Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Go to Hell

So, all that stands between me and ultimate irresponsible mayhem (well, for about two days or so before I have to start with all the end-of-year-administrative bullshit) is a final on thursday which, to be honest, I'm not very motivated to study for. I'm tempted to email the prof, cite domestic troubles, and take a pass/fail in that class; I probably won't do it, but man, I have to say, it's tempting.

So anyway, I was watching the motorcycle diaries yesterday, and there's this part where Che and his buddy are at a leper colony; I was watching this with my ex-roommate, and we had a brief exchange over the scene, which I have paraphrased for your reading pleasure:

Him: Dude, you know how much leprosy sucks?
Me: Yeah man, bits fall of you and shit. It sucks.
Him: So, Jesus spent time with lepers too, right?
Me: Yeah, he healed them and stuff.
Him: Yeah right.
Me: What, what do you mean, 'yeah right?'
Him: He didn't heal the lepers.
Me: Yeah he did.
Him: Dude, it's leprosy.
Me: He fucking healed the lepers, alright?
Him: Why, because it says so in a book?
Me: I happen to believe that book is the word of God, alright? Are you trying to piss me off?
Him: It's still a fucking book.
Me: Dude, this seriously offends the shit out of me. You should know that this sort of talk pisses me off.
Him: Yeah, I know, it's the one thing that pisses you off.
Me: Seriously, man, what the fuck, dude.
Him: Ok, fine, fine, he HEALED THE LEPERS.
Me: That's right. He fucking healed the lepers.
Him: Oooh! Looky at me! I'm Jesus, and I'm healing the lepers because I'M MAGIC
Me: You're such a fucking asshole.

You know, I might not be the best Christian, or even a very good one, but I still tend to get pissed off when people tell me my personal lord and saviour is a fraud. If I were the lord almighty, and I didn't know that my ex-roommate was, in general, a cool guy, I would throw him in the lake of fire out of spite. Naturally, this is a bit of a stretch, given that an almighty god would also be omniscient and stuff like that. I suppose that, all things being told, God is also less spiteful than I am. If he isn't, well, we're collectively fucked, ladies and gents.

Is it just me, or is there very little love for Christianity on the net these days? I mean, I've seen all the 'I love Jesus' blogs (and, to be honest, I don't really read most of them) but, aside from the blogs that are openly Christian, like, 24/7, it seems that there's a lot of blogs with very little nice stuff to say about Christianity in general. To be fair, I don't care whether my beliefs are in vogue or not; I don't believe in God to please people. All the same, though, it'd be nice to read a little less, 'oh, Christians suck because they think everyone else is going to hell,' or 'evangelists suck because I dislike people telling me what to believe'. If I was a better Christian, I'd be an evangelist, too, you know. I remember when I was a little kid, my faith was founded exclusively on a fear of hell. I used to try to get my friends to believe in God, just so they wouldn't have to go to hell, you know, when we all died and stuff. Now, of course, I realize that, even if most of these friends went to hell, I probably wouldn't remember them.

Yes, that's right, I'm not a very nice person all the time. In fact, sometimes I'm an asshole. You know what, though? I didn't make up the rules of my faith, ok? I believe God did. I'm not a perfect dude as a Christian, I'm just, you know, a forgiven one. Don't give me the whole 'what if a mass murderer repents and blah blah blah what about good people, benevolent God, etc, etc,' and all that nonsense. If it were up to me, everyone I liked would go to heaven, and everyone else would get stuffed come judgement day, because hey, I'm selfish like that. Just so you know, though, the last time I checked, I wasn't God. Faith, as far as I see it, is a stretch. I'm believing in something I can't see, don't necessarily know exists, and believing a whole bunch of definite properties about God which we may never be able to prove one way or another. Given that I signed up for the package deal, rather than the simple 'get out of hell free' card (which, I'm told, might not even necessarily exist as an independent offer) I figure that, unfortunately, I am doomed to believe that some people will go to hell. Isn't it more comforting if the people who fill hell, therefore, are those who didn't make the same religious gamble as me?

