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"People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

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"People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

The above is a quote from HL Mencken, taken completely out of context purely as a starting point for this thread.

I've been watching the 'religion' themed threads for a while now, and my conclusion is that religion seems to bring out some very nasty traits in many people - the main activity on these threads has been squabbling, sniping, argument by assertion, and puerile point scoring.

This seems par for the course whenever religion is discussed, whether within small groups like this one, or on the wider world stage (I'm thinking Crusades, I'm thinking Jihad, I'm thinking abuse of women in some Muslim cultures, I'm thinking brutalisation of Muslim prisoners in Iraq and in Abu Graib)

Religion so often seems to be the excuse we use for hating, torturing and killing people who are 'different', and it seems that, even in a friendly discussion where little is at stake, religion continues its role as a fomenter of conflict.

Yet, when you look at religious texts, the rhetoric is about God's love, duties to one's neighbours, humane treatment of animals, children and all weaker individuals, sharing wealth and resources, giving to the poor and needy etc etc. I can't see anything wrong with any of that - in fact, I'm completely behind all of it.

Religion is at the core of all civilisation - it seems to have evolved within all cultures as a means of drawing the community together, collecting and preserving knowledge, teaching children, providing 'theatre' in the form of communal ritual observances, providing a sense of safety, through knowledge of the seasons, history of the community etc. In early times, heads of state would often have a priestly role, and might be sacrificed if the harvest was unsatisfactory to placate the gods.

It's clear, at least to me, that we would not be able to live within the social groups we do, and could not have made the material advances we have made, as a race, without the influence of religion in providing the ethical framework within which we can live close to each other without raw self interest undermining any attempt to create a community.
Without communities, we are only ourselves - within communities, we have access to the talents and gifts of others - the whole is definitely much greater than the sum of its parts. Mankind (and womankind) needs to live in communities - no man, as John Donne famously wrote, is an island.

So far then, religion is to be seen as a completely positive thing - religion=communities, communities=people getting access to knowledge and resources they would otherwise lack, and thereby achieving outcomes they could not even dream of alone. Looked at in this way, religion is a completely practical and very desirable thing.

Looking around the wibbly wobbly world for inspiration, I found this series of essays - i'm only posting the link to the first - you can easily find the others if you're interested.
http://theology.co.kr/whitehead/religion/1.html

This is interesting to me because it divides the concept of religion into 4 phases:
Ritual
Emotion
Belief
Rationalism
Seems to me, so far I have talked about the first two phases, and the conclusion here is that there is no problem at all with these two.
Ritual observance brings a community together, channels the emotional energy of community members, provides entertainment, access to knowledge, the foundation for a set of rules about behaviour - in short, a police presence.
I do it all the time with my dogs - 'look over here, here's a biscuit, behave in a certain way and you will have the biscuit'.
Dogs are happy, furniture remains unchewed, the household is a happy one.

When we move on to what the author of the piece would term the 'individual' aspects of religion, I think we start to get into problems, and this may be where the negative aspects of religion arise. Belief and rationalism (forming a personal code of practice based on belief, and attempting to convince others of the validity of this) are where the subjective, 'numinous' elements arise, and where the mischief can also begin.

Some religious figures have evolved what I might want to call benign beliefs - Elizabeth Fry for example, who believed that her God loved everyone, even convicted criminals, and who expressed that belief by working within the prisons of the time to provide the benefits of civilisation to those prisoners so far as she could.

Some religious figures have evolved much less benign beliefs - I might want to cite the priests of the Spanish Inqisition, whose revelation and belief was that God loved only Catholic Christians and that the use of torture and painful death would save the souls of those that fell below this high standard.(Sorry, this is VERY oversimplified, but I hope people get the gist)

In my own journey, I have found it preferable to avoid close connection to any religious movement, because I think once you get into those 'personal' aspects of religious belief and action, you do run the risk of getting involved in beliefs and attitudes that I would find morally repugnant (the belief, for example, that Baptists, Catholics, Muslims - fill in your own denomination - have the direct line to heaven the real gen, the absolute knowledge of right and wrong; and that everyone else is going straight to Hell)

I like having the concept of god - I don't care whether anyone can prove or disprove her/his/its existence. To me the truth is that we are all god's children - we all belong to the same family, we all have the right to live, to grow and to find our own truth.

