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On 19 Dec 2011 at 2:49pm Paul Newman wrote:
Returning to the question of faith, one of the things that seems to be problem is a misguided attempt to apply empirical tests to spiritual truths. I am not sure how an experiment could be devised to test for the experienced reality of loyalty love , beauty, most of the things that really matter in fact.
For some it may be sufficient that the feeling of love they have for their children is a convenient illusion fostered by blind adaptation , others will ascribe the higher value they feel it demands . I see know possible proof either way , my faith is that this experience is real and has value. If not what consequences follow ?

What proof is there in the text of Hamlet that Shakespeare exists? None , even so questing a mind as Hamlets cannot see the proof in every word .This is only an image of what it might be to know your creator but we are not written, we are free souls , his children , to use the traditional metaphor.
So if there is proof of god it is either everything or nothing .Poets theologians mystics and visionaries have wrestled with this problem .
It is what Gerard Manley Hopkins means in Gods Grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil
It maybe that Christmas is a time of sex and spicy sausages but for the many who feel a spiritual need at that time as well , there is no need op cowed by this talk of ??Proof ??
On 19 Dec 2011 at 3:28pm Nanette wrote:
"What proof is there in the text of Hamlet that Shakespeare exists?"
The shrooms must be very good this year.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 3:36pm Dave wrote:
Can you see much up there Paul?
On 19 Dec 2011 at 3:49pm teacher wrote:
I dont know what you are on Paul but I would like some.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 4:13pm Dingo wrote:
What proof is there that Paul Newman exists?
On 19 Dec 2011 at 4:14pm bloke wrote:
"I am not sure how an experiment could be devised to test for the experienced reality of loyalty love , beauty, most of the things that really matter in fact.".

If you believe that these things exist outside of the brains of humans (or other sentient creatures) I can see how you might argue that it would be impossible to quantifiably measure and analyse these things but most rational people recognise that emotions are functions of brain activity. They can be affected by drugs (produced by the body itself and ingested or injected) and brain tissue damage. Neuroscientists, through brain imaging and other technologies, are becoming more and more sophisticated in their ability to analyse our brain's emotional responses to external stimuli and generate a map of why, where and how our emotions are generated.

I see no reason why this sort of technology might not become sophisticated enough to allow for the kind of experiments you say are impossible.

As for the rest of your comment. I have the following to say on it ...
On 19 Dec 2011 at 4:22pm Clifford wrote:
Interesting post Paul. I see now why you've got the bizarre political views that you express on here.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 4:33pm Dingo wrote:
Christmas is the pagan festival yule,that has been assimilated by Christianity.Christianity is itself syncretic, the jesus story is just another variation on old John Barleycorn.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 4:57pm Deelite wrote:
'Christmas is a time of sex and spicy sausages'.

Huh? Just a turkey here.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 5:59pm bastian wrote:
I have trouble with the word"faith", it itself assumes belief in something one does not know to be true, as in yours faithfully...one writes that in hope...I can't be bothered with the intangable,John Barley corn actually grows in th e fields, I can both see and touch him, so he must be real...ergo, no need for faith.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 6:24pm Clifford wrote:
Richard Dawkins makes this interesting point: 'If a time machine could serve up to you your 200 million greats grandfather, you would eat him with sauce tartare and a slice of lemon. He was a fish. Yet you are connected to him by an unbroken line of intermediate ancestors, every one of whom belonged to the same species as its parents and its children . . .'
On 19 Dec 2011 at 7:37pm padster wrote:
Richard dawkins he is like jesus , follow me to the truth!!
On 19 Dec 2011 at 7:38pm jonnyboy wrote:
I believe Nigella to be a goddess.....

Watch the video »
On 19 Dec 2011 at 7:55pm Clifford wrote:
I never noticed Dawkins threatening anyone with hellfire and damnation - or promising eternal life, come to that padster. You do know the difference between reason and faith I suppose.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 9:27pm padster wrote:
I never threaten hellfire or damnation either, yes religion goes on about eternal life, who knows ? dawkins does not nor you nor me. Faith can be flawed and so can reason if you susspose your reasoning is correct. What do you think the differnece between reason and faith is? tell me i would like to know? I think the question is like asking whats the differenec between maths and trust? it makes no sense , they are different things. I can reason easily there is no god, but at the end of the day its just an equation, faith is so much more.
can god ever die? NO
is god all powerful ? YES
can god kill himself? oh oo erm oops ouch erm oh bloody hell reason and logic
big deal...
On 19 Dec 2011 at 9:35pm Yawn.... wrote:

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Religion has taught you to be satisfied with not understanding the world. Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

You have to admit that it's a telling fact that, the world over, the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents rather than any of the other available religions.

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

You'll probably want to read this after the effects of that bottle of red wine have worn off.

On 19 Dec 2011 at 9:51pm padster wrote:
Dont be mean, Yawn , its nearly christmas and i think despite two glasses of wine i can still read and understand you , if anything there is an undertone of "padster you stupid drunk fool" reality is you can not understand why i just dont roll over and tell you how correct you are and how misguided i am.
I have said this alot so let me repeat, i DO BELIEVE IN SCIENCE, i beieve in humans and intellect, i believe in evolution , i still believe in god. I do not believe in fairies or ghosts, but i believe this universes is so vast and rich and amazing as shown by human wonder and science, but i still believe in god and i use the catholic faith as a vehicle for this, pleasen tell me whats so wrong with that? Or dont bother because why should you, each to their own my friend each to their own.
On 19 Dec 2011 at 10:58pm bloke wrote:
Not much mention of Jesus. Jesus is God isn't he?? Jesus is kinda important in Christian theology? What was Jesus's mission again?

