theodicy — suffering in the world and the matter of evil — an afterlife is a cop-out

http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/It_takes_great_faith_to_be_angry_with_God.html

*

But, the test you administered to your loved one would probably forever alter your relationship with the loved one. And not for the better.

*

I want to say something to you that will guarantee me lots of unhappy mail from religious people: From any honestly human point of view, God runs a sometimes crappy, capricious universe.

One of the most honest theological observations ever appeared suddenly on T-shirts a few decades ago. But, since this is a family newspaper, I’ll just say “stuff happens.”

Stuff does happen, dear man. Anybody who says differently is trying to sell you something.

The spiritual swamp you’re trudging has a name: theodicy.

*

Theodicy is that lesser-known branch of the theological task wherein pilgrims are forced to find meaning or arrange meaning out of suffering and evil vis-a-vis a God who purports to be both good and God.

*

The Hebrew story of Abraham and his long-awaited son, Isaac, is a struggle with theodicy.

God puts Abraham to a test of faith. Go, sacrifice your son, Isaac. And Abraham obeys. He ties his son to the stone altar. Lifts the knife … and God interrupts. Abraham has passed the test.

But, in my fantasy postscript, father and son go home. And the son says, “good night,” and turns his back on his father, whom he’ll never trust again.

And Abraham says his prayers and says: “A test? Excuse me? You put me through that to test me?”

It would be like faking your own suicide to “test” whether someone really loved you. Then you’d come back and say, “I’m actually not dead, and now I know you love me.”

*

J.K., it takes great faith to be angry with God. In the same way it takes great faith in your mate to be rightfully angry in your marriage. In the same way that Jesus quotes the Psalms from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Anger is a holy, if difficult intimacy. Your estrangement is now a part of your journey with God.

Most people, by the time they die, have a personal list in their pocket, which, upon arriving in heaven, they will go directly to the Complaints Department and submit. What the hell was this about? What did this mean? Why was this necessary?

*

Or, perhaps death itself is a healing and transformative process that renders these questions irrelevant.

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

*

*

*

But in the meantime, if we’re honest and human, we have to ask.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/is-popular-religion-derived-from-our-inherent-evil-egotism-or-is-it-a-palliative-to-our-cursed-nature/

*

*

*

Is Popular Religion Derived from Egotism?

*

There is a lot of debate about whether science and religion conflict. Religious apologists commonly argue that, properly understood, the two are compatible. Materialists commonly argue that the two rely upon such diametrically opposed premises that it simply isn’t possible for them not to conflict. There is one sense in which this latter view is more accurate: so much popular religion derives from the assumption that we are the center of the universe.

Science, in contrast, not only does not share this assumption but contradicts it directly on a regular basis.

The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.
– Walter Lippman, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, by James A. Haught

Lippman’s observation above is important because it addresses people’s feelings about the world around them and the manner in which they interact with it. This is, after all, a fundamental reason why both religion and science developed in the first place. We all want to know why we are here and what our place in the universe should be. Both science and religion attempt to deal with such questions, but in radically different ways.

What Lippman describes as the attitude of traditional religion is also true of many paranormal beliefs we see today and he is, I think, pointing out a fundamental desire that drives both paranormal and religious beliefs: the desire to influence the very nature of the universe around us to suit our desires. People pray for hurricanes to turn away and they visit astrologers who tell them how to avoid problems. Why? Because they believe that the movement of stars and atoms can be affected merely from the desire that it be so.

People also turn to science in order to influence the world around us, but not simply through wishful thinking. Science actually undermines the human conceit that the universe is or should be structured according to human whim. Almost everything we learn about our universe through science reinforces the conclusion that we aren’t special:

  • Our species evolved alongside every other organism on this planet and from the same ancestors
  • Our planet is both unremarkable and one of countless billions in our galaxy alone
  • Neither we nor our galaxy are the center of the universe
  • The universe is wholly indifferent to us, our desires, and even our suffering
  • In fact, much of the universe is hostile to our existence

Whereas religion and superstition tend to offer placebos to deal with realizations like this, science provides the means by which we ourselves can cause changes or alleviate suffering — but only by working with nature and with the way the universe is structured. Science doesn’t offer to help solve our problems through wishful thinking but rather than a sober understanding of what is and is not possible.

We cannot, for example, turn away a hurricane simply by wishing it would go somewhere else and hurt others who are more wicked, but we can use science to predict hurricanes and build structures better able to withstand the onslaught of the storm. We cannot tell the future by looking at the configuration of the stars and imagine that the future is fixed, but we can use statistics and other scientific tools to make reliable estimates about what is and is not likely, choosing our current actions based on facts.

As a consequence, we are presented with a stark choice about how to approach the world around us. On the one hand we can continue with the prayers that arise out of wishing that the order of the universe might rearrange itself according to the preferences or our hearts. On the other hand, we can move forward with the scientific project of learning more about the universe and, therefore, learning how we can better make our homes with what we have.

Religion has never cured a disease, protected people from a storm, or saved anyone from the ravages of old age. Science, however, has made tremendous gains with all of these and more. There is a reason for that.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/we-are-not-immortal-via-a-religious-afterlife-were-no-different-from-other-living-organismsthings/

*

*

*

Do other creatures believe in an afterlife?    No, though our fellow sentients desire to find peace with their mother/parents, so to speak, which is not an afterlife notion.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afterlife#See_also

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Einstein’s opinion    —

*

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.

Immortality? There are two kinds. The first lives in the imagination of the people, and is thus an illusion. There is a relative immortality which may conserve the memory of an individual for some generations. But there is only one true immortality, on a cosmic scale, and that is the immortality of the cosmos itself. There is no other.

*

Too much obsession about how one will spend the afterlife prevents people from spending enough time on making this life more livable for themselves and for others.

*

http://atheism.about.com/od/einsteingodreligion/a/Immortality.htm

*

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/einsteins-god-particle-oops/

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/einstein-god-letter-auction_b_1959154.html?utm_hp_ref=science

*

Einstein’s Religion as Weakness Supported by Science

*

*

As a 1954 Einstein letter goes up for sale on eBay, the contempt he expresses for conventional religion therein is hard to miss. The buzz surrounding the letter is remarkable considering that the distinguished physicist had been saying essentially the same thing for decades. His idea of religion as a response to vulnerability is supported by recent science.

What Einstein had to say

As a public figure, Einstein took seriously the responsibility of a public person to educate the public. We know more about his religious views than those of almost any other leading scientist in recent history.

Einstein’s willingness to share his detailed opinions about religion seem to have created the rather misleading impression that, unlike most other leading scientists, he was open to common religious views. He was also fond of peppering his writings with the word “God.” He felt that God did not play dice with the universe, but this turns out to have been a fairly loose statement of his objection to the uncertainty inherent in quantum physics. He wrote: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

If religious people have often made the mistake of taking comfort that Einstein was one great scientist who was a believer — one of them — they probably shouldn’t.

Indeed, if all religious people believed as little as Einstein, religion would soon go out of business. It is quite clear that Einstein did not believe in a personal God, did not believe in heaven and hell as payments for good or bad lives, respectively, dismissed freewill, and did not believe that the soul survived death. That doesn’t leave very much for any formal religion to work with.

Now, his 1954 letter reveals a certain impatience, even hostility to conventional religion: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive, legends.”

This hostility is nothing new. In a 1930 New York Times Magazine article, he writes: “With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions — fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death.” Then religion becomes more involved in social problems and education — more Unitarian, so to speak.

Einstein’s view of religion as motivated by weakness, fear, or vulnerability has been taken seriously by social scientists — and it has been thoroughly evaluated by scientific tests.

What the relevant science has to say

The worldwide picture of religion and atheism is fairly clear. One finds that the weakest countries, places that are miserably poor, where life is difficult, often violent, and brief, are the most religious. In sub-Saharan Africa there is almost no atheism. Belief in God declines in more developed countries and atheism is concentrated in Europe in countries such as Sweden (64 percent nonbelievers), Denmark (48 percent), France (44 percent) and Germany (42 percent). In contrast, the incidence of atheism in most sub-Saharan countries is below 1 percent. This unmistakable pattern is sometimes referred to as the secularization thesis. It used to be controversial but is now accepted by all reasonable scholars based on the strength of the empirical evidence.

Why are wretched countries deeply religious whereas atheism blossoms in countries enjoying the best standard of living? It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. Religious rituals and practices actually counteract stress. In social democracies, there is less fear and uncertainty about the future because social welfare programs provide a safety net and better health care means that fewer people can expect to die young. People who are less vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature feel more in control of their lives and less in need of religion.

Churches may also lose ground in developed countries because there is such a variety of alternative “feel-good” products that may be replacing formal religion. They include anti-anxiety drugs, psychotherapy, yoga, and entertainment. Even sport spectatorship may be replacing religion as it produces similar psychological benefits and is on the rise in countries where religion is in decline.

