Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Everything posted by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

  1. Forgiveness is necessary?

    I am persuaded that if this need exists -- it rises out of a religious cultural context. A Christian might need to forgive. I was never Christian. I need to let go.
  2. Authentic self

    In general terms, I have been harshly misunderstood by others. When I must evaluate, I go with my own perceptions. In religious terms, I have been so badly misunderstood, that I don't care at all what the pious think of me.
  3. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    It's good to have friends with a sense of humor. Well, what is a church but it's people?
  4. I thought it might be a fun topic to discuss the different labels. Atheists, Agnostics, Brights, Free Thinkers, Secularists, Humanists, Secular Humanists, Spiritual Humanists, Objectivists, Pantheists, Apatheists, Nones, No Preference, Etc. Of course, there are combinations. Apathetic Agnostic and Agnostic Atheist are popular. We all end up wearing labels, whether they fit or not. Sometimes, finding the perfect label becomes a game. Which label do you like? One of these? Something else? Stoic Atheist?
  5. Forgiveness is necessary?

    Is it not possible to release anger, without forgiving?
  6. Forgiveness is necessary?

    God is not enough. The power that grants absolution is not God. It's the Church. Confession is not to God. Confession is to the Church.
  7. Apologetics

    I'm not familiar with that book. Apologetics in general? Explaining that black is white and white is black? I've been exposed to it.
  8. Forgiveness is necessary?

    In fairness, I must declare my biases up front. I do not trust the Catholic Church. Sometimes, my analysis is not fair. Ethics requires me to declare myself, rather than pretend. The Catholic Church has made the confessional part of the path to Heaven. Or at least, a shorter stay in Purgatory. I think that this is more to the benefit of the Church -- in terms of control and dominance -- than the benefit of the people being told to confess and repent.
  9. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    I like to make three basic distinctions. 1. The God of Monotheism. The God of the Bible or Koran. 2. The God of Deism. The God of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. God who set things into motion but does not get involved. No revelations. No Scriptures. No involvement with prayer. 3. The God of Pantheism. It's called God, but the concept is ill fitting. What Spinoza called "Nature's God." In other words, the Universe. There is also the treatment given by A.A. God is a "Higher Power". Since they pray the "Lord's Prayer" at these meetings -- I disregard this as the hypocritical nonsense that it is. We can make two additional categories. 1. Polytheism: It's a different head and a different reality. Lumping the gods of Polytheism with the different Monotheisms is not useful. 2. Vedanta/Hinduism: Both a Monotheism and a Polytheism. It is not like anything else.
  10. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    I do care. A lot. I don't want to give the impression of always being enraged. I'm not. I lose no sleep over these matters. It's more like sand in a wet bathing suite. It irritates without being a central concern. It's just there. In the background. Like my arthritis. Sometimes, I have a flare up. Yes. The definitions question. People get very hot over something that can't be defined. It amounts to belief in belief rather than belief in God. When I want intellectual purity, I go with the Agnostic label. When I want to be understood, with no BS, I go with Atheist. I took ordination with the Apathetic Agnostic church. The motto is, We don't know and we don't care. At least, they have a sense of humor.
  11. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    No. Atheism is not reactive to God claims. There is no reactive movement against fairies. Or leprecauns. Or Unicorns. Or Bigfoot. Or the Lochness Monster. No. Atheism is reactive to religion. Not God. While I'm on my rant -- Yes. I said rant -- modern Atheism is also not reactive to the gods. Or Pagans. Or Heathens. Or the other Polytheists. For the simple reason that they leave us alone. That they are not poisoning legislation, or the general culture -- In particular, what they have not done to the Pledge of Allegiance. Or the money. These are the things that Atheists hate. Not God. Religion. I'm done.
  12. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    All true. In a Godless world, there would be no Atheists. I can dream.
  13. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    Yes. That's it. Really, all of it.
  14. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    Not really. Atheism is comparable to being vegetarian. We know that vegetarians don't eat meat, but we don't know anything else, about what any individual vegetarian does eat. Arguing with people who eat everything, or people who only eat meat, is not part of being vegetarian. In the same way, Atheists have different philosophies -- and different beliefs that don't involve God or gods. I would not -- for instance -- confuse a Stoic Atheist with an Apathetic Atheist. Replying to Theists, of any variety, is not part of Atheism.
  15. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    Without reference to the grammar police, I would prefer that Atheist and Agnostic get a capital A. While Christian gets the big C and Muslim gets the big M -- I think Atheist gets the big A. There is also the matter of usage. American Atheists uses the capital A. Look at the Youtube videos. The Atheists on Youtube all use the capital A.
  16. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    You are making this way more complicated than it is. An Atheist is someone who has one less God than a Monotheist. An Atheist is Godless. Also, godless. This goes way beyond "who does not specifically lay claim to a belief in a specific god/God" No. Not lacking a specific god. Lacking all of them. Lacking any of them. Having none at all.
  17. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    You are free to confuse people as much as you want. I don't see the point in deliberate obfuscation -- but yes. It is your right.
  18. Forgiveness is necessary?

