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Posts posted by Kingfisher

  1. On 2/7/2019 at 5:18 PM, RevBogovac said:

    Isn't that more of an Islamic national-socialism in practice...? 


    Aren't all theistic religions nationalistic? They all draw a line between their tribe and others. Atheists and universalists even do this. They don't have mundane borders, but they erect walls between them nonetheless.


    On 2/3/2019 at 10:10 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    Balance and unity?  Then stop trying to force everybody into one of two boxes.


    Thanks for your feedback. I wanted to consider your words carefully before I replied directly. Much of human communication is non-verbal, for which the internet (and text in general) is poorly suited to transmit, yet it also offers us the advantage of conversations which may take place in a more timeless fashion. Whether the gain of this benefit is sufficient to overcome what we have lost in the other remains to be seen. In its early days we thought cyberspace would bring about a wonderful transformation of society, but then so did Gutenburg before the printing press facilitated a great many wars. It seems that ignorance propagates much faster than the speed of light.

    More to the point, I know from experience in this forum that your personal philosophy is more complicated than a simple "I don't know". I think that's a fair enough attempt to offer an apologia for that which cannot be explained, simple and forthright, although I do not agree that this is a tenable position. Your defense of atheism would be more puzzling if I have not myself been, at times, both certain there are gods and certain there are not. I am only agnostic if I view my life as the sum of many moments about which I can certainly declare to have no preference for one or the other, and that would be repeating my own mistake.

    We often discuss society as if it were a person, that it should behave (or not behave) thus or so as if it were a living being. Whether believers or non-believers, there are many who would mold it according to their own vision of perfection. In truth, there is no such thing as society. There is no theistic realism or dialectical materialism. These concepts don't possess a reality independent of our minds. They aren't things of matter, or conscious, living wills guiding the whole in the way our brains control the function of our bodies, they're merely words we have assigned to arbitrary boundaries... yet they have had a profound observable impact upon the world.


    Ideas are ghosts, but in some sense they are as real as we. Some may know this metaphysical reality as God, or Buddha, or many other names, and some may know it not at all, but it remains, in form and formlessness, both dependent and independent of the world. Individual minds may die, yet the emergent spirit which influences them does not die. Entire collectives may die, yet in time myriad new ones may arise from the same substance, and within each is revealed the same wild, uncreated spirit, a potentiality which inhabits the void as a seed in the mud awaits the rain.


    Can this spirit even be tamed? Why is it considered practical, or ethical, or desirable, to manipulate that spirit - to confine and direct its course as if we were gods ourselves? If this is hubris, why then is it proper to ever to argue at all? Of what use is apologetics for any philosophy, or lack thereof? God is not the author of confusion, it is created by the restless monkey mind which insists upon distinctions it has conjured out of thin air. If, indeed, there is any difference between Frankenstein and his monster. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment, but given the online format I'm afraid it would have been quite impossible to get to the point without first leaving it. I am aware that this was a controversial approach to take, and in defense of my own faith I apologize only for lacking the eloquence of the prophets. Being a son of thunder is a mixed blessing, so to speak.

    "Then he put away his sanghati robe and his bowl, washed his feet, arranged his cushion, and sat down." - Diamond Sutra

  2. On 2/4/2019 at 12:21 AM, Dan56 said:


    Thanks for attempting to reason, but some folks just aren't open or receptive to ideologies besides their own, and that includes myself. But it stands to reason that since I believe in one God and one truth, I can't agree or compromise with those who believe in nothing spiritual. That fact seems to irritate them, they are easily insulted and get extremely defensive. Its almost a paranoia that puts them into immediate attack mode, as you have discovered. 


    I do agree with your terminology and analysis comparing theistic realism and dialectical materialism. I'm obviously in the theistic realism camp and think dialectical materialism adequately defines the Atheistic/Agnostic group, not so much in the godless communistic sense as they've implied, but more from a humanism perspective.


    The bottom line is that Atheist discard spirituality, their reality is limited to the natural world, so they only diagnose things from a physical existence, which is limited to what you can see, touch, hear, smell, and feel. Thus the consistent demand from cuchulain who's only acceptable evidentiary procedure is limited to his materialistic realm of existence.


    That's essentially the non-negotiable duality, God is spirit and is experience spiritually, God is not revealed or perceived naturally, the spiritual and the physical are entirely separate. Anyway, thanks for trying to bring some clarity to what differentiates the 2 ideologies, which in my opinion boils down to those with spiritual faith and those who don't know or just can't conceive of anything beyond the here & now.   


