What Is Easter?

Posted by Herb7734 1 year, 1 month ago to Culture
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There's a lot I don't get about religion. However, one thing that I don't get the most is the popular manifestation of Easter. Supposedly, It commemorates when God in the form of a man was asphyxiated by being nailed to a cross and left to hang on the upright cross until death overcame him. A particularly hideous way to die. So in order to commemorate this grisly act, we are inundated with cute bunnies laying candy coated chocolate eggs and having our kids pictures taken at the malls with 6 foot tall rabbits who if they were real would scare the pants of kids more than the myriad of Santas during Christmas. Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me?


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    Posted by cksawyer 1 year, 1 month ago
    Here is the stand I take on this matter:

    I refuse to give anyone (especially those I disrespect or with whom I disagree) the power to define for me or hijack the meaning of holidays or any concepts of personal significance to me.

    I CHOOSE to give Easter the meanings of renewal, spring, new life and metaphorical rebirth. My Beautiful wife and I had our first date and were later married on Easter - and for 25 years have celebrated our anniversary on Easter as a time of recommitment and renewal of our love and life together.

    Screw the rest of that stuff. I am content to leave others free to do what they will with the occasion, but they WILL NOT rain on my parade!!!
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 year, 1 month ago
      "I CHOOSE to give Easter the meanings of renewal, spring, new life and metaphorical rebirth. My Beautiful wife and I had our first date and were later married on Easter "
      I agree completely. My wife and I got engaged just as the sun was setting at 4pm on the winter solstice. We were exchanging holiday gifts. She says she thought her gift was going to be batteries (seriously), and didn't know I was going to ask her to get married at that moment. We got married on the summer solstice. We shoudl all choose our own holiday meanings.
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 1 year, 1 month ago
    Don't confuse the Cross with that bunny. Here's how that juxtaposition came about:

    When Constantine exchanged the original Greco-Roman pantheon for Christianity, he subsumed a lot of pagan holidays, some Roman, some from the provinces, into what are now Roman Catholic holidays.

    Resurrectiontide got "Easter"--which actually is how you pronounce the Arabic name Ishtar. Who is the same person as Astarte in the ancient Canaanite languages. "Ishtar" is a Babylonian/Canaanite goddess of fertility. And what small mammal is more fertile than a rabbit? And the egg? That is an outward sign of new birth.

    Similarly, Saturnalia became Christmas, Lupercalia became the Feast of St. Valentine...and Samhain, the Druidic festival from the British Isles, became All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween--for the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed All Saints' Day as the day after Samhain.

    Now about Santa Claus--that actually is a corruption of the Dutch name Sinter Klass. That in turn is how the Dutch named "Saint Nicholas"--or Nicholas of Myra, Archbishop of ancient Asia Minor. Nicholas of Myra was a champion of justice in his own right. He got a reputation for working miracles, and for secret gift-giving. Once, according to legend, he sought to give three young women the means to buy their way out of an arranged marriage. So he tossed three gold balls into their house. And those balls happened to fall into the stockings they had hung over their heart to dry. Hence, stocking stuffing. And when he died, rumor had it that his body secreted a liquid form of "manna." Hence, Sainthood.

    Different countries in Western Europe invented different versions of Nicholas of Myra: Father Christmas in England, Pere Noel in France, Kris Kringle in Germany, and Sinter Klaas in Holland. The American version has its basis in Washington Irving's famous poem, and reflects the fondness Americans then had for capitalism. Which is why Santa Claus is supposed to be the CEO of a toymaking, or at least toy-distributing, company with an order-fulfillment method no real-life company can match (though some, like Amazon.com, come close).

    None of this has anything to do with the real meaning of the Birth of Christ (Christmas), the memory of a martyr of the faith (i.e., Valentinus), or the Resurrection of Christ after His execution. I never had any children, but if by some chance I were to have any, I would not hold to these customs. I would educate them in those customs, certainly, so they would know what other people's children were talking about. But I would not keep up a ten-year charade, knowing eventually I would have to disclose that I had been lying to them all that time!
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      That is a great explanation.
      Thank you.
      As to Christmas, we would use it and Hannukah as an excuse to have fun with the kids. We didn't do Santa or bunnies or that stuff, but we exchanged present and acted festive and in that way, the kids didn't feel deprived, but at the same time were not burdened with silly myths. The "holiday" on Seinfeld of "Festivus for the rest of us" holiday, while humorous, is a pretty good idea.
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    • Posted by infinitybbc 1 year ago
      very accurate info here regarding the inclusion of various pagan holidays into the visible Holy Roman Empire's "Catholic" (Universal) Church. thank you for sharing! many people, including Christians, are not aware of all this. 8-)

      my only comments for consideration, mostly for those here who are believers in Yahshua, is that He wasn't actually born on or near Dec 25. rather, he was born in the Fall, most likely during the Feast of Tabernacles. further, He was buried in the grave for 3 days & 3 nights beginning on the evening (beginning) of the annual Sabbath of the First Day of Unleavened Bread. He was already gone (had already risen) by the time Mary and the others visited the grave and found the stone had already been removed.
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      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 1 year ago
        Yes, I'll buy all of the above. And by the way: the great census wasn't a one-off event, either. It was a regular census. The particular tense forms of the Greek infinitives translated "to be taxed" (or more properly, "to enroll" or "to be counted in a census") tell that tale.
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        • Posted by infinitybbc 1 year ago
          interesting. also, there's another indicator besides the mention of census, the inns all being filled, and the sheep grazing in the fields into the evening/night, that has to do with the "courses" of the priests. i'd have to again look up the details to really convey the matter, but basically it has to do with a mention of the unborn John (i think it was) leaping in the womb when the pregnant Mary drew near to his pregnant mother. i recall there is a method of determining the approximate birth time of Christ based upon the "course" (as i believe it's referred to in the Hebrew) that Joseph was serving at that time. i apologize for not having the details on hand, but i do believe it's something that one can search out if they really want extra prooftext that Christ was born in the fall.

          some might also find it interesting that there is no indication in the scriptures that Christ's birth was to ever be observed by way of any kind of celebration or ritual. His example was the same found in the OT, which was observance of the same annual "appointed times" and Sabbaths that were commanded for His people (Israel) to observe from the onset. as you alluded to above, the replacement of Biblical "holy days" for various pagan days, including the weekly "Sunday" rather than the weekly "Sabbath", were by the edicts of the Holy Roman Empire, or Roman Catholic Church, rather than being Biblically based. various other pagan doctrines followed, like that regarding "hell" and even including the doctrine of trinity, which most Christian denominations erroneously hold as being a "sacred" and/or Biblical doctrine.

          it has been quite amazing for me to discover the various differences between what is often commonly taught from the pulpits of mainstream Christianity and the doctrines found within the Bible itself. 8-)
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          • Posted by  $  Temlakos 1 year ago
            Actually, the man serving a course--the eighth--was Zacharias. Joseph was a tradesman, not a priest. But your analysis is sound. I have seen it before.
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            • Posted by infinitybbc 1 year ago
              ah ha! yes, now that you mention it, i do recall the name Zacharias being associated with this issue. thank you for the clarification and i apologize again for my conveying erroneous data about this. 8-)
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  • Posted by  $  jlc 1 year, 1 month ago
    The eggs are not red to symbolize Jesus' blood - they are red to symbolize the sun. As many people have noted, this is a custom that is not native to Christianity, but was co-opted from pagan religions (as was Christmas and Halloween/All Saints Day). If you follow allosaur's link and read about the pysanky you will get the best view of 'what Easter eggs originally were'.

    Jan
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      At first I was disappointed as to any real information as at the beginning most posts thought the subject was satirical. But now it's just the opposite. I'm getting information overload.
      Thanks, Jan.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 1 year, 1 month ago
    For me, it means I can go to Walmart the day after and get a lot of chocolate for 50% off..........
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      One of my kind of people.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
        Easter is far more significant than the narrow view of candy, bunnies and eggs. As a musician listen to this joyous hymn on the real meaning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd2Pm...
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        • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
          Easter Parade in Dixieland. Great.
          Also, a terrific trombone part in this arrangement, which will always resound with me.
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          • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
            No, not a trombone -- that was a slide typewriter. Also note the devotional vocal.

