Thanks, Steve - 

---In, <steve.sundur@...> wrote :

 Very nice piece Jim, and mirrors my own feelings on the subject. 

 There is no Crusader mentality here regarding the belief in God, or a higher 
power, as some here would like to imagine.

 Of course in the greater world, this is not the case, but we are having a 
discussion here, and it is nice to keep it honest.

---In, <fleetwood_macncheese@...> wrote :

 All good points, Curtis. Yeah, the God thing is a real conundrum. Something in 
this universe likes the polarity of it; can't prove it/it is everywhere. Unlike 
any rational argument, I cannot justify God in any other way, except for a 
subtle *sense* of His and Her work. There is no way to prove it. It is a sense 
that has changed throughout my life. I enjoyed Edg's equating God to pure 
awareness, because as I have come to appreciate God more in my life, a growth 
in continuous pure awareness has accompanied that. 

 I can appreciate that these experiences of mine are not provable, but what is 
provable, is the ongoing success and happiness I enjoy, for myself, my family 
and friends and acquaintances. What is also provable is that way that God 
enters all my creative work. What is also provable, is that He and She point 
the way, and I continue to do the heavy lifting. No magical thinking, here, 
simply a deeper revelation of what it means to be human.

 So, it simply comes down to a consciousness of God, or not God. 

 Thanks for writing this, and managing to keep a subject close to our hearts, 
open for discussion.   
---In, <curtisdeltablues@...> wrote :

 You are both missing my point. I am not anti-belief. I have a million of them 
that I have chosen, and some that I just absorbed without good reasons.

 I am anti bad reasons supporting beliefs. 

Tomorrow I will be in a class of 5th graders using blues songs to demonstrate 
how you have to pay attention to the details in a song in order to determine 
the intended meaning of the songwriter. This is a critical thinking skill, not 
just in science, but in the arts. If a kid says, "I believe that the writer 
hates his father", I will say "show me the supporting evidence for that 
belief." It will not be OK for the child to say "It is my personal belief and 
you have no right to challenge it by questioning what I am basing it on." This 
is how good thinking works, we construct beliefs out of the best evidence we 
can find and don't just make shit up for no reason when it concerns the 
author's intention.

The distinction between a positive belief in God and not accepting the proposed 
evidence for God is not a comparison of equal beliefs. This distinction is so 
huge that our whole modern society and way of thinking emerged from the dark 
ages of superstition and unwarranted beliefs through this gap.

"You are a witch"
"No I am not"
"Prove that you are not a witch or we will burn you alive."

Little problem. You can't prove a negative. Because the burden of proof has 
been shifted from the person with the belief, who by good thinking skills 
should provide evidence for the claim, to the accused, who has no chance of 
doing so, we get human toast. Now today we can analyze the evidence and see 
right through it. Evidence given was often disobedience to their husbands, 
surprise surprise! Today we say they had shitty reasons for their belief. We 
judge them. Just like we judge ISIS's shitty reasons for the beliefs supporting 
the things they are doing.

Back to the God belief. People believe in his existence for reasons that are 
known and categorized by both the belief systems themselves and philosophers 
interested in human thought and the distinction between good and bad reasons to 
support a belief. I invite John to let us know the supporting reasons for his 
belief in God if he would like to continue the discussion. Jim has shown us  at 
least one of his reasons for his belief in God which falls philosophically in 
the area of mystical experience claims. We then can evaluate how convincing we 
find this claim. But I don't have to have a belief in the opposite to not judge 
his reasons as good ones. I can't know if there is a God or if Jim is 
experiencing a state of mind here this reality is as he claims, self evident. I 
just see no reason to buy the whole story,

So  I don't have a belief in no-God which is on a par with the positive belief 
in a God. I just don't accept the proposed reasons for the belief in him that I 
have come across to be convincing enough for me to adopt it. I would never 
undertake the fools errand of proving a negative, and am not interested in 
trying to support a belief in no-God. I would be just as happy if there was 
one, but I am not going to accept his existence on the basis of what I consider 
to be poor reasons. 

One more example. You go to the doctor with a bitch'n migraine headache and 
seek relief. You are assuming that he is going to hand you something that has 
some good reasons for the belief that it will help you. You know, clinical 
trials, curing mice headaches, the works.
Instead he hands you a bat's wing and says, "boil this into some tea. I read 
this in a book I found in a second hand book store on witches spells and I 
believe it will work" When you give him the stink face he says, "prove that it 
will not work.  I am saying it will and  you seem to hold a belief that it will 
not, so prove to me that it will not work, the burden of proof is on you to 
disprove my belief."

Do you have to hold a positive belief that it will not work or even prove that 
is will not work or can you just say," I don't accept your reasons for your 
belief, so hand over some pain meds with better reasons to believe that they 
will work than: I read it somewhere."

No one is claiming they don't believe in anything. But distinguishing beliefs 
with good supporting evidence from those that do not is a fundamental skill for 
educated people. Even in the elementary school curriculum. But the sad fact is 
that society has bought into religious beliefs as a class of protected beliefs 
where it is wrong to use the same thinking tools we use in literally every 
other area of our life.

---In, <awoelflebater@...> wrote :


---In, <jr_esq@...> wrote :


 Your observation is excellent.  It appears that for some people here think 
that being called a "believer" is uncool and, a worst, an Ebola case.  As such, 
they avoid giving any logical evidence for their assertions in order to be 
undefined, ambiguous and definitely not known as a "believer".

 Who would have thought the B word has become pejorative?

 I know and it is very random. Because every single human being on this planet 
has hundreds if not thousands of beliefs that they act on every day of their 
lives. Beliefs are not something you can not change in an instant nor do they 
necessarily result in death, dismemberment or fatal disease. Often they are 
very private things that undergo constant revision in the mind of the believer 
or non believer. It is as easy to change one's mind (belief set) as it is to 
sneeze. It is not beliefs that are dangerous it is what someone does with the 
belief just as it is an exercise in futility to go around poo pooing other's 
beliefs in an effort to do - what? Change them? Mock them? Show the believer 
how superior you are in your alternate beliefs? Those who claim they don't 
believe in anything are like those who claim they don't need a solid surface to 
occasionally stand upright on.

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