To get himself magically impregnated into a virgin so that he could be executed and rise from the dead as a cosmic zombie three days later to live forever in a magic kingdom by the side of himself, as a sacrifice to himself in order to atone for the sin of a man made from dust and a woman made from a rib who was persuaded by a snake to eat from a magic tree which brought sin into the world and so branded all future mankind as sinners, until the afore-mentioned sacrifice and resurrection took place.

Makes perfect sense.

if this is not what you believe why do you call yourself Catholic or Christian?

On 20 Dec 2011 at 7:36am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think that what people believe is far less important than how they live. I have met atheists and pagans who have lived exemplary lives, filled with compassion, forgiveness and love for their fellow men. There have been many so-called christians who have been hate-filled tyrants and many cruelties perpetuated in the name of Christ, from the Spanish Inquisition to the Magdalen laundries and the Christian brothers.
It's actions that count, not theology. Faith is an irrelevance imo, although not a problem as long as those who have it keep it a private matter and don't try and force it down the throats of others.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 10:19am some0ne else wrote:
I'll try and take PN's post seriously. The trouble with mentioning qualities like 'loyalty, love and beauty' in the same breath as theistic faith is that theists seem to fall for the delusion that those qualities are somehow particular to faith. Yet I understand and appreciate those qualities but have no faith.

The way I look at it is this: suppose you meet two strangers, both of whom offer you an act of unsolicited charity or kindness. One is a Christian, who has acted in accordance with a set of moral beliefs they've read about in a book and believes they are obliged to act in accordance with those beliefs, for fear of offending a deity. The second has no faith, but offers charity purely from an innate belief in the rightness of human kindness. Which is the greater act? I'd say the latter, because there is no moral duress involved.

I echo what ACT said. It's possible to live a good and life and to appreciate beauty and goodness without believing that it's all underwritten by sky fairies.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 10:41am Southover Queen wrote:
Do you know what? I think a propensity for believing in deities is an expression of a gene for altruism which is absolutely necessary to enable humans to live in societies. Religion is just a way of codifying ethics, and being religious is probably an inherited stronger version of that genetic predisposition.

I am absolutely certain there is no god. I am completely certain that we exist now because of chance and natural selection, and religious belief is simply one of the quirks of that selection.

Creativity is also a product of natural selection, and it's what makes humans so successful. When creativity meets religious faith you often get great art and that I celebrate in every fibre of my being. But the fact that JS Bach was a fervent believer does not mean that the B minor Mass is the work of divinity - it's the product of a human being who was also a genius.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 11:04am Zebedee wrote:
You cannot be certain that something that's not well defined cannot exist. I.e. God is everything. Seems to make sense to me. Pantheism is something I could take a bit seriously.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 11:24am Southover Queen wrote:
I can be as certain as any religious person is that there is a god. Indeed, I think I can probably be more certain, since science can explain everything that religion offers as evidence of the existence of a god.

I'm perfectly happy to co-exist with people whose explanation of the world hinges upon the existence of supernatural beings as long as they don't browbeat me with their beliefs or blow me up because I won't sign up. Indeed I benefit every day from the efforts of religionists to worship their supernatural being manifest in art and music. I'm just certain they're wrong and that the miracle doesn't lie in the actions of a god but in the fact that mankind has evolved to the point where such creativity can be shared and celebrated.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 1:18pm Zebedee wrote:
For me science is a manifestation of the search for God. As I said previously we can't hope to define or understand God. However, it's pretty damn obvious that there is something infinitely bigger and more complex than ourselves going on (which is the reason that religion exists as far as I am concerned, because we can't accept not knowing.. and also because we can't accept that our egos die with our body)
On 20 Dec 2011 at 3:45pm bloke wrote:
"However, it's pretty damn obvious that there is something infinitely bigger and more complex than ourselves going on"
It's obvious that humanity is one of millions of species on this planet which is among billions of planets in this galaxy among billions of galaxies. In that context I agree. But my interpretation of your comment is that it is implying that there is some higher power or a spiritual realm beyond the material world. As we have no evidence of such things it is impossible to make any rational claims about them. Unless something breaches the metaphysical curtain into the realm of what we can perceive there's no reason to think that there is anything beyond what we can directly or indirectly perceive.
On 20 Dec 2011 at 4:16pm bastian wrote:
could be giah man
On 20 Dec 2011 at 7:10pm Gnostic Ned wrote:
The kingdom of God is within.
On 21 Dec 2011 at 4:58pm bloke wrote:
Within your head.
On 21 Dec 2011 at 9:19pm Rumpled4skin wrote:
If men evolved from monkeys tens of thousands of years ago, why haven't they ever managed it since? Then again there is Dawkins I guess, he isn't completely evolved is he.......
On 22 Dec 2011 at 5:57pm bastian wrote:
some of us are still evolving...pale skin to absorb sunlight and a tolerence to cows milk all help with the desperate need for vitamine D in northern Europe..it's an ice age thing to survive..be interesting to see if it reverts on climate change.
By the way all you post xmas dieters..don't, because vit D only absorbs throught the fat in the skin..no fat, no vit d.
On 27 Dec 2011 at 5:16am Popebuster wrote:
I had a religious experience once. Then the acid wore off.

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