I just checked again. Nope, still not God. Don't bitch at me about the rules, alright? I didn't make them, I just believe them. I can do that, can't I?

Today's Blog Babe: Amelle; oh, if you guys have noticed, it is June, and I have yet to replace my blog babe of the month. First, I've gotten really shit few applicants. At this rate, I figure I will stop this whole fiasco, especially if applications don't pick up. No girls want free advertising? Can get a LOT of hits, you know! Whatever, lah.


Blogger Ah 9 spewed forth...

God got blog u know? my

1/6/05 03:29  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

I sort of liked the motorcycle diaries, and as an unrelated aside miraculous healings of lepers (or people with chronic flesh-wasting diseases) have (I think) indeed been documented.

also, far be it from me to preach, but package deals are indeed package deals - it's not a gamble, it's much more like a contract.

1/6/05 04:36  
Blogger Adrian spewed forth...

Heh, I used to be a militant atheist, but now I'm God. Ok, maybe not, but at least I no longer go around baiting religious people. I dislike Christians in general, because they're a bunch of fucking assholes (and so are Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Jews, Satanists, etc), but I've been known to make friends of individual Christians (and Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Jews, Satanists, etc). Down to and including Fundies. Fair enough? >=)

1/6/05 05:26  
Blogger B.D. Crabtree spewed forth...

this isn't really a "babe blogger"... actually not at all. Still, check out pic #23:

1/6/05 05:44  
Blogger Guojun spewed forth...

Eh... After you left the comment on my blog, I'm sort of oblidged to comment on your blog too.. Wahaha.

But seriously, I like this "I'm no perfect Christian" entry of yours. Actually I din know that you are one... Wahaha

1/6/05 08:35  
Anonymous straydog spewed forth...

Religion should be base on faith, not facts (because there are nothing that can be proven or otherwise).

Considered yourself lucky. You only have to contend with bickering with your ex-roomate. It could be worse, like having your faith tested.

e.g hearing voices in your head to kill someone you love (Abraham), or struck down with all the diseases (Job). Just be glad that God has changed from being a totalitaristic being in the old testaments to being a hippie in the new testaments.

1/6/05 21:34  
Blogger sarah spewed forth...

hey. lol. I thought you were no longer a christian! lol. glad to noe that u are lah anyway. wonder what God is thinking now.

1/6/05 22:23  
Blogger Green Ogre spewed forth...

I would say that religion is a personal matter and leave it at that. I personally believe that most religions try to make you a better person. If you're a nice person to hang out with, it doesn't really matter to me what faith you profess to believe in, if any.

Still, I must admit that I've ranted against the Christian Churches. Though I still believe in God, I don't necessarily believe in the God represented by the churches. So many different interpretations of the Bible. And each one seems to suit that particular denomination. Frankly, I'd rather believe in my own interpretation and trust that God is helping me along. In short, I believe in God, but not the Church.

The different perspectives on teh words of a deity have also skewered other major religions, so I'd rather not believe in the institutions they've set up.

FYI, I come from a Roman Catholic background.

1/6/05 22:34  
Blogger J Schnorng spewed forth...

ah 9: that is only one of many god blogs. wah biang, those god blogs...

jamin: Oh, it's ok, you can preach; you're one of the few people I don't mind being preachy. I have the motorcycle diaries on dvd, but then, I suppose you won't watch it, for reasons you and I know and I don't want to repeat here.

AQ: I told on your claim to be god to God already. He never reply to my message, but I just thought you should know. Heh. Heh. Nananibooboo.

b.d.c.: shit man, imagestation requires me to SIGN UP and stuff. isn't there an easier way?

guojun: aiyah, if it's such hard work, don't need, lah. although, considering how pathetic my comments section has been in recent posts, err, thanks, i guess.

straydog: yes, i'm thankful that i don't have to get my butt kicked or fed to the lions. this is awesome. being fed to lions would really suck, man. like, really, really suck.

sarah: yup. i'm still a christian.

green ogre: i totally went through an anti-organized religion phase and stuff like that, and, to be honest, i don't exactly go to church all that often. still, though, i guess i'll always consider myself christian (though what god thinks is an entirely different matter, of which i am unaware).