            But it isn't dixieland. This is from Britain during the 1950s New Orleans revival influenced by George Lewis, Bunk Johnson, et al when original N.O. players came out of hibernation and began recording the authentic N.O. ensemble improvisation in the 1940s. None of it was arranged and there were no written parts. The George Lewis band (with Jim Robinson on slide typewriter, sometimes doubling on trombone) became internationally famous, touring around the US, Britain, and Japan.

            New players in the 1950s, especially in Britain, picked up on it and made a point of not playing the hackneyed "dixieland" with its stiffer rhythm (usually 2/4), strident over blowing, and formula chorus-in/set pattern of solos/chorus-out. The British N.O. revival of the 1950s gave way to the heavier and more arranged British Trad, but still not dixieland.

            This recording was the Acker Bilk (clarinet) band in 1958. He also played with Ken Colyer, whose bands dominated the N.O. style in Britain for decades. Chris Barber was one of the big slide typewriter players in Britain. This music is how Acker Bilk got his start before becoming a pop star with Stranger on the Shore in 1962.
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            • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
              I don't care if it was the Mormon Tabernacle Band, the style was Dixieland. That was, along with some other fine players, a tenor trombone, played very well. True Dixieland is never composed, but it can be arranged, particularly when the band members are used to playing with one another. They will fall into a pattern that usually identifies them as distinct from other bands I am sure your description is erudite, but there is by your own admission no way that Dixieland can become hackneyed as it is primarily improvisational. Therefore, never exactly the same twice. Your negative description of New Orleans style Dixieland makes me think that you have never heard any of the good stuff, or if you have, have a pre-disposition to a negative attitude toward it. In any case, who cares? I loved it whatever it was called and having played in many a pick-up Dixie band I was most appreciative.
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              • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                I didn't give a negative description of New Orleans jazz, I contrasted it with dixieland. That particular band from 1958 is specifically British N.O. revival, which is a distinctive sub-style (and not well known today). The N.O. style is very different from dixieland and is very difficult to capture for musicians formally trained. Yes the better bands of either style have their own unique sound; most of the dixieland bands today don't; detailed differences in set patterns don't change the sound much. As a professional musician you were lucky to play with the better bands.
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                • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                  OK
                  I give up.
                  One thing we have in common (probably more) is that we both love listening. Makes me want to dance even though I no longer can. Makes me want to pick up the trombone and start playing again even though my lip would say, "no-can-do."
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                  • Posted by ewv 1 year ago
                    The authentic New Orleans sound is very different in several ways than what has been known as dixieland for decades. It's hard to find today even in New Orleans now that a couple of new generations has taken over Preservation Hall and the street music.

                    One place to hear this is in the opening episode "Gumbo" of the Burns documentary Jazz. But in some ways he failed to make the distinction because he used some anachronistic modern recordings trying to illustrate it. But there are still the recordings from the 1940s-60s and a few from the 1920s.

                    I was fortunate to hear in the 1990s the Percy Humphrey band from Preservation Hall live at Boston Symphony Hall. It was so crowded that some of us sat up on the stage behind them. Many of the players were in their 80s and 90s.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
    It's Good Friday when Jesus dies a hideous death on the cross.
    On Easter Jesus rose from the dead.
    You have the free will to believe it or not.
    People being people have done all kinds a goofy stuff with what was supposed to be basically simple.
    Kinda makes me think of things done to our USA government.
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    • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
      Today, Palm Sunday, begins what we Christians call Holy Week. My husband and I will attend church every day this coming week, especially on Good Friday. Good Friday is important because you can't have the joy of Easter without going through the sadness of Good Friday. Most of us in the Christian churches still know what is important and what matters. So, yes, my son has had Easter baskets and gifts from Santa Claus as I did when I was a kid. But they were then and are now of secondary importance.
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      • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
        I see that someone took a point away from me. No matter how much I have disagreed with someone in the Gulch, I have never taken a point away from anyone. I have read over my above comment twice, and for the life of me, I can not understand what is so offensive about it. It's not like I was extolling the virtues of Clinton or Bernie Sanders. I don't think that Ayn Rand would have taken a point away from me. But no matter how it saddened me, I will put my big girl knickers on and deal with it. BTW, I want all the Gulchers to know that I keep you in my daily prayers.
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        • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
          Suzanne43:
          There is a difference between being anti religion and tolerating religion. I think that some folks are offended that a religious person posts in the Gulch. While I do not care for religion for myself and my family is in agreement with me, so long as a person is someone who will not impede my forward progress, who will mind their own business and not try to convert or convince me about their religion, and doesn't take offense when I say no, then if they choose to worship Osiris or any other God, it's OK with me. I would suggest, however, that you keep your prayers and religious activities to yourself, as many Gulchers would feel personally offended. Also, Objectivism is not a political movement, even though it may seem like it at times based on some of the posts. It is a philosophy which is a way of life, just as religion is. The main difference in this case is that your philosophy (religion) is based on faith, whereas Objectivism is based on reason and holds no quarter with faith. One more point. The points really don't matter, at least to me. It is the pleasure I get from participating with others with a like viewpoint. I think that I have contributed, and I certainly have gotten much from the Gulch. I hope that clarifies things for you and I'll toss you a point for having the courage to defend yourself.
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          • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
            Yes, be yourself.
            I study a subject and I take what means something to me. That includes Objectivism.
            Conforming to fit in anywhere or even to be liked is self-imposed slavery. It is also hypocrisy.
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            • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
              Thank you for being you, allosaur. I value your opinions. And, yes, I intend to be myself. Your remark on self-imposed slavery is spot on.
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              • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                When you wrote of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I decided to watch your back because I knew you would catch some kinda crap.
                Christians should stick together.
                Even Big Brother is against us these days.
                You have a 4 up there on that post now.
                Interesting.
                Of course someone else may come along, but what the heck.
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                • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
                  Thanks, heaps. When I posted my comment, I really did think that I was being asked about what the meaning of Easter is. I should have known better. I can't believe the comment made by "BradA" about Christians being into zombie worship. Talk about offending people...Wow! (Notice that I didn't take a point away from him) Yeah, we Christians will stick together. BTW, when I first signed up to be in the Gulch, I didn't see anything that said Christians are not wanted. Did I miss something?
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                  • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                    I think that you and Dino should be aware if you're not already that Rand was vehemently anti religious. Therefore some Gulchers, following her example, may find persons who refer to religion as being offensive. You might feel the same if an atheist made some proclamations on a favorite Christian site. Personally, I am immune to religion and since I have three very close friends who are religious, I cannot be ticked off by religious references. Funny thing is that all three profess different religions. We make offensive comments to one another on a regular basis, but it's done in fun.
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                    • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                      I find it almost ironic that Rand was as--vehemently?--anti religious as the communists she despised.
                      Save for that one thing, Rand's philosophy works very well for a Constitutional conservative (such as myself) who also happens to be a Christian.
                      A Christian like me ain't gonna change for finding Ayn Rand many years after they found Jesus. Such a person would already have to be in the process of losing their faith.
                      Herb, at least you're one nonbeliever I can get along with here in the Gulch.
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                      • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
                        Gosh, allosaur, this was so well said. However, the "zombie" remark, even if said in jest, really got to me. I don't seem to be able to get over it and find it hard to believe that some in the Gulch found it funny. You have been in the Gulch for quite a while and contributed to it a great deal. I admire you for that. I, too, have enjoyed being in the Gulch, but these last couple of days have made my heart sad. Someday, all this will play out and won't those in the Gulch be surprised. I just wanted to personally say good-by to you. My parting words to you come from St. Paul in 2 Timothy, "Fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith."
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                        • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                          This may be Objectivenist land.
                          But people are still gonna be all sorts of people.
                          Don't let the nasty ones get you down.
                          Stick to those parting words and you'll be okay.
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                        • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Most of the folks in the Gulch do not believe in God let alone a son of God. If you have read many of the posts you might note rational explanations of the origins of Easter and its relation to previous pagan holidays. Within the Objectivist "family" you cannot expect respect or reverence for what most here consider to be mythical. Therefore, fodder for satire or jokes. I think that you are taking something personally that was never meant to be, but you have stepped into a land concurrent with your non religious beliefs but opposite your religious beliefs. It may be too hot in the kitchen for you. Sorry if you choose to go, because I enjoy perspectives as varied as possible, but that doesn't mean that I may not be disrespectful . I argue with many people when I think they come off track, but I hope they have a thick enough skin to give as much as they get.
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                          • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                            Looks like I failed to keep her talking.
                            Shame. I kinda of like a few Christians around.
                            Maybe I should go back to church.
                            I'm a retired corrections officer with 21 years experience.
                            So you just gotta know I've got a thick skin.
                            I spent a few days butting heads with one Gulcher who outspokenly wanted me thrown outta here.
                            It was over that Davis lady who got arrested for refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses.
                            Later on he seemed to warm up to me for whatever the reason.
                            He initiated an exchange of a few civil words on somebody else's post.
                            I've reason to believe there may be a few Christian lurkers who keep quiet.
                            One contacted me via a PM back before Christmas.
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                            • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                              To many, a belif in religion negates anything else that can be said. I suppose you can't truly call yourself an Objectivist and be religious too. Perhaps we should start a new category: Objectivism Lite. Or is that Libertarianism? Anyhow, I enjoy your contributions and you rarely piss me off. I know that I piss off a few now and then. But, I look forward to it. Actually, I look forward to it when I find I'm wrong. Another item in the learning column.
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                              • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                                I consider myself to be a libertarian Constitutional conservative. I'll also admit that I'm into Objectivism Lite.
                                I'm not about to become an atheist to make myself pleasing to anyone.
                                I like the Gulch because I can learn a lot here (I don't at all mind finding out I've been wrong about this or that) and stuff even about myself. I also like to sound off when am so moved. If what I believe negates what I say to some--so be it.
                                I yam who I yam. "Know thyself" the mystical Apollo said. (Still dug that scene in "Troy" when Brad Pitt's Achilles chopped that idol's head off).
                                One thing very wrong with this world is that there are too many people in it more than willing to live a lie to ge by instead of being true to oneself.
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                                • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                                  Life can be hard. It is for most people, which is why religions promise heaven. People live a lie in many cases because they perceive it to be easier than facing the truth.
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                                  • allosaur replied 1 year, 1 month ago
                      • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                        There are many more.
                        As to Rand, she once had a discussion with a famous conservative who was also an outspoken Catholic, and tried to get him to admit that he really didn't believe.
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          • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 1 year, 1 month ago
            One more thought. You said that I should keep my religious activities and my prayers to myself. But the title of this discussion is, "What is Easter?" Gee, how naive and clumsy of me to actually think that you wanted my thoughts on what Easter means.
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            • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
              Your sarcasm is not lost on me. You might note that there have been many expositions on the topic that are religion free. They are quite complete and rational. To an Objectivist, you were talking in terms of ghosts, fantasies, and such and was invested in including them in your exposition.
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              • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
                I once saw what appeared to be a ghost during the mid-60s in Sarasota, FL, and way before anyone passed me a hit of pot to try out.
                Four guys and I took a dare and spent a couple of hours one night in a big abandoned house reputed to be haunted.
                We heard voices. Then I saw the fuzzy upper outline of a male person I could otherwise see through tilt his head over a shoulder as if he was thinking "What the heck are these people doing in here?" It quickly faded.
                A guy standing beside me saw the exact same thing. The others missed out on that but all heard the voices. And some laughing--not the BWAHAHA kind)
                There are TV shows about people who hunt such things. Just sayin'.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
          There are some here in the Gulch who can not tolerate any mention of religion. So they -1 any posts in relation.

