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Old 03-07-2019, 03:43 PM
 
244 posts, read 43,209 times
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[Disclosure: I am a long time lurker, an occasional contributor, but never a thread starter. Ongoing discussion in another thread spurred these thoughts, which I started to post there but will move here, rather than derail that thread any further.]

An interesting exchange in another thread hinged on our current knowledge of cosmology. See for example, #781, 784, 786, 788, 791 in: Why people hate atheists

Nothing terribly new or controversial there. I view these as honest assessments of the uncertainty surrounding the origins of the universe. But for me, this really highlights the shaky ground on which religion(s) and any (all) of their various god-beliefs stand.

The one thing everyone can (or should) agree on is that WE DON'T KNOW. So there's a good starting point, and I would argue that really should be the ending... or at least the temporary holding... point, until we know more. Gradually, given time and tools and understanding, we will learn more... and we are. So far, so good.

BUT... humans aren't comfortable with that uncertainty. We want answers. So some of us start to invent answers. If they were understood to be preliminary hypotheses that could be tested, no problem. But they are not... they are unverified and unverifiable (at least to date), yet are presented (or received) as fact. That's a problem.

SO... from that rational, supportable, solid starting point, we leapfrog ahead by leaps and bounds, moving from "we don't know" to --> god(s) --> with such-and-such attributes --> who created the universe --> and created us for a special purpose --> and wants us to behave in certain ways --> and will reward or punish us after we die --> as long as we worship it in certain ways --> and lets us know all that by communicating with some but not all of us --> and is all powerful --> but works in mysterious ways that pass all human understanding (except for those lucky ones who DO understand and can translate for the rest of us) --> and on and on and on and on and on. And on some more.

All the while, the obvious, rational, observable fact remains that ALL of those steps after the very first one are man-made inventions, filling in those blanks beyond "we don't know." It is mind-boggling to me how we got from "we don't know" (period) to arguing the nuances of what this entity, created by our own imagination, wants us to do with our lives... all without a single shred of evidence (outside of our own imaginations) to support any of it. Just think about it: we have moved from "we don't know" to "God says he wants us to eat fish on Fridays (or never, depending on where you live) so we can join Him in heaven." A man-made entity using man-made words to describe man-made actions resulting in a man-made outcome.

The question in the title ("How did we get from here to there?") is rhetorical, I suppose. Maybe there is nothing to be discussed. We obviously didn't get here overnight (unless you count the night Joseph Smith dug up those golden plates), and I can see all the reasons why humans created gods and religions, as exemplified by the thousands there are of each. But I continue to be amazed at how many blanks we have permitted ourselves to fill in, beyond that first "I don't know."

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Old 03-07-2019, 03:45 PM
 
2,222 posts, read 808,868 times
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"How did we get from here to there?"
well, with religion. every culture has
their version of it.
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Old 03-07-2019, 03:56 PM
 
244 posts, read 43,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeydance View Post
"How did we get from here to there?"
well, with religion. every culture has
their version of it.
Yes. As I said, maybe it's a rhetorical question. Or maybe the question should've been "Why on earth did we allow ourselves to tell ourselves so many stories and make up so many (arbitrary) rules and come up with so many false explanations for things we don't understand, all because we weren't comfortable with admitting we don't know (yet)?"

But that's a mouthful for the title! And it's also somewhat rhetorical. I know the answer to that, as well, but am gob-smacked we let it get this far.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:02 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,527 posts, read 4,543,794 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeydance View Post
"How did we get from here to there?"
well, with religion. every culture has
their version of it.
Every culture has crime.
Every culture has war.
Every culture has lies.
Every culture has bread and circuses.
Every culture has other niceties and intricacies.

But some cultures, like the Rhongas and other semi-nomadic native peoples. Don't have organized religions and have survived to this day.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:06 PM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,727 posts, read 3,251,139 times
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The question - and the path we've taken - reminds me of something Carl Sagan once said about how people came to an old conclusion about Venus.

