifestyle and I can't sue them for defamation

Because you haven't been defamed, Patchy.

If they said you, Patchouligirl, were an evil person and a fiddler of goats - then you'd have a case.

Deffo law says a group can't sue for defamation unless specific individuals have been identified.

Louche said...

Woah. What's with the new commenting box?

I agree with PG. Why should the beliefs of a private religious organisation trump the laws of a democracy? They should not be able to publish material which vilifies people on the basis of sexuality.

Just why are God-botherers so concerned with who sticks what in who, anyway?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The new comment box rocks!!!!!!!

Perseus said...

In other news, Jack Thomas has today been found Not Guilty of receiving funds from Al-Quaeda.

However I find him Guilty of being a First Degree Fucking Cocksucker Idiot for hanging out with the Taliban for 3 months.

Boogeyman said...

I disagree that demoninational schools should be allowed to teach doctrines such as 'homosexuals are evil' to their students.

All schools are required to meet certain standards of education defined by the State they exist within. Eg. An AOG school might want to teach creationism, but State law requires them to teach evolution. There's nothing they can do about it; if they don't want to comply, they can't run a school.

Likewise, if the State makes laws that you don't incite people to hate certain groups, based on ethiciity, religion or sexual preference, then a denominational school should comply, or shut down its school.

patchouligirl said...

DEMONinational. Ha ha.

Boogeyman said...

I'd send my kids to one of those. The demon prefects could teach them all sorts of cool powers, like how to let off sulphurous purple farts in the presence of uptight bible-bashers.

catlick said...

"Or is it 'tow' the line?"
No. Perseus, I believe you are correct.

Desci said...

What's everyone on about? Commenting is the same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Boogeyman said...

Desci, you didn't see the new comment box embedded within the post+comments-list page? You didn't miss much. I suspect the blogger people trialled the new feature yesterday, then reverted back to the usual separate-comments-page when people complained.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

But I liked the new comment box thingo.

Boogeyman said...

Sorry Ramon, but your lone voice of approval was drowned by the chattering masses' collective cry, "awww, we like things the way they were. Why do we have to learn a new way?"

Puss In Boots said...

I like the new comment box thingy too. I thought it was a lot easier.

WitchOne said...

I liked it, now it's gone, like everything I love.....

WOE!

Aesophia said...

Oh wow! A blog I can constructively contribute to! Yay for me :)

Sooo... Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I went to church. On Saturdays. I wasn't allowed to dance (which is 'of the devil' by the way), I am (still) vegetarian (since before it was cool) and I grew up on Sanitarium products like Granola, Nutolene, Weetbix & Marmite before anyone knew what they were. Then one day (I was 10 or so at the time) my parents started questioning what the fuck were the Sevvy's thinking!? And we stopped going to church.

My parents still believe, but they now also dance, drink the odd glass of wine, swear, drink coffee (that's right, SDA's can't drink coffee either!) and all frequently on a Saturday (the 'holy day'). They no longer attend any kind of church.

Since leaving the church, I've only been a handful of times and that includes weddings, but as a rather disinterested bystander waiting for the sermon to finish so we could go go & have lunch. However, I recently visited my Grandparents, who still go to the SDA church religiously (*ahem* sorry, had to make the joke), and being the good granddaughter, I went along with them.

It was only then that I realised how incredibly biggotted, biased & basically fucked up SDAs really are! There was a pre-sermon discussion (lesson of the week or some such), where topics like Eve's sin (they like that word a lot) of tempting Adam, getting them kicked out of Eden (cos, like, there's nowhere else you'd ever want to be) & therefore ruining it for the rest of mankind (forget womankind), the 'probation period' at the end of which everyone gets judged on their worthiness for admittance into heaven (and if you're not there on the day, you miss out sucker. This information will, of course, only be handed out to good SDAs in surreptitious brown envelopes, so anyone who's not a good SDA will clearly be the suckers) and how we must all be good Christians by coming to church, reading the Bible & being part of the church, not drinking, dancing, having sex before marriage or being gay, etc., etc., were thrown around. Oh, and that we all need to be saved (I'm still curious as to what we are being saved from). There was one particular contributor to the discussion who quoted extensively and exclusively (because that clearly denotes excellent research on the a topic) from E. White, an author whom I will now & forever steer well clear of, amen.