Einstein certainly didn’t get everything right but his intuition that religiosity is a response to distressing circumstances was certainly on the money. That insight is worth having but it may not be worth the $3 million of the opening bid.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mario-livio/the-fate-of-the-universe_b_1970126.html?utm_hp_ref=science

*

The Fate of the Universe

*

There are many opinions about who first said: “It’s hard to make predictions–especially about the future.” As far as I can tell, it may have been the Danish writer Robert Storm Petersen (and not Yogi Berra). In any case, predictions are indeed notoriously difficult to make, even when they concern the near future. Yet, it is instructive to examine what our current best guess is, as to the universe’s very far future (based on existing observations and cosmological theories).

First, there is essentially no doubt that in about 5 billion years our Sun will die, swelling up a few hundred fold, and in the process, extinguishing all life on Earth. Probably even before that, about 4 billion years from now, our Milky Way galaxy will collide and merge with the Andromeda galaxy. The solar system will most probably be thrust away from its current location (even though individual stars will not collide), and find itself at a new spot in a coalesced elliptical galaxy. Other groups of galaxies that are gravitationally bound will also merge to form single giant galaxies.

What about the universe at large? The evidence points to a cosmic expansion that will be perpetually accelerating. While they are not entirely conclusive, observations suggest that the dark energy that is currently propelling the expansion of the universe to speed up will continue to do so. If, as existing observations indicate, dark energy is indeed the energy associated with the physical vacuum, then neither the stars nor the giant galaxies themselves will expand. However, the space between those galaxies will increasingly stretch.

Cosmic repulsion will overwhelm the ever-weakening strength of gravitational attraction, and will disperse the galaxies until none will be left within view of each other. In addition, all the galaxies will become intrinsically dimmer and dimmer, as they will run out of hydrogen gas–the fuel for forming new bright stars. As the population of stars ages, it will consist either of the dead corpses of previous generations–dim objects such as white dwarfs or neutron stars and black holes–or of slowly evolving, faint, low-mass stars. For an observer (if one would exist) in a given galaxy, the sky would grow increasingly darker. In fact, observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and with ground-based telescopes tell us that the universe is already declining in terms of its global rate of forming new stars (Figure 1). Even black holes, those extremely compact objects, some formed through the collapse of very massive stars, others via the accretion of matter at the centers of galaxies, will not enjoy eternal life. Through a quantum process known as Hawking radiation, black holes are expected to lose energy and evaporate. This will not happen any time soon. A black hole formed via the collapse of a massive star may live for some 1066 years before evaporating. But remember, if there is one thing that an ever-accelerating universe has in abundance, it is time.

2012-10-16-hs201237sm.jpg
Figure 1. Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). Using deep images of the universe, astronomers have been able to determine the history of the cosmic, global star-formation rate, from an age of about 500 million years to the present (13.7 billion years). The James Webb Space Telescope will enable a determination of the birth rate of new stars at even earlier times. Credit: NASA and ESA.
Although the seventh film in the James Bond series was called Diamonds are Forever, strictly speaking, this title is incorrect. According to present particle physics theories, protons, and therefore atoms, should decay. This again is not an imminent danger. Experiments put the lifetime of protons at longer than some 1034 years, but in an accelerating universe decay would eventually happen.

So it appears that our universe will end its life, after all, not with a bang but a whimper.

*

Following black hole evaporation and proton decay, all that would be left is radiation, and pairs of electrons and positrons (the latter would eventually annihilate into radiation, too).

*

For those searching for a “point” or a “purpose” for the universe’s existence, this may sound disappointing, but it shouldn’t.

*

There is no reason for the universe itself to suggest a purpose for its existence to us.

*

Just as humans and stars die, so can the universe.

*

*

Everyone should search for a purpose in her or his own life. And by the way, in my opinion, attempting to understand the workings of the cosmos and predicting its future is a pretty worthy purpose.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mario-livio/the-fate-of-life-on-earth-a-cosmic-perspective_b_2957446.html?utm_hp_ref=science

*

The Fate of Life on Earth: A Cosmic Perspective

*

Human life on Earth will undoubtedly need to face many future challenges: bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, violent volcanic “supereruptions,” asteroid impacts and food shortages, among other possibilities. However, assuming that human ingenuity will be able to overcome many or even most of these expected perils (which may be a dangerous assumption to make), there are still a few events on a more cosmic scale that may be inevitable.  The good news is that I’m referring to hazardous phenomena that are billions of years into the future.

The first of these catastrophes is likely to commence about 1 billion years hence.  The amount of solar electromagnetic radiation hitting a unit area on the Earth’s outer atmosphere is currently increasing (as the Sun evolves) at a rate of a little under 1 percent every 100 million years.  Model calculations suggest that the Earth could begin to lose its oceans and experience a runaway greenhouse effect starting about 1 billion years from now.  Eventually the Earth would revert to its original lifeless state.

The next major cosmic event affecting the environment of our entire solar system can be predicted with considerable certainty.  Detailed measurements of the velocity of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope show that it will collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years (and the two galaxies will complete their merger in about 6 billion years).  Figure 1 shows what the night sky might look like during the time leading to the collision.  Simulations show that as a result of the head-on collision, there is an 85-percent probability that the solar system will end up at a larger radius than its current distance from the Milky Way’s center.  While it is not clear whether the change in the Sun’s environment (in terms of the local density of surrounding stars) will have a direct effect on life on Earth, such a change is certainly possible, especially if nearby passages of other stars alter the solar system.

2013-03-26-hs201220bsm.jpg Figure 1. Sequence showing the expected view of the nighttime sky as the Andromeda galaxy collides with the Milky Way, in about 4 billion years.Finally, the hydrogen nuclear fuel in the Sun’s core will start to seriously deplete in about 5 billion years.  Even if life manages to survive throughout the initial rise in the Earth’s temperature (Earth will become hotter than Venus is today), it will be doomed in the next several hundred million years, as the Sun will evolve to become a red giant.  At that stage the Sun will grow more than 100-fold in radius, and more than 1,000-fold in luminosity.  While there is some uncertainty on whether the Earth would be physically engulfed by the expanding Sun, there is no question that the Earth will be scorched, experiencing temperatures well in excess of 1,000 Kelvin.  By that time humanity (assuming it survives until then) will absolutely need to have found a new home.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raeburn/newsweek-heaven-cover-story_b_1958795.html?utm_hp_ref=science&ir=Science

*

Scientific ‘Proof’ That Heaven Is Real?

*

If you’ve been wondering, you can now put yourself at ease: Heaven is real. 

That comforting end to a discussion lasting thousands of years comes not from an evangelical group, not from a pastor, not from a mystic or a saint — but from the cover of this week’s Newsweek and its online counterpart The Daily Beast.

The story wastes no time telling us the author of the story, Eben Alexander, is a neurosurgeon at Harvard, and the son of a neurosurgeon. “I grew up in a scientific world… and had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.” Their “strange stories… didn’t mean they had journeyed anywhere real.” No religion or mysticism for him, in other words: He’s a scientist

But his interpretation of those out-of-body journeys changed in 2008, when he slipped into a coma for seven days after contracting bacterial meningitis. During those seven days, he had an out-of-body experience of his own. And that gave him “a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.” He is telling the story, he says, with “the logic and language of the scientist I am.”

Here’s his scientific argument for the existence of an afterlife:

While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.

That’s it for the science. No tables, charts or graphs, no data, no publications in scientific journals.

Having proved his case, Alexander then goes on to describe the experience. The highlight was a message about the secret of life, delivered in an unearthly language by a young woman with high cheekbones, deep-blue eyes and golden tresses. I know if I kept you in suspense you’d just skip ahead, so here it is, in Alexander’s words:

The message had three parts, and if I had to translate them into earthly language, I’d say they ran something like this:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong.”

I have kept you in suspense about one thing. As you might have suspected, this is an excerpt from a forthcoming bookProof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, to be published later this month by Simon & Schuster. At this writing, it’s No. 5 on the Amazon bestseller list, and it’s not out yet.

Neither Simon & Schuster nor Newsweek/Daily Beast provided much information about Alexander, but his LinkedIn page identifies him as chief science officer at Eternea, in Lynchburg, Va. Eternea’s website says it is a “research, educational and outreach organization” and its “mission is to advance research, education and applied programs concerning the physics of consciousness and the interactive relationship between consciousness and physical reality (e.g. matter and energy), and to enhance the understanding of spiritually transformative experiences.”

I have no quibble with others’ religious beliefs. Those who choose to accept Alexander’s interpretation of his experiences are welcome to do so, as far as I’m concerned. 