    Thanks for not taking offense where none was intended. It's very strange being told that my interpretation of my own words is incorrect. I don't think it's unreasonable to state that this particular conflict has dominated the global stage for the last century (and perhaps a great deal longer than that). It's quite obvious that there are many shades of gray, however from where I stand the core of that struggle seems to revolve around faith/faithlessness, and the whole world is fractured as folks lean to varying degrees in one direction or the other, with increasing polarization toward the extremes outlined in those two schools of thought. It's the non-compromising/non-negotiable aspect of the dichotomy which intrigues me. I've been looking into Islamic socialism (as a study rather than an embrace of ideology), which would seem to be an impossible synthesis of the two perspectives I've been describing, yet there are those who believe there can be a reconciliation. I'm not so sure about that, but if there is I figured it's worth exploring the nature of these antagonistic world views. If we strip all the other philosophy and unnecessary baggage away, what we're left with is simple belief and non-belief. Logic would seem to dictate that one cannot exist in both states simultaneously, and the numerous conflicts I've observed over many years tend to validate that conclusion, but on the other hand, subatomic particles do that sort of thing all the time. In a traditional mainframe data is stored in bits that can be either on or off, whereas in quantum computing a qbit can be in a coherent superposition. That state is all I was hoping to achieve, or at least understand. I know I "came out of nowhere" (as kingfishers tend to do) but I didn't think I needed a personal invitation to a forum I've been participating in for the last decade, or that I'd be treated as if I were a malicious interloper. Can we resolve this dispute among ourselves, and more importantly, among all the people of the world? Should we even try? If so, how do we get from here to there? I know it's a monumental problem to tackle, but I don't need help with the simple questions.


    "Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been." - Grateful Dead

  3. 50 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    Alright.  You wish to speak directly to me?  You were the individual who -- out of nowhere -- attempted to conflate dialectic materialism with Atheism.  It set off my BS detector.  Did I misread something?


    I wasn't attempting to conflate them. I was attempting to distill the two philosophies down to their essence in order to compare and contrast the essential aspects, and applying that to a similar (not identical) relationship I've been observing among the participants in this forum in order to draw focus away from personal attacks and illuminate a much wider conflict which exists in global society. (Secondarily, to gently steer the discussion back toward the topic at hand, that being apologetics.) You can call my input BS if you disagree, however the "dirty and shameful" accusation was a biased assumption and completely unwarranted, although I can understand the defensiveness if you felt my commentary was an intentional mis-characterization of all atheists. It's interesting that you found no such animosity in the parallel between theistic realism and the fundamentalist Christian point of view espoused by other members, for there is certainly an analogous persecution among the faithful who do not adhere to the more rigid schools of thought. It seems that differences of opinion are being taken a little too personally, here to a lesser degree and in the wider world to a much greater degree, which is precisely the problem I thought needed to be addressed. I chose those particular terms because I believe this duality strikes to the heart of the matter, and we are, after all, in a philosophy and theory forum, not a kindergarten or political brouhaha. I wouldn't care if you are a communist. I don't care if folks are papists or pagans or polytheistic pluralists. I'm not here to beat anyone up for what they believe, I'm only exploring ideas and searching for ways to heal rifts that don't need to exist. When I see irreconcilable differences I try find a new perspective which will bring accord among them. I'm a minister, that's what I do. That's who I am. I had hoped we could all strive together for a harmonious dialogue more befitting this hallowed conclave. The bare-knuckle brawling I've witnessed does not create the sort of atmosphere which is welcoming to others who may wish to participate and educate themselves. If y'all would rather continue raining fire and brimstone down on each other then I'll apologize for intruding upon your enthusiastic discord and humbly leave you to it.

  4. 22 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    For what ever dirty and shameful reason -- Kingfisher has decided to bring back the old canard -- and conflate Communism with Atheism.  I won't have it.


    I'm afraid you've misunderstood both my argument and intent. I've never been hostile towards atheists, in this forum or elsewhere, and I've never presumed to assign particular beliefs to an individual based on how they choose to identify themselves. If you wish to confront my logic or condemn my motives, I'd appreciate it if you didn't talk about me as if I'm not here.

  5. 23 hours ago, cuchulain said:

    Theistic realism is the idea that god is real, acts in the universe, is knowable through the senses and reason.

