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  1. #76
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Then all of humanity was derived through several generations of inbreeding. Twice.
    No, not everyone inbred in ancient times, mind you.


    And I still don't think Jesus wanted us to see ourselves as separate from each other. Every major spiritual/philosophical/religious system in the world preaches unity, harmony, togetherness, oneness. Jesus was no different
    Well, Rick, the truth is your opinion here finds no basis in the teachings of either Jesus or his apostles. Jesus taught the unity of believers (John 17), not a unity of mankind like some philosophers and religious sages have taught. There is no hiding the fact that the God of the Bible clearly distinguishes mankind into two classes: the righteous/just and the unrighteous/wicked, believers in/followers of Jesus Christ and those who disbelieve him and refuse to follow him, those who inherit eternal life and those who are sentenced to eternal perdition. So I don't understand how you arrived at the conclusion you did about what Jesus would or would not teach.


    To raise yourself above others is to appear "holier than thou" and that is one thing that not a single human being can stand.
    Who said anything about raising ourselves above others? It is God who determines who is holy and who is not, and he has determined that whosoever should believe in Christ may be sanctified, made holy, or set apart unto God by the sacrifice of Christ himself (Heb. 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:2). We live holily because we have been made holy through faith in the Son of God.


    It is natural - ie, built into our nature by god - to destroy that which is holier, higher, bigger than us. Why? Because being "holier" is a lie. Each and every one of us is holy, sacred, and sanctified in the eyes of god. There is no "better" way of living. God loves each of us no matter what choices we make in life (no matter how destructive those choices have become) and part of that love is not to judge us or interfere with our free will! If you sit your children down to play a game, do you tell them they can play it whichever way they please (free will) and then give them 10 Commandments to tell them to behave a certain way? No, of course not. That would be lunacy.
    Rick, I have to stop here and ask you what I asked Paul. Who is this "god" you speak of? I speak of the biblical God, but the god you speak of contradicts my God. So who is this god of yours? What is his name, if he has one, and how did he reveal the above "truth" to you, if indeed he reveals anything to man? What are his other "truths" or principles, and how did you come to learn them? You know how I get my information, so how do you get yours?


    The end is guarateed. We all return home, to the Source, God, Oneness, whatever. The universe will fold in upon itself in a few millenia and life will go to sleep. It is inevitable. What matters is how you play the game while you're here. Were you playing the Life game well? Poorly? In the end it doesn't matter. We're all going home. It's a matter of are you happy with your choices?!
    **warning: the following response may contain intense sarcasm intented to maximize the effect of the bad/good rationale contrast. read at your own risk of being enlightened**

    Why would it matter how you play the game if in the end it doesn't really matter and we all return to the same state of being or whatever it is you believe? With that kind of logic, one may as well pursue whatever evil it is he/she desires in life, even if it means aspiring to be a Hitler or Son of Sam or some other degenerate. I guess I could brutally murder the one closest to you so long as it makes me happy, and hey, it's okay, because in the end it won't matter anyway. We're ALL going home together. Yippee ay-yay! We've discovered the truth at last.

    Uh-oh. Now I'VE gone and done it.

    Ray O'Canon
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  2. #77
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    And now for my contribution to the thread topic, re: the inbreeding thing.

    Since the Bible says that God created man in perfection, but then Adam sinned, well, even then he was still very close to perfection, only a few years away from it. So "inbreeding" at the time wouldn't lead to the problems we have today, when we are so FAR from that original state.

    If you take a can of yellow paint and drop a speck of green into it, and mix that with another can of yellow that has had a speck of green mixed in, it will still look pretty pure. Now divide that bucket of paint into two cans again, drop a speck of green into each, and remix. Keep doing that same process over and over again, and pretty soon the mix will not even be yellow anymore. At some point someone's got to step in and say, "Quit mixing the paints!"

    And there's no way to get that paint pure yellow anymore unless someone with the power and know-how comes in and removes all the green pigment.

    Hopefully you understand my off-the-top-of-my-head illustration, where yellow = perfection and green = sin, and the person who removes the green pigment = God.

    Nothing personal against the color green, BTW.
    Drink Coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy.


  3. #78
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    I love you Ray!

    "No, not everyone inbred in ancient times, mind you."

    Yes, but Adam and Eve had to inbred wth their sons and daughters in order to create the 22 (?) trillion people that are alive today. And then Noah, et al had to do it again so many years later. Hey, it's your Bible that says it, not me!