2/6/05 00:10  
Blogger sunflowr spewed forth...

I'm happy for you.

2/6/05 02:04  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

uh, greenogre - I've found that actually reading the bible and seeking to understand it helps to resolve some of these issues.

Shame about the church, yes - but often it's because there's not enough attention paid to what the bible actually says, rather than what men would like it to say and therefore 'creatively' read it as saying...
read it for yourself, and if you believe any translation is interpretation too, you can read either the Youngs Literal Translation or the parallel bible to discern the likely original meanings ( I think)

2/6/05 05:43  
Blogger Green Ogre spewed forth...

Heh, throughout history, there have been quite a few Christians that have been branded heretics by Churches. For example, Martin Luther.

And who can truly claim to know what or how God thinks? If someone dows that, I'll think of two things;
1- He/She/It is God. And I should get down on my knees.
2- He/She/It is a fucking liar.
Christ went through both.

What I can believe that God truly loves. And it's comforting to know that someone's looking out for you, and he happens to be omniprescient. Which would likely mean that he doesn't miss much. Great relief.

Big Fuck, sorry to hijack your comments board.

Jamin, I'd agree that bible helps to resolve some issues. Actually, applied properly, I find that Buddhist studies are good as well. It's just that some have got their own interpretations of this too. And each is convinced of their "rightness".

God is personal. Just as people speak different languages, I believe his Word speaks to each of us differently. And I'd just leave it at that.

2/6/05 10:05  
Blogger Green Ogre spewed forth...

Heh, throughout history, there have been quite a few Christians that have been branded heretics by Churches. For example, Martin Luther.

And who can truly claim to know what or how God thinks? If someone dows that, I'll think of two things;
1- He/She/It is God. And I should get down on my knees.
2- He/She/It is a fucking liar.
Christ went through both.

What I can believe that God truly loves. And it's comforting to know that someone's looking out for you, and he happens to be omniprescient. Which would likely mean that he doesn't miss much. Great relief.

Big Fuck, sorry to hijack your comments board.

Jamin, I'd agree that bible helps to resolve some issues. Actually, applied properly, I find that Buddhist studies are good as well. It's just that some have got their own interpretations of this too. And each is convinced of their "rightness".

God is personal. Just as people speak different languages, I believe his Word speaks to each of us differently. And I'd just leave it at that.

2/6/05 10:05  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

I don't buy this god is personal stuff. When you state a belief in god, you are stating something as if it were fact (as opposed to I like ice cream which is a clear opinion). If you can't back up such a claim (or any claim) rigorously, there really is little reason to believe in it...unless you state it as axiom (i.e. taken as self-evident and without proof), but to state the existence of god as an axiom or to state an entire religious text as axiom is to take an axiom that is unnecessary for further understanding of the world in the first case and even contradicts the observable world in the second. I simply take "An observable universe exists" as an axiom for understanding the universe. This would at best leave the question of god up in the air or at worst say, we have never observed a consciousness separate and unaffected by physical stimuli, ergo we do not even have the observation required for the hypothesis of god (which I am assuming most people don't think is made out of matter). (If you do think god is made out of something physical, I guess my refutation would be that you could destroy him, so he wouldn't be much of a god.)

(I also very arbitrarily say, "The purpose of life is happiness" (in a general sense i.e. not just referring to my happiness) as a basis for philosophy. Life of course provides no axioms so I just arbitrarily chose that.)

What I can't understand about religion (organized or not) is how they can create a huge amount of axioms and start discussing them as if they were fact and how we can reconcile the seemingly contradictory belief of A and belief of B or God's action #1 and God's action #2. Of course, the answer is, "Well, you / some guys just made it all up, so you'd probably expect some shit to contradict other shit."

But whatever...What I say isn't going to change anyone's mind.

2/6/05 17:18  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

That was Vish above.

2/6/05 17:19  
Blogger Green Ogre spewed forth...

Let us indulge in some sophism.