They looked at Venus through a telescope and saw that it was covered with clouds --> clouds must be made of water vapor because that's what they're made of on earth --> the surface of Venus must be one vast swamp because only a swamp could put that much water vapor into the air --> if there is a swamp, then there must be lush plantlife --> which means there is a food supply for some kind of life --> so maybe there are dinosaurs there because dinosaurs used to live in swamps.

Thus they went from "we can't see the surface of Venus at all" to "there are dinosaurs on Venus" due to the same type of Rube-Goldberg thinking as "we don't know" therefore, there must be a "god who created the universe, divinely inspired a Bible, cares about who you have sex with and which body part goes into what orafice, and if we disobey or disbelieve in the existence of this God, we'll get sent to a place of eternal torture with lots of flames and a fallen angel named Lucifer."

It really is amazing how a chain reaction of thinking leads us into la-la land where not a whit of it can be proven, demonstrated, tested, predicted, or analyzed in any meaningful way. Nope. We're just supposed to accept it without question as the absolute truth.

That's why some clown invented the idea of "faith-based" belief - because they knew from the get-go that it was all rubbish, that it was flimsier than vapor and equally intangible. Faith isn't needed to believe in God as much as faith is needed to reject all of the evidence that there is *no* god - at least not any god found in one of our silly holy books.

Trust me, I know all about how scary it can be to be completely alone, to know that no one has your back, that there's no one to depend on or help you if you find yourself in dire need of assistance. Humanity as a whole decided to avert that fear with made-up entities that always live just beyond reach, just beyond sight - up on that mountain, in that cave, over the next hill, beyond the horizon, up in the sky, out among the stars, and now - on another plane of existence altogether. But god is always somewhere where no one can expect the clergy to trot god out and introduce him.

No ... you just have to have faith.

Trouble with faith is that - if you can believe in one thing on faith, you can believe in anything on faith. There literally are no boundaries. Thus I could believe I'm really a sleeper cell agent for the CIA and any moment now the phone will ring with my secret activation word, then I will assassinate some foreign head of state. Or, yeah, I have faith that earth is a big marble rolling across a black carpet with sparklies in the shag - one marble in a game of marbles being played by giant aliens who literally walk on the stars.

Why not? Are any of things truly any less rational than believing in an all-powerful, universe-creating entity that created trillions of light years of space and then, once done, focused only on one single obscure desert tribe living in a sparsely populated, hostile area of one single planet? Because that's what people believe - that god created everything and then spent all of his time obsessing over the Hebrews.

If a person can believe in an infinite, transcendent god, they can believe anything.

Of course, one reason why God cannot be transcendent AND the creator of the universe is that an infinite being who has been in existence for infinity would literally take an infinite amount of time to get around to creating our universe. Therefore, we wouldn't be here. Instead, we would be waiting around for an infinite period of time before we're created.

This is what happens when sloppy thinkers begin playing around with infinity - which is precisely what the Biblical authors, and many believers afterwards, have done.

We arrived at this point in our culture because we scared ourselves into thinking that we need a god to guide us or otherwise we'll just fall apart in sin and debauchery. And yet this mode of thinking has stifled progress, hindered scientific advancement, and kept technology stagnant for almost a thousand years.

It reminds me of when the Black Death hit Europe aroud the beginning of the 1300s. When everyone put their heads together to try and figure out why the plague was killing so many people, the answer they came up with was "low necklines and lascivious dancing."

Uh huh. Are you impressed? I'm certainly not - except being impressed with just how much religion and superstition has held us back. Oh, they knew it was a plague, understood it was a disease. But instead of truly investigating the problem, they threw up their hands and naturally assumed that their petty little god was mad at them for some sexual thing or other - like low necklines and lascivious dancing.

They weren't even imaginative to come up with something that might have actually done the world some good. For instance: "God is mad at us because of how cheaply we have been treating life," or "God is angry because we are almost in a state of constant warfare with one another" or "God is angry because of the inequities of our society, from how we treat women to the existence of static socioeconomical classes such as royalty, aristocracy, peasant, and slave."

