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Matu Collins
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Here's a "sermon" I gave at our local UU (Unitarian Universalist) congregation recently. The topic is vanity, the title is "you're so vain, you probably think this sermon's about you" or "Why God doesn't matter"

When I had my twins I had two jobs, homeschooled my daughter and did a lot of the work on our little farm. I suddenly went from being in the company of a variety of adults in a variety of intellectually stimulating environments to barely getting out of my bedroom and spending most of my time breastfeeding and changing and washing diapers. To keep my sanity intact I started to write these talks in my head. I take a topic generally considered to be the property of religion and talk about why atheists or other non religious people might find value in thinking about them. I have gotten a pretty good response and folks asked me to have one videoed and put up online.

It's not real short, but it does contain a joke from the "jokes" thread in the "meaningless drivel" forum.




 
wayne stephen
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I enjoyed your sermon Matu . Funny you should mention the reason you began attending the U.U. Church - that's the punch line to a joke . The movement to reclaim ethics and morality away from religion should be called "Take Back the Word" . Good preaching , Sister!
 
Amedean Messan
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I did not make a connection from the video and the title of the thread "Why God doesn't matter". The closest explanation occurs from 9:55 to 11:25, where the speaker implies the title as more an attention statement than a logical argument. Sort of like the sort of thing from an internet news website where the headline, "Kim Kardasian considers running for president" but when reading the article there is little to support as expected that this is a serious pursuit.

I can make a philosophical metaphor thereby my title would be "Why parenting doesn't matter", and justify this expression by holding no expectations on how the child develops. The truth is then left to interpretation from that perspective but yields very little because the conclusion to the broad statement has very specific premises which build on a specific perspective.

For me, this argument showcases the difficulty of answering very broad set of questions with a very simple answer. It is kind of why there are very few laws in physics, but many more theories.
 
wayne stephen
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The subtitle relates to the source and reason for ethics and morality . A common theme in "sermons" by atheists and agnostics is that God is not necessary to have strong values . That is how I understood "Why God does'nt matter " .
 
Matu Collins
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Wayne's got the idea. I'm working on my delivery, I'm sorry it wasn't clear.

The point in a nutshell is the old meaning of vanity- as in "in vain", as in it doesn't matter if god exists or not, we still have work laid out for us and it's no use wasting energy focusing on being better or worse than anyone else. I love this quote from Whitney M. Young Jr.: " There is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self."

I'm not making a judgement about whether God exists or not, or if God does exist, what God likes or doesn't like. What I am really aiming at is that arguing and social conflict isn't necessary for s to build community, think of the next right thing to do, and do it.

I love the idea of this forum. There is so much strife out there, especially n the internet! If we can focus on what we agree on and give each other the benefit pf the doubt, we might be able to survive and thrive in this seriously flawed world. If we can learn from each other, let's! That's what happens all over the permies forums. If we can even talk about contentious and touchy subjects, hoo boy, we have a fighting chance
 
Dale Hodgins
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wayne stephen wrote:The subtitle relates to the source and reason for ethics and morality . A common theme in "sermons" by atheists and agnostics is that God is not necessary to have strong values . That is how I understood "Why God does'nt matter " .


Christopher Hitchens worked to reclaim morality from religion. --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaGqVbAzjng

Here he is with Lou Dobbs --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5a7OwbnRTs
 
wayne stephen
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If God { and the supernatural } does not exist , then :

* This Earth is all we have . It may be the only one like it . It may hold the only living beings in the universe . Is'nt that sacredness ?
* The worst of human behaviors - genocide , racism , torture , war , exploitation , and greed - are part of our character and can not be blamed on supernatural devil figures .
* All that is good about the philosophies of Jesus , Buddha , Krishna is human in origin and does not have to be attributed to any divine source . We thought that stuff up . I bet we can think up more good stuff .
* Without the afterlife there is no judgement of our evil deeds . There is no death bed forgiveness for a greedy , evil life either. Our afterlife becomes our children , grandchildren , and the future of the earth . That leads to altruistic logic .
* There is no Armageddeon with the final outcome a paradise on earth . There are no 100,000 year cycles with a new age renewed ad nauseum . This little blue dot in space is all we have and we are the only beings who can change our effect on it and each other .
* Physics , biology , evolution , ecology , and rational altruism become our guiding lights .

I'm so vain I had the audacity to come to these conclusions . As Al Pacino {as Satan in "The Devils' Advocate"} says :

" Vanity , my favorite human vice "
 
Amedean Messan
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wayne stephen wrote:The subtitle relates to the source and reason for ethics and morality . A common theme in "sermons" by atheists and agnostics is that God is not necessary to have strong values . That is how I understood "Why God does'nt matter " .