But I strongly object to Alexander’s, and Newsweek/Beast’s and Simon & Schuster’s collusion in dressing this up as scientific evidence for heaven, golden-locked lasses, and out-of-body experiences. There is nothing scientific about Alexander’s claims or his”proof.” We are all demeaned, and our national conversation is demeaned, by people who promote this kind of thing as science.

This is religious belief; nothing else.

I wouldn’t bother to argue science with creationists who believe the world was made in six days; their beliefs are unshakeable. But the editors at Newsweek/Daily Beast and Simon & Schuster should know better. I have no doubt that all of the parties involved will make a large amount of money from this project — money that will not, I suspect, be accepted as legal tender in their glittering afterlives.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/catastrophes-dont-really-define-us-they-reveal-us-for-believers-they-can-reveal-gods-inability-to-protect-us-all-the-time-and-gods-power-in-us-to-help-each-other-for-non-believers-they-ca/

*

*

*

*

*

These people seem broken-hearted, even bitter. What would you say to them?

I’d tell them that their interior monologue is the problem. Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created the problem. I’d suggest that people read James Allen’s classic book, As You Think (the original version is titled As a Man Thinketh). It is our deep, underlying beliefs that determine how we see the world, how we interact with others, and how our lives unfold. Industrialist Henry Ford used to say, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Other great business leaders have said the same thing.

If you believe the Great Recession has killed your dreams and made it impossible for you to achieve success and happiness, then you’re right. But if you believe, like Napoleon Hill, that “within every adversity there is an equal or greater opportunity,” then you’re right about that.

In other words, until we change our interior monologue — our core beliefs and the conversation in our heads — we are part of the problem. French diarist Anais Nin summed it up nicely: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as WE are.”

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bj-gallagher/marc-allen-business-success_b_1830727.html?utm_hp_ref=money

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil#General_criticisms_of_defenses_and_theodicies

*

General criticisms of defenses and theodicies

Several philosophers have argued that just as there exists a problem of evil for theists who believe in an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being, so too is there a problem of good for anyone who believes in an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnimalevolent (or perfectly evil) being. As it appears that the defenses and theodicies which might allow the theist to resist the problem of evil can be inverted and used to defend belief in the omnimalevolent being, this suggests that we should draw similar conclusions about the success of these defensive strategies. In that case, the theist appears to face a dilemma: either to accept that both sets of responses are equally bad, and so that the theist does not have an adequate response to the problem of evil; or to accept that both sets of responses are equally good, and so to commit to the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnimalevolent being as plausible. Critics have noted that theodicies and defenses are often addressed to the logical problem of evil. As such, they are intended only to demonstrate that it is possible that evil can co-exist with an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being. Since the relevant parallel commitment is only that good can co-exist with an omniscient, omnipotent and omnimalevolent being, not that it is plausible that they should do so, the theist who is responding to the problem of evil need not be committing themselves to something they are likely to think is false.  This reply, however, leaves the evidential problem of evil untouched.

Another general criticism is that though a theodicy may harmonize God with the existence of evil, it does so at the cost of nullifying morality. This is because most theodicies assume that whatever evil there is exists because it is required for the sake of some greater good. But if an evil is necessary because it secures a greater good, then it appears we humans have no duty to prevent it, for in doing so we would also prevent the greater good for which the evil is required. Even worse, it seems that any action can be rationalized, as if one succeeds in performing it, then God has permitted it, and so it must be for the greater good. From this line of thought one may conclude that, as these conclusions violate our basic moral intuitions, no greater good theodicy is true, and God does not exist. Alternatively, one may point out that greater good theodicies lead us to see every conceivable state of affairs as compatible with the existence of God, and in that case the notion of God’s goodness is rendered meaningless.

*

*

*

*

I remember watching Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three & then restricting myself to his robotic routine to avert more suffering in being rejected/deleted/erased/ignored in life.   

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_3

*

*

*

*

And I remember the true emptiness of feeling religious when I saw a dog which was abandoned by its cruel/heartless “parents” on the side of the road, and that eventually was hit by a passing motorist when the frightened dog ran away from well-intentioned samaritans.   This innocent creature has no God to prevent abandonment and unthinkable suffering.

*

*

And I remember mental psychos Keoi & Kawena of Laupahoehoe district from the Mormon church and what hypocrites/imposters/fakes any type of organized religion can promote.

*

*

And I witness status trippers/social climbers Malie/Mikeki as they clamor for recognition heedless that the only recognition that counts is from the heart, not the wallet/mammon.

*

*

“Pathetic,” in its literal meaning, comes from the Greek word pathos.   To enter the pathos is to surrender to all that is tragic, absurd, lost, despairing, meaningless.   

*

I find solace in suffering the Truth about pathetic Malie/Mikeki/Keoi/Kawena, instead of pretending via ego delusion.

*

 Stay one step ahead, see the big picture  — comfort & consolation.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_religion#Controversy

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud#Religion

*

Freud regarded the monotheistic God as an illusion based upon the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural pater familias.

*

He maintained that religion – once necessary to restrain man’s violent nature in the early stages of civilization – in modern times, can be set aside in favor of reason and science.

But Freud also perceived religion, with its suppression of violence, as mediator of the societal and personal, the public and the private, conflicts between Eros and Thanatos, the forces of life and death.   Later works indicate Freud’s pessimism about the future of civilization, which he noted in the 1931 edition of Civilization and its Discontents.

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/redoubling-science-vs-scripture-purposeless-vs-purposeful-universe/

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-sometimes-to-cover-our-words-we-misspeak-172232971.html

*

“Legitimate rape” per Scripture??    What??!!!!

*

What I begrudge is the idea of “legitimate rape.” Legitimate rape? As opposed to, say, illegitimate rape? Akin didn’t misspeak here. He revealed himself.

I think of Deuteronomy 22 in the Hebrew Bible. It says that if a man has sex with a woman “that is a virgin betrothed unto an husband ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife.” But, “if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter. For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.”

Do you remember the classic question in Philosophy 101? If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Hmm it seems the ancients, too, were pondering legitimate and illegitimate rape. If a woman is raped in a field, and no one is there to hear her cry, does she make a sound? Deuteronomy gives the woman the benefit of the doubt and assumes she does.

I’m saying this streak of pre-emptive suspicion – and too often vilification – of women charging sex crimes has been with us a long, long, long time. Akin did not misspeak when he says, in effect, that if a woman conceives during sex, there’s a good bet it wasn’t rape. Akin does allow for rare occasions when this built-in, biological rape-o-meter “doesn’t work or something.” But still.

And when and how did “making a sound” become the measure of legitimate rape? Just asking.

Jeffery asked me what I thought, so here’s what I think:

I would have nothing but admiration for a woman who had conceived in rape but, because of her passionate values, said to me: “I cannot punish this child for the father’s sins. I will carry this child to term (and either raise it or offer for adoption).” I actually know one such woman. However, my admiration for her in no way means I would ever lift one finger of judgment to a rape victim who chose abortion. I would only grieve with her and for her and for the life inside her.

She would have only my empathy. And, just to be clear, a “legitimate” empathy.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-c-stiller/why-does-god-allow-evil_b_2365662.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

*

Why Does God Allow Evil?

*

“The Cry,” Munich’s painting of a young woman’s primeval scream standing on a bridge in a sunlit day comes to mind as we witness unbelievable horror and feel the unimagined suffering of killings in North America and abroad.

Questions on “Why does God allow evil?” asked on daily talk shows was asked of me by Syrians in a refugee camp.

There are two ways forward. First, logic: Why does a sovereign and good God not eliminate evil? The second is to follow the biblical narrative, seeing over time if God is doing something about it.

First, the path of logic. Here are some possible ideas: (1) God wants to prevent evil, but can’t which makes him impotent. (2) He is able but won’t which makes him mean. (3) God wants to eliminate evil and is able, which leaves us back where we began (Hume, 18th century philosopher).

There is another possibility: Could God create a world where there is free choice but only one choice and that to do good? Your counter argument would be, “But that’s hardly an exercise of free will.” Also it defies logic. To say God can fashion a world where humans are free to do good or evil but only allowed to do good, makes God self-contradictory. We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

Wired with choice, Augustine, the fourth century theologian, put it this way:

“Such is the generosity of God’s goodness that He has not refrained from creating even that creature which He foreknew would not only sin, but remain in the will to sin. As a runaway horse is better than a stone which does not run away because it lacks self-movement and sense perception, so the creature is more excellent which sins by free will than that which does not sin only because it has no free will.”

God, both all-powerful and good, gives us space to choose good or evil. The first human parents being in a state of innocence, not perfection, chose evil over good, temptation over the Creator’s will.

 

Consider this: Creation was made more perfect by allowing free choice which includes evil (Philosopher Alvin Plantinga). While it was a risk we would choose evil over good, choice is embed in our very existence and critical to our being imago Dei, that is, being made in his image.