Oh no - they couldn't be THAT intuitive or bold. It just goes to show you how petty this god is, that even 700 years ago, people immediately thought the blame was due to some sexual misconduct - rather than violence, torture, injustice, inequity, sexism, child abuse, and half a hundred other things. No, it had to be because Miss Jasmine showed her cleavage. It's enough to spend the rest of one's life facepalming out of sheer frustration.

It's not a question of how we got here as much as asking ourselves how we could've been so stupid during the journey. It's not so much that believing in god was silly - it was *how* we believed in God, chosing with deliberate skill to emphasize the parts of religion that are defective while downplaying the parts that were important.

Hence our society here in America managed to get their priorities severely out of whack. Nonsense like contraceptives, gay marriage, stem cell research, and other things became the very most important aspect of religion whilst love, spirituality, do unto others, and love thy neighbor lay almost forgotten by religion - especially the religious right. As such, religion, as it always does, became a belief engulfed by hatred, bigotry, persecution, and oppression. As it has throughout history, religion again failed to bring any sort of enlightenment to our society and, instead, kept us beknighted, backward, uneducated, incurious, xenophobic, paranoid, and superstitious.

If there was even 1/1000th the outcry against predator priests covering up almost a century's worth of pedophilia and child abuse as there was about gay marriage, maybe something serious - a permanent change - might arise within the Catholic Church. But no ... and no doubt, in a few years, there will be another scandal and another swath of a generation suffering the torment of victimhood. That's if the victims don't get gunned down in yet another school shooting since guns are far more important than the lives of their own children. Odd that the Christian right and obsessive behavior toward loving their guns and talking about violence seem to go hand in hand.

What's even scarier to contemplate is the question, "Where are we going?" Because, while I certainly like to see the atheists, the nones, and the non-affiliated categories rise in this country, there are still far, far more Christians who would actively or secretly support a theocratic fascist state. Already, the GOP with the help of the Christian right are stacking the Supreme Court with right-wing conservative Christian judges. Already 5 or 6 states have passed laws allowing public schools to slather the walls of their halls and classrooms with religious slogans - testing the courts in the hopes that these new conservative Justices will rule in their favor. And if they do, the door will be thrown wide open to a de facto theocracy where freedom FROM religion will be something told to grandchildren in hushed voices: "Why, when I was your age, we could worship however we want ... but that was until ..."

I have been on this forum for several years warning people of the encroachment of theocratic authoritarianism at the very least, if not outright fascism. And the Christian-right, the zealots and the fanatics, the dominionists and the poison preachers are setting themselves up for a powerplay even as we speak. With a wet noodle president and conservative Christian congressmen who belong to the NRA, things really don't look good at all. Funny thing is - even if atheists are forced back into the closet due to the standard intolerance of fundamentalist religion, the believers will still cry about being persecuted. No doubt they'll still cry a river because non-believers dare post on the Religion and Spirituality forum instead of being exiled to a little subforum where we can only talk to each other. Echo chambers are not exactly my cup of tea.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:36 PM
 
244 posts, read 43,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
The question - and the path we've taken - reminds me of something Carl Sagan once said about how people came to an old conclusion about Venus.

They looked at Venus through a telescope and saw that it was covered with clouds --> clouds must be made of water vapor because that's what they're made of on earth --> the surface of Venus must be one vast swamp because only a swamp could put that much water vapor into the air --> if there is a swamp, then there must be lush plantlife --> which means there is a food supply for some kind of life --> so maybe there are dinosaurs there because dinosaurs used to live in swamps.

Thus they went from "we can't see the surface of Venus at all" to "there are dinosaurs on Venus" due to the same type of Rube-Goldberg thinking as "we don't know" therefore, there must be a "god who created the universe, divinely inspired a Bible, cares about who you have sex with and which body part goes into what orafice, and if we disobey or disbelieve in the existence of this God, we'll get sent to a place of eternal torture with lots of flames and a fallen angel named Lucifer."

It really is amazing how a chain reaction of thinking leads us into la-la land where not a whit of it can be proven, demonstrated, tested, predicted, or analyzed in any meaningful way. Nope. We're just supposed to accept it without question as the absolute truth. [...TRUNCATED...]
I would insert that great GIF of Obama doing a mic drop at his last White House Correspondents Dinner... but I don't want to get us banished to political forum. So will just say thanks for that!