Between the world's religions and belief systems, there are many more points of similarity than there are differences - we all have a moral compass, we all believe in something - what I would like to see is a proper discussion of our different beliefs, a friendly and sympathetic consideration of the points of view expressed, and a sincere attempt to reach a common understanding.
But, hey, that's just me - carry on squabbling if you like
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:15 pm

I'm currently providing a bit of child care for a neighbour's little girl.
The rule we apply in our house is that we can all say whatever we want, and everyone has a right to speak up, always supposing we
1) don't say it loudly enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable and
2) don't interrupt what other people are saying

Sensible rules which apply to any conversation, I feel

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:37 pm

"....don't interrupt what other people are saying...."

Tell that to the Presenters on BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme.

Interviews are 33% interviewer, 33% interviewee, and 33% both talking at the same time, which is unintelligible to the listener.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:07 pm

I long ago accepted that I can't change anyone's behaviour but my own - still, never hurts to remind people about what civilised behaviour would look like.

All I can do with the 'Today' programme, which I do in fact do, is to boycott it. They make my teeth itch to be honest.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:58 pm

- but with an open mind, bearing in mind always the possibility that the other person may also have a valid point of view.

Everyone has a point of view, boatlady. Whether or not it is valid is up for debate. Many of the religious points of view are touted as fact. Rock and polyglide are believers but not in anything based on facts. Their religion has antiquity to it, is a mishmash of other previous religions and legends and for some reason that seems to carry more weight than solid evidence.

We don't even know if Jesus was a real person which would make a sham of Christianity if he was no more real than Thor or Scarlett O'Hara.

If you watch what happens in Graceland every August 16th, I would bet that Elvis will be some kind of God in 2000 years. Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:21 pm

Everyone has a point of view, boatlady. Whether or not it is valid is up for debate

I think that may be what I just said - everyone's point of view may be valid, and in my view, in a discussion it is always important to bear in mind the fact that one may be mistaken and to LISTEN to what others have to say, with an open mind.

Believers can present their beliefs to me as facts, but as I have a functioning brain, that doesn't put me under any obligation to accept their version of reality - although I will always do them the courtesy of listening and seriously considering their point of view.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:34 am

I wouldn't so much quarrel with the point of view - unless it was overtly sexist and/or racist, as with the actions it provokes.

So, if anyone wants to feel that their life is given more meaning by belief in something that I don't believe in, as long as their belief doesn't lead to behaviour that harms others, I say let them get on with it, and I will happily listen to anything they have to say.

Who knows? I may learn something new
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:14 pm

I wouldn't so much quarrel with the point of view - unless it was
overtly sexist and/or racist, as with the actions it provokes.

I don't quarrel with anything if there is evidence to support it. Then, I can see someone's point of view.

If anyone feels their life has more meaning because they believe in something, then my question would be, what and why do you believe in it? If one is seeking truth, then the evidence must be rock solid. Belief in God is not rock solid nor is the evidence convincing.

My mom says that if billions of people believe in a thing, it must be true. NO! At one time, the earth was the centre of the universe because the church said it was based on the bible. We know now this is not true. The bible has been proven wrong many times since.

Sam Harris has said that people experience deep religious feelings that are emotionally overpowering and all consuming. I believe this is true but I also believe that it is manufactured. I went to a tent revival once when I was a believer and the preacher called me out in front of everyone and said things to me that I thought were directed solely at me. He grabbed my hand and I felt an electric shock through my arm and I tried to pull away and the preacher and I locked eyes, and I knew then that it was a sham. I just knew. I yanked my arm away from him and backed away while he carried on about the grace of God visiting me. It felt disgusting and wrong. This was a charlatan. He was a liar.

My husband is also a part time magician. Cold reading is an art practiced by evangelical preachers and psychic readers and mediums. I know all the tricks of the trade. We are both disgusted by TV mediums who prey on the grief-stricken. Harry Houdini was in the business of exposing mediums for the charlatans they are.