    "Well, Rick, the truth is your opinion here finds no basis in the teachings of either Jesus or his apostles."

    Okay, I'll leave it at that then.

    But it sounds like something he would say LOL

    "Who said anything about raising ourselves above others?"

    By saying you're "holy" and others aren't. Hence the term, "holier than thou." As I said, which is an untruth because all are equally holy/loved by god...

    ... which, thanks for asking, is a concept I've formulated over the years through reading, listening, thinking, and feeling. If you wanna get an idea of what I know god to be, pick up this book: "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. You'll disagree with 98% of it, but it's 98% close to the god I believe in.

    "We live holily because we have been made holy through faith in the Son of God."

    I am working on a theory of psychology called "Holistic Psychology" which takes the concept of "holiness" and relates it to the concept of "holism" and explains how there is nothing you require to be "whole" (the root of both those words) because, as Kelly points out, we are made in the image and likeness of god, who is whole, holy and perfect. Therefore, so are we! We've only left to realize it, and stop acting like we are less than we actually are.

    Thus, being "holy" means simply integrating all your parts, and acting as a "whole." Which requires nothing you don't already have That's my philosophy, anyway.

    "Who is this "god" you speak of?"

    Her name is Bertha, and she raises cattle on a farm in Arkansas

    I referenced you to a book, that will give you an idea of what I know god is. Other than that, reading other spiritual books, listening to what people say about their god, listening to what MY HEART says about god, looking at the physical world as a reflection of god's spirit (particularly, that of nature) and just *knowing*. I realize that your Christian faith teaches you to distrust your innate knowing of things because you would come up with answers different than what your religion teachs you. But if you'd listen to the voice of god all around you, she's actually telling you something different than what you've been taught about her.

    That's a scarey leap to take. I understand why many people don't take it.

    BTW, I use the feminine pronoun to make a point. God is not an animal of course, so god doesn't have a gender.

    One could say that the god I know reveals truth in every second of life, that every breath is full of the life and love that god makes. But then, I might be labeled a pagan for saying that.

    "What are his other "truths" or principles, and how did you come to learn them?"

    Other truths:
    Love is all there is
    We are all one

    Those two alone will keep you up thinking for the rest of your days (believe me)
    Others are:

    We are all in the heart of god
    God is all around
    God is within
    God is talking to us all the time; most people just aren't listening
    We're bigger than we thought we were
    Life isn't supposed to be hard
    Life is not a school
    Heaven is a place on earth
    God doesn't judge (humans do)
    We are all free
    We are limited only by ourselves
    There is enough.

    That should keep you arguing with me for some time, eh? j/k

    Now, for your real statement:
    "Why would it matter how you play the game if in the end it doesn't really matter and we all return to the same state of being or whatever it is you believe?"

    I say it matters how you play the game, meaning at the end that's what will matter to *you*. Of course, it desn't really matter after all is said and done. I just don't want you standing at the end, looking back and going "damn, I coulda done that different." But as soon as you step across the line to the "other side" it won't matter anymore...

    "With that kind of logic, one may as well pursue whatever evil it is he/she desires in life,"

    Why would you pursue evil when you can pursue love?

    "even if it means aspiring to be a Hitler or Son of Sam or some other degenerate."

    Yes, it's been done.

    "I guess I could brutally murder the one closest to you so long as it makes me happy,"

    Yes, you could, Ray, if that's what you felt is best. There's no one stopping you, it's your free will.

    "We're ALL going home together. Yippee ay-yay! We've discovered the truth at last."

    Ha! Now you've got it! You're on the right side of things now!

    See, it's *you* who has to deal with your actions when it's all said and done. If you want to go murder me, go ahead. But then you've got to look back at what you've done and be happy about it. Like I said, are you happy with the choices you're making? Are they bringing you what you want? A lot of times we're acting out of hurt or anger and not even realizing it (I'm certainly guilty of that.) There's no God to Judge you when you die. What would that do, except make you so scared of living that you never really come alive?

    Don't have premarital sex! (or fornicate, for all you "unwimpish" people out there)
    You'll get a disease!

    Don't be gay!
    You'll get Gay Bowel Syndrome!

    Don't believe in your heart!
    You might get hurt!

    Don't think for yourself!
    Do as the Bible says!

    Don't disobey God!
    He'll punish you!

    Don't sin!
    You'll go to hell!

    All these messages we receive almost daily only serve to
    SCARE THE LIVING SH*T OUT OF US
    And make us so scared to live that we fall obediently into line, and say out loud, in chorus:
    HOW HIGH?!