The sermon following the discussion was run by Mr-I-worship-E.-White's 17 year old daughter of all people. Who told us (abridged version) that to be good Christians, we needed to not only obey (they like that word too) God, but preach to others about how if you're not an Adventist, then you suck at life & will go to hell. I'm sorry PREACH!? There's no way I will preach to anyone! Friends, foes or family. And not only because most of them would laugh (and possibly spit) in my face, but because I was under the (clearly mistaken) impression that we lived in a free society & we could do what we liked, & in respecting that, if you do something I don't condone, I'm not going to preach to you... and if I do something you don't like, then you won't preach to me. And if you do, you're likely to get a face full of fist (depending on the severity of the topic or course ;P).

The most 'interesting' thing I noticed was (after living under the delusion the being an SDA was kinda like being any sort of Christian - it's just another name for the same thing right?) was how the Bible was THE rule book. If you don't OBEY (because we all have to obey [they REALLY like that word] & be good little kids) then you will go to hell. No if's, and's, but's or maybe's.

Two things have struck me after this 'religious experience', how the heck did I turn out all (relatively) normal-like?! And OMG! What the fuck?! There are religions like that outside of America & the Middle East?!

My Grandparents got my parents & youngest (and most gullibly-receptive) sister a free (go go tax-dodging in the name of God) subscription to the Good News magazine (another glossy SDA circular). Topics I have seen on their front page include: just because Harry Potter is good at getting your kids attention & getting them reading doesn't mean it's true (a fantasty novel, true? Wow! I never!), with a quick peruse of the article in quesition offering the elaboration that this is an oportunity to tie *ahem*, I mean sit your child down & educate them, saying that the Bible is the only book you will ever believe. I have also seem plenty of 'evidence' that homosexuality is a dirty sin & (my favourite) Jesus is coming back & we need to be ready, so donate your hard earned cash to us!

In conclusion, Perseus, I agree wholeheartedly, the Seventh Day Adventist Church are collectively whack. And whacky. And completely nuts. I would go so far as to say they were verging on cultish. I'm ashamed to admit I was ever a part of it *shudder*.

That is all.

PS: blame WitchOne for my entry to this blog/forum/thing ;P

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Hey Aesophia,

How do the SDAs get around the fact that the bible constantly mentions people drinking wine?

Let alone the whole "water into wine' thing.

This was never a problem for us micks.

Aesophia said...

They do what every good religion does with what they don't subscribe to: ignore it.

And... what is a 'mick'? Can't for the life of me figure it out >.<

catlick said...

Ahh, my area of expertise. A "mick" is a person of Irish descent, but it is commonly used to describe Catholics.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

What catlick said.

I have to say, after reading some of the weirdness on this post, I now think I grew up in a relatively normal environment.

And my brother is called Mick.

WitchOne said...

Alright, I get the other username you use, which is interesting since it is from a Piers Anthony Sci Fi novel. But this one?? Enlighten me!

Good post, I always knew your weirdly religious upbringing would be of some use one day.

Perseus said...

I assumed she was the female variant of Aesop.

The Fable Guy.

Aesophia - welcome, and keep in mind that you don't have to 'constructively' contribute at all... that's just a bonus. Stick around, because you write grouse.

I know a fair few lapsed SDAs and a fair few practicing ones, and I'm interested to know... Did you consider eating meat? Because the SDAs are vego because Ellen White told them to be (even though the hypocritical bint ate meat herself) therefore, that's why many of them are vegos, and yet, when they stop being SDAs they don't try meat. Mmmmmm, eye fillet.

Also, do you still believe in God's existance?

Maybe Melody said...

According to the Adventists, Ramon, Biblical wine is non-alcoholic. I once heard an SDA preacher say, "And the disciples drank the wine ... which we all know was unfermented grape juice." When they have Communion, they pass around individual plastic shot glasses of Berri Dark Grape.

They write books about it too. Long ones. Apparently you have to go back to the original Hebrew to discover that all the texts in favour of wine refer to ordinary juice, and the ones that say it's a mocker and a brawler refer to, well, wine.