And also that "Rube Goldberg thinking" is a perfect label for the phenomenon I am describing.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:14 PM
 
38,679 posts, read 26,025,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeelaMonster View Post
[Disclosure: I am a long time lurker, an occasional contributor, but never a thread starter. Ongoing discussion in another thread spurred these thoughts, which I started to post there but will move here, rather than derail that thread any further.]

An interesting exchange in another thread hinged on our current knowledge of cosmology. See for example, #781, 784, 786, 788, 791 in: Why people hate atheists

Nothing terribly new or controversial there. I view these as honest assessments of the uncertainty surrounding the origins of the universe. But for me, this really highlights the shaky ground on which religion(s) and any (all) of their various god-beliefs stand.

The one thing everyone can (or should) agree on is that WE DON'T KNOW. So there's a good starting point, and I would argue that really should be the ending... or at least the temporary holding... point, until we know more. Gradually, given time and tools and understanding, we will learn more... and we are. So far, so good.

BUT... humans aren't comfortable with that uncertainty. We want answers. So some of us start to invent answers. If they were understood to be preliminary hypotheses that could be tested, no problem. But they are not... they are unverified and unverifiable (at least to date), yet are presented (or received) as fact. That's a problem.

SO... from that rational, supportable, solid starting point, we leapfrog ahead by leaps and bounds, moving from "we don't know" to --> god(s) --> with such-and-such attributes --> who created the universe --> and created us for a special purpose --> and wants us to behave in certain ways --> and will reward or punish us after we die --> as long as we worship it in certain ways --> and lets us know all that by communicating with some but not all of us --> and is all powerful --> but works in mysterious ways that pass all human understanding (except for those lucky ones who DO understand and can translate for the rest of us) --> and on and on and on and on and on. And on some more.

All the while, the obvious, rational, observable fact remains that ALL of those steps after the very first one are man-made inventions, filling in those blanks beyond "we don't know." It is mind-boggling to me how we got from "we don't know" (period) to arguing the nuances of what this entity, created by our own imagination, wants us to do with our lives... all without a single shred of evidence (outside of our own imaginations) to support any of it. Just think about it: we have moved from "we don't know" to "God says he wants us to eat fish on Fridays (or never, depending on where you live) so we can join Him in heaven." A man-made entity using man-made words to describe man-made actions resulting in a man-made outcome.

The question in the title ("How did we get from here to there?") is rhetorical, I suppose. Maybe there is nothing to be discussed. We obviously didn't get here overnight (unless you count the night Joseph Smith dug up those golden plates), and I can see all the reasons why humans created gods and religions, as exemplified by the thousands there are of each. But I continue to be amazed at how many blanks we have permitted ourselves to fill in, beyond that first "I don't know."

This pretty much describes my state of mind before my experience in deep meditation and is why I completely rejected ANY of those suppositions about God until I satisfied my intellect that my experience of God COULD be plausibly explained by what we scientifically know of our Reality. After I had elucidated a Synthesis of plausible hypotheses about our consciousness and its relationship to the unified field establishing our Reality, I then searched the existing speculations about God in the spiritual fossil record but I refused to accept any of the a priori attributes that God MUST have found in those speculations. If it was not established or explicable in some plausible way from existing knowledge, I rejected it. That is why I reject the Omni's.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:15 PM
 
4,027 posts, read 1,476,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeelaMonster View Post
[Disclosure: I am a long time lurker, an occasional contributor, but never a thread starter. Ongoing discussion in another thread spurred these thoughts, which I started to post there but will move here, rather than derail that thread any further.]

An interesting exchange in another thread hinged on our current knowledge of cosmology. See for example, #781, 784, 786, 788, 791 in: Why people hate atheists

Nothing terribly new or controversial there. I view these as honest assessments of the uncertainty surrounding the origins of the universe. But for me, this really highlights the shaky ground on which religion(s) and any (all) of their various god-beliefs stand.