    I don't know a god that does that. I don't imagine in their hearts that most other folks do either.

    But that's just me speculating After all, what do I know? I'm just a sinning pagan with a nasty predisposition towards fornication ;) LOLOL

    "Uh-oh. Now I'VE gone and done it."

    No, not yet, But you're doing well

    ** disclaimer ** That which you've just read are my beliefs. Nothing more, nothing less. At the most, they might make you think. At the least, they might make you cry. At least, maybe, you won't take them too seriously ***

    Over and out amigo,have a good day.

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
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  4. #79
    Nikon Samurai #14 DownByFive's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    I am working on a theory of psychology called "Holistic Psychology" which takes the concept of "holiness" and relates it to the concept of "holism" and explains how there is nothing you require to be "whole" (the root of both those words) because, as Kelly points out, we are made in the image and likeness of god, who is whole, holy and perfect. Therefore, so are we! We've only left to realize it, and stop acting like we are less than we actually are.
    I tried to stay out of this, but what the heck...

    Actually, since we are only made in God's image, we are inherently imperfect. The Bible never says that man is/was perfect, just that what God created was "very good." If we define God as being perfect, we understand that He (yes, I'm using the masculine pronoun...sue me) is lacking in nothing. Notice here that God does "lack" bad qualities, but bad qualities are not qualities in and of themselves, they are merely deficiencies of good qualities. Therefore, there can only be one God, since if there were more than one, they would have to have certain qualities that the other lacked. So we cannot be perfect, and we cannot make ourselves perfect, since something that is imperfect cannot possibly become perfect. And remember that an image is only a representation of the original. Photographs do not possess most of the qualities of their subjects (nor can they aquire them), and we do not possess most of the qualities of God (nor can we acquire them). We are created in God's image in the sense that we are spiritual beings, and we have the power of logic, reason, and rational thought. Okay, that's my Biblical philosophy lesson for the day...


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  5. #80
    Ilford Nut Dzerzhinski46's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    I referenced you to a book, that will give you an idea of what I know god is. Other than that, reading other spiritual books, listening to what people say about their god, listening to what MY HEART says about god, looking at the physical world as a reflection of god's spirit (particularly, that of nature) and just *knowing*. I realize that your Christian faith teaches you to distrust your innate knowing of things because you would come up with answers different than what your religion teachs you. But if you'd listen to the voice of god all around you, she's actually telling you something different than what you've been taught about her.

    That's a scarey leap to take. I understand why many people don't take it.
    It is interesting you should mention inner feelings and your heart. In the Psalms it says, "the heavens declare the glory of God...", this follows since nature is created by God, and how can someone make something without leaving their fingerprints all over it? A caveat to this is also in Romans, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..." . It seems that God has revealed Himself ( Itself doesn't seem to suffice as a personal pronoun ) in His creation and in their hearts of men as well. Pascal put it very well when he called this knowledge of God, "the God shaped vacuum". No one is ignorant of God. We do not listen to God's voice because we are sinful and wish to listen to only our own voices, we separate ourselves from God voluntarily. When Adam and Eve sinned, it was extremely simple. They had free will, and they chose to not obey God's commands. They ate from the forbidden tree, by their own choice, obeying their own will, even when they knew it was wrong. Don't take this as an attack, just an explination of my faith . Thanks for talking and listening.

    Dzerzhinski
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  6. #81
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Hey, there's always room for one more...

    If god is perfect, could he have possibly created something that was imperfect?

    The Bible (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm the nonChristian here) says that God made a couple of mistakes:
    1.) He created angels capable of becoming demons
    2.) He created humans capable of disobeying him
    3.) He seems very upset by all of this and variably sends locusts and frogs to punish us

    To say that things aren't going according to god's plan is to say that his creation went awry. If He truly is all-powerful, why the mess? Why the anger? Why the Commandments on how to behave if this world was created by a perfect being?

    I say that god created us inthe image and likeness of His (for the sake of argument) self, meaning we are creators just like Him. He intended for us to have choice, and would not be so neurotic as to give us freedom and the power to create at will, and then go, a few thousand years later, "Oh! I forgot! There's these rules about what you should be doing!" And carve them in stone and create mass confusion with this mixed message of "freedom, but..." I think we're free, period.

    If god's will is all powerful, then we must obey it. If we must do god's will, then we must be doing god's will right now! Which means that god simply wills for us to be free, and to create freely, no ifs ands or buts about it.

    But that's just my take on things.