          I reserve my "thumbs downs" for people who are either intentionally antagonistic, use logical fallacies in their arguments repeatedly, or who assert others use them without specifying. I've had good discussions even with those who differ with me and as long as civility prevails, I won't downvote.
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          • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
            +1 from the dino.
            Board rules say we are not to promote religious beliefs.
            But when the subject is brought up, especially when advanced as a negative, I don't see why anyone else in the Gulch is supposed to sit on their hands when they have a keyboard in front of them.
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            • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 1 year, 1 month ago
              We've been replacing the term with the story of the three participans. Those who go out and apply what they have discerned and tested. Those who are in it striclty for debate points. And the Righteous.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      If you mean the Gov. telling us lies that we are expected to swallow no matter how ridiculous they are, then I agree.
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year, 1 month ago
        There's silly innocent stuff like the Easter Bunny.
        Then there's a good thing getting all twisted up by the lust for power and riches.
        I think we're pretty much on the same page, though the entirety of our belief systems may differ..
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 1 year, 1 month ago
    Amazing, the variety of comments here, ranging from pagans to astronomy to religious delusions to politics and myths and faith and dark matter, wow.

    The question of what is Easter has a multi-stage answer. Let me give it a try:

    Humans' minds are genetically programmed for information acquisition. Not being ready to question every detail, children accept what they are told, although by age 3 their most frequent word is "Why." Nevertheless, beliefs are set in place on acceptance of authority. A side branch of acceptance is what later becomes full-blown unquestioning faith.

    Among the oldest memes is the anticipation of the return of the Sun after months of dark and cold. Primitive peoples who had migrated to northern lands and got caught in colder seasons adapted, or became nomads. Equatorial populations didn’t have to deal with severe climate changes, so had no need for adaptive skills nor a need to placate imagined gods to bring back the Sun.

    Primitive man had a sense of nature’s powers to which humans were subject, so ascribed those powers to some larger, stronger, even invisible entities that needed to be placated with offerings and sacrifices similar to making deals with bigger and stronger human bullies.

    The striving for survival, growth, continuity, replication is an aspect of living things that applies both to their physical form and the mental/emotional programs that animate it. A healthy, fit creature lives as one with the laws of nature and the conditions of reality, learning how to provide sustenance and safety for itself and its offspring. Its experiences accumulate a lore that becomes part of the science and culture of a growing society and is passed on to every generation in what we call memes.

    The sickest, most twisted, demented meme of all is the notion of an imaginary ruler who must be worshipped, who demands sacrifices, and who judges the people on their slightest transgressions and sends his son to be killed so as to redeem all of mankind for all their sins.

    Perhaps at some point in societies like Abraham’s descendants the people had to be ruled through fear of punishment and through the promise of a Savior, a messiah who would come to save them. This sicko notion goes back to the myth of the first man created, Adam, who sinned by discovering sex, and since all humans are the products of sex, their original sin is already attached to them when they are born, though the baptismal font will wash it off. Should a baby die before being baptized, it will go straight to Hell, so the belief goes.

    We are also to believe that a man named Jesus was actually the son of God and had to be born so he could choose to be sacrificed to placate God about the sins of mankind and thus liberate all the souls in hell and purgatory and win forgiveness for all future sins.

    So Easter is when Jesus supposedly rose from the dead, symbolizing that human life also does not end with death, since that is counter to the growth and continuity directive of living things. Thus at Easter humans reinforce their palliative against the certitude of death with complex symbolic ceremonies and feasts and sweet treats to celebrate that the long, hungry fasting of winter is over and the fertile earth once again provides sustenance and rebirth.

    A more rational approach to the knowledge that life has its cycles, and that consciousness is attached only to a living form, would be to celebrate Life while we have it and make the most of it, build as good and beneficial a physical existence as we can for ourselves and our progeny, on a planet whose resources need to be managed wisely and through ever-growing technology that may someday free us to seek other planets to preserve our genes and memes.

    The only parts of our consciousness that will survive us is what we pass on through ideas, which is why ideas also have a life of their own and seek to preserve themselves by occupying as many minds as possible and resisting being changed or eliminated. Hence all the wars, all the disputes and animosities among people with differing ideas: meme warfare leading to physical annihilation.

