Sunday School

Sunday School September 17th 2023

This topic contains 20 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #50233

    Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

    Court orders anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to pay $100K to same-sex couple she refused to marry.

    Uncommitted Christians causing ‘catastrophic decline in biblical worldview in America’.

    Survey: Mainline clergy are more liberal than their congregants.

    New FRC Action President Jody Hice wants $4 Million for 2024 Super PAC.

    Florida Schools’ Bible-based curriculum under fire from parents.

    The ‘nones’ are a powerful force in politics – but not yet a coalition. “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute”, someone once said.

    World of Woo: A study into ‘truth relativism’.

    Environment:  Six of nine planetary boundaries now exceeded.

    Atheists carry no burden of proof for their lack of belief but why are believers so desperate for the atheist seal of approval.

    How would religion react if we discovered extra-terrestrial life?

    Humanists at Risk: Spotlight on Afghanistan.

    The Brave New World of synthetic humans.

    The freedom to harm others.

    I have been streaming free public domain audiobooks for several years.

    The 2023 Ig Nobel Prize winners.

    Long Reads: The problem of Divine Hiddenness. The lawyer who defended Ulysses. ‘You may have been poisoned’: how an independent Russian journalist became a target. “Climate-friendly” beef could land in a meat aisle near you. Don’t fall for it.

    Sunday Book Club:  Nobody’s Fool or Nobody’s Fool. Don’t be a fool and read both of them!

    Some photographs taken last week.  Ocean Photographer of the Year competition.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break video:  Richard Dawkins on Islamophobia. ‘Is there a God?’: “The Rapture is COMING! The Bible is COMPLETELY TRUE!” Piers Morgan grills astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    #50235

    Have a great week everyone!

    #50236


    Participant

    World of Woo: A study into ‘truth relativism’.

    As I started reading, my first thought was that it was hilarious this was posted on the New York Post—a publication whose target demographic is gut-feelers on one side of the political spectrum.

    When I went to read the comments it was even more funny. I am surprised they published the piece.

    #50237

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks, Reg 🙂

    #50239

    my first thought was that it was hilarious this was posted on the New York Post.

    Same here. I had to recheck it. Especially when you look at most of the sidebar stories. Maybe they are being sabotaged from the inside 🙂

    #50243

    Unseen
    Participant

    Why do Christians “seek atheists’ approval”?

    It’s no mystery. Speaking as a one time Christian who was dragged to church for many years in childhood and went to church out of habit as an adolescent, there’s one thing I knew then that was confirmed in my Philosophy of Religion studies:

    Two of the three main Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam, are evangelical, meaning it’s a member’s duty to convert or at least to witness. There is no such burden on Jews.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #50245

    Unseen
    Participant

    How would the church deal if confronted with the fact of intelligent life elsewhere than on Earth?

    In the case of Christianity, would the demigod Jesus Christ also be the savior of intelligent pond scum on the surface of the planet Kepler 62F? Or would God have provided them their own pond scum savior?

    This potential encounter been a theme, at least obliquely or as a subtext in various sci fi works. To name a few (from a list compiled with help from ChatGPT):

    Contact (Novel by Carl Sagan, Movie Directed by Robert Zemeckis): In both the novel and the movie adaptation, Dr. Ellie Arroway, a scientist, makes contact with an extraterrestrial civilization through a complex machine. The story explores the religious and philosophical implications of this discovery.

    Childhood’s End (Novel by Arthur C. Clarke, TV Miniseries): In this novel and its TV adaptation, humanity encounters the Overlords, benevolent extraterrestrial beings who usher in a new era of peace and prosperity on Earth. The story delves into the impact of this event on religious beliefs and institutions.

    The Sparrow (Novel by Mary Doria Russell): This novel explores the first contact between humans and an alien race on a distant planet. A group of Jesuit priests is central to the story, and the novel delves into the moral and theological questions raised by the encounter.

    Arrival (Novella “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, Movie Directed by Denis Villeneuve): In this story and its film adaptation, linguist Dr. Louise Banks is tasked with communicating with alien visitors who have arrived on Earth. The film touches on the religious and philosophical responses to the extraterrestrial visitors.