So, boatlady, I think you are a politically correct, tolerant and kind person. But there is a definite line in the sand between what is true and what is delusion. And belief in the unsubstantiated is delusion. Perhaps, reason and rationality ought to be the order of the day rather than fantasy and delusion don't you think?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:03 pm

But maybe what we do is much more important than what we believe?

In my life I've known some people with strange beliefs, but, end of the day they do right by others - conversely, I've also known people who eschew (yes, it's really a word) all forms of fantasy and delusional beliefs whose behaviour is unmitigatedly wicked by my standards.

I don't think we can police the contents of each others minds, but we do have a right to criticise each others behaviour, if it causes harm to others, and to praise each others behaviour, if it results in a greater sum of happiness.

The example you give is about behaviour that is unacceptable - you were not at all convinced that the behaviour was OK, and you quite rightly backed off.

Someone with very similar beliefs might very well refrain from trying to force you to partake in his belief - then you have no quarrel with him, I would argue.

Possibly, reason and rationality are capable of causing as much harm as fantasy and delusion - I maintain that the belief system is not the problem - it's what you do with it.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:22 am

Religion is like owning a gun. Having one can be very beneficial and even enjoyable if used the right way. Unfortunately, just like with guns, religion is often used to intimidate, bully, and coerse. What's more, religion is divisive. Here's what I mean:

Santorum: Obama wants 'Godless' America; passion is on the left

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who very well may have been a Michigan primary win away from being the Republican nominee, gave a rousing defense of social values here at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“For those in our movement who want to abandon our moral underpinnings to win, what does it profit a movement to gain the country and lose its own soul?" Santorum told this room of thousands of conservative activists at CPAC to raucous applause. "The left in America has made that Faustian bargain… We must not.”

Santorum accused the president of wanting to “close the deal” on a transformation of America 100 years in the making. He said Obama “wants to replace the ‘why’ of American Revolution for ‘why’ of French revolution –- a society that is Godless without faith,” that is “anti clerical, anti-God, where the government is the center, and they are the ones who care for us. This is President Obama’s New Deal.”


This is a prime example of how religion is used the wrong way. This is the equivalent of a gun owner going on a shooting spree. Unfortunately, Santorum has volume and political clout - and may end up running for Prez in 2016. This is why religion in America is more than just listening to other people's points of view. It is literally a war - and not one of our making, but one dreamed up by the Christian right-wingers who believe that a tiny minority of atheists are out to get them. I'm not the only one who sees it, either. You should look at the comments below the article. Fortunately at least some Americans are waking up to the reality that people like Santorum and Huckabee and other major politicians believe that religion has the right to run roughshod over everyone else's freedoms.

A poster nicknamed "deprogrammer" said it very well:

Ursala, you underestimate the sheer evilness of the GOP and the Conservative movement, they will not allow a liberal, or even another right leaning Democrat like President Obama, to win. In their small, warped little minds they truly believe that their fictional father figure is coming back soon and their evangelical mouthpieces have them convinced that "he" wont do so unless they control the country. They will do what ever it takes to take this nation back from what they have been brainwashed to believe is their true enemy, liberalism. Go to a site called "rightwingwatch" and watch the videos of "men" like Bryan Fischer, David Barton, Rush Limbaugh and others continually drill it into the "faithfuls" pea brains that they must eradicate liberalism and exterminate liberals WITHIN THIS DECADE or Jesus will not come back for them (conservatives).

Oh yeah, here's the link: LINK
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:19 am

It is the responsibility of any Christian not to keep their faith to themselves but to attempt to convert others in the hope that they too can enjoy that which God has promised.

It would be selfish in the extreem for a Christian to keep the promises made by God to themselves.

Of course there are false prophets the Bible tells you so and what most people forget is the part being played by Satan.

If you accept God then you accept that there is Satan and you only have to look at the world today to see what can happen when there are opposing sides, not all play fair.

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:26 pm

No problem with sensible debate - every problem with someone trying to force the message down people's throats, which is what many so called 'committed Christians' do, also 'committed Muslims'.