Non-Adventists who have bothered to double-check this have come to the not surprising conclusion that Adventists are weird.

clarebear said...

"this is a fucking disgrace"

Yes, but im not refering to what you are.

maybe you should get your shit correct before shitting on other people.

clarebear said...

... i heard they control the weather and wrote the screen play to glitter...

Perseus said...

My details and information regarding the editorials are wholly correct Clarebear - and it is all open to the public as 'Record' is freely available.

Further, I stand by my comment that it's a fucking disgrace that the Church has chosen to print this 'clarification' of their attitude to homosexuality.

Nahan Brown's original piece was excellent, and it's people like him that could bring the SDAs into the modern world.

clarebear said...

YOu might want to go back and check some of your "facts" about adventisits.

Perseus said...

My facts about Adventists are also true. Opinions are mine, but facts are right.

Which bit do you think I got wrong?

Perseus said...

NEWS FLASH! This just in. It appears Nathan Brown, the editor who defended homosexuality and was the topic of this post, has lost his job. More information to come.

Yes, yes, I know not many care, but jeez, if it transpires that his defence of homosexuals has anything to do with him being sacked, surely that's fodder for ACA or TT?

Aesophia said...

Here's hoping... & praying ;P

Perseus said...

"Later on Today Tonight, Sydney's rudest taxi driver, the Church Minister sacked for suggesting homosexuals deserve respect, and the new miracle Raw Carrot and Sandgrain diet... lose weight and whiten your teeth!"

Perseus said...

UPDATE: It appears that everyone at 'Record' is losing their job, and will all be re-employed by the new management, Adventist Media, which is the organisation that demanded the 'clarification' note.

This means 'Record' have lost all editorial control over their own publication.

Nathan Brown will not be re-appointed as senior editor, and has been offered some other role.

This is all allegations and rumour so if anyone from Adventist Media is reading... "Hi guys, no, I have no insider, I just heard some people talking in a Warburton cafe is all.... Oh and by the way, Earth is not 6,000 years old."

Aesophia said...

Ahh Warbie, you can smell the Nutmeat roasting around there... Beautiful place though - the Yarra is actually clean up there!

And yeah, if the world is only 6000 years old, what about dinosaurs, pyramids, other old stuff, you know... ;P

Aesophia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aesophia said...

Pers, I know I don't have to constructively contribute (heck, most of the time I don't ;P) - but I felt I had enough experience & knowledge to do so - glad you like the writing (I can now tell all my friends that I write 'grouse' - go me!)

I am also still vegetarian because, after not eating meat for 2 decades, given the chance upon leaving the nest, I discovered that I simply don't like it. The taste, the texture, the idea of eating flesh and blood *ew* I've also found that it sits heavily in my stomach & doesn't agree with me.

As far as God is concerned, I'm afraid I fit squarely in your loathed agnostic* portion of society... However, as has been previously mentioned, I don't know what happens afterwards & I'm happy admitting that.

I am thoroughly enjoying your review of the Bible... Have you seen the Skeptics Annotated Bible and the Brick Testatment websites?

And yes, I am the female version of Aesop :)

*Q: Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac?
A: He used to lie awake all night wondering if there was a Dog

Perseus said...

Aesophia: Why don't the Seventh Day Adventists approve of sex before marriage?

Because it may lead to dancing.

*

There's no God. It's a cute myth.

patchouligirl said...

The problem with atheism is that it is so inflexible a viewpoint, rather like the hardline religions we so love to hate. Is there an alternative to being labelled agnostic or is it simply the catch all category for anyone not subscribing to a belief system?

aesophia - I'm no historian, but the pyramids make it inside the 6000 yr mark I think.

Perseus said...

PG: I have learnt from a lifetime of being told there is a God that the best method of debate is to fire back with equal certainty that there is no God.

Sign outside my local church: Jesus Died For Your Sins.

My retort: No, he didn't.

I reckon that agnostics are just cowardly atheists. To point out that we cannot know if there's a God or not (and therefore hedging one's bets) is equally stupid as saying we can't know if there's a Flying Spaghetti Monster, Apollo the Sun God, a Rainbow Serpent and so on, or not.