So what is God doing about it? The Hebrew Scriptures beginning with creation describe the Divine and human as their relationship unravels, an unraveling that continues through multiple generations who choose good and evil, evil often being the winner.

We see it characterized in the amazing story of Abraham, father of both Jews and Arabs, who receives the promise of a great nation. In his travels, he lied about his wife to an Egyptian Pharaoh, distrusted the promise for a son, bred another, was called on to sacrifice his son and ends with these two peoples forever at loggerheads, as Israel and Gaza demonstrate.

We see the maneuvering human will in exercising freedom, doing good but too often exploring deep caverns of moral depravity, while wrapping themselves in fig leaves to deceive the Divine.

In short, it didn’t work. Evil triumphed.

The Hebrew Scriptures morph into a head-on clash of evil and good as God steps in. What we begin to see through the Old Testament weaves itself into the new as the promise of presence: God is with you. This is alongside the promise of a new future: The Redeemer will recompose the human heart and destroy the cosmic force of evil.

Jesus of Nazareth fills out that narrative. He enters as God who is sovereign and good. He is creator and child in a stable, a fusion of the Divine and human we call “incarnation.” This coming together of the two sides in death asks what grieving parents ask, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the end his resurrection is the Christian answer to good and evil. While the good of God wrestles yet with evil, the triumphant Easter morning declares that evil, an earthly constituent, is defeated. The Christian hope puts the finality of that defeat in the future, but in faith, that too is assured.

Yes, God allowed humans the choice of evil and good to make a creation that gave us freedom to choose. For parents in Connecticut, Syria or Afghanistan, that won’t fill the emptiness of a child gone. But it reminds us that each has the right to make choices. The cause(s) of the killing rampage need not go unaddressed. We can rise the next day and make changes for good.

The estimated 20 children killed in Bethlehem by a ruling mad man, within months of Jesus’ birth reminds us he too understands violence. In today’s moment, we find comfort knowing that death is not all there is to dying. One only need listen to the songs and words of funerals in Newtown to know that the promise of life, free from evil, is really, just around the corner.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-gilmour/john-lennon-u2-larry-norman-and-a-trilogy-of-god-songs_b_2546076.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

*

John Lennon, U2, Larry Norman and a Trilogy of God Songs

*

John Lennon’s debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), includes the remarkable “God.” The former Beatles’ well known distrust of religion is on display in this album as he announces “There ain’t no Jesus gonna come / from the sky” (“I Found Out”), likens Jesus and Paul with junkies pushing cocaine (“I Found Out”), and with a nice conspiratorial touch, voices concern about a system that keeps people “doped with religion” (“Working Class Hero”). Believers think they are “so clever and classless and free,” but to Lennon they are “still fucking peasants / as far as I can see.” In “God” he adds, bluntly, “I don’t believe in Bible,” “I don’t believe in Jesus,” nor do I believe in I-Ching, tarot, Buddha, Mantra, Gita or Yoga.

U2 offers homage to Lennon and “God” in 1988’s “God Part II” from Rattle and Hum. If Lennon is openly critical of religion, sweeping it away without distinction or explanation, Bono’s lyrical engagements with the Bible and religion in “God Part II” are much subtler. Like Lennon, lyricist Bono lists items he refuses to believe, beginning with the line, “Don’t believe the devil [sic] I don’t believe the book / But the truth is not the same without the lies he made up.” This song is largely about Albert Goldman and his book “The Lives of John Lennon” (see below), but there is a religious dimension as well, unmistakable given the band’s persistent exploration of spirituality. U2’s song does not reject religion or its claims (like Lennon), avoids overly simplistic conclusions (like Norman, see below), and demonstrates a willingness to live with paradox and ambiguity. U2’s music often includes religious content, but it is a highly creative, restless and wondering relationship with religious mysteries. They look for the baby Jesus under the trash and would take bread and wine if there were a church they could receive in, but their articulation of sacred themes is often playful and always incomplete, as if they never quite find what they are looking for.
Fewer know Larry Norman’s music but his work represents a seminal contribution to the Christian rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I am oversimplifying but whereas Lennon tends to reject religion outright and U2 sings about its mysterious ways and at least partial un-knowability, Larry Norman represents a Christian conservatism both confident of its rightness and critical of those failing to embrace a particular definition of orthodoxy. His God song, which appears on the 1993 album Stranded in Babylon, lacks Lennon’s cynicism about spiritual realities and U2’s playfulness, and states clearly “I’m gonna walk the streets of gold” (cf. Revelation 21:21).

Norman opens with the assertion “I don’t believe in beatles,” taken directly from Lennon’s God song, as if stressing the danger of putting too much faith in (secular? mainstream?) celebrities. It also uses U2’s phrase “[i] don’t believe the devil.” However, Norman’s “God Part III” is unambiguously confessional and a departure theologically from the earlier two God songs. Seven times Norman asserts “i believe in God,” thus departing from U2’s less specific phrase “I believe in love,” and he rejects Lennon’s view that “God is a concept / By which we measure our pain,” which is to say a human construction. Norman also embraces a very specific understanding of orthodoxy when he informs listeners, “i don’t believe the papacy when fallible lies are told,” and announces his rejection of evolution. Both concerns suggest he is a product of late 20th century American fundamentalism. If Lennon is critical of religion and Bono creative in his writing about it, Norman is confessional.

For Lennon, God is a psychosocial phenomenon (“a concept / By which we measure our pain”). This recalls lines from the same album (“I Found Out” and “Working Class Hero”) that equate religion with the false comforts provided by drugs. Lennon subsumes all religion and all religious experience without distinction under that catchall concept he labels God, and blurs sacred texts, practices and beliefs with human celebrity and the accolades afforded to them, whether rock stars (Elvis, Zimmerman [= Dylan], Beatles) or politicians (Hitler, Kennedy). This may explain why U2, rather unexpectedly, does not use the term “God” at all in their song, apart from the title. Bono refuses to group all religion together or mingle sacred language with reverence for renowned individuals.

U2’s God song offers instead a far more nuanced understanding of the Divine, which includes a theological particularity absent from Lennon’s lyrics. Though subtle, Bono grounds “God Part II” in Christian biblical tradition by substituting Lennon’s term “God” with the term “love.” In doing so, he seems to allude to 1 John 4:7-8:

… let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

This is a fascinating twist on Lennon’s God song. Bono’s repeated use of the phrase “I believe in love” affirms and celebrates Lennon and his oft-repeated mantra that love is the answer to all the world’s problems, as we hear, for instance, in “Mind Games” (Mind Games, 1973) or the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” (1967; written with Paul McCartney). Bono embraces this most familiar Lennon-ism while deftly rejecting the underlying theology. Lennon tells the world to love one another but so does the New Testament. Bono suggests, on the one hand, that Lennon is absolutely right. Quite unintentionally, the ex-Beatle aligns himself with the very God he rejects because according to 1 John, everyone who loves (a fitting description of Lennon) is born of God. But he is also absolutely wrong according to Bono because he fails to recognize a theological detail evident in this same biblical passage. Whereas Lennon declares, “There ain’t no Jesus gonna come / from the sky” (“I Found Out”) and “I don’t believe in Jesus” (“God”), Bono’s allusion to 1 John recalls the central place of Jesus in Christian thought.

 

Larry Norman’s “God Part III” does not include the same subtlety or affection for Lennon we find in Bono’s lyrics. Norman begins his song not with a statement about religion, like Lennon and U2, but instead with the words “i don’t believe in beatles, i don’t believe in rock,” taking the first phrase directly from Lennon’s song. The liner notes to Norman’s Stranded in Babylon describe “God Part III” as a “response to John’s song,” which suggests something far less affectionate than U2’s note that their song is “for John Lennon.” Unlike U2’s generous affirmation of the rightness and truth of Lennon’s emphasis on love, Norman’s direct confrontation with Lennon, the Beatles and rock more generally suggests there is no truth to be found in music; “you can easily hit number one with a bullet,” he says, “and totally miss the heart.” Bono disagrees, finding truth in Lennon, even if he is misguided in certain particulars.

Norman’s opening phrase creates greater distance between “God Part III” and the Lennon precursor than we find in U2’s God song. Bono does not name the Beatles or Lennon explicitly, nor is there any veiled criticism of their music. Instead, there is an unambiguous lyrical nod to Lennon in the phrase “Instant karma’s gonna get him,” referring to his single “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” (1970). It almost sounds like a judgment directed at Lennon but it actually refers to “[Albert] Goldman” who wrote the unauthorized 1988 biography “The Lives of John Lennon.” This is a highly critical account of the former Beatle, one Bono clearly rejects. The ambiguous “Don’t believe” that begins the stanza is either the singer’s declaration (as if to say, I refuse to believe Goldman, and that Lennon is anything less than great) or an imperative demanding audiences ignore Goldman (don’t you believe Lennon is anything less than great).