Belief is only an idea and everyone is entitled to have their own ideas. The Christian message may give your life meaning - for some others, it may take away the meaning of their life. I for example wish to do what seems to me to be good, because it makes me feel better - I would not feel better if I thought I was just booking my place in Heaven - actually, if I look at the people who believe they are going to Heaven (if there is such a place) they are not the people I would choose to spend eternity with - always supposing eternal life is something i would aspire to.

I think it may be a good idea to bear in mind the Gospel directives to
'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works' and
'Remove the beam from your own eye before attempting to remove the mote from your neighbour's'

I know of no Gospel teching that says you have to force others to accept your point of view.

Perhaps you can give me some indication of where that is written
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:30 pm

It is the responsibility of any Christian not to keep their faith to themselves but to attempt to convert others in the hope that they too can enjoy that which God has promised.

What has God promised? Eternal life worshipping him? I cannot think of a duller existence. Doing that for all eternity, never ending praise and worship? Sounds like Hell. Is God that petty and self-centred that he requires non-stop praise for doing nothing more that hanging around in the ether in his lazy-boy recliner and big screen TV sifting through the prayers and getting good seats for someone at the cinema for one person while allowing the murder of children somewhere else? What is the point?

God and Satan are no more real than Zeus, Hera, Jupiter and Venus. All stories. Nothing real or factual in the lot.


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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:15 am

polyglide wrote:
It is the responsibility of any Christian not to keep their faith to themselves but to attempt to convert others in the hope that they too can enjoy that which God has promised.

Y’shua bar Yosef, Y’shua Moshiach, does not teach this. Peter, John, Phillip. Paul, and Cornelius, walking the talk and following Y’shua’s teachings as recorded in Acts, do not provide examples of this.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:07 am

Possibly, reason and rationality are capable of causing as much harm as fantasy and delusion - I maintain that the belief system is not the problem - it's what you do with it.

The very qualities of reason and rationality, evidence-based reasoning, common sense would not cause harm to anyone. Whereas history has shown us the sheer magnitude of harm caused by the delusion of religious belief: war, famine, greed, slavery, rape, murder, marginalisation of the mentally ill, homosexuals, disabled. One only has to look at Africa and the Middle East to see the harm of superstitious religious belief. And Islam is a fascist religion in the wrong hands.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:13 am

It is the responsibility of any Christian not to keep their faith to themselves but to attempt to convert others in the hope that they too can enjoy that which God has promised

According to the bible, Jesus never knocked on people's doors. If they wanted to hear him, they came to him.

If someone wants to learn about Jesus from you, it is your responsibility to show them by your actions and only preach to them if they ask you. Otherwise you are a nuisance.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:16 am

Snowy, let me beg to differ

common sense would not cause harm to anyone

'Common' sense is a slippery and dangerous concept in my view - it appears to give legitimacy to anything a person might want to ascribe the term to, whereas in reality there is no 'common' sense - every one has her/his own version of those facts that are indisputable (which is usually what people mean when they talk of common sense).

For example - it is 'common sense' that the sky is blue - but a meteorologist would maybe take issue with that, saying that the sky only appears to be blue - in fact the appearance is an effect of atmospheric pollution (I think).

To the Spanish Inquisition, it was 'common sense' to suppose that the true life was in Heaven, therefore burning unbelievers at the stake was not doing them real harm, because it saved them from Hell. I guess the poor unbelievers would have begged to differ.

'Common sense' is not opinions held by everyone (which is what it sounds like) - it is derived from experience - lived experience, book learning, and 'live' teaching, and everyone's experience is different.

I don't know where your ideas about life are derived from, but I'm prepared to go bail that they're based on a set of different experiences, different reading, instruction from a whole set of different teachers
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:12 pm

snowyflake wrote:
It is the responsibility of any Christian not to keep their faith to themselves but to attempt to convert others in the hope that they too can enjoy that which God has promised
According to the bible, Jesus never knocked on people's doors. If they wanted to hear him, they came to him.

True.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:59 pm

Common' sense is a slippery and dangerous concept in my view - it appears to give legitimacy to anything a person might want to ascribe the term to, whereas in reality there is no 'common' sense - every one has her/his own version of those facts that are indisputable (which is usually what people mean when they talk of common sense).