When I state that I belief in God, yes, I am stating a fact. That I do believe in God. It isn't just an opinion. It's a fact that I do feel that way.

With your example of "an observable universe exists" I, too can point to quantum and astro physics about the myriad unobservable matter in our universe. Supersymmetric particles, dark energy, superstring theories, concrete? No, still just equations and theories. Still rather abstract.

If one were to state that God exists. You could argue can you see, touch, smell or hear God. Like as in a physical phenomena? Not really, but I can feel him. When I'm like super totally lost, but I feel a comforting presence in lonely place. When a full moon hangs low in the sky. When the clouds draw masics in the sky. Or the guilt when I know I've done shit I'm not supposed to do.

Can you you touch, hear, smell or see gravity? No. Though one would accept that gravity exists. Why? Because you can feel it when you jump. When you run. You can measure it, you say.

Whether you feel that there is a God or not could also be put up akin to measurements. If you don't feel God. Fine, you could be like in space with minimal effects of gravity, beyond the event horizons of any planetary body. Don't let a passing comet or asteroid get you though. You sure as hell have no atmosphere to act as a heat shield. Or did I mention the bombardment of radioactive waves?

IF one feels God is all your actions and controls all your life. Then one could be living on say a 10G planet, where one feels compelled to do certain things, and that many things now become no nos. (We shall exclude evolution into a stronger body, just the human form as it is now.) Mostly, we'd just lie down and take whatever comes. After all, it is the will of God. A true Stoic after the classical traditions. The suicide bomber who truly believes he will go to heaven, the serial killer that says God made him kill. They feel that they have to do it.

I guess many would fall in between. I am not a fan of extremes.

Faith and reason, never the twain shall meet. Let's just leave well enough alone.

If you don't believe in God, that's fine by me. I have atheist and agnostic friends as well. Even a "I hate God and Satan, because they fucked up my life" person.

Many aspects of philo (especially existentialism, after all, if Descartes says "I think therefore I am" who needs God? Doesn't matter that there are quite a few logical flaws in that essay he wrote.) and science can lead one to declaim the existence of god(s). One become grounded simply reason and the self from which reason arises. Being reasonable is an axiom. Reason tells you that 1+1=2 and that it cannot be otherwise.

Faith can sometimes be an irrational belief, sometiems to the point of folly, in something. The wife who pleads leniency for the husband who constantly abuses her, because he promised he'd stop.

I believe that we need both faith and reason to lead a balanced life. Again, there might be disagreements, but then that's life yeah?

2/6/05 22:31  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

Well, observable shouldn't be taken literally i.e. observed with the eyes necessarily (although that is a part of it).

Further, gravity definitely can be observed in everything from watching things fall to planetary motions. But even if we accept that we cannot observe gravity but can only feel it, you cannot feel something and decide that what you are feeling is God. When I feel anger, I can decide that I am feeling anger. Similarly with any other emotion. But if I feel something external to me like something crawling on my leg, I cannot immediately decide that it is a spider until I observe this to be true or infer it somehow. ("That definitely feels like eight legs.") Unless you contend that god is an emotion (and nothing more), you cannot simply feel God.

Kind of a side note but still somewhat related. Buddhist monks often feel like they are one with everything when they meditate and franciscan nuns feel like they are one with God when they pray. What's going on here? fMRIs show a part of the brain shuts down that helps the brain distinguish from it and its surroundings, so they just feel like they are everything.

Although there may be disagreements, there should never be disagreements within an individual (self-contradiction) in the same way no one should say, "I think that man weighs 160 lbs. I also believe he weighs 167 lbs." Further, you really need neither faith nor reason to live. I simply think living purely by reason (and also assuming the observable world axiom) is the closest one can approach to truth.


3/6/05 02:30  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

oh, I disagree - living purely by reason is (as far as Hume could tell and pointed out) as close as one can approach to not doing anything at all.

Any action one takes must necessarily be based upon the impetus of desire - there is no inherent value-system in reason itself. Anything you belive to be a 'reasonable' underlying reason is merely an expression of your inherent values.