I am familiar with this use of language. It is a very difficult task to make a moral argument as a logical one without God. I think humanism best conforms to this philosophy in practice as a true Atheist is materialistic and admits no moral obligations or constraints. Problem with godless humanism is that it conforms to perception in ethics and in doing so carries the same logical loops that can be compared to the contradictions in Darwinian evolution and the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

There is currently no logical argument I have found that respectably satisfies "why God doesn't matter" while simultaneously expressing the necessity of a human-centrist morality. It is the holy grail of modern philosophy to answer this question I would say.
 
wayne stephen
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If God exists { as Jehovah } then the root of morality certainly rests in Him . If no God exists then the root of morality that we project onto the concept of God is human in origin . The Atheists I know have strong morals and an intact ethical structure . If there is no God{s} the Ten Commandments are human concepts . The accusation of Atheists having no moral foundation seems to be coming from the believers camp. My favorite atheist and clown school graduate :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3X1afaYOlg

What did you expect from a professional clown !
 
Amedean Messan
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Amedean Messan wrote:I think humanism best conforms to this philosophy in practice as a true Atheist is materialistic and admits no moral obligations or constraints.


On my second observation of this controversial statement I believe I should clarify my speaking on Atheistism. This quote was not meant to be expressed as a criticism of Atheists individually nor their capacity for moral character, rather an observation of the philosophy. Atheism, the practice, does not provide a logical argument beyond simple morality. The term "true atheism" I previously chosen could have been better worded.

wayne stephen wrote:The accusation of Atheists having no moral foundation seems to be coming from the believers camp.


An Atheist like any other person can possess human-centric morality comparable to Theists and I meant no purpose to challenge that notion. In regards to justifying morality, without any form of divinity or spiritualism the purpose of morality becomes one of a mathematical order and attempting to describe morality as otherwise logically appears anecdotal.

We can attempt to provide argument as to "why God does not matter" when it comes to human morality but this school of thought is beyond my capacity currently. I honestly believe the nature of the question to be one of the great challenges of modern philosophy. The task is not one to be taken lightly.

wayne stephen wrote:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3X1afaYOlg [/youtube]


That was very funny. Again, he makes no attempt to justify morality but does state that he conveniently conforms to it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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These two bozos from Westboro Baptist could be my uncles. They tell Russell that Madonna, Tom Hanks and Gandhi are all going to hell. Luckily, none of my uncles have figured out YouTube or other media.

FAG PIMP BRAND --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBA6qlHW8po --- enjoy.
 
Matu Collins
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Aha! I'm not trying to make an argument, I'm saying we don't need to argue about God. I'm saying the argument about the deep spiritual/passionate motivations of our behavior is something we can dispose of if we wish. We do not need to agree on this point to move forward together.

Philosophy is a fun exercise, and it seems to me that people behave in a kind way or in a mean way, philosophy may have some effect, but there is no philosophy or religion that makes one immune to meanness nor guarantees kindness. So I'm suggesting we leave those discussions aside and focus on doing the next right thing together.

I'm not the first one to suggest this and I hope I'm not the last.

Peace
 
Dale Hodgins
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Amedean Messan
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Matu Collins wrote:Aha! I'm not trying to make an argument.....


With a title "why God doesn't matter", controversial, polarizing and attention seeking by design, it would seem to encourage the opposite.

Matu Collins wrote:Peace


Indeed.
 
Matu Collins
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Dale, I've been wondering when you were going to jump in to the ulcer factory. I wish I had a video of the sermon I did on heaven and hell for you.
The Westboro Baptists get zero percent of my attention.

I am what some would call an atheist because the god of the bible is fictional to me. I prefer to define myself by what I am rather than what I am not, so I prefer to call myself a panentheist- meaning the divine is within everything. Atoms, molecules, physics, chemistry, mitochondria, symbiosis, chlorophyll, the soil food web, sexual reproduction, jellyfish, language, babies, love... it's unseasonabl unfathomably beautiful and mysterious to me. However it came to be.

I am really interested in the bible (my children all have biblical names, one is Moses) and have studied it quite a bit. I always have been interested, even as a kid and it was never forced on me. My parents were raised Catholic and didn't like it so they let me free range, spiritually. I don't need to believe in the truth of the stories to get something from them. I couldn't force myself to believe in Jehovah as a true story even if I wanted to but I see everything as a metaphor.

My hugelbeet is a garden but it is more than that. It's a holy site. Many people have helped me design and build it, and it contains compostable materials of many kinds including the nutrient dense and the emotionally charged. To me, decay is divine. I'm not kidding. From dust we came, to dust we shall return. Rebirth. Poop becomes soil, then flowers, then fruit.