    I suspect that your father's rules are the rules of the confessional. My foundation is more influenced by Buddhism than Christianity. I am not a Buddhist, but this has been an influence on my thinking.
  19. Forgiveness is necessary?

    You're right. If there is no anger, there is nothing to release. So much the better. If, on the other hand, we take emotional inventory and discover that we do have anger -- it's like discovering a fly in the soup. We are not obligated to digest it. We can get rid of Anger instead of letting it sicken us.
  20. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    In loose terms: Atheists don't believe. This is frequently confused with disbelieving. There is a distinction. Atheists don't believe due to lack of evidence. Atheists frequently -- not always -- regard Agnostics as Atheists without guts. Anti-Theism: An active hostility to belief. Not to be confused with Atheism. Not to be confused with hostility to God. One can not be actively hostile towards something which does not exist. Agnostics don't know. Because some things are not knowable. Often confused with being unable to make a decision. Agnostics don't know that God exists due to lack of evidence. Often confused with weak minded Atheists. The distinction is a nuance. There is also, Agnostic Atheist. The people who don't know and don't believe. Apatheists don't care whether or not God exists. Apathetic Agnosticism: As exemplified by the Apathetic Agnostic Church. "We don't know and we don't care." I would like to add something. Anybody can have an opinion on these matters. Since I actually have an Agnostic ordination -- I have all the credentials I need to be a pompous ass. At least, I'm a pompous ass with a sense of humor.
  21. Forgiveness is necessary?

    Thank you. Now we can carry the thought one step further. Should my victims forgive me for what I have done to them? Some will. Some won't. For the mental and emotional health of the victims -- whether they choose to forgive or not -- it is in their interests to release their rage and resentment. If they can not release their anger, they will be doing great harm to themselves. The stress will lodge in their muscles and they will have pain. Their sleep will be disturbed. Their digestion will be impacted. They may develop heart trouble. Their blood pressure will be elevated. None of this harms me -- the criminal. They must let go of their rage for their own well being. This is the distinction between "releasing" and "forgiving".
  22. Forgiveness is necessary?

    For the sake of making a point, I'm going to indulge in a bit of fantasy. I have plans to rob a bank, and now I go into the bank to execute those plans. Things go wrong. My plans do not go as I intended. The bank guard gets shot. I take hostages. Some of them die. When the police show up, more hostages die in the confused shooting, and some of the police are injured. The next day, my lawyer issues a statement on my behalf. I deeply regret my lack of judgement, which was caused by emotional distress. I have repented and God has forgiven me. None of the injured, or their grieving survivors, wants to hear about my forgiveness from God. It's an insult to everyone. Truly, rubbing salt into the wounds. Now my point. God is a third party. It is for the injured to forgive. Not the third party. Unless we think that any wrong, done to anyone, is an injury to God. In which case, God is an injured party. This also makes God the representative of the injured, in which case God forgives on their behalf. To be clear, I think this is the worst kind of theological BS. The need to confess to God is an interesting one. God doesn't already know? If, as you say, the confession is for the sake of the miscreant -- God is the wrong party to ask for forgiveness.
  23. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    The eternal treadmill. Before we can prove anything, we need a definition. Here is another perfectly good word. "Apatheism." Not caring whether or not God exists. It does cut down on the arguing.
  24. Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

    All a dictionary can ever do is cite common usage. Dictionaries have no authority. We can argue forever about who gets to define Atheism. The more so since common usage shifts. The people who do not get to define Atheists are the pious. That in particular includes dictionaries, which are written by the pious. Christians and Muslims do not get to define Atheism or Atheists. You are more than welcome to enter the verbal war. It is a futile war, but welcome. An additional thought on pejoratives. I rather like April Fools Day. Any excuse for a holiday.
  25. Forgiveness is necessary?

    It is good to be high minded. Throughout my life, I have often found the releasing of anger and resentment to be challenging. Then again, I lack sainthood. If I have wronged you, it is nothing to be forgiven by God -- unless God is the injured party. How then can God forgive, if you are the injured party?