    And these demented folk still want to believe that someday a savior will come to rescue them and prove them right and judge them righteous, no matter how many other people they have slaughtered in the name of their god. There. That’s Easter.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      Thank you for a heads-screwed-on-straight post.
      When it comes to faith people will disregard history, physics, and whatever else you can think of. When that doesn't work, they'll make up some very elaborate reasons that in their minds justifies the beliefs. However, those on the other side of the argument can be so committed to proving deists incorrect that they'll go on trying to move the immovable object until their tongues fall out.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
    Easter is one of three things: an excuse for commercialism, a pagan ritual, or the single most important thing that ever happened: a human being dying and coming back to life. It doesn't matter what religious or non-religious background one hails from, death remains one of those defining boundaries in philosophy which colors every other aspect of thought and possibility. It is a topic which many shy away from but one for which the implications can be no more profound.

    Think about it? Why all the rancor over abortion? Or over religion and morality in general? Death: what it is and what it means is of what I would argue the utmost importance of philosophical study. Is death the termination of consciousness, the passing of consciousness into another plane of reality, or something else entirely? The answer to that question is so fundamental that it forms the bedrock of nearly all religions and philosophies: to answer its question is to either disprove or prove any given philosophy/religion.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      I really like your answer.
      It really all revolves around consciousness and death in many cases. Not so much in Objectivism. Since Objectivism seems to hold that death is the end of consciousness, it's every tenet is based on life and how to live it. Frankly, I don't see how Rand could be so positive, especially in the light of recent science, some of which took place during her lifetime. I personally have shed my fear of death. The worst that can happen is.....nothing. That doesn't mean that I subscribe to the fairy tales or the pantheon of characters as they are portrayed, and most especially to the rituals. I have an open mind on the subject but I still have to flush the crap out of it every now and then.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
        Death - what it is and what it is not - is also the study of the purposes for Life, which is why it confuses me when so many Objectivists seem to just wave it aside. Call it more than just morbid curiosity (pun intended) but here are just a few of the questions which hinge on correctly defining Death:

        1) If Death is the cessation of consciousness and the descent into nihilism, from whence springs consciousness in the first place?
        2) If Nihilism, then why morality at all? If there is no afterlife in which to be held to account for actions such as murder, etc., what is the moral case against such?
        3) If Death is not the end of consciousness, God becomes not only a possibility, but a probability.
        4) If Death is not the end of consciousness, why don't more disembodied consciousnesses interact with people on a regular basis?
        5) If Death is not the end of consciousness, is there a case that Life does not begin at birth either? Is this merely a transitionary state? If so, to what end?
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
          RE: "If there is no afterlife in which to be held to account for actions such as murder, etc., what is the moral case against such?" Depends on whether one's moral code is derived from religion or reason. Faith-based acceptance of religious "moral" doctrines negates the need for most moral precepts with the exception of "obedience to God's will." Atrocities of all kinds become "morally acceptable" if they are part of "God's plan."
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
            That may be how an atheist views religion, but it's a far cry from how religions themselves view things. The biggest logical flaw I see an any generic anti-religious argument is the attempt to put all religions under a single umbrella. It is a fallacy of inclusion.

            Much of your statement is an attempt to brand all religions with the same broad brush stroke. Philosophy must be taken one precept at a time, one principle at a time, one teaching at a time. The biggest problem with the generic assertion you make is that every religion defines "God" differently. You certainly wouldn't attribute any of what you just said to Wiccans, Hindus, Buddhists, or Hari Krishna's, yet all are recognized religious philosophies. Your comments are more specifically directed at "Christians", "Jews", and "Muslims", but again your statements are overly broad, as each has a very different definition of God due to divergence in origin. Even that doesn't even go into the individual sects within each of those respective brands, such as Sunni, Shia, Wahab, and Baath within Islam, Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewry, and a panoply of hundreds of various Christian faiths.

            That's why I always start with principles. Once you identify proper principles, look for the sects or philosophies which abide by those principles and discard the rest. You'll never find the needle in the haystack if you look at every piece of straw.
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            • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
              The one broad brush that works for all religions is Faith/Mysticism. Without those twins it cannot be called a religion. Both faith and mysticism are anti-reason which makes them anti-Objectivism. Although they may have certain rules in common, that in no way causes correspondence between them.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                The objection I have to the Objectivist definition of faith is that it creates a straw-man argument by presupposing the absurdity of faith and by literally defining faith as being anti-logic - as you have used it. A definition must be of what something is, however, and not what it is not to be valid.

                What is faith? It is the drive that impels one to act in pursuance of a future outcome without a guarantee. Faith is what drives the entrepreneur to start one's own business. He has no guarantee of success, and even failure may be due to forces outside his control, but he pursues the goal anyway because the end result is of such value that it justifies the risk. Faith is also what drives the scientist to test a hypothesis. He has no guarantee that the experiment will give him the answer he seeks and thereby justify the expenditures involved in setting up the experiment, but he moves on nevertheless because of the value of the knowledge to be had.

                The real disagreement between Objectivism and religion isn't about faith at all, but about the idea of a goal who's attainment lies after ...

                Death.
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                • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
                  The word “faith” has more than one meaning. “Faith in the future” means confidence that it is likely (but not guaranteed) that the future will be better than the past or the present. “Faith in an all-powerful creator” is belief in a conscious supreme being, usually accompanied by some “divine revelation” (which varies with the sect one was born into) that must also be accepted on faith.

                  When dealing with philosophical issues, it is important to define the specific meaning of “faith” that is being discussed. One can have confidence in the future and still be an atheist.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Again, really, what we come back to is Death. Faith only has a meaning if consciousness exists beyond death, which is why atheists can not grasp the meaning of faith nor its application in the realm of "religion". It requires a mindset that posits a possibility rejected by atheists.
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                    • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
                      RE: "Faith only has a meaning if consciousness exists beyond death . . . " Carrying this logic to its conclusion: There is no real evidence that consciousness exists beyond death; therefore there is no real evidence that faith has a meaning.

                      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not merely "possibilities" backed by nothing other than speculation and personal testimonials.
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                      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 year, 1 month ago
                        I am not defending Judaism or Christianity with the following statements. Jews would claim that their deliverance from Egypt via the ten plagues was extraordinary evidence, the vast majority of which have been explained recently as a series of naturally occuring, albeit rare, phenomena. The Christian claim of resurrection certainly falls under the category of extraordinary evidence. The number of personal testimonials to that resurrection was not a small number. According to Paul, it was in the range of 500. It certainly is possible that 500 people could be deceived.

                        The possible responses to Jesus' alleged resurrection are that he was a liar, was a lunatic, or was telling the truth. Objectivists have chosen to say he was a lunatic or a liar. That is a valid response, but such claims ought to be substantiated. If someone called you a liar or lunatic without substantiation, you would quite correctly sue for defamation of character.
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                        • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
                          The further we go back into the past, the more hard evidence is replaced by speculation and myth. The ancient Greeks and Romans probably had thousands of personal testimonials as to the nature and power of their gods. After 2000 years it is difficult, probably impossible, to separate the real Jesus from the mythical one.

                          Alleged miracles prove nothing, and are used by their claimants to demonstrate the supposed unreliability of our senses and rational faculties. Those who accept such assertions without demanding hard evidence are more easily persuaded to adopt beliefs such as consciousness after death.
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                        • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Agreed. The more relevant question is are there witnesses today, or even can there be? In very fact, this is the position I advocate in favor of the most, as it settles the issue definitively.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                        So let's examine the cases:

                        Case #1: Consciousness terminates with Death.
                        A. Perception is a function of consciousness.
                        A -> B. Description or proof is the result of perception.
                        C. Consciousness ceases with Death.
                        B & C -> D. There can be no perception of Death.
                        Ergo, there can be no substantiation of such a case.

                        Case #2: Consciousness does not terminate with Death.
                        A. Perception is a function of consciousness.
                        A -> B. Description or proof is the result of perception.
                        !C. Consciousness does not not cease with Death.
                        B & !C -> !D. There can not be no perception of Death, i.e. perception is possible.
                        Ergo, there can be substantiation of such a case.