The one thing everyone can (or should) agree on is that WE DON'T KNOW. So there's a good starting point, and I would argue that really should be the ending... or at least the temporary holding... point, until we know more. Gradually, given time and tools and understanding, we will learn more... and we are. So far, so good.

BUT... humans aren't comfortable with that uncertainty. We want answers. So some of us start to invent answers. If they were understood to be preliminary hypotheses that could be tested, no problem. But they are not... they are unverified and unverifiable (at least to date), yet are presented (or received) as fact. That's a problem.

SO... from that rational, supportable, solid starting point, we leapfrog ahead by leaps and bounds, moving from "we don't know" to --> god(s) --> with such-and-such attributes --> who created the universe --> and created us for a special purpose --> and wants us to behave in certain ways --> and will reward or punish us after we die --> as long as we worship it in certain ways --> and lets us know all that by communicating with some but not all of us --> and is all powerful --> but works in mysterious ways that pass all human understanding (except for those lucky ones who DO understand and can translate for the rest of us) --> and on and on and on and on and on. And on some more.

All the while, the obvious, rational, observable fact remains that ALL of those steps after the very first one are man-made inventions, filling in those blanks beyond "we don't know." It is mind-boggling to me how we got from "we don't know" (period) to arguing the nuances of what this entity, created by our own imagination, wants us to do with our lives... all without a single shred of evidence (outside of our own imaginations) to support any of it. Just think about it: we have moved from "we don't know" to "God says he wants us to eat fish on Fridays (or never, depending on where you live) so we can join Him in heaven." A man-made entity using man-made words to describe man-made actions resulting in a man-made outcome.

The question in the title ("How did we get from here to there?") is rhetorical, I suppose. Maybe there is nothing to be discussed. We obviously didn't get here overnight (unless you count the night Joseph Smith dug up those golden plates), and I can see all the reasons why humans created gods and religions, as exemplified by the thousands there are of each. But I continue to be amazed at how many blanks we have permitted ourselves to fill in, beyond that first "I don't know."

Not exactly. You missed a few points here.

There is nothing wrong in admitting that "we don't know".

* BUT *

We DO know a few things BEFORE we say "we don't know" <<~~ This is the key.

So lets dive into it.

First - Lets take religion and theology out of it.


Scientifically, logically, intellectually and philosophically thinking: If we start the process of reverse engineering and take the route of going back and start finding out and say that,

"OK, this thing came before this thing, and this came before that, and this thing came before that, and this came before that... and we keep on going, and going and going gazillion of years past the Big Bang .... then we may probably see two scenarios.

1 - We get into an infinite loop. We keep on going trillion and gazillion upon gazillion years of reverse engineering but it will never end because we are locked into an infinity.

2 - The second and more interesting possibility is that, say we actually DO FIND what started it all. Say we call it X.

So, in our process of reverse engineering, we reached to a point where there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !!
And we see that X came first.

Now the question is: Who created X?

If X was created by something else then X is not the start and hence X did not come first. Which is not true because we know that X came first and there is nothing beyond X.

The other option is, X created itself.
This is ridiculous. You cannot decide to create your own self when you don't exist.

So the only logical answer is, whatever came first, whatever started it all (X, in this case), did not actually come. It was always there. It has no start. Nobody created it. It was always there.


If X is the creating FORCE that started it all then what is X?


This is where Atheists may part ways; however, I don't see how can they deny the existence of X, (whatever it is).

If Atheists deny the existing of X (The creating force that is running the show) then they automatically agree that the entire universe came from nothing, and everything in the universe came together all by itself.

And atheists are free to believe but IMO this is the intellectual difference between Atheists and believers.

Believers ponder upon X and try to figure out what is X?
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:18 PM
 
1,497 posts, read 1,895,711 times
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Originally Posted by HeelaMonster View Post
Just think about it: we have moved from "we don't know" to "God says he wants us to eat fish on Fridays (or never, depending on where you live) so we can join Him in heaven." A man-made entity using man-made words to describe man-made actions resulting in a man-made outcome.