    Dialectical materialism is the marxist theory that maintains the material basis of reality constantly changing in a dialectical process and the priority of matter over mind.


    Yep, i had to look those up.


    I haven't seen evidence of a war between those thoughts...nor do i concede they relate to the alleged war on christmas, nor that either or both provide proof that the war on christmas wasn't manufactured.  God is knowable vs matter over mind doesn't appear relevant to a fake war on christmas to me.  Can you prove it is or otherwise enlighten me in this regard? 


    Also, prove that its 'the primary engine of discontent'...since i dont view atheism as a matter over mind philosophy but rather as a lack of belief in deity alone.  I can see that as being conflated with dialectical materialism since you put the two on opposite ends, yet that doesn't necessarily demand atheism is actually the same.  Merely that we dont believe or subscribe to theistic realism does not automatically place us as dialectical materialists, they are not functions of each other.


    I think Republicans are dumbing it down because most voters aren't philosophers, but they sense their entire understanding of reality coming under attack and the message resonates with them. A similar campaign can be seen coming from Democrats, who have taken a sharp left turn in recent years. No war is waged by only one participant. I'm still painting the conflict with a pretty wide brush myself. There are, of course, many variations across society, but I think it strikes to the heart of the matter when we examine the big picture. There is a particularly militant strain of atheism, born of socialist ideology, which cannot tolerate other world views, an almost religious devotion to a scientific methodology that refuses to entertain anything it can't explain. This is in direct competition with the spiritual mind which forms the foundation of every theistic belief system and interacts with the universe in a more abstract way, many of whose disciples are equally intolerant of ideas that challenge their dogma. Pure secularism can be as harmful to society as pure faith. There are many people who can't see the miracle in the maths, and the subsequent irreverence of creation, both above and below, is the source of a great deal of strife. Some reject the gods and some reject reason, and in the extremes find they cannot co-exist.


    In a polarized political climate this becomes more prominent. I don't mean to accuse anyone here of subscribing to a particular narrow-minded outlook, but I do see the greater global struggle reflected here. The fundamental schism sparking the local feud seems to be rooted in this same conflict, and in a fractal way appears on many levels of modern culture. I don't sense any deep hostility here. I know folks like a good intellectual ruckus now and then, but this forum generally has a more mature attitude towards opposition than your average internet kerfuffle. Since the discussion touched on worldly affairs (and I figured it best to nip the politics in the bud before it gets out of hand) I thought it might be useful to draw some parallels. I've found that a little more contemplation and a little less passion helps to smooth over tense situations and keeps things from devolving into the bellum omnium contra omnes. I'm more of a transcendental idealist. Mine is the way of balance and unity. (I tried to take sides, but I just Kant 😜) That brings it's own problems, since I'm as likely to draw ire from both wings as I am to resolve the dispute, but I am what I am. If nothing else is to be accomplished I'd hoped this meditation might teach me something about how to approach the issue in broader scope without adding more fuel to an already raging fire. It's all well and good to sit back and ponder the great mysteries of life from afar, but if we want to make a difference in the world we have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.

  6. 19 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    Yes.  The War against Christmas; as fought by President Trump and Fox News.  Fake outrage, designed to keep the political base in a state of excitement.


    Are you suggesting that there isn't an ideological war between theistic realism and dialectical materialism? It seems to me that this philosophical divide is the primary engine of discontent in contemporary society in general, and this thread in particular. I'm not saying that the intellectual conflict is a bad thing, if y'all want to keep metaphysically punching each other in the face that's your own business, I'm just making an observation. I've known most of you for a long time and I hate to see my friends tearing this sanctuary apart like wild beasts, but if nothing else this conversation has illustrated both the necessity and infecundity of apologetics. Perhaps there's some wisdom to be gleaned from that. 🕊️