It's ok to believe, it's ok not to, one way or another, the body is born, lives, dies and becomes compost. To me, god is in the microbes and also the body. It's beautiful and beyond my understanding.
And
Like the buddhist saying says "first enlightenment, then the dishes"
 
Dale Hodgins
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Matu --- The ulcer factory is an exclusive club. I generally prefer to inflict ulcers in forums related to alternative energy, money and planned communities. .

A forum which allows religious discussion, should ulcerate on it's own, although I might be able to help the process along.

This seems like a good repository for completely unsupported opinion rants. I'm good at those.

Here's the beginning of one. This could evolve in many fun directions. -------- We were once unfortunate to share the planet with a tiny little puke of a man named Jerry Falwell. Luckily, he choked on vomit and ... Have a go at him. A prize for the most vitriolic, venomous and verbose.
 
Matu Collins
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Dale Hodgins wrote:... I might be able to help the process along.

This seems like a good repository for completely unsupported opinion rants. I'm good at those..


As I understand it, the ulcer factory is a place for permies who have demonstrated the ability to write quality posts to discuss topics that might cause conflict in other online forums. The idea is to demonstrate "be nice" even when it's hard.

We are not interested in the usual boring unsupported opinion teams that insult others in ways that would not fly in person. If that's what you like to do there are many online options but this is not the place.

I chose a title that catches the eye, it is true, but not for the purposes of argument. I am interested in engagement, yes, and I'm glad you all clicked on the link to this thread, even if you didn't watch the sermon. Whether I believe in Him or not, I know many people who have been touched by Him in a life changing positive way and I did not intend to belittle or offend them with my provocative title.

Here are some questions that I would like to start finding answers to:

How can people who believe in God and people who don't work together for positive changes in the design and implementation of permaculture improvements to our society? Where is this happening now? What do they do? How do they do it? Do you have pictures? Do you want to help me do it?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Looks like you took seriously, what I poked in fun. There's nothing wrong with everybody trying to get along.

But --- taking a run at a soft target like Jerry can be a very liberating exercise. Laughter is the best medicine.
 
Matu Collins
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I've been reading you for a long time, Dale, I know your kind of fun. For me, each person has intrinsic worth and dignity, even Jerry Falwell. I don't need the stories about Jesus to be true to benefit from the stories about him hanging out and breaking bread with prostitutes and (gasp) tax collectors. I knew you were joking, I just didn't think it was very funny. And yet! You are sometimes funny. Sometimes there are threads where a person asks a sincere question, and it strikes a person funny. I myself have made a joke that fell flat in a sincere thread. Did you hear the one about the guinea pigs hitched up to tiny plows?

 
Cj Sloane
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Matu Collins wrote:
I am what some would call an atheist because the god of the bible is fictional to me. I prefer to define myself by what I am rather than what I am not, so I prefer to call myself a panentheist- meaning the divine is within everything. Atoms, molecules, physics, chemistry, mitochondria, symbiosis, chlorophyll, the soil food web, sexual reproduction, jellyfish, language, babies, love...


I think (very early in) Genesis talks about this kind of God, the kind that's everywhere, in everything.

Perhaps my tagline in the ulcer factory should be:
Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I am a Jewish woman raising pigs.
 
John Saltveit
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If God { and the supernatural } does not exist , then :

* This Earth is all we have . It may be the only one like it . It may hold the only living beings in the universe . Is'nt that sacredness ?
* The worst of human behaviors - genocide , racism , torture , war , exploitation , and greed - are part of our character and can not be blamed on supernatural devil figures .
* All that is good about the philosophies of Jesus , Buddha , Krishna is human in origin and does not have to be attributed to any divine source . We thought that stuff up . I bet we can think up more good stuff .
* Without the afterlife there is no judgement of our evil deeds . There is no death bed forgiveness for a greedy , evil life either. Our afterlife becomes our children , grandchildren , and the future of the earth . That leads to altruistic logic .
* There is no Armageddeon with the final outcome a paradise on earth . There are no 100,000 year cycles with a new age renewed ad nauseum . This little blue dot in space is all we have and we are the only beings who can change our effect on it and each other .
* Physics , biology , evolution , ecology , and rational altruism become our guiding lights .

I'm so vain I had the audacity to come to these conclusions . As Al Pacino {as Satan in "The Devils' Advocate"} says :

" Vanity , my favorite human vice "

This thinking process relegates spirituality to a subset of philosophy. Spirituality never thrives as a subset of philosophy. That is not its purpose. Religion/spirituality is getting at things that you can't explain with philosophy. Topics that are ineffable. Your relation to the world, not your thoughts about the world. That's why Jesus spoke in parables. That's why zen koans exist. You have to live it, not just think it. It's not a game you win, it's a life you create over time.
John S
PDX OR

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