I can see all the reasons why humans created gods and religions,as exemplified by the thousands there are of each.
While this is true Heela, we should all look at the bright side.

At least most Religions (in particular the Major one's), hold true to their Dogma, Doctrine and Fundamentals and do not attempt to ratify/add/eliminate/change/evolve them if changing times threaten the existence of the Religion and/or start to result in a falling off of members/congregants. They at least have the decency to allow a Religion seemingly falling into obsolescence die a natural and dignified death.

My thoughts are they realize if they did this, it would likely cross a line or boundary of absurdity from which there may be no point of return.
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:34 PM
 
244 posts, read 43,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCardinals View Post
Not exactly. You missed a few points here.

There is nothing wrong in admitting that "we don't know".

* BUT *

We DO know a few things BEFORE we say "we don't know" <<~~ This is the key.

So lets dive into it.

First - Lets take religion and theology out of it.


Scientifically, logically, intellectually and philosophically thinking: If we start the process of reverse engineering and take the route of going back and start finding out and say that,

"OK, this thing came before this thing, and this came before that, and this thing came before that, and this came before that... and we keep on going, and going and going gazillion of years past the Big Bang .... then we may probably see two scenarios.

1 - We get into an infinite loop. We keep on going trillion and gazillion upon gazillion years of reverse engineering but it will never end because we are locked into an infinity.

2 - The second and more interesting possibility is that, say we actually DO FIND what started it all. Say we call it X.

So, in our process of reverse engineering, we reached to a point where there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !!
And we see that X came first.

Now the question is: Who created X?

If X was created by something else then X is not the start and hence X did not come first. Which is not true because we know that X came first and there is nothing beyond X.

The other option is, X created itself.
This is ridiculous. You cannot decide to create your own self when you don't exist.

So the only logical answer is, whatever came first, whatever started it all (X, in this case), did not actually come. It was always there. It has no start. Nobody created it. It was always there.


If X is the creating FORCE that started it all then what is X?


This is where Atheists may part ways; however, I don't see how can they deny the existence of X, (whatever it is).

If Atheists deny the existing of X (The creating force that is running the show) then they automatically agree that the entire universe came from nothing, and everything in the universe came together all by itself.

And atheists are free to believe but IMO this is the intellectual difference between Atheists and believers.

Believers ponder upon X and try to figure out what is X?
I don't entirely disagree with that thinking, but I am going to let others argue cosmological origins, including the possibility that there was ALWAYS something there (not the "creator" but the materials of the universe or makings thereof). Indeed, that was the discussion underway in the thread hijack linked in the OP, and perhaps some of them will follow us here.

My criticism, however, is aimed at what occurred going the other direction. That is, not working our way back to the start, but moving forward from that start, whatever it was. At BEST, we have speculation about creator and creation. OK fine, it gives us one option to consider. But to then take that speculation (AKA hypothesis, imagination, invention, philosophical conjecture)... and run with it, anthropomorphizing it in every way possible (and many impossible), by giving it attributes, and desires, and thoughts, and needs, and emotions ("I am a jealous god..."), and putting words in its mouth ("God says... God wants us to..."), and have it impregnating virgins, and sending its son to earth, and bringing him home again, and riding down on chariots or elephants or alien spaceships, and waiting to welcome us to its house after we die, and promising us 72 virgins if we die the right way (apparently it had a thing for virgins?), and sending angels as its emissaries, and drowning most of the ancient world, and turning women to salt, and caring what we eat, and how we have sex (preferably with virgins, of the opposite sex)... and, and, and.

Jeepers creepers, how is that not absurd, at face value? How did we get all the way there from interesting speculation like "if we reverse engineer all this, one possibility is that X came first?" The answer, to borrow Shirina's phrase, is that we got there through Rube Goldberg thinking.

[ETA: I do recognize this took us back to the religion and theology GoCard kindly set aside. But that's where my problem lies. If people had stopped with pondering cosmological origins, I wouldn't be here.]

Last edited by HeelaMonster; 03-07-2019 at 09:32 PM..
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