It's probably best to include the whole quote rather than just a piece of it because without the first bit, it loses something.

The very qualities of reason and rationality, evidence-based reasoning, common sense would not cause harm to anyone.

The entire quote actually is quite sensible. Let's not forget the UDHR as well. With all that underpinning a person's morality (including my complete quote) I cannot for the life of me invisage any instance where a religious point of view is better than that. In fact, the moral differences between religious belief and evidence-based reason, rationality and common sense (together) and the UDHR is that all people are included with human rights. No one is left out. Homosexuals, unwed mothers, vagrants, the mentally ill and the otherwise marginalised populations of the world. They ALL deserve our compassion, kindness, generosity but if you are a believer in one or another of the gods of this world, most religions call for the death penalty for homosexuals and if you are in Islam adulterous women, victims of rape are also sentenced to death. That's religion.

No where in the UDHR is anyone condemned to death or otherwise ostracised.

The only people that I take issue with are those who do harm to others.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:18 pm

'Cold reading is an art practiced by evangelical preachers and psychic readers and mediums. I know all the tricks of the trade.'

I object very strongly to that generalisation. From my own personal life I know that there are experiences which are beyond explanation. I agree that there are charlatans out there as you say. I agree there are people who 'read' others.
I also know there are those who genuinely have talents beyond the average person. Not because they are religious, just that they have been born with them.
I was bought up as a Christian but developed, unintentionally, talents which I assume came from birth. Those talents, I was told, were wrong according to the Bible so gradually allowed them to 'fade', though they occasionally re-occur in special circumstances.
I can tell you that I am not alone in this.

You may know all the 'tricks of the trade'. Do you know the tricks of 'nature'?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:34 pm

I object very strongly to that generalisation.

You are well within your rights to object, trevor Smile

You may know all the 'tricks of the trade'. Do you know the tricks of 'nature'?

I know that the human mind is prone to misperception and delusion. We are easily fooled into believing things. We are poor eye-witnesses and our recall is often non-sequential, fragmented, missing key details and adding ones that didn't even occur. That's the human brain. Many an innocent person went to their deaths based on the eye-witness testimony of 'reliable' witnesses, only to find out later they were wrong. Our senses and minds play tricks on us.

If you are speaking about supernatural 'talents', I'm sorry but I don't believe anyone has supernatural talents. We live in a physical world with physical laws. When you die, your brain dies with you and all of the 'you' that was housed in your brain is gone forever. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Humans however are so egotistical that they had to invent Gods that love them and care about the minutiae of their every living moment and who promised them an afterlife for all eternity. Death is scary for most people because it is so final. This is it. One life...so make the absolute most of it.

I often wonder at what point in our evolution did the human brain invent God. Gods were an explanation for the unexplainable. I imagine a tribe grieving over the loss of their chief who was a great hunter (not so great because a mammoth gored him) and the shaman or holy man of the tribe (he was only holy because he dabbled in some mushrooms and was hallucinating like mad and had to tell everyone what he was seeing) told the griefstricken tribe that their chief would live forever in the stars and that they shouldn't be sad because the chief would watch over them forever (the shaman knows this because he saw his own dead relatives when he was stoned out of his skull).

Sorry, I just think it's fantasy. Humans are conscious of their existance and they know they are going to die. This is unacceptable to most of us.



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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:47 am

I am not talking about supernatural intelligence. I am not talking about religion. The experiences I had were nothing to do with religion.
We live in a physical world with 'known' physical laws.

Your first paragraph is irrelevant as far as my experiences count. They have nothing to do with observation or conceptions.

You may not believe some people have experiences beyond known laws. OK. That is your right. Myself, I have to believe, having been through them myself. I wouldn't dare call them supernatural.