Flying Spaghetti Monster and God have equal credibility and evidence, and, therefore, equal likelihood of being real.

Agnosticism to me just seems silly, because 'God' can be replaced in the sentence by any mythical creature, from trolls under the bridges to Xegfturshen The God of Recycled Plastic, who I just discovered ten seconds ago.

**

Aesophia: So you tried meat? Hmm. Have you tried atheism?

Boogeyman said...

Perseus, you reduce all the complexities and subtleties contained within Agnosticism and Atheism to "agnostics are just cowardly atheists". I would expect better from you.

You can't just sweep away tens of thousands of years of many flavours of religion and mysticism by equating it to belief in fairies and declare it all bunkum, without offering a better explanation. Atheists don't offer that explanation, so they cannot just declare "there is no God" because it suits them. That is the agnostic position, which is more scientific than atheism.

Perseus said...

We thought the heavens were in the sky, then we discovered the solar system.

We thought God created us, and then we found natural selection.

We thought we were made in God's image and were a higher being than the animals, then we discovered DNA.

Atheism indeed does have science (and logic, and philosophy) on its side. Agnosticism lacks any support from anywhere apart from first year Philosophy students with misinterpreted Sartre anecdotes stuck up their arses who can spend hours smoking joints and saying, "You can't prove I'm not a fish."

You can't just sweep away tens of thousands of years of many flavours of religion and mysticism by equating it to belief in fairies...

Aside from God winning a popularity contest, how is it any different? Are you saying that because millions of people believe(d) there's a God then there must/could be a God? I would expect better from you dear sir.

As for offering an alternative, jesus, umm, where would I start? Maybe with The Big Bang and take it from there.

I do appreciate that us human types are kind of in need of transcedental states and rituals and stuff, and that's all cool, but that can be reached without God. Art, philosophy, science, love, family, sport... they can all give us these highs.

Boogeyman said...

I'm not disputing that many religions' assertions can and have been disproved.

Nor am I saying that just because people believe in a god, there must be a god.

I am saying that for tens of thousands of years, people have believed in some sort of spiritual existence, and that amount of belief does have some validity, and unless you can concretely disprove it, it's worthwhile keeping an open mind about those beliefs.

I think you are being disingenuous by reducing agnosticism to mere sophistry. The spectrum between agnosticism and atheism covers a range of philosophical stances. The attitude you are presenting makes atheism sound fundamentalist.

Alex said...

For me, the idea of a god and an afterlife seems completely ridiculous. But I also believe that just because something seems completely ridiculous to me, doesn't mean that it is beyond the realm of possibility. The fact that I learn new things all the time, makes me wonder about all the stuff that's out there that I know nothing about, as well as how right or wrong I am about the stuff that I think I know now. So at the end of the day, instead of having any actual beliefs, all I really have is a bunch of questions about stuff. Does that make me a cowardly agnostic?

Also, isn't science sort of a faith based belief in that it makes certain assumptions about facts being defined by observability and repeatability?

Anyway, I'm off to sacrifice my used shopping bags to Xegfturshen. You know, just hedging my bets and all.

Boogeyman said...

Since an atheist is someone that doesn't believe in god, and an agnostic is someone that has no knowledge of god, it is possible to be both agnostic AND atheist.

Atheistic agnostics and agnostic atheists I have no problem with, they're a bit like Sergeant Schultz.

Theistic agnostics are generally nice people that are honest about pulling the wool over their own eyes.

Gnostic theists are just a bunch of pious snotty "I told you so" types.

But the ones with real balls are the Gnostic atheists, who know there's a god, but still don't believe in him.

Perseus said...

But the ones with real balls are the Gnostic atheists, who know there's a god, but still don't believe in him.

I think they're the ones that start Death Metal bands.

*

isn't science sort of a faith based belief in that it makes certain assumptions about facts being defined by observability and repeatability?

Well, no. It's a science, not a 'faith based belief'. 1 + 1 = 2, and to argue that it might not be is silly. It is not 'faith' that makes the equation true, it is mathematics. And it will continue to be true as long as it is continually tested, as it is, trillions and trillions of times every day (when we count). One day we may discover that 1 + 1 = 3 but for now, under extreme testing, we can safely say that it is 2, and it will always be 2.