    Prometheus (Directed by Ridley Scott): While not directly about religious institutions, this science fiction film is influenced by themes of creation, the search for meaning, and the origins of humanity.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #50247

    Unseen
    Participant

    Re: The Brave New World of Synthetic Humans

    Of course, the various religions may all decide that such manufactured humans will have no soul and so are at least an abomination if not also a work of the Devil.

    But there are serious ethical questions for the rest of us, starting with this: Would these people have any rights at all? Would they exist solely to make natural humans’ lives easier as our servants or to do the more distasteful sorts of jobs like waste collection, cleaning up crime scenes, etc., or to do dangerous work? How about farm labor at a really really low cost?

    One worst case scenario I just thought of is to create an army of soldiers, raised from birth in Sparta-like military camps, to fight our wars for us so that “real” people don’t have to.

    The prospects are horrendous, and like any new technology, we can be sure the military is looking at whether it can leverage it. Perhaps the civilian side of the Executive Branch as well.

    #50248

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    World of Woo: A study into ‘truth relativism’.

    I think it’s really interesting.

    People who believe the truth is subjective and individual are more likely to believe conspiracy theories, and to hold onto their conspiratorial beliefs even when faced with real-world evidence and facts that contradict their conspiracy theories.

    People with a subjective worldview also have a greater tendency to find profound, meaningful messages in nonsense blather, such as “The hidden meaning transforms the abstract beauty.”

    And for people with a cultural belief system, cultural relativism was found to be linked to “bulls – – t receptivity,” or the ability to gladly accept “nonsense from someone attempting to persuade or impress without concern for what is true or false.”

    I always wondered why religious people are so ready to believe everything that comes out of Donald Trump’s arse.  Perhaps it’s because he’s got inside their culture (right-wing evangelicals) and they will believe anything their culture says, no matter how nonsensical.

    I guess consipiracy theorists have a “DIY” approach to facts and truth.

    #50249

    Unseen
    Participant

    The Freedom to Harm article raises an interesting question in my mind. Atheism may not be a religion per se, but it is a religious position (a position on religion), and the day may come when we want to assert a right to a “religious exemption” using the same sort of law that in Mississippi and elsewhere gives religious people an exemption.

    Let’s suppose a state brings back starting classrooms with a prayer or an oath like the swearing allegiance to the flag I can still remember from my early school days.

    We could then claim an exemption for our children under the same sort of religious exemption that allows people to exempt themselves from vaccination?

    I always look at both restrictions and requirements from the “What’s good for the goose (you know the rest)” angle.

    I’m pretty sure this will stir up a discussion.

    #50250

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Following the verdict, the lawyer who headed the effort trumpeted his victory: “Freedom wins again,” he tweeted. But freedom to what? Freedom to suffer from preventable illnesses. Or to be hospitalized. Or to die. Or to transmit viruses to those who cannot be successfully vaccinated.

    This is true.  It’s the freedom to drown in bullshit.  But freedom is important in itself.  If people want to be free to be stupid, whose right is it to stop them?

    #50251

    Unseen
    Participant

    If people want to be free to be stupid, whose right is it to stop them?

    As someone who used to condemn people who refused to mask up or get vaccinated or stay home, I’ve seen experts and studies that throw doubt on all of those things I used to preach. Maybe those experts and studies are in the minority, and if one simply goes based on consensus of experts and studies, then it’s right to condemn the doubters.

    However, time and time again in science, the majority has proven to be wrong  and those who believed the minority were right.

    The majority was wrong about where the Earth fit in the Universe. They were wrong about the crazy notion that disease was caused by microscopic creatures. They were wrong in thinking that space and time and matter and energy are simply aspects of one thing. (Aside: we call the one space/time but don’t call the other matter/energy…why is that?)

    The point is that we don’t really know what we know, outside mathematics anyway, because there we have conclusive proofs.

    Anyway, even if allowing some people freedom costs some lives, freedom is a positive value, conformity is not.

    Just because you think you are right, that doesn’t confer on you the right to feel righteous.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #50253

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Reg has a short vid from Dawkins about Islamophobia.

    How to reconcile the positions taken by Autumn and Dawkins?

    Correct me if i misstate your position Autumn. Islamophobia is a valid term. Whether the target is Muslims or Islam is immaterial. It is not about Muslims or Islam. Rather it is about bigots. Autumn rightly points to instances in which the excesses against Muslims are cringeworthy-Motives are imputed and stories told without any foundation.