    I think we're perfect because god is perfect, and perfect things can't do imperfect things.

    Therefore we are made in the image and likeness of our creator.

    Thanks for the response!

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
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  7. #82
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Hi Rick,

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply but we’ve had quite a FULL week this week, and I just haven't had any time to write you back. Anyhow, here ya go...enjoy.


    Yes, but Adam and Eve had to inbred with their sons and daughters in order to create the 22 (?) trillion people that are alive today. And then Noah, et al had to do it again so many years later. Hey, it's your Bible that says it, not me!
    Actually, Adam and Eve did not inbreed. But they had sons and daughters who did marry each other and have children. What other way was there to propogate the human race? But really I don’t think you have a problem with the idea that people inbred (for if you hold to any kind of evolutionary teaching, then what will you do with the fact that animals inbreed as well?), the problem I think you have is actually with God prohibiting inbreeding when he gave the law to the Israelites. You don’t like divine rules, and in this one you seek to find some sort of contradiction in God that you hope would somehow make God appear as being inconsistent with how he deals with the human race.


    By saying you're "holy" and others aren't. Hence the term, "holier than thou." As I said, which is an untruth because all are equally holy/loved by god...
    This is a non-sequitur. The word “holier” is in the comparative form. How can we, as Christians, be “holier” than those whom our God states has no holiness? They can’t, simply because there is no holiness in unbelievers that they can compare themselves to. So the Christian doctrine isn’t an issue about Christians vaunting themselves to be “better” or holier than the unbelieving. It is about being sanctified or set apart by the blood of Christ for a specific purpose, and that purpose is to forsake our sins and idols to serve the true and living God in holiness and righteousness.


    ... which, thanks for asking, is a concept I've formulated over the years through reading, listening, thinking, and feeling. If you wanna get an idea of what I know god to be, pick up this book: "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. You'll disagree with 98% of it, but it's 98% close to the god I believe in.
    Yes, I’m aware to some degree of what he teaches. But if according to him nothing matters, then why act as if it does? I mean, what is the sense of whether or not you’re happy when, in the end, it won’t matter anyway? But I suppose till Mr. Walsch himself gets to the end he’s gotta make a buck somehow. Might as well create a new religion and fleece a few people along the way. That can make certain types of people VERY happy. The Bible calls it being “greedy of filthy lucre.”


    I am working on a theory of psychology called "Holistic Psychology" which takes the concept of "holiness" and relates it to the concept of "holism" and explains how there is nothing you require to be "whole" (the root of both those words) because, as Kelly points out, we are made in the image and likeness of god, who is whole, holy and perfect. Therefore, so are we! We've only left to realize it, and stop acting like we are less than we actually are.
    Apart from the fact that your concept does not apply to the actual meaning of either the Hebrew or Greek words for “holy” (qadosh and hagios, respectively) you conveniently left out the idea of sin, which has corrupted the image of God and has left man broken and alienated from God. But of course, your theology doesn’t allow for sin because, after all, we’re already perfect and we just need to realize it. Hear that Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein?? The USA crapped all over you for no good reason!


    I referenced you to a book, that will give you an idea of what I know god is. Other than that, reading other spiritual books, listening to what people say about their god, listening to what MY HEART says about god, looking at the physical world as a reflection of god's spirit (particularly, that of nature) and just *knowing*. I realize that your Christian faith teaches you to distrust your innate knowing of things because you would come up with answers different than what your religion teachs you. But if you'd listen to the voice of god all around you, she's actually telling you something different than what you've been taught about her.

    That's a scarey leap to take. I understand why many people don't take it.
    Yes, I am scared just reading about your “god”, who requires no accounting for wrongdoing because in “her” realm there is none. Frankly, I think this “god” is just the by-product of the hippie days. No consequences whatsoever, if you don’t want them. A very convenient god indeed.

    Other truths: Love is all there is. We are all one

    Those two alone will keep you up thinking for the rest of your days (believe me)
    Others are:

    We are all in the heart of god. God is all around. God is within. God is talking to us all the time; most people just aren't listening. We're bigger than we thought we were. Life isn't supposed to be hard. Life is not a school. Heaven is a place on earth. God doesn't judge (humans do). We are all free. We are limited only by ourselves. There is enough. That should keep you arguing with me for some time, eh?
    Not really. Sounds very humanistic. It only appeals to those who want a god of convenience, as I stated above.