Ooops. a visitor. Will come back to this later with an experience of what I mean.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by jackthelad on Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:29 am

I agree with Trevor, but not as far as to say they are talents, sometimes I am a mind reader, I know what Mrs Jack is thinking without her telling me, I don't think it is a natural born talent, but something that grew in you over the years. For instance we will be sitting watching TV, I will say it's time for a cup of tea, and Mrs Jack will say I was just thinking about that. Mrs Jack seems to know what I am thinking also, she claims she can read my mind too, I will be thinking of a song and suddenly Mrs Jack will start singing it. Lots of title things like that, I suppose having been married for sixty years we must pick up some little tricks on the way. That is the only way I can explain it.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:03 pm

Yes, many people are both fooled and deluded, you only have to look at those who believe in evolutoin as the origin of life.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:54 pm

trevorw2539 wrote:I am not talking about supernatural intelligence. I am not talking about religion. The experiences I had were nothing to do with religion.
We live in a physical world with 'known' physical laws.

Your first paragraph is irrelevant as far as my experiences count. They have nothing to do with observation or conceptions.

You may not believe some people have experiences beyond known laws. OK. That is your right. Myself, I have to believe, having been through them myself. I wouldn't dare call them supernatural.

Ooops. a visitor. Will come back to this later with an experience of what I mean.

I promised I would come back to this later, and here I am.

Many years ago while in the RAF I met a young girl and we dated for a while. On being posted 200 miles away we eventually lost touch. Some years later I met and married another woman. I had no reason to tell anyone about the girl, and indeed it was a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

A year or so after my marriage I had a vivid dream in which this young lady was trying to contact me. Although vivid the dream would have been passed off had I not met, a couple of days later, a friend who said 'I've had a dream that a young lady is trying to contact you'. Given that my friend knew absolutely nothing of my past 'girlfriend' I found it interesting. In fact a few days later I received a letter from my parents 150 miles away enclosing a letter from this girl which she had sent to them to pass on. The reason for the letter is irrelevant in this account, save to say it was not really important.
I then had another dream concerning the same person. Details again not important except that my friend recounted the same dream as being one she had had, before I even mentioned mine.
One other dream in the same series occured, and about the same person. The interesting point in this is that my friend, in her dream, had seen me in a Chapel building whose interior she described in detail. I didn't recognise the description as a place that I knew until, on returning home on a holiday I entered the Chapel hall that I had spent many Sunday School years in. Since my last visit they had completely renovated the inside of the building. It was now the building my friend had so accurately described, down to the removal of the moveable 'pews'- for chairs, the removal of the large stage at the front, and various other details. Given that my friend had never been anywhere near the Village 150 miles away, let alone into the Chapel hall, how did she so accurately describe it.

In all the above my friend was the first to broach the subject of her dreams. Did she read my mind?

The above is true, not fiction. You may believe me or not. It makes little difference to me. This and other experiences lead me to believe in things we don't understand - nothing to do with religion.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:18 pm

Thank you Trevor for sharing your experience. I believe your account but I would ask you to consider several things. I think coincidences happen that are not 'supernatural'. The human brain is subject to the power of suggestion. In fact, we are incredible at it. Our brains are adept at making connections no matter how tenuous they might be. You had a dream about a past girlfriend and your friend had a dream about someone trying to contact you. Your mind has connected the two dreams when there might not be any connection whatsoever. The other instances only reinforced your first dream. And ta da you have a supernatural occurrence that might not be supernatural at all. Just coincidence.

Human brains are a marvel. I don't know how many times I will be thinking of a song and then I put the radio on and voila the song is playing. Is that supernatural? Is that ESP? Or are the fillings in my teeth drawing in radio waves that are being transmitted to my brain in stereo? I'll let you know when I take the tinfoil off my head. Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:34 pm

3 dreams in continuity about the same subject and person. Both experienced by 2 different people. With respect I think you stretch coincidence beyond credibility.
I could go on with experiences but your mind is made up. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that.
Oh. You'd be better with an aerial on your head, better reception Wink
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:45 pm

3 dreams in continuity about the same subject and person. Both experienced by 2 different people. With respect I think you stretch coincidence beyond credibility.
You may well be right, trevor. I'm just offering alternative explanations. I'm not saying I am right.

I could go on with experiences but your mind is made up. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that.

My mind is made up to reality. I'm skeptical of anything else.

Oh. You'd be better with an aerial on your head, better reception Wink

If I stand on one leg with my arm out the window and yodel for some strange reason I can get Wilson Pickett Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:28 am

The above is true, not fiction. You may believe me or not. It makes little difference to me. This and other experiences lead me to believe in things we don't understand - nothing to do with religion.