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

BUT!!!     —–

In positive psychological/societal outcomes, here now I present the contrarian view on the contradiction of God and suffering in the world  –

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/psychology-research-suggests-that-belief-in-the-supernatural-acts-as-societal-glue-and-motivates-people-to-follow-the-rules-further-belief-in-the-afterlife-helps-people-grieve-and-staves-off-fears-o/

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/science-god-biology-astronomy-physics-deity_n_1894010.html?utm_hp_ref=science

*

Psychology research suggests that belief in the supernatural acts as societal glue and motivates people to follow the rules; further, belief in the afterlife helps people grieve and staves off fears of death.

*

*

Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God. Much of what once seemed mysterious — the existence of humanity, the life-bearing perfection of Earth, the workings of the universe — can now be explained by biology, astronomy, physics and other domains of science. 

Although cosmic mysteries remain, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, says there’s good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.

Carroll argues that God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. ”As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries.

He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil. But could science really eventually explain everything?

Beginning of time

Gobs of evidence have been collected in favor of the Big Bang model of cosmology, or the notion that the universe expanded from a hot, infinitely dense state to its current cooler, more expansive state over the course of 13.7 billion years. Cosmologists can model what happened from 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang until now, but the split-second before that remains murky. Some theologians have tried to equate the moment of the Big Bang with the description of the creation of the world found in the Bible and other religious texts; they argue that something — i.e., God — must have initiated the explosive event

*

However, in Carroll’s opinion, progress in cosmology will eventually eliminate any perceived need for a Big Bang trigger-puller.

As he explained in a recent article in the “Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), a foremost goal of modern physics is to formulate a working theory that describes the entire universe, from subatomic to astronomical scales, within a single framework. Such a theory, called “quantum gravity,” will necessarily account for what happened at the moment of the Big Bang. Some versions of quantum gravity theory that have been proposed by cosmologists predict that the Big Bang, rather than being the starting point of time, was just “a transitional stage in an eternal universe,” in Carroll’s words. For example, one model holds that the universe acts like a balloon that inflates and deflates over and over under its own steam. If, in fact, time had no beginning, this shuts the book on Genesis. [Big Bang Was Actually a Phase Change, New Theory Says]

Other versions of quantum gravity theory currently being explored by cosmologists predict that time did start at the Big Bang. But these versions of events don’t cast a role for God either. Not only do they describe the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, but they also account for how time was able to get underway in the first place. As such, these quantum gravity theories still constitute complete, self-contained descriptions of the history of the universe. “Nothing in the fact that there is a first moment of time, in other words, necessitates that an external something is required to bring the universe about at that moment,” Carroll wrote.

Another way to put it is that contemporary physics theories, though still under development and awaiting future experimental testing, are turning out to be capable of explaining why Big Bangs occur, without the need for a supernatural jumpstart. As Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a conference talk earlier this year, “The Big Bang could’ve occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universes.”

Parallel universes

But there are other potential grounds for God. Physicists have observed that many of the physical constants that define our universe, from the mass of the electron to the density of dark energy, are eerily perfect for supporting life. Alter one of these constants by a hair, and the universe becomes  unrecognizable. “For example, if the mass of the neutron were a bit larger (in comparison to the mass of the proton) than its actual value, hydrogen would not fuse into deuterium and conventional stars would be impossible,” Carroll said. And thus, so would life as we know it. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]

Theologians often seize upon the so-called “fine-tuning” of the physical constants as evidence that God must have had a hand in them; it seems he chose the constants just for us. But contemporary physics explains our seemingly supernatural good luck in a different way.

Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that our life-giving universe is but one of an infinite number of universes that altogether make up the multiverse. Among these infinite universes, the full range of values of all the physical constants are represented, and only some of the universes have values for the constants that enable the formation of stars, planets and life as we know it. We find ourselves in one of the lucky universes (because where else?). [Parallel Universes Explained in 200 Words]

Some theologians counter that it is far simpler to invoke God than to postulate the existence of infinitely many universes in order to explain our universe’s life-giving perfection. To them, Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn’t postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories.

Once again, if or when these theories prove correct, “a multiverse happens, whether you like it or not,” he wrote. And there goes God’s hand in things. [Poll: Do You Believe in God?]

The reason why

Another role for God is as a raison d’être for the universe. Even if cosmologists manage to explain how the universe began, and why it seems so fine-tuned for life, the question might remain why there is something as opposed to nothing. To many people, the answer to the question is God. According to Carroll, this answer pales under scrutiny. There can be no answer to such a question, he says.

“Most scientists … suspect that the search for ultimate explanations eventually terminates in some final theory of the world, along with the phrase ‘and that’s just how it is,’” Carroll wrote. People who find this unsatisfying are failing to treat the entire universe as something unique — “something for which a different set of standards is appropriate.” A complete scientific theory that accounts for everything in the universe doesn’t need an external explanation in the same way that specific things within the universe need external explanations. In fact, Carroll argues, wrapping another layer of explanation (i.e., God) around a self-contained theory of everything would just be an unnecessary complication. (The theory already works without God.)

Judged by the standards of any other scientific theory, the “God hypothesis” does not do very well, Carroll argues. But he grants that “the idea of God has functions other than those of a scientific hypothesis.”

Psychology research suggests that belief in the supernatural acts as societal glue and motivates people to follow the rules; further, belief in the afterlife helps people grieve and staves off fears of death.

“We’re not designed at the level of theoretical physics,” Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience last year. What matters to most people ”is what happens at the human scale, relationships to other people, things we experience in a lifetime.”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/american-anthropological-association/ritual-is-power-religion-as-a-revolutionary-concept-or-an-evolutionary-advantage_b_1973622.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

*

Ritual Is Power: Religion as Revolutionary Concept or Evolutionary Advantage?

*

Since the Age of Enlightenment leading social scientists have proposed that symbolic rituals, sacred practices and theological treatises are products of the past. In fact, for the last century, secularization has been considered a revolutionary step in the transformation of agrarian societies into modern industrial nation-states. However, one must only open a webpage to a media outlet or look at a newspaper headline to realize that the modern world is as religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever.

Consider the backlash against the most recent inflammatory anti-Islam video or the impact that Mitt Romney’s faith may have on his chances of winning the U.S. presidential election. In contemporary human society, religion and politics often collide — sometimes with catastrophic results. There are many who believe that the modern world is on a downward spiral and that God is the answer. Nevertheless, terrorist attacks, toppled governments and warring factions heralded in the name of religion are not a modern phenomenon. Neither is religion’s impact on human society always an entirely negative one. Such shifting social currents have a long history in human society and religion has often been responsible for dramatic cultural transformations.

Religion played a major role in the emergence of cultural complexity in the ancient world. For example, 5,000 years ago along the north central coast of Peru ancient inhabitants constructed the earliest public architecture in the New World. Within a small stretch of Peruvian coastline, 30 ceremonial centers with large-scale monumental architecture appeared over a 1,800 year time frame known as the Late Archaic Period (3,000-1,800 B.C.). Archaeologists have labeled the Late Archaic Period as the “cradle of Andean civilization” (Haas and Creamer) and many cultural characteristics of Andean archaeology have been attributed to the cultural developments of this time. Recent archaeological excavations at one Late Archaic site, Huaricanga in the Fortaleza Valley, have revealed that ritual practices were intimately linked to the emergence of incipient leadership and served as a base of power. Moreover, control over religious knowledge likely cemented the hold of early leaders over ancient populations by promoting a sense of group membership that facilitated the mobilization of labor forces to construct monumental architecture.

But does religion’s pull on humanity have even deeper roots? I argue that ritual serves as a mechanism for promoting cooperation among members of a religion in order to achieve a common goal. Ritual practice, as a form of communication, signals to others that you identify with a particular set of beliefs. The subsequent trust that is built between those individuals provides the social glue necessary to accomplish common goals.

To understand the evolutionary importance of communication through ritual it is valuable to look to animal behavior for correlates. In the natural world it is often advantageous to send a dishonest signal. In other words, animals will fake their size, strength or overall vigor to scare away predators, to intimidate other members of the group, or to attract mates. However, the only signals that can be believed without a doubt are those that are too costly to fake, what evolutionary biologist Amotz Zahavi (1997) calls “handicaps.” These behaviors may actually have a selective advantage. For example, springbok antelopes may jump up and down in one spot when encountering a predator. While it may seem more intuitive to simply run, by jumping in place the antelope signals to the predator that it is indeed strong enough and fast enough to escape. In most cases the predator will believe this communication because the signal is simply too costly to fake since dishonesty could result in death.

In a similar way, religious behavior is too costly to fake. The obligations placed on some religious practitioners such as abstaining from certain foods or self-mutilation serve as monitoring mechanisms that indicate a common purpose or set of beliefs. If this is the case, one might surmise that religious groups that impose the greatest demands will elicit the highest levels of devotion and commitment.