    Now, for your real statement: I say it matters how you play the game, meaning at the end that's what will matter to *you*. Of course, it desn't really matter after all is said and done. I just don't want you standing at the end, looking back and going "damn, I coulda done that different." But as soon as you step across the line to the "other side" it won't matter anymore...
    That’s not religion, that’s narcisism.

    "With that kind of logic, one may as well pursue whatever evil it is he/she desires in life,"

    Why would you pursue evil when you can pursue love?
    Because in your realm, IT DOESN’T MATTER what one pursues, so long as it makes him happy. Some people are very happy pursuing and committing evil. Unfortunately, that makes other people very unhappy. So in reality, your religion does nothing to attempt to correct any imbalance in this world, it does nothing to change this world for the better. What good one man pursues is offset by the man who pursues evil. Genuine Christianity, on the other hand, does change people for the better. Therefore, it is superior to your religion.

    Yes, it's been done.
    And your religion would compell its followers do nothing to stop a Hitler because, after all, Hitler just may have been happy to do what he did. That’s being purely irresponsible to the rest of humanity, don’t you think?

    "I guess I could brutally murder the one closest to you so long as it makes me happy,"

    Yes, you could, Ray, if that's what you felt is best. There's no one stopping you, it's your free will.
    Ah, but there is someone who tries to stop me. It’s called the law. It seems society in genereal is a bit wiser and responsible than your god.

    See, it's *you* who has to deal with your actions when it's all said and done. If you want to go murder me, go ahead. But then you've got to look back at what you've done and be happy about it. Like I said, are you happy with the choices you're making? Are they bringing you what you want? A lot of times we're acting out of hurt or anger and not even realizing it (I'm certainly guilty of that.) There's no God to Judge you when you die. What would that do, except make you so scared of living that you never really come alive?
    Again, there are plenty of people who are more than happy to commit evil every day. Your religion would only justify them in continuing to commit evil.

    As for being scared of living on account of the concept of being judged, this is false. Our society judges people every day for breaking the laws, yet I seriously doubt you are cowering in the corner because of it. That’s because you are (and I am assuming this) you are a law-abiding citizen. Your conscience is clear. Therefore, you can live every day without fear. The same is true with God. Live within his laws and you can enjoy live. Live contrary to them, and you have reason to fear his judgment.

    Don't have premarital sex! (or fornicate, for all you "unwimpish" people out there) You'll get a disease!
    That’s not all you can get. Let’s not forget all the fatherless children out there too. Or the broken hearts, or the jealous rages of an ex-lover, or the humiliation of being used, of the friendships broken, or the loss of self-respect. There are all kinds of negative consequences to this type of behavior, but of course your kind of religion doesn’t want to think about consequences, which demonstrates just how irresponsible a religion it really is.

    Don't be gay! You'll get Gay Bowel Syndrome!
    Or HIV/AIDS, among all the other STDs out there, or other medical complications due to engaging in behavior that is not natural.

    Don't believe in your heart! You might get hurt!
    Depends on the “belief” that you believe in. Believe in the wrong thing and you will get hurt.

    Don't think for yourself! Do as the Bible says!
    Actually, quite the contrary is true. It is YOUR religion that does not want people to think. You don’t want them thinking about consequences, or being responsible either to themselves or the rest of humanity. Your religion teaches a person to think only about one thing: to do what makes one happy, regardless of what harm it may bring to themselves or others. At LEAST the Bible makes people responsible and accountable for their actions, and to think of others more so than themselves, which is a far more beneficial thing than what your religion has to offer.

    Don't disobey God! He'll punish you!
    So will the laws of our land. What’s your point?

    Don't sin! You'll go to hell!
    No, reject Christ to save you from your sins you’ll go to hell. If you’re going to reference the Bible, at least do it accurately.

    All these messages we receive almost daily only serve to SCARE THE LIVING SH*T OUT OF US And make us so scared to live that we fall obediently into line, and say out loud, in chorus: HOW HIGH?!
    Again, our society does the exact same thing, not to scare us but to keep order, to protect its citizens, and to provide a peaceful, happy, and productive environment for its people, and punish those who would disrupt that. God wants the same thing. And it’s a shame you’ve resorted to demonizing God rather than attempt to appreciate what he’s done to provide all those things, including eternal life. But I suppose that is what happens when you adopt a principle that looks only to promote your own self love, of which one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, said would be the ruin of this nation.

    You have a great day too, Rick.