                        So of the two, we have one case which renders itself immune to logical proof and the other which avails itself of a proof pending the test of a successful hypothesis. The real question is the devising of such a test, as Death appears to be a one-way ticket in either case. How does one go about testing for the presence of consciousness beyond Death? Can we define what consciousness is or even how it begins any more than we can posit its extinction?

                        "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not merely "possibilities" backed by nothing other than speculation and personal testimonials."

                        When a case goes to court, jurists are not asked to render judgment based on their personal experiences or involvement in the crime itself. They are restricted to the testimonies of others, are they not? Really, what you are saying here is that because you yourself have not had a personal involvement that you doubt anyone else could have either. Skepticism, however, is not proof. The only way to obtain proof is to examine the one case which has a potential proof and devise a test for authenticity. Barring that, you are left to the realm of pure speculation - nothing more, nothing less.
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                        • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Your logic is flawed. The concepts of Consciousness and Death are not dependent on the single abilities of one person. They are an everyday observance by individuals of others.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                            Utlimately, every choice of belief is personal, is it not? One may choose to remain in ignorance, adopt a stance based on the testimony of others, or actually carry out a test and become one's self a testator. But observations and conclusions are never made by a group, but by individuals acting in their own interest. That they may form into groups based on shared beliefs is an after-effect, however.
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                            • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
                              Strawman, blarman. I'm referring to easily observed aspects of existence. They are not the intense hopes of belief.

                              The banana peel seen on your porch, by your neighbor, was still there regardless of whether you were playing a joke, knocked unconscious, or dead. Your condition can concretely be determined with a bucket of water or medical assessment.

                              Using your argument would eliminate the reality of any diminished mental condition—because we cannot be that person. Twisting logic like this cuts off 'blood flow' to one's capacity for reason.

                              The human mind has the ability to believe anything, and it underscores our necessity to reason. Having physical reactions within our bodies is not proof of a contradictory dimension; and dire, emotional stress is not a tool used in rational thought.
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                              • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                                A strawman is a substitute argument which is inherently false. I used none such, but I may have responded to a question you did not intend to ask. When I read your comment, it seemed to focus on the aspect of observation and how it applied to groups. As I seem to have misunderstood your comment, perhaps I could prevail upon you to restate your comment.

                                "The banana peel..."

                                I'm really struggling to understand where you are coming from and where you are headed. Perhaps you can restate the entirety of your comment and precede it with your assumptions. I am not intentionally being difficult, I am just struggling to find the set of logical tracks upon which your mental train of thought is proceeding.
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                                • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
                                  Your arguments presuppose the "primacy of consciousness", and imply that knowledge of the end of human consciousness can only be confirmed or known through the first hand experience that ends it.

                                  Existence is; and, regardless of whether you "think", you are. The banana peel and you both exist whether you are conscious, or not. You and the banana peel are existents observable by others. Your death ends all the biological functions that your human consciousness depends on.

                                  There are rational explanations for unusual, individual, mental experiences. Those experiences are not a valid basis to construct ideas fundamentally in contradiction to what is.
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                                  • Herb7734 replied 1 year, 1 month ago
                                  • blarman replied 1 year, 1 month ago
                        • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Jurors are not restricted to the testimony of others, they are also permitted to examine physical evidence where available. And courts do not demand proof of a negative (i.e., “Consciousness continues after death. Prove it doesn’t.”). And saying “I might be able to prove this hypothesis in the future” does not justify belief in it today.
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                          • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                            That's an old debating fallacy. You cannot prove a negative. I say there are Coca Cola factories on Pluto. You say that's ridiculous. I say prove it. C'mon people, we can do better than that.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                            "Jurors are not restricted to the testimony of others, they are also permitted to examine physical evidence where available."

                            Absolutely. But the actions of many are to convene court, install themselves as both judge and jury, deny the entry of evidence, refuse to call witnesses, and then pronounce a favorable verdict. No one tolerates it in the legal world. That it should be tolerated in the logical world is no less a travesty.

                            "And courts do not demand proof of a negative"

                            My whole point is that from a logical perspective, it is a meaningless position to take. If one asserts that proof is necessary in the substantiation of an argument, to then take a position that nothing can be proven is outright contradiction and hypocrisy! What one should say instead of "it can not be" in such a case is rather "what conditions would be possible" and test for them. I agree with Sherlock Holmes when he stated "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." Since we have eliminated the possibility of confirming the position (that death constitutes a termination of consciousness), we must move on to what is possible to test: its opposite.

                            "And saying “I might be able to prove this hypothesis in the future” does not justify belief in it today."

                            Justification is wholly a value judgement - an opinion. It is your value judgement and you are wholly entitled to such, but what you are actually asserting in the statement quoted above is one of the following:
                            1) I do not value the potential search for an answer as worthy of my time/energy
                            OR
                            2) I do not want to know what the answer is
                            In the one you are asserting that I should share with you an apathetic viewpoint on the matter while in the other one of willing ignorance. Why should I be satisfied with either of these options when the third - a pursuit of the answer - may be available?
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                            • Posted by  $  CBJ 1 year, 1 month ago
                              I’m not saying “nothing can be proven,” I’m saying “a negative cannot be proven.” Big difference. As for your saying that “justification is wholly a value judgement - an opinion,” no it isn’t. According to dictionary.com, justification is “a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends,” and to “justify” is “to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right.” Another big difference. I stand by my original statements above.
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                              • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                                It's your choice: you can stand on a position which has no possibility of being proven and rationalize to yourself the justification, or you can investigate the only position which holds the possibility of being proven. If you choose to stand on a position which can not be evidentially supported, however, you risk blatant hypocrisy if you insist on an evidential position from those who assert the contrary.

                                I also strongly caution against any assertion that no evidence of consciousness after death could exist when one has already admitted that he has declared the search for such a waste of time and/or effort. A pronouncement of that type is open evidence of confirmation bias - not of one searching for reality.

                                Adieu.
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                • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                  Truth is that which corresponds to reality. No matter how you slice it, faith cannot live beside truth. Take your example, for instance. One man opens a Gidget Shop because he has been selling gidgets and he thinks he knows the business. He invests on faith. Another man does extensive homework, checking out profit margins, probable overhead, location,etc. before making a decision. Who has a better chance of success? It is true that they both can fail or succeed, but there is no doubt to me that the guy who did his homework has a better chance. Also, there are no goals after death, since there is no existence after death.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                    It is also faith which drives the one businessperson to do their homework. The one with the greater faith is the one who invests more time into actualizing his goals because his goals mean that much more to him! Faith is not a digital on/off, it is an analog measured in degrees. Faith leads one to pursue truth - it does not act in the place of it. Truth is a noun, faith is a verb.

                    "Also, there are no goals after death, since there is no existence after death."

                    That's an untenable proposition because it can only be disproven - never proven. It is a negative assertion rather than a positive.

                    I would also tell you that I know for myself that existence does not terminate with death. More than that I reserve for a private conversation.
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                    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                      Your 1st example is not faith. It is logic. Big difference. I think that we should discontinue this discussion. I can see no way that either of us will convince one another. If you were some goober who thought that the world was only 6,000 years old and took the bible word for word literally, eschewing science, then I wouldn't have engaged you at all. You are an intelligent guy, and you understand the Objectivist viewpoint even though you cannot embrace it fully. Let's drop the topic with one another and proceed apace . Still friends.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                        "Your 1st example is not faith."

                        All philosophical study and examination begins with proper definitions. The definition of faith used by Objectivists is a straw man - an anti-definition. I can't logically accept any such. Ayn Rand herself said that the only proper definitions of things talk about what something is - not what something isn't. It's the same reason we struggle with dark matter because so far, we know it exists but we can not properly define it because we can not interact with it.

                        I have appreciated your rational approach and thank you for your time.
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          • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
            One of the basic tenets of Islam. Which is one reason why they get so many suicide volunteers. God's plan according to them is that life is an unpleasant struggle, but do as I say and have eternal paradise. They have nothing else going for them, so why not?
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            • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
              "They have nothing else going for them, so why not?"