The God Theory cannot even pass one test, let alone trillions and trillions. God exists only with faith.

And as for that "That makes you a fundamentalist," argument, Richard Dawkins points it out better than I can, but basically, 'fundamentalism' should surely be defined as the belief in something implausible and untested, and the belief in that which is plausible and tested is not 'fundamentalism' but rather, say, 'smart'.

Boogeyman said...

I'm not calling your non-belief in god fundamentalism, Perseus. I'm calling your patronising dismissal of another philosophical viewpoint (ie. agnosticism) fundamentalist.

Agnosticism and atheism are so close philosophically, you might as well be a Catholic deriding Protestants for their ridiculous belief system.

And I'll bet if a hot intelligent woman asked you on a date, you wouldn't say, "No, look, I just can't. You're an agnostic, I'm an atheist, it would never work out between us."

Perseus said...

She'd have to be a very hot agnostic.

patchouligirl said...

Agnosticism lacks any support from anywhere I actually thought the point of Agnosticism is that the alternatives, including Atheism, dont have enough supporting proof. Even if we accept all that Science has so far shown us (and I think 'natural selection has been debated recently) it fails to explain everything which makes Atheism at least in part faith-based the same as religion.

Boogeyman said...

PQ - can you afford to be picky?

Perseus said...

Get fucked Boogeyman.

*Sobs, because Boogeyman is right*

PG: Atheism is not faith based. It's the opposite.

**

In the end I'm just so tired of the God debate because it's the same as the fairies at the bottom of the garden debate. It's boring and dumb. Why can't the world get on with the business of asking if there's life on other planets, and how can we cure cancer, and how do we recycle water better and shit.

We all tiptoe around the religious. Even the 9/11 dudes only ever get called 'terrorists'... call them what they are: Deeply Religious Terrorists.

I'm sick of it. Sick of signs outside churches, sick of the Lord's Prayer in Parliament, sick of having God invoked at every funeral I go to. Over it. Over it. Over it. I can't intellectually or emotionally see the point of believing in God, or even the point in being an agnostic that gives credibility to the God Hypothesis.

Like flat-earthers, the debate is now dead.

Which brings me back to the topic: The SDAs attack homosexuality because they believe it is God's wish for them to do so. Exhibit One Trillion Trillion for the case against the need for belief in God.

Alex said...

I wouldn't expect basic mathematics to be disproved any time soon but I was more talking about the way that science is used to explain the workings of the universe. I'm sure I don't have the terminology right, but as I understand it, general scientific beliefs are continuously being disproved and replaced with new beliefs, which are in turn disproved and replaced with newer ones.

My thought is that - God not passing a single scientific test doesn't disprove the possibility of God. It may just mean that nobody knows how to test for him correctly.

Don't misunderstand me - I'm not arguing for the existence of God. As I said, the idea seems completely ridiculous to me. But when I read about string and loop theory and the mathematical principles behind alternate realities and time travel; to me that has the same ring of bullshit to it as people rising from the dead and walking on water. Yet, some of this stuff is apparently tested and proven.

I can however agree that if everyone stopped believing in God, the world would probably be a better place for it.

patchouligirl said...

This is not a debate about 'is there a God' anymore, its now Atheist vs Agnostic. If we keep going Perseus, one of us will probably jump ship and that doesn't concern me if it clarifies the topic for me. I had a look at wikipedia's definitions for both last night and there is so much crossover I found I am more of an atheist than I thought!

Still, if we are reducing it to supporting the belief that 'there is no god', science is most definitely on the side of the Agnostics. A scientist would observe a phenomenon, construct a hypothesis and test it to within an inch of its life. If you cannot do this then it is not within the realm of science. You cannot test whether God exists anymore than you can test whether he does not exist.

catlick said...

The latest neurotheological experiment has failed to confirm the God spot in the brain and I wonder which discovery would cause greater grief for the religious? Proof that religion was hard wired and biological in humans, or that there is sentient life (aliens) out there?

Perseus said...