    • Like 1
  7. Definitions can change according to context, both literary and cultural. An interpreter who is "wrong" may simply be looking at things from a different point of view. For example, in a strict linear sense it would be wrong to associate the contemporary vulgar definition of "Sin" with the ancient Mesopotamian/Arabian lunar deity of the same appellation (represented by a bull, or an old man with a flowing beard - the father of the sun - He who presides over the court of death and provides abundance to mankind, whose name in Old Babylonian literally translates to "underworld of divine bitterness" but was sometimes known as "the fruit"), yet upon deeper reflection it seems that it would also not be precisely wrong. The etymological and semantic (and indeed, religious) histories of the word and precept are intertwined like a strand of DNA - separate, yet inseparable, and expressing themselves through the ages in myriad ways. That's the trouble with symbols, even (or especially) those as advanced and complex as the ones through which we (often clumsily) communicate today . . . we are all born into ignorance, and whether the signs be cast in gold or carved in stone or inked on papyrus or recorded in an electromagnetic field or woven into the very fabric of creation, when the fiery passions of man rule over the calm mind of reason and the peaceful spirit of loving-kindness, it's easy to miss the mark and mistake a child of god for a sacred offering. None of us are so wise as to grok the entire context of even the simplest motif, and in that light we should reject the mortal trap which ensnared Narcissus and grant each other, and ourselves, a degree of mercy when judging errors (or truths) of augury and exegesis. 🖖

  8. That's a good question. It depends on your definition of the term. I've never personally claimed to be persecuted as a Christian, but I've witnessed some who have died for their faith. I won't get into the gory details except to say that the world is a very troubled place. There are many people who will not tolerate the existence of any beliefs but their own. That has caused me a great deal of suffering.


    “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
        a chosen and precious cornerstone,
    and the one who trusts in him
        will never be put to shame.”

  9. My name, roughly translated from the tongue of my ancestors, means "shepherd king".


    How does that old saw go... "God never gives you anything more than you can handle, I just wish He didn't trust me so much."


    Welcome home, Brother. I look forward to seeing things from your point of view. Every seat is a hot one around here, ain't it?



    𒀭 :gathering:



  10. "In any case, you can't have effective allegory in times when people are swept this way and that by momentary convictions, because everyone will read it differently. You can't indicate moral values when morality changes with what is being done, because there is no accepted basis of judgment. And you cannot show the operation of grace when grace is cut off from nature or when the very possibility of grace is denied, because no one will have the least idea of what you are about." - Flannery O'Connor

  11. 5 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    Unless we are engaged in true "Gnosis" -- where we know something with absolute supernatural certitude -- we must have some confidence in our experts.


    Even if I presume the most common usage of language, I haven't done any of the measurements myself. I have faith that the Earth is "spherical" (although viewed in higher dimensions I'd call it something else, and agree that it was flat in two) because I have confidence in the methodology. Other minds with empirical evidence might know, but based on the subjective standard of consensus we've arbitrarily just agreed upon, I don't. My intuitive sense tells me that dogs know things, but I've yet to make any gnostic observations about the geometry of the Earth. It seems kinda silly to describe the world of form with the tools of the supernatural (or vice versa). If I had to assign language to it I might say that when you get down deep enough, everything looks rather wiggly. Spiritually it's ineffable, and materially it's subjective. Philosophically I don't know if there's any true knowledge in the chaos, or if we're just seeing horses in the clouds and sharing the delusion.

  12. 3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    It is possible to have too much intellectual purity.  I know that I know that the Earth is round.  Not a perfect sphere.  Actually, egg shaped.  


    Aye, I could say I know it's an oblate spheroid, it all depends on your point of view. That's the problem - it depends on the definition of knowledge. I assume epistemological reflection was the point of this exercise, but I didn't pose the question and I don't want to assume the definition, ergo I don't know if I know the answer (or even can, if we're talking about intellectual purity). Could be false, could be true. I don't know. I have no frame of reference. I could have just asked, or supplied my own, but I know this ain't the kiddie pool so I figure as long as I'm jumping in I might as well dive deep and cut right to the heart of the matter. I "know" the whole universe is flat, but that's just, like, my opinion, man. If I answered any other way it would have been a lie. Is that too much purity? I don't know. It depends on your point of view.


  13. Are you calling my wife a whore? 🖖;)


    "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." - Isaiah 34:14-15 [KJV]

  14. I recall one summer morning while visiting close friends, I rose early and walked into the bamboo garden to watch the sunrise and feed the mosquitoes for a couple hours. Not ascetically, but gladly and compassionately. Loving life on its own terms was a very enlightening experience. If asked now about the Nature of God my scripture would be a traditional creative verse:


    ... up high in the saddle I belong ...

    ... wild where the horse and the cattle'll roam ...

    ... when the skies and the prairie are steeped in the glowan ...

    ... and the wind blows us all along ... like the tumbling tumbleweeds ...