              I am laughing in sad agreement. The whole definition of the Islamic God reminds me much about the whimsical nature of the Greek Pantheon Plato lambasted quite efficiently in his "Republic".
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              • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                When General Moses was in the dessert and his army was attacked, if the attacking general said for him to give up his god (Idol) they would make a deal, Moses would laugh and say, "Our God is invisible."
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                • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                  According to Biblical accounts, Moses talked with God face to face on several occasions. So did Abraham. So did Adam. There are some religions who believe in "invisible" Gods, including the Christian churches which adopted the Nicean Creed. The Hindu gods have forms of all kinds of animal-headed humanoids. I hesitate to mock any religion, however. If what I know to be true is true, it gains me nothing to disparage others for the sake of amusement.

                  All people start out in the same boat: questing for knowledge. By ridiculing their current state I am only ridiculing my former state and potentially alienating one with whom I might become a friend. On the other hand, I am more than willing to debate principle, because principles transcend the inventions of man and any religion or philosophy based on demonstrably false principles. It comes down to what is more important: what is right or who is right.
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                  • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Let me ask you this: Moses was obviously a pretty smart guy. He wrote the first 5 books of the bible. So, tell me, how could he wander about in the desert for 40 years? All he had to do was keep in a straight line guided by the sun or stars and he'd eventually come out someplace in a few years or less. If there is any significant history to the story at all it is likely that Moses (a name that is from the word Mose meaning "man") if he was a prince of Egypt, he was also a General, because that's what princes did. If he took the Israelites, I'm sure he got very few if any soldiers. He had to teach them to become warriors. The desert wasn't barren of people. There were many villages and towns all over the place and especially near the Nile. I think he raided villages and gathered up the eligble men and built an army. When it became formidable enough, he turned his attention to the cities. He died before attaining his biggest triumphs which was left to his protégé, Joshua. A name bastardized into Jesus some time later.
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                    • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                      If you take the Bible at it's word, Moses and the people of Israel took the straight route to the "promised land". When they got to the borders, scouts were sent out to survey and all but two (Joshua and Caleb) came back and said that although the land appeared good, they assayed the existing people as too militarily strong. Because of their lack of faith (despite seeing the miracles leading to their expulsion from Egypt, Pharoah' armies drowning, a pillar of fire/cloud of smoke which traveled with them, 80,000 swallowed by an earthquake, etc.), God told Moses that the Israelites weren't ready to inherit the land. So they turned around and wandered until all those of that generation (except Joshua and Caleb) were dead, at which point they were able to cross the Jordan into the land. It should be noted, however, that Moses himself was forbidden from crossing into the land. At that point Joshua was appointed as the new ruler.

                      Just FYI, but Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Joshua. By the time of the events of the New Testament, the most prevalent language - most especially in commerce and philosophy - was Greek. The original five books attributed to Moses are part of the Pentateuch (penta meaning five in Greek) and Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy all are Greek words: Genesis meaning beginning, Exodus meaning literally "road out of" and Deuteronomy meaning "second law" (because the first law on the stone tablets was broken over the golden calf). Leviticus was a reference to the Tribe of Levi who was given charge over the Ark of the Covenant and authorized to act in the rites of the temple. Numbers is just exactly that: the numbering or census of the people.
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        • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
          Since I am the world's foremost authority, I shall answer your questions. WARNING: Things may turn satirical...or not.
          1. Consciousness was created during the big bang. It only manifests as something easily detectable when attached to a living thing.
          2. Because it is more pleasant and happiness inducing to have a certain type of morality. (Certain types as defined in Objectivism.).
          3. God is not needed any more than it is needed because of mass or energy. This does not exclude the possibility of some sort of universal intelligence.
          4. For the same reason that we know that dark matter is there but don't know what it is or how to access it.
          5.What we call life could be a physical manifestation of consciousness which activates matter under certain conditions.
          The point is, since we don't know what consciousness is, all bets are off. You could be right, or I could be right of Dr. Ratherbright working in some lab could be right. Eventually, we will know (The human race, that is.)
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
            hehe

            "The point is, since we don't know what consciousness is, all bets are off."

            Ah, finally someone who understands what the real problem is in the debate of Death.

            "Eventually, we will know."

            Lol. That is a loaded statement. If we take the nihilists view, we won't. If we take the religionists' view, we will as soon as we die, and we may not be satisfied with the repercussions. The other question is if we live for ourselves, how does the lack of a definitive answer help us now...?
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            • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
              The human race in the universe's time-line has been around less than an inhale. Yet, it is well on the way to going from kindergarten to first grade as far as knowledge is concerned. If it succeeds in not destroying itself, I truly believe that in 100, or 1,000, or 10,000 years you get it, right? we will learn it all.
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  • Posted by wmiranda 1 year, 1 month ago
    Simple. Easter is not commemorating the crucifixion, it's commemorating the resurrection. If you're not a person of faith, then the commercialized bunny stuff will suffice. If you're a person of faith, you celebrate the rebirth and hope.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      Faith.
      I really dislike that word. Rand quotes it as "blind acceptance." It always puzzled me how people can give up reason and just accept something just because someone said so.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
        Faith is often maligned by those who do not understand it. I don't accept Rand's definition. Blind acceptance is an oxymoron. One can't accept what one has no knowledge of.

        I define Faith as the motivation to do something which has an unsure outcome but an outcome one nevertheless desires. The entrepreneur exercises faith when he goes into business for himself: he has no surety of knowledge that his business venture will succeed, but he presses forward anyway because the payoff is worth the risk. The scientist conducts the test of a hypothesis based on faith: he has no surety of outcome until after the test is complete and he has analyzed the findings.

        I think what some people want to declare as faith is the part used by some to absolve themselves of any action of verification, but this is not faith. That is risk aversion in its extreme. Are there those of a religious persuasion which promote the false concept of faith Rand alluded to which advocates no action? Absolutely! And it is hypocrisy of the highest order. Can one act on false premises? Absolutely! Which is why the confirmation is so important as it establishes the veracity of the tenet upon which one acts.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 1 year, 1 month ago
          Another A and Gold Start
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 1 year, 1 month ago
            Some do believe though even in the complete absence of proof or with proof. For example The story of Pinocchio. The real story finishes ...they changed their named name to Clinton and lived greedily ever after. That's greed spelled with a 't' in the center. not egoist

            Another one was 'every little boy wants to grow up to become like George Washington cherry wood kindling and all. except for one who said, "I'll make that story even better and chop down the whole country."

            Hey those stories are every bit as good as the one's framed by George Soros and George Lakoff or Jimmy Carter and St. James of Carville. Produced by and Benita Pelosillyme

            And more entertaining....

            Brought to you by your neighborhood Trumpeting Clintonites.

            Time for a creative writing competition
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            • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
              "Some do believe though even in the complete absence of proof or with proof."

              Yes, they do - and do so at their own peril.