"science is most definitely on the side of the Agnostics..."

Semantics.

On that rationale, science is also on the side of 'Fairies In The Garden' agnostics as well.

Boogeyman said...

Perseus, stop equating 'belief in God' with 'belief in fairies'. It's just juvenile.

More humans for much longer have believed in some sort of god, compared with those who believe in fairies.

At the very least, that amount of belief suggests some sort of signifigant shared psychological process or phenomena, and as such is worthy of scientific investigation. Refusing to investigate that on the basis that one doesn't believe in it is extremely unscientific.

Mad Cat Lady said...

I've always thought human tendency to believe in God to be a side effect of having an adult nurturing us as children until we can care for ourselves and therefore providing an all-powerful authority figure that is responsible for our wellbeing. Logical to then apply that in a more global way.

Perseus: everytime you say you don’t believe in fairies a fairy dies – YOU MURDER!!!!

Perseus said...

You are Boogeyman, so nyer.

Yet again you've gone with the weight of numbers concept. "Like LOTS of people believe in God so like there must be SOMETHING..."

That's far less sceientific than anything I've said here.

Both Richard Dawkins and Mad Cat Lady have a decent approach... scientifically trying to work out why so many people believe in something that isn't there.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Boys, boys, please.

There's only one way to settle this deep philosophical debate; mano a mano in the Circle of death!!!

Two men will walk in, one man will walk out.

The other man will walk out a bit later, after he's had a nice cup of tea, or something.

Perseus said...

Can I bring my chainsaw?

*

Look, I'm happy for a scientific study on God-belief, as long as the premise is that God doesn't exist and we investigate why people think he does.

patchouligirl said...

I dont think a scientific study into why people believe in God is needed. There are only two explanations on offer of where we came from and where we go after this life. Neither theory covers everything so people choose one or the other. Or neither. I guess theres also an element of tradition to religion that offers comfort, the idea of following the same rituals as your ancestors and so on, although I personally never subscribed to that stuff.

I guess I could say I'm an Atheist and if God did ever show up just go 'oh okay I was wrong'. It is pretty unlikely that he will, the last time the bible mentions him he was a puff of smoke in the desert a couple of thousand years ago, if he did exist he probably pissed off to another solar system long ago.

homesick said...

Perseus I strongly suggest never taking a holiday anywhere near the Caribbean... your dear sweet head would spin so hard it'd fly off.

On an island of only 25,000 about a good 80% are church-going SDA or Baptists. Hyprocrites most of them but hey, they still rock up on their chosen day dressed to the nines.

My eldest is starting to question the whole God V science debate as it is often played out in front of her on a daily basis (for the record we don't subscribe to any religious order).

I offered her a choice.. "What do you think ..did God make the world in six days or was it the big bang theory that you covered in school last week?"

Her answer was simple.. "The big bang theory just makes more sense Mummy, its more believeable"

I posed the same question with the Adam & Eve V Darwin and she came back with the same conclusion.

My point is that we adults search too deep and philosophise(wrongly spelt I know) too much and often miss what is plainly obvious.

Many need faith in their lives to make sense of it. Even AA uses the theory that you must believe/have faith in something greater than yourself in order to overcome an addiction. So be it.

But seeing as I personally do not need a religion in order to understand right from wrong, good from bad then all of em (religions) can back the fuck off.

Faith good (if you need it) religion very bad. I used to think faith bad, but after living here I now realise that there are people who need a fear/respect of something greater than themselves or anarchy would reign supreme in their lives.

Boogeyman said...

Yet again you've gone with the weight of numbers concept. "Like LOTS of people believe in God so like there must be SOMETHING..."

That's far less sceientific than anything I've said here.


FFS, you are deliberately and obtusely ignoring the point I'm making to reduce it to another, more simplistic but quite different explanation.

So I'll spell it out clearly. I'm not saying "x number of people believe in god, therefore god exists"

What I am saying is "x number of people have had experiences they regard as spiritual or trancendental, therefore they have experienced something out of the ordinary, therefore investigate it".


Both Richard Dawkins and Mad Cat Lady have a decent approach... scientifically trying to work out why so many people believe in something that isn't there.