Several studies have shown that in the United States the most demanding religious groups have the largest number of committed members. In other words, those religions that place the most stringent obligations on its members experience higher attendance rates. Within the last 30 years, the Mormon Church, Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witness congregation have experienced striking rises in their numbers. While these sets of beliefs restrict caffeine, sex and sugar from their members, the more liberal Protestant religion has been experiencing a steady decline (Note: For this comparison scholars are considering proportional relationships, not overall membership numbers). Moreover, since the reforms in the Roman Catholic Church associated with Vatican II, American Catholics have cut their attendance in half. In the late 1950s, 75 percent of American Catholics attended weekly Mass while more recently that number dropped to only 45 percent (Finke and Stark). The biggest decline occurred in the 1960s when reforms to the religious practices made the Mass more accessible — the liturgy was translated from Latin to English, the priest faced the congregation instead of the altar, and the participants could hold the Eucharist in their own hands.

I argue that religion and ritual serve as a social lubricant to promote collaborative action by establishing trust, belonging and commitment among individuals. Ritual, as a form of communication, signals intents and desires to other individuals. By grounding religion and ritual in a deep-rooted past supplemented by evidence from animal behavior studies, it is clear that religious practice has an adaptive advantage that has greatly impacted human history. As revealed by contemporary events religion still greatly impacts our social milieu. Perhaps we should once again consider ourselves Homo religiosus?

*

Bibliography:

  • Finke, Robert and Rodney Stark, “The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in our Religious Economy.”
  • Haas, J. and W. Creamer, “Crucible of Andean Civilization: The Peruvian Coast from 3000 to 1800 BC”
  • Zahavi, Amotz, “The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/how-does-prayer-meditation-affect-brain-activity_n_1974621.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

*

*

Study Shows How Prayer, Meditation Affect Brain Activity (VIDEO)

*

How do prayer and meditation affect brain activity? Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomson Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, and he has studied the neuroscientific effect of religious and spiritual experiences for decades.

In a video that recently aired on “Through the Wormhole” narrated by Morgan Freeman on the TV channel Science, Dr. Newberg explains that to study the effect of meditation and prayer on the brain, he injects his subjects with a harmless radioactive dye while they are deep in prayer / meditation. The dye migrates to the parts of the brain where the blood flow is the strongest, i.e,. to the most active part of the brain.

The image below compares brain activity at rest and while the subject (a Presbyterian minister is shown in the video) is in deep prayer.

prayer meditation brain

The red part indicates greater activity, and in this case, increased activity is observed in the frontal lobes and the language area of the brain. This is the part of the brain that activates during conversation, and Dr. Newberg believes that for the brain, praying to God in the Judeo-Christian tradition is similar to talking to people. “When we study Buddhist meditation where they are visualizing something, we might expect to see a change or increased activity in the visual part of the brain,” Dr. Newberg said.

While observing atheists meditating or “contemplating God,” Dr. Newberg did not observe any of the brain activity in the frontal lobe that he observed in religious people. The image below compares brain activity at rest and while the subject is in deep meditation.

prayer meditation brain

*
*

Dr. Newberg concludes that all religions create neurological experiences, and while God is unimaginable for atheists, for religious people, God is as real as the physical world. “So it helps us to understand that at least when they [religious people] are describing it to us, they are really having this kind of experience… This experience is at least neurologically real.”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/physics-are-not-metaphysics-where-science-collides-with-scripture/

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kidspirit/has-science-explained-rel_b_2552380.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

*

Has Science Explained Religion?

By contributing writer Catherine Hochman. Originally published in KidSpirit‘s Science and Spirit issue.

Maybe religion is the result of our neurons firing chemical signals at one another. Maybe it is a mistake caused by natural selection. Or maybe it is the by-product of society’s effort to impose authority. On the other hand, maybe not. Has science explained religion after all?

The Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, began in the mid-1600s in Europe. People began to question old institutions and traditions and base their knowledge of the world on reason. Prior to the Enlightenment, religion did not seem to need explanation. Rather, people generally looked to religion to understand the universe around them and their place in it. Beginning with the Enlightenment, however, people started to explain the universe from secular points of view. As the scientific worldview gained popularity, scientists started to look at the phenomenon of religion itself differently. The following modern Western thinkers have approached the existence of religion from a variety of scientific perspectives.

Emile Durkheim Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) looked at religion from a sociological standpoint, i.e., through the interactions of social groups. Durkheim believed religion was essential for all societies because it provided authority, meaning for life, and most importantly, reinforced society’s morals. He argued that religion was a crucial part of society because it supplied control, communication, and means for a community’s gatherings.

Durkheim thought that religion was not a result of the divine or supernatural, but instead was a by-product of society. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, which he published in 1912, closes with this: “The general conclusion of the book which the reader has before him is that religion is something eminently social. Religious representations are collective representations which express collective realities.”

Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins (born 1941) is a biologist who, in his book The God Delusion (2006), tries to explain religion in terms of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He concludes that religion was a mistake caused by natural selection.

Genetic drift, unlike natural selection, is a term used by biologists when a gene spreads through a population purely because it is lucky, rather than adaptive. On the other hand, neutral theory states that if a gene mutates or changes into another gene meant to perform the same function, natural selection cannot favor either one, and therefore they both will survive.

Dawkins first coined the term “memes.” Memes are similar to genes, in that they both copy themselves, but memes replicate aspects of culture, not biology. He calls a memeplex a set of memes that survive better in a group.

An example of the cultural equivalent of genetic drift is with languages. In Europe, Latin changed to become Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French. Richard Dawkins believes that like languages, specific attributes of religion evolved through genetic drift.  

Thus, while Dawkins believes in an evolutionary explanation for the existence of religion, he does not think that religion is the straightforward product of natural selection. Rather, he views religion as a kind of evolutionary mistake.

Matthew Alper Matthew Alper explains religion as being neurological. In his book The God Part of the Brain (1996), he shows how genes influence our religious experiences. He also gives accounts of many scientific studies which suggest that activities such as meditation, yoga, or prayer evoke sensations, which, although perceived as evidence of the divine or sacred, are actually the ways in which our brain interprets neurochemical processes.

Based on a series of studies of twins, Alper shows the influence that genes have on religious behavior. For example, in one study at the Virginia Commonwealth University involving 30,000 sets of twins, researchers concluded, “Although the transmission of religiousness has been assumed to be purely cultural, genetic behavior studies have demonstrated that genetic factors play a role in the individual differences in some religious traits.” 

Alper suggests that there is a bell curve where the majority of people are spiritual/religious. On one of the tapering edges of the curve, there are people who are extremely religious, many of whom are martyrs, spiritual leaders, or prophets. The other extreme has people who are “spiritually/religiously deficient, those born with an unusually underdeveloped spiritual/religious function.” 

Alper views the explanation of religion’s existence as being neurological. Therefore, he believes that there is a relationship between the human brain and religious/spiritual experiences.

Durkheim, Dawkins, and Alper all have different scientific explanations for the existence of religion. Although they all claim to be scientific, Alper is the only person who provides experimental studies confirming his belief that religious experiences are somehow related to the brain. However, while he has several studies to support his theory in The God Part of the Brain, he does not provide many details on how the studies were executed. In addition, these studies only seem to explain certain religious feelings or predispositions rather than the vast breadth of religion in general.     

Despite Dawkin’s enthusiasm for natural selection, he eventually concludes that it does not explain religion. After creating numerous terms to illustrate different exceptions to natural selection, he concludes religion was actually a mistake caused by it. Dawkins is forced to attribute the existence of religion to an exception of evolutionary theory — causing one to wonder whether Dawkins isn’t adapting his theory to fit the conclusion that he selected.

While Durkheim’s explanations of religion claim to be scientific, because they are theories based on theoretical observation rather than experimental data, his theories can be questioned in much the same way religious beliefs can be.

Although Durkheim, Dawkins, and Alper’s explanations are all incomplete, together, they only cover three perspectives of approaching religion in its entirety. Finally, I ask: Will, or can, science ever explain religion?