Furthermore, I think the whole universe points to the existence of God. That there is no scientific account of how life itself came into being - how the elements congealed into cells which suddenly acquired the purpose of life. These things science does not seek to - and I suspect in any case cannot - explain.

It's then an interesting thing that atheism is a very recent sociological development - that in the whole history of mankind, there is nothing so widely believed and so alien to human experience as the belief in the existence of some form of God. I'd suspect it's the claim that there is no God that really requires faith, not the other way round.

Following which, there are historical documents regarding Jesus - who claimed to be God in the flesh - which really need to be evaluated and accounted for - and by all means bringing reason to evaluate its claims is excellent, but being willing to see what they're saying on their own, and read the text for what it actually does say is also necessary. I think considering these things is the closest one can approach to truth.

P.S. Descartes also argues for both Cosmological and Ontological arguments (which were meant to prove the existence of God) explicitly - without which he could not find a way around what is called Cartesian scepticism - i.e. that 'you are' (extant), but does the world exist? His famous 'cogito ergo sum' statement is only the beginning of his meditations on how anyone can form a theory of epistemology.

3/6/05 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

I did read a truncated, translated version of that paper a few years ago, so I don't feel comfortable discussing Descartes, frankly.

I agree with you that if you live purely by reason, you cannot make decisions. That literally happened with patients who lost the emotional side of their brain in accidents, so they were led to debate endlessly on nearly every decision and never come to a conclusion. But it was a faith vs. reason, not an emotion vs. reason argument. In the latter, you must mix things up else there would be no impetus for action but as far as decisions go, the logic should be reasonable, the driver the emotion.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by purpose of life. I'll just try and explain the current theory (as last I read which was 4 years ago--clearly, this will probably have a fluid answer until we actually create life from various ingredients from earth 3.5 billion years ago...they've synthesized vital amino acids among other things by just leaving a similar environment in just a few nights--life took 1 billion years to show up--not too shabby but not conclusive yet). All our amino acids are left-handed. In kaolinite (type of clay, present billions of years ago), only left-handed amino acids can bind--this among other various properties of kaolinite implies this could be the place where life formed. Due to evolution that happens among molecules (large molecules with stronger bonds can gobble up weaker molecules by binding with them--a well-documented phenomenon), proteins, RNA, and a phospholipid bilayer eventually formed. (Proteins and a phospholipid bilayer are relatively strong molecules.) With evolution on the molecular level it was only a matter of time (1 billion years) before life formed in the wet kaolonite of primordial earth. (There's also a theory that it started in deep sea vents.)

Truthfully, I think where life comes from is not the big question--not quite answered, but evident it will. The thing that bothered me when I was making the jump to atheism (I was a Christian 12 years ago) disputable is why we have a consciousness (in the sense of self-awareness). Doesn't seem like there's any reason for it to evolve. It may simply be a side-effect. Perhaps beings cannot be as intelligent as we are without creating consciousness. But this is certainly the one point where we an instance of abstraction in the universe. We can never observe an abstract in the universe except our minds (or more appropriately each individual's own mind--I cannot tell if anyone else has a consciousness, and assuming you have one, as I do assume, you cannot observe my consciousness or anyone else's). Granted, it's intimately tied to the physical structure of our brains, but this is still a weird phenemonon.

3/6/05 10:37  
Blogger J Schnorng spewed forth...

Yeah, I remember the whole Descartes proving God exists thing and stuff, but you'd have to twist my arm to get me to talk about it.

Suffice to say that God exists, because he says so. End of argument.

3/6/05 13:27  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

well, the thing is that even if protein groups could be created by the massively random formation of amino acids in primordal soup, this is a huge step away from creating cells of any sort - even unicellular organisms of any sort - chaos doesn't randomly become flesh and take on life, and spontaneous generation of life is something no real scientific theory has been able to credibly postulate.

the rest of your post, anon, is a matter of epistemology.

4/6/05 19:24  
Blogger dweam spewed forth...

ha. what are the qualities needed to qualify for blog babe of the month?

5/6/05 11:51  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

well, that was an explanation of how a unicellular organism is formed. The rest is just evolution from there, whose evidence can be found amply elsewhere.