And just what do you think I've been saying, if not that?

Investigate it scientifically.
Investigate it scientifically.
Investigate it scientifically.

Part of a scientific investigation though is not to presume something doesn't exist before investigating it, nor to presume the non-existence of something you only have a woolly definition of in the first place.

Your attitude could be characterised as, "I don't believe in depression, therefore it doesn't exist, so I'm happy to investigate why all you people are sad, but you really should know that you're all just a bunch of whack-job sooks making stuff up."

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Investigate it scientifically

The problem with this, Boogey, is that science deals with the "natural" world, that is those phenomenona that can be analysed empirically.

Experiences that are spiritual or trancendental are, by their very nature, super natural and thus beyond the remit of science.

And I'm an agnostice, so yar snubs to the pack of you.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Agnostic, that is.

Having made a complete goose of myself, I'll now slink away.

Boogeyman said...

True Ramon, but the experiences can be investigated empirically.

For instance, a few years ago I read a study (for the life of me I can't locate it now though) where researchers had interviewed various Tibetan monks about meditation, and specifically about the state they called 'Samadhi'. The study fleshed out, via continued interviews with the monks, the notion of 'Samadhi' into what it was and what it wasn't. They also laid out the steps the monks stated one needed to perform to reach this state, and the subjective phenomena one would experience in this state (as opposed to different states). They then conducted a study of volunteers to perform those steps, who reported their subjective experiences, and found a significant success rate.

Such a study doesn't answer what a state like samahdi is, but it does represent a scientific approach to studying it, rather than leaving the definitions and methodology to New Age wankers wanting to sell books and seminars.

squib said...

Bollocks!!

Aesophia said...

Ahh PG, you caught me out - alas, I am also no historian (and was too lazy to double check it), sorry. I also agree with your statement about atheism, well said.

And Pers, unfortunately for you,I have not tried atheism - see PG's comment on same.

Boogeyman, Patch & MCL, I like your line of reasoning (about the faith thing, not the scientific stuff - I'm not getting into that) - much like my own, but much better articulated. However I think the debate on this topic has surpassed my ability to contribute, that said, I'm still enjoying it :)

Homesick, I agree with your faith good/religion bad thing

"When men see nothing over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way"

"Science has proved so many impossible things that it would be a great mistake to rule out the supernatural just because we haven't sussed it out yet"

When it all comes down to it, I don't care what you believe if you're happy with it, just don't push it on me. I might not agree with it, I might think you're a looney, I might think you need to be locked away (if you believe in stabbing thine enemy for example) but I'm happy making up (or as Pers would say, not making up) my own mind in my own time.

Aesophia said...

And Pers,

Thanks for posting this so we could all have a good ol' theological debate :)

patchouligirl said...

Yes Pers, good post. This is a bit like a modern day village square where we can all sit on milk crates and smoke and ponder the universe.

I've often wondered if the Buddhists are on to something - not all of their beliefs, but some of them make sense and dont conflict with science. In particular, I like the idea of different planes of existence. That would explain phenomenon such as ghosts, which so many people have seen (including many non christians) but science doesn't have an answer for. And De ja vu - who hasn't experienced that? Or dreams? Are they simply and out-of-body experience? Have you ever felt like you were falling just before you woke up? Whats that all about? I dont really buy that I'm coming back as the neighbours cat and can't see myself giving up bacon and eggs or capitalism and orange isn't anyones colour, but some of their ideas might actually be right.

Boogeyman said...

Isn't there a saying that you shouyldn't discuss politics, religion and something else, because it causes fights. We break all those rules here.

PG, much of Buddhist philosophy was born in Vedic philosophy (which also underpins Hinduism), in much the same way that Islam is an outgrowth of Judaism.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Islam is an outgrowth of Judaism.

Boogey, there's an angry mob of jihadists at my front door, wanting to know where they should post their letter bombs.

Boogeyman said...

I was diplomatic in saying 'outgrowth'. Imagine the jihadists' response if I'd said 'cancerous growth'.

patchouligirl said...

Still, the ghost thing bothers me - so many people have seen things its a bit like theres too much smoke to not be a fire. When someone you know well tells you they saw something and you know they would have no reaon to make it up and arent even religious, you are inclined to believe them.

squib said...

