well, I guess I'm in trouble...

mjp

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Well, shit. Just heard on the BBC news that Hitchens died.

I was hoping he would make it, but there you go. He was only 62.
 

hoochmonkey9

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shit, indeed. I enjoyed reading/listening to Hitchens even when I didn't agree with him.
 

pig ear press

Over 500 posts
He was born in my home town, Portsmouth. He moved from being involved with the SWP to voting for Thatcher, and then Bush. So, on that over-simplified logic, had he lived another ten years he may have become an Evangelist! Anyway, I like the fact that when, after contracting cancer, he was asked if he still rejected the idea of God, he replied that he'd seen no scientific proof for his existence, but he 'liked surprises'.
 

growing beard

Over 100 posts
This is a good question to me, even though the thread is somewhat old. There seem to be two different questions really - whether there is any kind of divine reality, and what it means when people are 'religious.' I am especially fascinated by comparisons between the US and Europe, since I lived 5 years over there, including 2 in Austria being married to an Austrian woman (the other three working on a permaculture farm near Zurich and getting lost in libraries in Paris). Plus my father has lived as a deadbeat marxish philosopher in the french capital for twenty years (just this year got his first ever book published - way to go dad - deadbeat no more!) so for various reasons I've been there quite a bit. not just paris and austria, puttering around here and there, dated a greek woman for a year, etc.

But around here I virtually know nobody who thinks of himself as an orthodox catholic and is going to church.
My recollection, Johannes, is that in Austria people do not admit to being religious, but when it comes down to it, they still are very invested in the church - things like birth, death, and marriage, the church runs the show. Not only that, but I seem to recall that in Austria a portion of peoples' taxes actually go to the church - a fairly big portion, even. Time will tell if they younger generation actually man up and let those churches decay, or whether they will continue to finance institutions that they claim not to believe in. Here in the states, churches get tax breaks, but the general public is not obligated to finance them.

So, when people say that Americans are more religious, my response is always ... well, yes and no. Americans pay more lip service to religion, but that seems to me to be more about americans' desperation to be at home, to be accepted somewhere. Europeans do not have this desperation, by and large, because they are at home. They may have complaints about it, but they have it, and they seem to have substance that most americans lack. I was intrigued to read in Shakespeare Never Did This that Bukowski wrote that his
only male friends
were Carl Weissner and Barbet Schroeder - both Europeans - who had
given him belief and hope where before he had very little, the luck of knowing them is a sun which always shines... Which was and is true.
A cynic could argue that he 'loved' those guys for what they did for his career, and because if you have intimacy issues it is easier to idealize people who live across an ocean - but it seems to me that this gushing for Barbet and Carl was fairly sincere, and nothing he has said about any of his American 'friends' seems remotely as flattering.

When people rail on american culture (not that johannes is of course), that is one response - well, we're doing the best we can considering the fact of being an ocean away from our homelands. Are we shallow and subject to the whims of the media? Sure but there are decent reasons for it.
 

Johannes

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What Matter Most is How Well You Walk Through the Kangaroos.
My recollection, Johannes, is that in Austria people do not admit to being religious, but when it comes down to it, they still are very investedin the church - things like birth, death, and marriage, the church runs the show. Not only that, but I seem to recall that in Austria a portion of peoples' taxes actually go to the church - a fairly big portion, even. Time will tell if they younger generation actually man up and let those churches decay, or whether they will continue to finance institutions that they claim not to believe in. Here in the states, churches get tax breaks, but the general public is not obligated to finance them.
That's true, but you've only got to pay church taxes as long as you are a member of the (catholic) church. That's the turning point for a lot of people I know, who are agnostic anyway but slide along out of laziness or whatever. When the first letter of the church arrives, asking their income and demanding to pay, they quit.

There is a nice piece of prose by Nietzsche somewhere, forgot where, but it's about him waking up to the sound of some church bells and thinking: "Can this be true? That's the sound in honor to some guy who allegedly lived 2000 years ago and claimed to be the son of god, proof still missing, and who did some little magic tricks ..."
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
As a confirmed 'Darwin-lover' I do believe that God is a man made creation - not vice versa, (kinda pinching a quote by Camille Paglia there but leaving out 'the greatest creation') But I do kind of get a bit fuzzy over Jesus, sure he was totally
delusional, with a God Complex almost the size of a lead singer with a rock band - but not quite.I like to think of him as a rebel and a radical, have no beef whatsoever with what he preached, but have to admit haven't studied the Bible to be anyway an authority.Do have a major beef with organised religion and religious dogma, wish I could reconcile these two things.
 

Danny Mac

Over 100 posts
All I can tell you is that organized religion is a bunch of crap. I went to Catholic school for 3 years so I got to see what it was like on the "inside." Little kids got the crap beat out of them, me included. All Catholic school kids have horror stories. You can see the Catholic church shriveling on the vine right now. Schools are being closed every few years in and around Philly. The money is drying up because level headed people no longer believe all the nonsense they preach. When I was kid at school and we had to walk from one building to the next they told us to stay in line and walk slowly. The nuns told us that if we walked slowly we would get less wet. So I believed them. I was in 2nd grade. It took two of my older brothers to teach me that that was a bunch of crap. Did I mention the smell of vomit in the halls all the time from kids puking from all of the stress from the nuns rein of terror.
 