    Correct me if i misstate your position Dawkins. (Little joke there) Islamophobia is a BS term. “If your belief is indefensible your ignominious last resort is to accuse your critics of phobia.” “Islamophobia is a deeply silly and pernicious abuse of language” Dawkins points out that there is much to fear and despise in Islam and that individual Muslims are victims of Islam. We should not conflate the two. Nor should we ever consider it to be about race.

    After reading Autumn i was wishy washy. I no longer am. I agree with Dawkins. To the extent there is any validity to the term it should attach to Muslims and not Islam. Islam is to be feared and detested. It is an enormous cult that does untold harm. A living horror show. And to the extent there is irrational hatred and phobia against Muslims a new term should be coined. It should be used to express a different power dynamic and as a psychological phenomenon. It should be like other blankphobias.

    There is an article in The New Republic titled the Invention of Islamophobia. Here is a quote. “At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term “Islamophobia” formed in analogy to “xenophobia”. The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world.””Islamophobia—that is, the word itself—is meant to silence you. It has already silenced President Obama, hasn’t it? He hasn’t even spoken up for his fellow Christians who in recent weeks have been victimized in Iraq.”

    It seems to me the term is used as a political and aesthetic term to silence critics of Islam. Not Muslims. There is way too much baggage in the term Islamophobia to credit Autumn’s definition. And it is not that Autumn is wrong in describing how the LCD operates. Be it Salem and the hysteria over witches, be it homophobia and the deep seated irrational hatred and fear, and the list goes on and on…From Autumn… “It’s about patterns of thought and systems of belief characterized by irrational bias and/ or antipathy.” I am in agreement as to a universal underlying the many emergent and aesthetic phobias that are inculcated by the greater culture and by the ignorant, religious, right wing morons.

    #50254


    Participant

    Reg has a short vid from Dawkins about Islamophobia. How to reconcile the positions taken by Autumn and Dawkins?

    I am better looking, therefore correct.

    Correct me if i misstate your position Autumn. Islamophobia is a valid term. Whether the target is Muslims or Islam is immaterial. It is not about Muslims or Islam. Rather it is about bigots. Autumn rightly points to instances in which the excesses against Muslims are cringeworthy-Motives are imputed and stories told without any foundation. Correct me if i misstate your position Dawkins. (Little joke there) Islamophobia is a BS term. “If your belief is indefensible your ignominious last resort is to accuse your critics of phobia.” “Islamophobia is a deeply silly and pernicious abuse of language” Dawkins points out that there is much to fear and despise in Islam and that individual Muslims are victims of Islam. We should not conflate the two. Nor should we ever consider it to be about race. After reading Autumn i was wishy washy. I no longer am. I agree with Dawkins.

    There are cases where Muslims are victims of Islam and of Muslims. But there are also cases where they are victims of bias, propaganda, and prejudice of non-Muslims against Muslims. And that latter phenomenon has a name. It just isn’t that complicated.

    Again, not all criticism of Islam or Muslims is Islamophobic and the term ‘Islamophobia’ could be used in an attempt to stifle criticism, but this doesn’t mean that the phenomenon doesn’t exist. It’s not mutually exclusive.

    #50255

    The term “Islamophobia” was first used in print in 1991 and was defined as “unfounded hostility towards Islam, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” It is admitted in the article that the term “Islamophobia” is not an ideal descriptor. However, that statement is a prime example of a non sequitur fallacy. It does not follow that the criticism of Islam, however hostile the vocal or written appraisal of it may sound, has anything to do with a fear or dislike of even a single Muslim.

    There are words to describe organized hate campaigns against Muslims or the overt hatred of people from a different ethnicity or who have a different skin color. Prejudice, racism and discrimination that incites hatred whether based upon wilful ignorance or not, already have laws in place to deal with such incidents.

    Muslims have rights but their ideas do not. Islam is an idea. If someone wants to push an idea out to the world then it needs to be able to stand on its own merits and allow itself to be openly and honestly scrutinized. The problem I have is that most attempts to point out the flaws of Islam are now being shouted down as “Islamophobic”. The religion of peace has no problem with the crimes against humanity committed in its name. Islamic regimes still demand Islamophobia be protected against by law right around the world. This is because Islam cannot allow the scrutiny or the Islamic regimes will start to crumble.

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