              I believe that one must live a philosophy to prove it out. If one only professes it but does not act it, they are the very definition of the hypocrite. I appreciate people who act honestly even if misinformed because I know that they can still be enlightened and adjust their behaviors to fit reality.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 1 year, 1 month ago
        Two definitions...

        faith
        fāTH/
        noun
        noun: faith

        1.
        complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
        "this restores one's faith in politicians"
        synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction; More
        optimism, hopefulness, hope
        "he justified his boss's faith in him"
        antonyms: mistrust
        2.
        strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
        synonyms: religion, church, sect, denomination, (religious) persuasion, (religious) belief, ideology, creed, teaching, doctrine
        "she gave her life for her faith"

        The first one is based on evidence... the second one is based on...as you said. It's a curious word having two definitions with one significant portion completely opposite in it's requirements.
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  • Posted by Esceptico 1 year, 1 month ago
    I love the "Easter Challenge" that came out many years ago as to which "Easter Story" of the three in the bible is the "real" one. The challenge offered $1,000 to anyone who can reconcile the three stories. If you haven't seen it find it. I even took it, and put it into a three-column sheet with the quotations so there is no excuse not to answer. I usually send it out to my christian friends each year, but I forgot to do it this year or to bring it with me on my travels.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 1 year, 1 month ago
    Easter is the hook for acceptance of mystical control. Mankind contemplates death with great fear and dread. Most cannot resist a promise of life after death and are willing to sacrifice life on earth for it. Madison Avenue could not have done a better job with introducing chocolate, peeps and cute bunnies as a reminder of Easter so as to not wear out the welcome of the message by focusing on blood and gore. Islam throws in a bevy of virgins and off go the suicide bombers.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 year, 1 month ago
      You are right about Easter being the hook and about the promise of life after death, but there is more to it than that. It is the acceptance of the unearned and a form of second-handedness.
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      • Posted by coaldigger 1 year, 1 month ago
        Yes, that too but the lure of life after death is so great that mankind forsakes reason in the desperate hope it is true. Once making that choice the morality of being a moocher and second-hander is easy. I used to think that you could be an Objectivist and still be religious but I do not think so any more. As long as you are religious, you believe in mysticism and accept altruism as moral and cannot accept the primacy of the individual and that your moral purpose is to seek your own happiness. It is our fear of death that denies us the full enjoyment of the life we have. I want to look in the mirror every day and love the person I see more than anything and be proud that he tries his utmost to enjoy his own life while doing nothing to prevent others from doing likewise. (Those that are unhappy because I will not let them prevent my enjoyment are not my responsibility.) When the day comes that I see everything going permanently black, I will be satisfied if I can maintain this sense even if this happens when I am in chains, in a cold, dark dungeon.
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        • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
          Religion wouldn't be half so bad if it wasn't for the silly stories, starting with Eden and going forward. As to death being the complete end...who knows? We don't really know what consciousness is. I'll not ponder it, since it is inevitable and unknowable -- at least for now.
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  • Posted by  $  Abaco 1 year, 1 month ago
    I choose not to get my panties in a bind over it. I like watching kids hunt for Easter eggs. I love the weather associated with this time of year. Yipee.

    When I get perspective on all religion I am amazed at the suffering and murder that's highlighted. Not my cup of tea.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      I too enjoy watching kids have positive fun. I spent many happy hours coloring easter eggs with my kids and grand kids and getting the dye all over everything. (I am a natural slob).No religion involved.
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  • Posted by BradA 1 year, 1 month ago
    Without any intent to offend or mock our Christian members I'll proceed with an observation. According to our current cultural standards, when something (generally human) dies but at some later time comes back to life, he/she/it is then referred to as a zombie. Easter therefore is a celebration of the existence of zombies.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
      Lol. That was pretty funny.

      Seriously, though, I think that one of the differences is the self-actualization and intelligence, which are usually lacking in Zombies.
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      • Posted by BradA 1 year, 1 month ago
        OK, but since all we have currently are fictionalized representations of zombies, who's to say that self-actualization and intelligence aren't the more accurate portrayals of real zombies. I've always had my suspicions about lawyers.
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  • Posted by  $  jimslag 1 year, 1 month ago
    I was raised Catholic, so I get the religious connotations. However, I fell away from the church in the 70's and 80's, so I only go for weddings and funerals now as all my relatives are older than me. As for me, it is renewal, a sign of the awakening of nature after a long winter hibernation. A forewarning of the oncoming spring, for those of us in the northern reaches of this world.
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  • Posted by  $  DrZarkov99 1 year, 1 month ago
    Lots of myth and history behind Easter. Christianity has to be an example of salesmanship of epic proportions. The Spring equinox has long been associated with the rebirth (resurrection, if you will) of life that disappeared through Winter, and many earlier religions created ceremonies rejoicing in nature's life cycle. The symbolism of these holidays was more powerful than the everyday rituals of the various faiths.

    The exact dates of Christ's birth and death are difficult to determine, since the Bible makes little helpful date reference, but the early Christians were quick to fit their scripture's message to popular established culture. The story of the crucifixion and resurrection fit naturally into the equinox rebirth celebration.

    The bunnies and gifts of candy are a leftover from the pagan rebirth celebration, which emphasized the end of want and the arrival of plenty. I've left out a lot of information about the many reborn savior myths that predated Christ, but most involved a Spring equinox festival.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
    I thought the bunny was of pagan origin. A familiar of a pagan god of spring or something, adopted when the church lined up Easter, like Xmas with pagan rituals to co-opt larger populations. X-mas being the harvest ending Sarurnalia, and Easter being the spring Bacchus/Dionysus Certamen (sp?).
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      I got that. But why bunnies? And eggs?
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
        Like I noted, I think the bunny was of pagan origin.
        I suspect the eggs were not originally chocolate.

        Hang on, some sleuthing ....

        Stolen from Wiki:
        "Orthodox churches have a custom of abstaining from eggs during the fast of Lent. The only way to keep them from being wasted was to boil or roast them, and begin eating them to break the fast."

        Stolen from: http://dailyjournalonline.com/news/lo...

        "In an attempt to Christianize Easter which began as a pagan holiday, is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the "female hormone" estrogen derives from her name.
        It is believed that Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, Eostre had a hare as her companion. The hare symbolizes fertility and rebirth. Later Christians changed the symbol of the hare to the Easter bunny."
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  • Posted by mia767ca 1 year, 1 month ago
    easter used to be the pagan spring celebration of the corn king...rebirth of life (planting crops)...religion co-opted it....then commercial food processing co-opted that...and so on...
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 1 year, 1 month ago
    According to the Smothers Brothers....Tommy to be exact.

    It is the morning that Jesus arose from the Dead

    and if he doesn't see his shadow he has to go back in the tomb for another 40 nights.

    Don't kill the messenger....the networks wouldn't let them do it live even though a panel of clergy approved it.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      The mention of the Smothers Brothers reminded me of a pleasant memory I'd like to share. My son and I were in Nevada on business when we drove up to Reno to see the Smothers in concert. After the show, my son, who always had more nerve than me told the backstage guard that two generations of fans would like to say hello to them. They came out of their dressing room and spent a few minutes chatting with us, but had to leave for a charity even before the 2nd show. Instead, their music director joined us and shared a snack with us in the hotel café, telling us stories about the brothers. It was a sweet gesture.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago in reply to this comment.
    I am not proposing that one prove the negative position. As I showed in my proof above, I propose that we investigate the option where proof is possible: the assertion that death is not the termination of consciousness. If you wish to prove my logic to be incorrect, simply invalidate the proof.

    That being said, however, the assertion that no evidence in favor (of the the assertion that death is not the termination of consciousness) may be found is preposterous when one has not even looked for such and in fact merely denies that any which may be proposed can't possibly be valid. One choosing to do such is intentionally creating a logical problem for which no objective solution may be found at all! In light of the existing and unrefuted proof so far presented, such a course is the refuge of those attempting to avoid reality altogether and I will not be a part of such closed-mindedness.
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    • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
      Sheesh.
      Man, you are a glutton for punishment.
      Drop it already, you're even beginning to bore my beagle. If you need to prove your beliefs so badly, perhaps you should ask yourself why. You seem to fall into what psychologists describe as a person who'd rather be right than be happy.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
        I can accept it when people say "Well, I'll think about it." That is all I am asking. The response I'm getting is rather the opposite: that they don't want to think about it. I can only conclude that it is because the implications affect literally every point of philosophy imaginable. To me, that means that the answers are all that much more important because they form the foundation of a philosophy built on reality. The answers to this question resolve many of the significant controversies in philosophy, from abortion to religion.

        I'll sign off for now. Thanks for a great topic. A lot of the political discourse has gotten pretty stale. This has been a good exercise of (apologies to Hercule Poirot - courtesy of Agatha Christie) the "little gray cells".
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago in reply to this comment.
    "Your arguments presuppose the "primacy of consciousness", and imply that knowledge of the end of human consciousness can only be confirmed or known through the first hand experience that ends it."

