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Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow

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  • Nick Arnett
    ... Well, there s the question. An honest answer has to include, I don t know. I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A self-centered answer is,
    Message 1 of 79 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Warren Ockrassa wrote:

      > That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else, though
      > -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you have some kind
      > of faith, *why* do you have that faith?

      Well, there's the question. An honest answer has to include, "I don't
      know." I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A self-centered
      answer is, "I'm happier." A non-rational answer is, "It feels true." A
      quasi-evidentiary answer is that it has survived the millenia.

      An easily countered answer is that so much good has been done in the
      name of Christ (easily countered with the Crusades, past or current if
      you wish). Another answer is that most of the people I'm drawn to are
      also believers, a fact that preceded my own faith.

      Perhaps I need to believe there's something beyond death, especially
      since I've been touched by it in more ways than most people.

      In the end, though, I often come back to the mystery of our existence.
      What the heck am I? I don't expect rationality to answer the question
      of why I exist, but I have to admit to a real hunger to answer that
      question. And even if there is no external answer, no God, I believe I
      have the power to create the answer, that by adopting purpose in my
      life, I can create some "why" answers. Those include that I'm here to
      love and create, to be and to do.

      > Possibly it comes, in part, from wanting the world to be a certain way,
      > to fit one specific pattern of acceptability. Also, perhaps there's a
      > fear of the unknown -- anarchy, chaos, unpredictability. These are facts
      > of reality and many people are not comfortable with them. This could be
      > one of the reasons there's so much open denial of the *fact* of global
      > warming and its impending environmental impact. To deny global warming
      > now is equivalent to denial of plate tectonics in the 1970s or the K/T
      > asteroid in the 1980s.

      I suspect that you're onto it, although I tend to believe there's a
      deeper unpredictability present. For the last 10 years or so, I've
      grown increasingly convinced that we are living in a time of
      astonishingly enormous transition. A simple version is that we are
      learning to move from feedback-based Boolean (there are two competing
      choices and only one is right) to fuzzy logic (what is right emerges
      from many interactions) as a source of authority, which echoes what I
      think happened in western culture five centuries ago, when we moved from
      dogmatism (there is one choice and you're in or you're out) to our
      present feedback-based systems of democracy, capitalism, evolution and
      so forth. Gotta get this into a book one of these days...

      > Maybe some of it is that we *let* sheltered attitudes persist. We don't
      > do enough reality checking, not enough pimp-slapping. Maybe we need to
      > stop telling our children bullshit stories about easter bunnies, tooth
      > fairies and father christmases, stop telling them that some things are
      > true which we KNOW are not. Maybe we need to stop telling them
      > impossible stories about loaves and fishes or six-day creations or
      > seventy-two eternal virgins.

      Sorry, but I can't make it that simple. There is great truth in great
      fiction. I believe in a God, who as man, told stories that may or not
      have been actual events, but he was telling truth in his parables.

      I was a reporter for many, many years. Today I believe that
      journalism's focus on "objectivity" is a problem, as it presents the
      illusion of truth. There can be great lies in non-fiction.

      Nick

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    • Warren Ockrassa
      ... From the perspective of the microorganisms? Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But from a survival, life-over-all
      Message 79 of 79 , Apr 19, 2005
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        On Apr 19, 2005, at 12:03 AM, KZK wrote:

        > Nick Arnett wrote:
        >> Warren Ockrassa wrote:
        >>> That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else,
        >>> though -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you
        >>> have some kind of faith, *why* do you have that faith?
        >> Well, there's the question. An honest answer has to include, "I
        >> don't know." I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A
        >> self-centered answer is, "I'm happier." A non-rational answer is,
        >> "It feels true."
        >
        >> A quasi-evidentiary answer is that it has survived the millenia.
        >
        > So has malaria and the clap. Are they forces of "good" too?

        From the perspective of the microorganisms?

        Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But
        from a survival, life-over-all perspective, they're working.

        I think it was Carl Sagan who commented that yeast has been very
        successful over the millennia -- it's taught the apex predators on
        Earth how to replicate itself for myriad purposes, some of which
        include intimate infections, some of which we regard as beneficent,
        some of which are of debatable value.

        Alfred Nobel was forever torn over his invention. Dynamite was -- and
        is -- good for lots of positive applications, as well as more than a
        few negative ones. Does that mean that dynamite was and is
        incontrovertibly evil, or even arguably so? Or is it safer to suggest
        that it's the human capacity for finding a cloud in virtually every
        silver lining that's really to blame?

        I can be very harsh on religion; I know that. But I also recognize that
        *faith* -- not necessarily religion -- has been a source of solace for
        untold millions, possibly billions, has given meaning to lives that
        otherwise might have seemed unnecessarily nasty, short and brutish.

        Nick and I have traded a few Buddhist ideas. I'm not officially
        Buddhist -- never taken a refuge vow -- but I do like some of the
        philosophies of the system; I like how it's non-theist and doesn't have
        a specific doctrine of a soul. One of its major adherents has said more
        than once that to the extent science uncovers new realities about the
        world, it is Buddhism that will have to change to suit itself to our
        increased understandings.

        The reason I bring it up is that a core tenet of Buddhism is that
        suffering should be reduced. If someone's faith in a deity reduces that
        person's suffering *and* does not contribute to the suffering of
        others, I find it hard to see that faith as invalid, worthy of mockery
        or something that needs to be "outgrown" or discarded.

        Scientific findings have also been used to great evil over the
        centuries. Should we argue for discarding the scientific method and its
        fruits? In order to be consistent with the message that religion is a
        source of evil and should be cast aside, that question becomes very
        important, doesn't it?


        --
        Warren Ockrassa, Publisher/Editor, nightwares Books
        http://books.nightwares.com/
        Current work in progress "The Seven-Year Mirror"
        http://www.nightwares.com/books/ockrassa/Flat_Out.pdf

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