    Ray O'Canon
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  8. #83
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Quote Originally Posted by schrackman
    But really I don’t think you have a problem with the idea that people inbred (for if you hold to any kind of evolutionary teaching, then what will you do with the fact that animals inbreed as well?),
    Uh... Just look at all the genetic problems of purebred dogs. Look at the genetic problems of small isolated cultures. Inbreeding does indeed weaken the genetic pool. In the wild, animals (mostly male) do indeed move outside of their communities to breed.
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  9. #84
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    Hi Michael,

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Fanelli
    Uh... Just look at all the genetic problems of purebred dogs. Look at the genetic problems of small isolated cultures. Inbreeding does indeed weaken the genetic pool. In the wild, animals (mostly male) do indeed move outside of their communities to breed.
    Then it's a good thing God prohibited inbreeding for the Israelites when he did, correct? Seems to me that would have prevented many genetic problems for generations to come. So it sounds like God was watching out for those Hebrews in giving them the commandment not to have close relations as did those who dwelt in Egypt and Canaan. But shhhhh....don't tell my friend Rick that. ;)

    Ray O'Canon
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    The liberal, socialist politician's nightmare: "What a comfort to the farmer to be allowed to supply his own wants before he should be liable to pay anything, and then only pay on his surplus." - Jefferson to Madison on Taxes,1784

    My Canonet GIII QL-17 photos on flickr.

  10. #85
    moody stew's Avatar
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    Re: ex-Korn guitarist finds God!

    I have been reading the religious diatribe with a mixed sense of humor and pain. As for whether it belongs here I don't have a strong feeling, as long as it doesn't end up interfering with the fact that these are Photo Forums and I hope we all stay focused on that!

    However.... Michael has a solid point about history which is well documented. Additionally, some very prominent philosophers have argued that religion has done more harm to humanity than good throughout history (e.g, Bertrand Russell).

    From the viewpoint of scholarship, there have been many different belief systems throughout known human history (4000+ years roughly if memory serves). They clearly have evolved from one another, each taking influence from others and changing - sometimes forcibly - due to political (read: human), natural, and other causes. I'm sure if we could travel back in time, a very faithful person from a more "primitive" religion would feel equally convinced that their belief is correct and that the dominant belief systems of today are incorrect or even ridiculous. A first example: before Zarathustra's time, the concept of a heaven for believers and a hell for non-believers that forms the basis of most modern religions did not exist. A second example: eating from the tree of knowledge, seen within Christianity as a fall from purity, was seen in most pre-Christian systems as a good and desirable act. Of course, the emphasis in those systems was on the fundamental purity and goodness of our human-ness and harmony with the world within which we exist; whereas in Christianity (as only one example; my intent here is not to be anti-Christian) the belief system revolves around the inherent flaws in our human-ness and our separateness from the world we inhabit, and, therefore, the goal is redemption. This philosophical viewpoint has arguably helped lead to a host of issues in modern society today including our pollution of the very environment which sustains us (Earth viewed as Mother (woman), a concept which dualistic belief systems tend to demonize). But I digress...

    Our society has evolved in so many ways, yet as humans we still largely take an exclusive viewpoint of life, particularly on religious or nationalistic issues. By exclusive, I mean the idea that if another is not a part of one's own group, then the other is undesirable in some way. In point of fact, as individuals we are largely products of the situations we are born into; your race, nationality, religion are determined arbitrarily by accident of birth. This is a fact. Of course, as beings capable of free and rational thought, we ultimately make our own choices, but in my personal experience (granted this is limited), the correlation between a person's birth situation and their "adult" belief systems is so strong as to suggest that most people never truly step back, look around, and seriously consider alternative viewpoints.

    Whichever course of action any individual chooses, I would only hope that enough rational thought is applied to realize that religion (and nationality for that matter, among other issues) is a personal choice. Judgement of others, in my opinion, should be avoided, as one very possible and easily arrived at course of action is violence against those who are "different" than yourself. History is dominated by such examples; we (collectively, as humans in a global sense) are still repeating these same mistakes today. I hope that we can all keep our individual faiths (or lack of a particular faith which is not inherently a bad thing. Not being religious does not equal a lack of spirituality, any more than having a religion equals spirituality), and live in peace and acceptance of each other.

    Cheers, Stew

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Fanelli
    I have been reading this thread and have just two simple comments to make and then I'll leave.

    To those who are thankful that religion and faith exist, take a look at history. More violence and terror has been committed "in the name of God" than by any other force on Earth. It continues unabated today. With faith, logic is almost always excluded.With God on your side, any atrocity can be rationalized.
    Last edited by stew; 03-18-2005 at 01:51 PM.

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