    Do you propose another method of obtaining the necessary information? I'm open to suggestions. The problem is that what we might call an observation of death is merely an observation of the cessation of biological functions. There is no correlating test for the presence/absence of consciousness I am aware of. Example: one in a comatose state. Such an one exhibits limited biological function, but no self-will (aspect of consciousness) ascertainable by scientific discovery. Is such a one alive or dead? Might there remain a nascent/inactive consciousness or even an active one which has somehow lost its ability to control its vessel?

    "Existence is; and, regardless of whether you "think", you are. The banana peel and you both exist whether you are conscious, or not. You and the banana peel are existents observable by others. Your death ends all the biological functions that your human consciousness depends on."

    Thanks for the clarification. That makes more sense.

    I agree that things exist. The question, however, is whether the consciousness continues to exist despite the termination of those biological functions. (Which brings up the interesting concept of what would cause a consciousness to temporarily inhabit a physical form in the first place...) I think you are assuming biological and conscious function are one and the same. I question the assumption and contemplate the possibility of independence.

    "There are rational explanations for unusual, individual, mental experiences. Those experiences are not a valid basis to construct ideas fundamentally in contradiction to what is."

    I never asserted otherwise. However, I also categorically reject the collective insanity case implied here - that somehow each and every assertion of "miraculous" circumstances can be attributed to some mental defect or hallucination. That is the refuge of unjustified speculation fueled by confirmation bias. Many in such cases have been examined by medical staff and declared completely competent. In cases of healings, many have taken place in the very presence of astonished medical staff.

    Must all such instances have to be taken at face value? No, and I do not suggest any such thing. An impartial judge, however, does not issue a peremptory verdict without first weighing the arguments.

    Rather than looking at individual claims and putting the proverbial cart before the horse, however, I think it prudent instead to establish the feasibility of the original question first and foremost. If the hypothesis may be reasonably asserted that consciousness and biological function are not one and the same, then these incidents (asserted by some to be miracles) may be examined individually as potential evidence in corroboration of the assertion.
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    • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
      Polite contradictions. Consider the problems encountered in thinking "consciousness" precedes "existence". The logical extension of that idea is a 'cartoon world' where everything is possible.

      http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pri...

      Testing your ideas about death and consciousness should come with a medical disclaimer.
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      • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
        I dunno.
        During the 20th century, dozens of things that were deemed impossible suddenly became possible. Who knows what tomorrow might bring. I think the quote goes, "I do several impossible things before breakfast" -- The Red Queen in Alice Through The Looking Glass.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
        Seriously?

        I am not talking about existence nor debating it. I am not asserting that it is subjective in any way. I am not asserting that consciousness precedes existence. I assume existence (as an axiom), but I am also confining my study to that of conscious entities - not banana peels. I do not question the existence of a banana peel, but it is not relevant to this discussion because insofar as I can determine, it is not a conscious entity.

        Rand asserted that the only way to examine the universe was by the perception of a consciousness which could identify it's boundaries, its distinctness from other objects AND had the capability to reason. Unless you disagree with that statement, we will proceed upon that basis. Before I worry about the after-death existence of a banana peel, however, I'm going to look at a more personally valuable and applicable question: whether or not my personal consciousness will still exist after death. Will my ability to perceive and reason continue after death? Because if not, existence won't matter one iota to me after that point. My first and foremost concern is myself. I have no question that the rest of the universe will go on one way or the other.

        "Testing your ideas about death and consciousness should come with a medical disclaimer."

        Only if one lacks the imagination to come up with a test that does not involve self-destruction or bodily injury.
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        • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 1 year, 1 month ago
          So, you need not only your consciousness to continue after death, you also need your eyes, ears, taste buds, nervous system and supporting biology to continue as well. How else would your consciousness perceive and how did it do it before you were born and why don't you remember any of that?

          You continue to think that you can 'shoehorn' religious mysticism into philosophy somehow. Won't fit.
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          • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
            Not to further mysticism, but some theory about consciousness is that it exists independently of physical manifestation, possibly as a part of or entirely dark energy. How it exists, how it uses energy to "see" or "hear" is unknown as yet. It becomes a part of a living thing and uses it to the extent of the thing's neural ability. Totally unproven theory, but you know these scientists, you never know what they'll come up with. In any case, according to those who are working on consciousness and quantum physics, there's nothing mystical about it. Might be a dead end, but who knows?
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            • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
              Hmm...sounds like piss-poor epistemology.
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              • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                I'm going to tell you what I've said to blarman. Enough already! You two can carry this on for months without either convincing the other. Like I said, you both seem to fall into the description psychologists use to describe a certain attitude, "you'd rather be right than be happy."
                Relax, you two argumentative brainy guys, have a drink, eat a hot fudge sundae, get laid, for god's sake. OOPS!
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                Why? We have logically shown it to be the only proveable supposition. That you deny yourself the opportunity to pursue a course of knowledge does not invalidate the possibility for others. No one who started out with the mindset of "it can't be done" ever invented anything or explored anything or discovered anything. Only those who were willing to posit what may be and pursue it did that.

                Ultimately it is your choice as to what you want to do. For myself, I choose not to rule anything out until proven otherwise.
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            • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 1 year, 1 month ago
              That's the kind of imaginary explanations for why their previous theories (Big Bang and Accelerating Expansion of the Space-Time of the Universe) don't match up with their observations. It's a perfect example of how theoretical physics has split from observational and experimental physics.

              If it doesn't fit, just make something up.
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              • Posted by 1 year, 1 month ago
                That's how religion got started.
                I often wonder about the first guy who invented a god. Was he sincere or just trying to get people to do as he says by scaring the bejeezus out of them? Most likely the latter.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
            You assume that the only faculties available to consciousness are those of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell via a physical form. Again, you tie biology to consciousness as inseparable while refusing to posit the notion that such an assumption is erroneous. I posit the notion that sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell are extensions and additions to sensory perception, but that other paths of sensory perception may exist. Would a consciousness gain by taking a form? Assuredly. And it would once again be limited after it left such a form. Exploring such implications is, however, left to those willing to contemplate such in the first place.

            You are right in that one can not shoehorn a size 11 foot into a size 2 shoe. We have to expand our horizons and go looking for bigger shoes - or we have to be content to walk barefoot. I have mountains to climb and I anticipate sharp rocks. I'll take the shoes.
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        • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
          Seriously, blarman; when you're dead, you're not conscious.

          Your assertions are based on ideas that ignore and contradict readily observable aspects of existence.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
            And I will say to you again, that is an unproveable assertion (as we have shown logically).

            If I were to tell you that I knew that not to be true, what would you say? If I were to tell you that I know consciousness is not biologically dependent, what would you say?
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            • Posted by conscious1978 1 year, 1 month ago
              You have not logically proven that human consciousness is independent of human biology. You have verbally kicked up a lot of dust and waved your words around in a Rumpelstiltskinish manner using poorly constructed arguments.

              And no, I don't want to hear your "proof" in a private message. You should be able to publicly offer your 'imparted knowledge'.

              Strong emotions and the associated physical sensations do not impart proof of disembodied
              consciousness.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                What I have proved is that of the two possibilities, only one offers the possibility of support of its position. Whether one chooses after that reality has been acknowledged is up to them. It has been the case all throughout history that people have refused to believe the truth unless they seek for it themselves. The Catholics' persecution of Galileo comes to mind. To one who is honestly seeking, I can tell them where and how to look, but I force no man to pursue such a path precisely because free will and intent are integral and key to the process.

                "Strong emotions and the associated physical sensations do not impart proof of disembodied consciousness."

                You obviously have some preconceived notions about what evidence you are or are not willing to accept. Such is for you to decide, but is indicative of one who only seeks to go where he wishes rather than of one willing to go where the facts lead.

                I will leave you to your thoughts. The only sure things in life are death and taxes, right? ;)
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  • Posted by Jimms 1 year, 1 month ago
    What is Easter?
    Please keep in mind that I do not wish to come across as correcting, as much as wish give information.

    Mainly, Easter is not about Jesus's time on the cross, it is about his resurrection from the grave. Two different matters all together.

    On another note, it is not about religion. Christianity is not a religion. Christ was very anti- religion.
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