Sources Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain. New York: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2006. Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. New York: Bantam Press, 2006. Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, translated by Joseph Ward Swain. New York: Free Press, (1912) 1967. Preus, J. Samuel. Explaining Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

When Catherine wrote this she was 14 years old.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

130 Responses to theodicy — suffering in the world and the matter of evil — an afterlife is a cop-out

  1. Pingback: Writing and eventually dying a good death — expressing & sharing love to the end | Curtis Narimatsu

  2. Pingback: dealing with being rejected/forsaken — the upside/redemptive way to deal with not being chosen | Curtis Narimatsu

  3. Pingback: If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work

  4. Pingback: If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work

  5. Pingback: If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work

  6. Pingback: If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work

  7. Pingback: sage Wrary Herbert: We all know that when someone dies, their “agency” dies, too. They are no longer active in the world in the same way they were. Even children get that when grandpa is gone, he’s gone. Even so, our intuitive sense of t

  8. Pingback: sage Wrary Herbert: We all know that when someone dies, their “agency” dies, too. They are no longer active in the world in the same way they were. Even children get that when grandpa is gone, he’s gone. Even so, our intuitive sense of t

  9. Pingback: Thriving, learning, & having wisdom are about getting up each morning with intention, clarity, & commitment to seek & nurture connection along life’s healthy, healing path of inner nourishment & peace of mind | Curtis Narimatsu

  10. Pingback: In praise of Kathie Melocco and her ontic, the master Viktor Frankl: Have you reached a turning point in your life? | Curtis Narimatsu

  11. Pingback: Ante Cuvalo: Stipo Sosic– The Road to Hell and Back — Viktor Frankl’s analog | Curtis Narimatsu

  12. Pingback: Finding meaning in suffering a la great master Viktor Frankl | Curtis Narimatsu

  13. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  14. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  15. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  16. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  17. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  18. Pingback: Wray Herbert: disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: Einstein on “disorder” as the

  19. Pingback: my Biblical hero Matthew — the lowest of the low | Curtis Narimatsu

  20. Pingback: Sage Jason Velotta: For the people of Jericho, Zacchaeus was the lowest of the low. He was an outcast, the scum of the earth. No one is too wretched, too broken, or too guilty of sin. In fact, no matter what you have done, we are all in the same boat. We

  21. Pingback: Sage Paul Naumann: Jesus said, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” — Mark 9:35. | Curtis Narimatsu

  22. Pingback: Sage Marci Glass: Jesus doesn’t seem to care WHY he’s in this situation. But Jesus does seem to care enough about this man, this foreign, tomb-dwelling, demon possessed man to heal him. | Curtis Narimatsu

  23. Pingback: Sage Tom Stein: Three levels of compassion in Jesus — 1) Jesus has compassion for the man’s condition. While others will reject him and run from him, Jesus heals him. 2) Jesus has compassion for the man’s isolation. How long ago did someone last

  24. Pingback: Sage Larry Brincefield: The Widow of Nain — Jesus’ primary concern was for this poor woman… and Jesus raised her son from the dead… and then, instead of saying “come and follow Me”…He told him to go and care for his dear moth

  25. Pingback: Sage Becky Blanton: The difference between true compassion and a snow job is obvious to anyone who has experienced both! The whole point of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that compassion is about one person’s decision to act based on who they were

  26. Pingback: Sage Mike Bagwell: Yet Jesus’ apostles “turned the world upside down” … for Jesus! These are the exact words of Luke the historian in Acts 17:6. | Curtis Narimatsu

  27. Pingback: Sage Dave Trenholm: Jesus ate meals with Rome’s tax collectors and other disreputable sinners – the lowest of the low – because by simply eating with those people, He was letting them know that they were important to him. If you ate with anyone

  28. Pingback: Sage Fred R. Anderson: How could the lawful Pharisees not praise God for that? But still, they must keep their eye on Jesus, for his ways are not their own ways, nor those of John the Baptist and his disciples for that matter. Look at those with whom Jesu

  29. Pingback: Margaret M. Mitchell: To describe modern Christians on the basis of their proclamations??? | Curtis Narimatsu

  30. Pingback: Unforgiveness is a major cause of depression, many people have unforgiveness but are not even aware of it because it is buried so deep inside. — Seek God Ministries | Curtis Narimatsu

  31. Pingback: Jesus continually sought out marginalised people to befriend. An immense compassion drew him toward poor people, those with leprosy (who were regarded as outcasts) and tax collectors (who were loathed as traitors). Jesus had friends who would feel at home

  32. Pingback: Jesus’ invitation was for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to share in the Kingdom of God, a feast of equals, of open commensality, where there is no distinctions at the table. Jesus broke down barriers by lifting up those s

  33. Pingback: Richard J. Henderson: Once a journalist who had come to report about her mission, looked at her huddled over the body of a dying, destitute man. He said, “You couldn’t pay me to do that kind of work!” Hearing him, Mother Teresa turned an

  34. Pingback: Time and again His parables sought to justify His association with outcasts (Lk. 14:15-24; 15:1-32; Mt. 18:23-25; 20:1-15; 21:28-32). — Carelinks Ministries | Curtis Narimatsu

  35. Pingback: Richard J. Henderson: Once a journalist who had come to report about her mission, looked at her huddled over the body of a dying, destitute man. He said, “You couldn’t pay me to do that kind of work!” Hearing him, Mother Teresa turned an

  36. Pingback: Sage Edward F. Markquart: In Jesus’ parables, the accent is always on the last figure, on the last personality of the story. That is where the focus is. For example, in my opening stories, the focus is on the third stringers who had a change of heart an

  37. Pingback: Jesus’ life was full of paradoxes: the shepherds who first came to him were the lowest of the low, wandering around in fetid clothes, while the magi were some of the highest in their society. Baby Jesus was surrounded by the pungent smell of animal excr

  38. Pingback: Jesus’ invitation was for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to share in the Kingdom of God, a feast of equals, of open commensality, where there is no distinction at the table. Jesus broke down barriers by lifting up those sh

  39. Pingback: Sage Marci Glass: Jesus doesn’t seem to care WHY the other man is in this situation. But Jesus does seem to care enough about this man, this foreign, tomb-dwelling, demon possessed man to heal him. | Curtis Narimatsu

  40. Pingback: David Wilson: If you’ve not been beat up, downcast and broken at some point in your life, stop reading now. For the unscarred and unscathed, I have nothing further to share. I am thankful you have ventured here and wish you continued smooth sailing.

  41. Pingback: The kicker, the twist in this story, is the guest list and the etiquette. Jesus says, Don’t make the rich people, the healthy people, the prominent and powerful first. Nope, invite the poorest, the sick, the cripples, the lowest of the low. They’re th

  42. Pingback: The kicker, the twist in this story, is the guest list and the etiquette. Jesus says, Don’t make the rich people, the healthy people, the prominent and powerful first. Nope, invite the poorest, the sick, the cripples, the lowest of the low. They’re th

  43. Pingback: In the case of Christ we have a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes u

  44. Pingback: In the case of Christ we have a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes u

  45. Pingback: Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Pharisees with every compassionate touch. The Qumran community of the Essenes had an unconditional law: “No madman, or

  46. Pingback: This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing. — Robert L. Short | Curtis Narimatsu

  47. Pingback: The beautiful word minister, or Huperetes in Greek, has a very special meaning. It is the name of a very low slave, the lowest of the low. This slave was either shanghaied from his home or from the streets or taken from prison or simply kidnapped and was

  48. Pingback: What did Jesus see? — Judy of Rapture Ready | Curtis Narimatsu

  49. Pingback: They heard him preach about how the smallest, lowest, and least among them, were precious in God’s eyes, and the greatest in the Kingdom of God. — Malina & Altenburg | Curtis Narimatsu

  50. Pingback: We typically refuse to help those who are the source of suffering, disappointment, injustice, humiliation, or disgust. — David Chadwell | Curtis Narimatsu

  51. Pingback: But compassion seems to drive religious people’s charitable feelings LESS than other groups — the more religious ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in doctrine, communal identity, or reputational concerns. | Curtis Narimatsu

  52. Pingback: The Pharisees’ statement is intended as a stinging rebuke. It’s not really a question, it’s kind of a rhetorical question, intended to be vindictive and bitter. It’s outrage, why do you eat and drink with the tax gatherers and sinn

  53. Pingback: After all, where was Jesus found most of the time? For me, I see Jesus living and interacting with beggars, prostitutes and tax collectors the lowest of the low in His society. And by choice and association Jesus himself was one of the marginalized, and I

  54. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  55. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  56. Pingback: After all, where was Jesus found most of the time? For me, I see Jesus living and interacting with beggars, prostitutes and tax collectors — the lowest of the low in His society. And by choice and association Jesus himself was one of the marginalize

  57. Pingback: They heard him preach about how the smallest, lowest, and least among them — were precious in God’s eyes, and the greatest in the Kingdom of God. — Malina & Altenburg | Curtis Narimatsu

  58. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  59. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  60. Pingback: Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now but you shall understand hereafter.” You don’t get it, Peter, you don’t get My humiliation. You think this is too lowly for Me, you think this is too humble for Me,

  61. Pingback: How often do we judge others? I’ll be the first to say that it’s definitely more than it should be. Without even realizing, we judge instantly based on appearance. In the back of our minds, we convince ourselves we are better because we don

  62. Pingback: If you were in the bottom of a hole.. who would you most resent helping you out of the hole? Just think about it….. ‘Cause that’s whom Jesus calls you to love. — April Coates | Curtis Narimatsu