As the noted physicist Brian Greene once said, "The supernatural is merely science we haven't discovered yet."

How true.

We've done this for thousands of years - attributed that which we did not know to mysterious supernatural or divine forces. Of course, eventually, we discovered the real reason, the scientific reason.

We're only just now doing serious investigations into how the brain works. We already know from testing that identical twins often share an uncanny connection with each other, and I believe any two people can develop that connection. I can't explain what that "connection" is scientifically, but I'm sure there IS a scientific explanation.

Just as I am sure there is one for your experiences, Trevor. We should learn from history and not make the mistake our ancestors continuously made: Thinking that all unexplained things are beyond our ken. Sooner or later, we'll get to the bottom of it.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:15 am

snowyflake wrote:
My mind is made up to reality. I'm skeptical of anything else.

A few years ago, while in a drug-induced sleep, I experienced “beyond my reality” in such a compelling manner that my fear of death, my fear of that which was unknown, vanished and has not returned. If I were to tell this experience to me, I would be skeptical of myself.

Some experiences defy verbal and written recreation.

I can, however, recreate via spoken and written word a roughly analogous experience. I was once a halfway decent “baller.” A few times, a very few times, I entered “the zone”, wherein everything “slowed down” and I could “see” everything as and before it happened, and I was that important one millisecond ahead of everybody else. On those very few occasions, I was exactly where I needed to be right on time, I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing right on time. I wasn’t the “star”, mind you, my “stars” and my “support players” simply lit up the joint big time because I set the picks, made the passes, got the boards, and frustrated the opposition in such a way that my teammates shined and we won.

Years later, when those days and those very few “in the zone” experiences were in my distant past, I dreamed I was “back there.” The dream was so accurate that it felt real while I was asleep. After I was awake, the dream still felt real.

Similarly, the “beyond my reality” experience felt real when I was asleep, and it still felt real after I was awake.

snowyflake wrote:
If I stand on one leg with my arm out the window and yodel for some strange reason I can get Wilson Pickett Smile

If I stand on one leg with my arm out the window and yodel, can I get Chaka Khan?

Get to standing, leg, and get to sticking yourself out the window, arm; it’s Chaka time! “Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan!”
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:59 am

Similarly, the “beyond my reality” experience felt real when I was asleep, and it still felt real after I was awake.

The brain is an incredible organ, Rock. But our memory tends to be hit and miss at best. Some things will stick while others seem to slip away with age. And our recall of events and details of events can be sketchy. Ask 50 people watching the same event and you will get 50 different stories. Ask them again 50 years later and you will get an embellished story or they will have forgotten it altogether.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:46 am

.


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:22 am

Another four underused words for you all:-
'I may be wrong'
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:12 am

Shirina wrote:
The above is true, not fiction. You may believe me or not. It makes little difference to me. This and other experiences lead me to believe in things we don't understand - nothing to do with religion.

As the noted physicist Brian Greene once said, "The supernatural is merely science we haven't discovered yet."

How true.

We've done this for thousands of years - attributed that which we did not know to mysterious supernatural or divine forces. Of course, eventually, we discovered the real reason, the scientific reason.

We're only just now doing serious investigations into how the brain works. We already know from testing that identical twins often share an uncanny connection with each other, and I believe any two people can develop that connection. I can't explain what that "connection" is scientifically, but I'm sure there IS a scientific explanation.


Just as I am sure there is one for your experiences, Trevor. We should learn from history and not make the mistake our ancestors continuously made: Thinking that all unexplained things are beyond our ken. Sooner or later, we'll get to the bottom of it.