5:28am

Over 100 posts
When I was kid at school and we had to walk from one building to the next they told us to stay in line and walk slowly. The nuns told us that if we walked slowly we would get less wet.
I don't understand. Was it raining or was something more sinister happening...?
 

Skygazer

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Over 500 posts
I think Christopher Hitchens pretty much nailed it when it comes to religion.
Hard to disagree with him isn't? and I don't; religion is based on a delusion and it does rule through fear and coercion. It's all about bureaucratic survival and paranoia to any challenges/opposition.
But Jesus (and I feel a bit embarrassed writing about this) real or otherwise seems the opposite of all that, being anti-establishment and rejecting wealth and power, and fake 'holiness' and hypocracy, so basically wish I could just make up my bloody mind once and for all and reject the whole lot. Guess I just like bad boys and rebels too much.
 

Bruno Dante

Over 500 posts
I think given the authorship of the Gospels (or the lack of knowledge regarding who wrote them and when etc.) it's pretty difficult to get assess what Jesus was like. Even given that though, as you point out, what we are told about him doesn't seem to tally up with organised religions like the major churches. So yeah, he was ok, I suppose ;)
 

Skygazer

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Aaaawww Newcastle, you secret Jesus lover, you'll have to keep that in the closet, just like me.

Erm, bit misleading that, I didn't mean you kept me in the closet too, should have wrote that better.
 

mjp

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Funny that we have historical records of plenty of less magical and supposedly revolutionary people from two thousand years ago, but no historical record of this Jesus fellow. Outside of that book.

Anyway, this sums the whole thing up:

13 - 1.jpg
 

bospress.net

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Yes, some people (myself included) do NOT believe that jesus was even a real person. This is called the "jesus myth theory" which is different from the "christ myth theory" which posits that jesus lived, but was not christ. The jesus myth thorey takes the opinion that no one that was written about int he bible as "jesus" ever existed and that he was a piece of fiction that has no basis in reality. I think that he was a made up story from the beginning.

This is not a widely held theory, but one that does not stop me from feeling like it is right.
 

Danny Mac

Over 100 posts
I don't understand. Was it raining or was something more sinister happening...?
Sorry about that (5:28 am). Yes it was raining. I suffer from Senior moments sometimes or maybe it's because I took too much acid in the 80's.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
Be all that as it may . . . now that we're all highly intelligent beings with logic and science and reason on our side instead of superstition and fear.Does it matter if he was real or not? - it will never be proven either way, some of his (or attributed to him) teaching and radical views are historically important, all the propaganda stuff about miracles and whatnot, leave them aside, it's was just showbiz to pull in and wow the audiences. I agree with a lot of the teaching, but all the God stuff and afterlife - no.
I really enjoyed watching the Jonathan Miller series: a follow on from A Rough History of Disbelief, it was The Atheism tapes, with 6 episodes, talking with a selection of people including Arthur Miller, Stephen Weinberg, Richard Dawkins etc; This is the first episode, there all on Youtube:
 

mjp

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some of his (or attributed to him) teaching and radical views are historically important, all the propaganda stuff about miracles and whatnot, leave them aside...
The "teachings," such as they are, could be important, but they are not, seeing as they aren't sold separately. The people who believe them believe the entire bat shit enchilada.

One of the foundational concepts of every cult is a good sprinkling of common sense and wonderful peace philosophy, which makes the control bits go down easier. And Christianity and all it's bible-believing offshoots are definitely cults. They meet all the definitions.
 

Gerard K H Love

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I hate to piss on your parade but until you experience divine intervention-Which can come about from being ultra positive as well- you have no idea what there is super naturally . Now that statement alone will provoke gallons of piss in my direction but I can only consider the source.
Yes, most plastic Christians are quite annoying-including some of my family but the real ones do not tell you they show if you are not blind. Don't worry I am nothing to concern yourselves with. Like always.
 

Gerard K H Love

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The funny thing to me is very likely someday, maybe 2000 years from now, people could very well interpret Bukowski's writing as some type of Gospel- of course possibly the censored versions after fanatics take everything over. There is a pure truth in his words, some of them, anyway.
We hear everything and remember what we want.
 

Purple Stickpin

Billions served
but I can only consider the source.
The source is your peers; albeit a cross-section that is not typical of mainstream America. Are you trying to suggest that "the source" (us) is somehow a group of people who are not as good as you?

Don't worry I am nothing to concern yourselves with. Like always.
This is a typical "crucified" position. In the past, I have personally enjoyed reading your posts here, but now, I must consider your agenda in every post. Why has it come to this? Doesn't your faith give you strength to deal with heathens such as we are?
 

Gerard K H Love

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Well Mr. Martin you are reading a bit too much into my post. Please keep it simple, you know I love all of my friends here even though we are not always on the same page. Nor do I assume any superiority towards anyone, except for one or two of the trolls.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
The "teachings," such as they are, could be important, but they are not, seeing as they aren't sold separately. The people who believe them believe the entire bat shit enchilada.
I know and that's the scary bit. Even if on excavation, some amazing irrefutable evidence of Jesus' existence came to light, it still for me, would not change a thing, it wouldn't prove the existence of god.If he was anything he was lefty radical preacher and possibly one of the first pro women's lib at a time when women were treated as one up from slaves.
What really annoys me is the hijacking of him by the religious right, I don't think he would spend a second in their company, that's the terrible irony. But your right in that you can't separate the two things.
 
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