  63. Pingback: Healing the sick. Loving the unloved. Welcoming the unwelcomed. Gathering the little ones. Receiving the rejected and abandoned. Comforting the elders. The Paschal Mystery (Passover) is the greatest act of compassion. God, suffering with us, putting every

  64. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  65. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  66. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  67. Pingback: Here’s the power of hospitality—this willingness to go out of our way to invite and welcome and include those who formerly felt themselves to be on the outside looking in, creating holy space where those who formerly felt themselves to be alienated an

  68. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  69. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  70. Pingback: Jesus stood in the face of all social convention, and loudly proclaimed that those that see the spirituality of service, and sacrifice, are closer to the kingdom of God, than those with correct doctrine, correct church, and correct lineage. Jesus, this ra

  71. Pingback: Do you know Him? | Curtis Narimatsu

  72. Pingback: Jesus stood in the face of all social convention, and loudly proclaimed that those that see the spirituality of service, and sacrifice, are closer to the kingdom of God, than those with correct doctrine, correct church, and correct lineage. Jesus, this ra

  73. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  74. Pingback: How often do we judge others? I’ll be the first to say that it’s definitely more than it should be. Without even realizing, we judge instantly based on appearance. In the back of our minds, we convince ourselves we are better because we don

  75. Pingback: In praise of Lester Chun: Intentionality & the Holy Spirit within oneself | Curtis Narimatsu

  76. Pingback: The Christian distinction which separates Christianity from earlier religions: Matthew 5:44 — Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you. | Curtis Narimatsu

  77. Pingback: What is not in your power to do — to change your enemy — thence, help heal your pain by letting go of your vengeance | Curtis Narimatsu

  78. Pingback: Of a Natalia Stavas — Bombs, Instincts and Morals: Why Heroes Risk It All for Strangers — Jeffrey Kluger | Curtis Narimatsu

  79. Pingback: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson — Embracing Authenticity — by Randy Hain | Curtis Narimatsu

  80. Pingback: Stephen Hawking closed his speech by outlining “M-theory,” which is based partly on ideas put forward years ago by another famed physicist, Caltech’s Richard Feynman. Hawking sees that theory as the only big idea that really explains what he

  81. Pingback: Stephen Hawking closed his speech by outlining “M-theory,” which is based partly on ideas put forward years ago by another famed physicist, Caltech’s Richard Feynman. Hawking sees that theory as the only big idea that really explains what he

  82. Pingback: Stephen Hawking closed his speech by outlining “M-theory,” which is based partly on ideas put forward years ago by another famed physicist, Caltech’s Richard Feynman. Hawking sees that theory as the only big idea that really explains what he

  83. Pingback: Atheism & Naturalism | Curtis Narimatsu

  84. Pingback: My Saint — Oscar Romero — and a flourishing of the Social Gospel, with credit to current Pope Francis | Curtis Narimatsu

  85. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  86. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  87. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  88. Pingback: Living well[spring] | Curtis Narimatsu

  89. Pingback: How to deal with loneliness: To stop feeling lonely, we first must accept that we are feeling lonely. Sometimes admitting that to ourselves is difficult. We then have to express those feelings of loneliness in some way. We might find ourselves writing in

  90. Pingback: As the recent history of American Protestantism proves, when faith becomes the servant of partisan politics, even a great religious tradition can lose its soul. So, where have all the Protestants gone? They are swelling the ranks of America’s fastes

  91. Pingback: “This is Water” – David Foster Wallace — Wallace used many forms of irony, but focused on individuals’ continued longing for earnest, unselfconscious experience and communication in a media-saturated society. Wallace helped u

  92. Pingback: “Ultimately I was fascinated by Gatsby as a character. I was moved by him. It no longer became a love story to me. It became a tragedy of this new American, this man in a new world where everything is possible, and at a time of great opulence in the

  93. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  94. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  95. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  96. Pingback: Theodicy (why is there so much suffering in the midst of an omnipotent God?): “Don’t think” (don’t be limited merely by what you’re been told that you, others, or the universe is like or has to be like), “look and see” how things are (which

  97. Pingback: “The fact that most Americans think the country would be better off if more Americans were religious shows that many of those who believe religion is losing its influence may think this is a negative state of affairs,” Gallup said in its state

  98. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  99. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  100. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  101. Pingback: We all have the power to pick our attitudes | Curtis Narimatsu

  102. Pingback: Then Jesus cleansed the temple of everything evil about us — then in typical mob hysteria, we “cleansed” ourselves of Jesus via His Crucifixion | Curtis Narimatsu

  103. Pingback: In praise of nickname Stoner’s bridging the proverbial age gap — from Stoner age 43 to Peter age 66: “You are not an uptight jerk” (like other ultra-judgmental old farts!!) | Curtis Narimatsu

  104. Pingback: In praise of nickname Stoner’s bridging the proverbial generation gap — from Stoner age 43 to Peter age 66: “You are not an uptight jerk” (like other ultra-judgmental old farts!!) | Curtis Narimatsu

  105. Pingback: Ambivalence: The hair-thin line between being thrilled (Jesus our savior comes to our town Jerusalem) and being threatened (our own ambivalence — Jesus cleanses the temple of everything evil about ourselves — we feel threatened by Jesus reveal

  106. Pingback: Ambivalence: The hair-thin line between being thrilled (Jesus our savior comes to our town Jerusalem) and being threatened (our own ambivalence — Jesus cleanses the temple of everything evil about ourselves — we feel threatened by Jesus reveal

  107. Pingback: Love-hate dynamic of mob hysteria in praising, then killing Jesus — all within a week’s time | Curtis Narimatsu

  108. Pingback: So Jesus exposed our unlovely selves (Jesus’ cleansing of the temple by ridding it of our money-changers) — we didn’t have to kill Jesus — we could have sublimated our primal fears about our hypocritical nature — and instead

  109. Pingback: We depraved humans are so fickle, to say the least — my recount of Jesus’ exposure of our mob hysteria 2,000 yrs. ago — nothing has changed in us since then — we still are a mob in senseless hysteria | Curtis Narimatsu

  110. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 400 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 400 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  111. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  112. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  113. Pingback: Nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200

  114. Pingback: We depraved humans of immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before

  115. Pingback: We depraved humans of immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before

  116. Pingback: We are depraved humans steeped in immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800

  117. Pingback: We are depraved humans steeped in immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800

  118. Pingback: Jesus’ mind-blowing “huli ‘au” (upside down) overturning of this world of our flesh — Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Phar

  119. Pingback: Mind-blowing Jesus stands inexplicably before us, and Jesus turns common-sense ideas upside down/”huli ‘au,” confounding us all! Dedicated to authentic Ri-in!! | Curtis Narimatsu

  120. Pingback: Life is full of reversals of expectations, baby!! Dedicated to my little girl Staycie age 40 — my separation anxiety from my baby girl when she turned 18 & left home to live on her own turned out to be her greatest crossover to independence R

  121. Pingback: Hawaii’s greatest modern wayfinder Rev. Hung Wai Ching (1905-2002) alter ego Rev. Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) — Niebuhr’s immensely popular Serenity Prayer: “Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it

  122. Pingback: Calvinism, we keep being reminded, was the faith of the Puritans who settled most early American colonies, and its teachings are reflected in founding documents. Since the U.S. Constitution is so preoccupied with checks and balances, some old-timers found

  123. Pingback: Calvinism, we keep being reminded, was the faith of the Puritans who settled most early American colonies, and its teachings are reflected in founding documents. Since the U.S. Constitution is so preoccupied with checks and balances, some old-timers found

  124. Pingback: To love and be loved are what life is all about | Curtis Narimatsu

  125. Pingback: I’m here to love and be loved | Curtis Narimatsu

  126. Pingback: Nobody comes to therapy who hasn’t lost something. The heart is injured. Limping. Constrained by psychic adhesions. Aching, either obviously or just behind the curtain of consciousness. The therapeutic relationship is the MRI. It reveals what’s torn.

  127. Pingback: Nobody comes to therapy who hasn’t lost something. The heart is injured. Limping. Constrained by psychic adhesions. Aching, either obviously or just behind the curtain of consciousness. The therapeutic relationship is the MRI. It reveals what’s torn.

  128. Pingback: Nobody comes to therapy who hasn’t lost something. The heart is injured. Limping. Constrained by psychic adhesions. Aching, either obviously or just behind the curtain of consciousness. The therapeutic relationship is the MRI. It reveals what’s torn.

  129. Pingback: To love and to be loved are mystical desires a la Carl Jung’s archetypes (Jung’s forebearers were mystics Plato, Apostle Paul, & Augustine) | Curtis Narimatsu

  130. Pingback: The young man with terminal cancer was going to die quicker than he thought, and he was very depressed about this. And of course he hadn’t gotten to make his mark, and he had this conversation with this young woman. And the young woman said, “No,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s