I used to have seances with an empty upturned chip bucket at school during lunch

Stubbadub said...

Still, the ghost thing bothers me - so many people have seen things its a bit like theres too much smoke to not be a fire. When someone you know well tells you they saw something and you know they would have no reaon to make it up and arent even religious, you are inclined to believe them.

I used to see things. Strange terrible things. And then I stopped smoking pot and the hallucinations went away.
Just because people say things are true, doesn’t mean they are true, especially when there is an absence of scientific fact backing them up.

patchouligirl said...

So you're an agnostic too? Hehe. The thing is if I or you ever did encounter a ghost, we couldn't prove it and everyone would question our sanity. So all the people who claim to have seen ghosts are all wrong? Is that likely?

Stubbadub said...

Yes, each and every one of them. Once you're dead, you're dead. Doesn't get much simpler then that.

patchouligirl said...

I hope you are right - I dont fancy being a ghost. If you are wrong I'll come back to haunt you!

Perseus said...

No joke, I used to be a Buddhist Monk. The transcedental states they reach are willed. No scientific study required.

Boogeyman: Part of a scientific investigation though is not to presume something doesn't exist before investigating it ... but on that logic, we can also investigate the fairies in the garden.

We have to presume God doesn't exist, because presuming he might is holding all rational debate back.

Ramon: Boogey is right. Islam is Abrahamic. They concede it.

Boogeyman said...

The transcedental states they reach are willed. No scientific study required.

That statement says nothing about what a transcendental state is, or what you say they were willing. Are you saying they've been faking it for the last 2 millenia for shits and giggles? That meditation is just an exercise in self-delusion?


but on that logic, we can also investigate the fairies in the garden.

I'm talking about investigating the experiences people claim to have of god, as opposed to trying to factually prove god's existence.

One doesn't have to be a rigid physicalist to be a scientist, and subjective experiences are an equally worthy subject of exploration.

Perseus said...

I had to go through all that stuff as a monk, and I reached these states that they talk about and to do my experience justice I'd need a whole book to explain it, but that's my best short version: They will themselves to a certain pitch, just like a sportstar psyching themselves up, or someone falling in love.

Boogeyman, I know exactly what you're saying, but I just think that the 'answer' is bleedingly obvious: There is no God; there is however humanity, with all its quirks and intricacies and mind-nimbingly awesome variances and states, some explainable, some not, but none of them needing a God.

You ask for "investigating the experiences people claim to have of god and I say that this investigation must start with the premise that there is no God.

WitchOne said...

mind-nimbingly Is that a nimble mind?

And in reference to this entire debate I refer you to the Guide..

Now it is such a bizarrely impossible coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God. The argument goes something like this:
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't though of that" and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.


Hence, God cannot exist, it is against the laws of logic, look at the Babel fish.

Oh, as you were.

Boogeyman said...

They will themselves to a certain pitch, just like a sportstar psyching themselves up, or someone falling in love.

Yeah, but what you're saying still doesn't subtract validity from the state achieved. It's nonsensical to think that just because you can intentionally enter a state, it must therefore be self-delusion.


There is no God; there is however humanity, with all its quirks and intricacies and mind-nimbingly awesome variances and states, some explainable, some not, but none of them needing a God.

Perhaps. But conventional science is pretty woeful at explaining consciousness and subjective experience, other than to dismiss it as merely the by-product of neuronal firing.

Considering we only ever experience the world subjectively, and even 'objective' scientific models only exist within that subjectivity, I consider consciousness holds a role of some primary importance in the way the world is structured. Which then leads to questioning people's experiences to lead to an understanding of subjective reality, and then to considering what many hold to be the quintessence of subjective reality - god, brahman, samahdi, kether, void, (whatever you like to call it).

patchouligirl said...

I think that hurt my brain bogey

Aesophia said...

Oh my goodness I'm with you there Patchie - hand me some asprin please!

Boogey, it's religion, politics, sex and money you don't talk about. Yay for blogs & forums!

And Witchie, thank you - I don't have a copy of that, so I couldn't include the quote, one of my favourites :)