    • Like 1
  15. On 10/7/2017 at 4:44 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    If God, the perfect mind, were behind Scripture -- any Scripture -- it would be perfect Scripture.  Any one who read it, would have perfect understanding.  I don't have anything resembling a perfect mind, so I can't imagine how this would be done.  God would know how to do it.


    On the other hand, if all Scripture had Human origins, with all the imperfection that implies -- how would the world of religion look?  It would look the way it does.  Divisive, fractious, and chaotic -- with all the nasty bits of the Human mind projected onto God.  


    Now a simple look at the claims of Genesis.  God created the "world" -- and the rest of everything -- the entire Universe -- 

    in six days.  Really?  God did the entire  Universe in six days -- and needed Human scribes?  The All Powerful couldn't self publish the perfect Book?  He needed Human scribes?  Better yet.  We couldn't all be born knowing the contents?


    And eternal damnation if we believe the wrong Book?


    :rolleyes:          :sigh:




    Books are a relatively new method of spreading the gospel, but some of those hearthfire stories go back a million years. Or in the old Hebrew idiom, "forty days and nights". Can you imagine that? The collected wisdom of mankind's journey through the wilderness over those vast aeons, all condensed into such a frail volume as the Bible. We must have been really spooked by that early Holocene flooding to be so determined to establish a more permanent record. How easily all trace of who are, and who were, can be erased from the world... but I digress. I don't reckon you could fit everything of value from our own saga into a book, much less that of the heavens, even if you were to sacrifice all the trees and hides that ever lived in its making, but scripture remains a signpost on a very ancient road. I don't believe in eternal damnation, but I think it's unwise to dismiss it entirely. God may not have written the sign at the zoo either, but it's there for a good reason - if you pet the tigers you're liable to discover temporary damnation right here on Earth. Of course, now the garden is littered with paper trails (and cat memes) going every which way, and humanity has become preoccupied with preparing new homes among the stars, so perhaps the written word isn't as useful as a spiritual message in a bottle as it was once upon a time. Maybe we're ready for a new way of passing on our stories, some technological miracle which may flourish for a while but in it's turn shall also subside. I wouldn't worry about it. Those are just our fairy tales. If you want to read the story God wrote then look up. Or look within. It's all the same.


    On 10/29/2017 at 12:08 PM, Dan56 said:


    I agree, evolution is not an accident, its a theory of how things evolved into what they are after some primary living cells accidentally came into existence.



    If life and consciousness, and even elementary particles (according to the math), can spontaneously come into existence, then why not God? It is possible that the grand unified field from which everything arises, and to which everything returns in death, is itself aware and self-actualized. What is so strange about that when we ourselves are infinitely strange? The concept of a divine mover isn't unreasonable, it's merely unproven. Does everything need to be?

    • Like 1
  16. On 9/6/2017 at 6:47 AM, mererdog said:

    It was amazing how often plumbers and architects would seem about to come to blows. I only ever worked for the one contractor, and I've never asked anyone with broader experience whether its a common thing. Now I'm curious.


    It's a frequent bugbear that appears in every corner of human society -  too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  17. On 9/1/2017 at 8:40 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    I thought it might be a fun topic to discuss the different labels.

    Which label do you like? 


    I would profess not to care about such ephemeral things, but apparently the rank I've got here is Cherished Friend and I must confess I rather like that one. I've been called worse. :cool:


    On 9/3/2017 at 8:59 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    I can't stand groups with no sense of humor.  They're no fun at all. 


    I was thinking about joining the nihilists, but I didn't see the point. :smoke:

    • Like 1
  18. My "church" is Nature. The environments of civilization and human society are merely reflections of concepts we hold in our minds. We manifest those beliefs upon our surroundings and declare them to be reality, and they in turn influence our perception and further bind us to the illusions we have created. As I sit and play my flutes I learn to harmonize with the natural world and lose the desire to impose my will upon it. This sort of meditation can be accomplished anywhere, I just find it simpler and more efficient to distance myself from the the temporal distractions in which we tend to place our hopes and fears. Walking out into the forest is a symbolic gesture of relinquishing those attachments and abandoning expectations of what life "should" be. It cultivates a spirit that asks for nothing and allows itself to simply exist in peace, come rain or shine. It is in that place where I stop seeking for God that the boundaries of self dissolve and I become aware that God was with me all along. For myself, worshipping in the untamed wilds isn't so much about trying to contact some mystical spirit that resides in the universe, but in sweeping away the artificial constructs and internal dialogues which obscure the luminous mind.

    All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.” ~ Nāgārjuna