So am I. But at the moment they are 'super' natural - above that which we understand at the moment. I have no doubt there are many things that are impossible to science, even to human mental and physical experience, at the moment which will open out in the millenia to come.
My point is, and always has been, that there are indeed many 'charlatans' and 'tricksters', but there are people who have experiences which can't be explained, at least yet. They are not supernatural beings, just normal people who have 'gifts', for a want of a better word.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by tlttf on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:16 am

"Beware of Geeks bearing gifts" Trevor. Smile

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:51 am

tlttf wrote:"Beware of Geeks bearing gifts" Trevor. Smile

I thought they were too hard up to give anything at the moment. Oooh That's the Greeks Wink

Must admit I've never been to a seance, medium or any such thing, but think I know enough to distinguish between those who are 'charlatans' etc. and those who do have some 'gift'. Usually by 'results'.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:28 pm

There is nothing wrong whatsoever with believing in reality, just so long as you have the ability to recognise it.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:59 pm

The brain is an incredible organ, Rock. But our memory tends to be hit and miss at best.

This reminds me of a phone conversation I had recently with one of my best friends from high school. While reminiscing about "old times," he started recounting a certain event as if he had been there. In reality, he never was. He only knew about those events because I showed him a home video that some friends of mine made - friends that lived in a completely different town 40 miles away. My high school friend didn't even know my out-of-town friends. Yet he kept talking about those events as if he had participated in them. Somehow a home video he saw actually became a part of his memory - not a memory of watching the video, but he remembered the video as if those events were a part of his life.

Someone just yesterday started talking about the up and coming technology to actually record our dreams and watch them in high definition and full color. I said "nuh uh, not for me." I thought of my friend from high school and said, "If we start watching videos of our dreams, we could quickly find ourselves unable to distinguish between dreams and reality. Within a few years, videos of dreams could become part of our memory in the sense that we start believing that a dream was reality." And why not? It happened to my high school friend so why not the rest of us?

It just goes to show you how our brain can be easily fooled.

There was also an experiment done that showed how peer pressure can actually alter memory. If enough (or the right) people tell you that things didn't happen a certain way - even if they did - the brain WILL in fact overwrite the accurate memory and replace it with a fake memory. In other words, you'll remember things that never happened and not remember things that did.

As for me, I kept a very accurate journal of my adventures throughout adolescence as it was a very active and complicated time - the journal is over 800 pages long and covers 5 years, so I know exactly what happened even if my brain does not. I knew in the future that I would be unable to remember accurately which was my initial motivation for keeping such a journal. Now I'm glad I did because I speak to a lot of my old high school friends, and their memories of where we were, what we did, and when we did them - even who we did them with - are very inaccurate.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:10 pm

So am I. But at the moment they are 'super' natural - above that which we understand at the moment. I have no doubt there are many things that are impossible to science, even to human mental and physical experience, at the moment which will open out in the millenia to come.

My biggest gripe with science is how political it is. I think academia is even more political than politics if you can believe that. Take Geoff Marcy, for instance. He's the astronomer who first proposed that we could find planets around other stars. The scientific community called shinanegans on him and pretty much told Dr. Marcy that he was full of crap. Now we've found over 450 such planets and Dr. Marcy is currently at the height of his career. Science tends to be VERY slow in accepting new ideas and, in some cases, lacks vision these days. Another example involves the craters on the moon. Scientists swore up and down that the craters were caused by ancient volcanic activity and refused to believe they were from meteor impacts. That was until comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in 1993 and suddenly scientists all over the world were revising their theories.

Unfortunately, much of this refusal to accept and investigate bold new theories is mostly political. No one wants to have their doctoral thesis proven incorrect; no one wants to have their entire career invalidated by some young upstart with a new idea. There's an expression in academia: "New discoveries occur one funeral at a time." In other words, new scientists often have to wait until the "old guard" dies off before the younger generation can have their theories treated with respect.

I have no doubt that there are things out there that seem supernatural to us, but because we're now AWARE that they seem supernatural, science is reluctant to give it the time it deserves.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:04 pm

He's the astronomer who first proposed that we could find planets around other stars. The scientific community called shenanigans on him and pretty much told Dr. Marcy that he was full of crap.

Shirina,

Please provide a link for this, I feel you have taken poetic licence off planet.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:06 pm

I know you don't believe in miracles on the forum, however one happened yesterday. For many years I have kept my hair long - between shoulder blade and waist length. Yesterday I passed an empty barbers shop and in a moment of weakness I went in and had a short 'back and sides'.
Now THAT was a miracle. Wink
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:27 pm

Did you ask for an estimate first?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

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