Moreover, although religion has submitted a hypothesis for how life could have been created, it is without foundation.

The reason for the epistemological digression is it is the only thing that science has not given evidence that it can explain at some point. However, given its stellar record so far, I don't doubt it will in the future.

6/6/05 20:18  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

Well, actually, it'd be better if I raised my objection and then you can go from there if you choose. I've given a possible way that life could be formed without a God that has a good deal of evidence to back it up--that is the kaolinite theory and if you want to address the deep sea vent theory, you're welcome to as well. We need that disproven before we can move on. Because if we don't, then we still have a way that science has explained abiogenesis. So have at it.

7/6/05 08:12  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

actually, I don't think science has explained abiogenesis there at all. The formation of even one cell is an astoundingly complex process - let alone one cell capable of reproduction of any sort - let alone a 'viable', self-reproducing unicellular organism.

Perhaps you're thinking that through the Strecker synthesis, in kaolinite crystals/deep sea vents amino acids could form, and these might meet in a manner to coincidentally (after some million years, perhaps) form life. This is implausible in the extreme, it seems - as elementary compounds which are unstable on their own, and the synthesis thus is reversible, and so how these could possibly combine is unknown to any major scientists.

Also, the depolymerisation due to hydrolysis that would have occurred in the presence of water means that deep sea vents are unlikely to have provided the right environment for any more complex, irreversable changes - leaving the 'surface catalyst' (which I presume you refer to by kaolinite) theory - which nonetheless, having reached the point of suggesting that these polymers might be subjected to radiation, doesn't as far as I can tell explain how these might turn into anything remotely resembling a cell.

You might trust science to explain these things eventually - but this requires far more faith than you're letting on, really. (;

And on a matter of faith: I think Christians actually do believe on the basis of a fair amount of evidence - particularly historical evidence, about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose name they take. I don't think that following Jesus or believing His claims, or trusting the Bible makes me anti-science in any way - but it does make me conscious that science doesn't explain everything, and doesn't try to really, because it really can't.

Epistemology would be another long post in itself, but I think the non-believer has a lot more trouble with scepticism than the believer does too. ; )

10/6/05 12:57  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

I don't think you give enough credit to time and chaos here. The first life began a billion years after the earth formed. A billion years is a lot of time for a string of amino acids to get swallowed by the very strong, very dynamic phospholipid bilayer. This probably happened thousands if not millions of times before a piece of RNA was swallowed as well. This itself may have happened hundreds of thousands of times many of which were wrenched apart by one force or another. Most times, the protein and RNA did nothing. Sometimes, the proteins destroyed the RNA. Others, they bound together. And in a very small percentage of the cases, the protein bound to the RNA and then bound to other amino acids and began synthesizing proteins. And in a VERY tiny percentage of the time, this coincided with other proteins that would bind to this RNA and then bind to nucleotides and replicate the RNA. And so life was formed. A billion years and chaos. A lot of order can be created in a billion years filled with chaos.

11/6/05 20:36  
Blogger jamin spewed forth...

well, I think you don't give enough credit to God here. The statements you make as fact are still very much theory - the fact is that your explanation still glosses over how life was formed - the odds that impulses for the replication of RNA would have been formed even over a billion years are ridiculously slim - such that your statement indicates not so much founded belief in science as a leap in the dark.

Which, in the end, my belief in God is not based upon - rather, I trust that all creation was brought about by Him because having considered the claims of Jesus Christ, I can find no plausible explanation of his life other than that he was, and is, God - and therefore that our very existence is sustained and ordered by Him, rather than time and chaos.

14/6/05 07:58  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

"the odds that impulses for the replication of RNA would have been formed even over a billion years are ridiculously slim"

There really isn't much justification for saying that. You'd have to have a really tiny a priori probability to assume that over the course of a billion years the probability would be small.

I don't really see how Jesus fits into this whole discussion.

18/6/05 16:08  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

Very cool design! Useful information. Go on! » » »

22/2/07 23:35  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » » »

3/3/07 03:31  

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