Nathan Bond's TART Remarks

Religion: Respect? Ridicule!

Talking Religion

Have your say…

Written by Nathan Bond

December 9, 2007 at 10:17

22 Responses

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  1. Dok 1 NATHAN 0

    My word you seem intelligent Dkseblok….

    Corne

    May 23, 2008 at 16:56

  2. Hahahahahaaaaa!!! You have TRUE wit, you really do!! I enjoyed that!! (Question vs Statement of Exasperation).

    Yeah, Leo was a wonderful person indeed. He never had a motive to harm anyone. All he wanted to do was love people and be their friend and mentor. The world lost a GREAT man when he died (went Home)…down, Nathan, down Boy, down!!! hahahaha!! Just jerking your chain…

    Yeah, let’s start another one! In fact, the topic of “tolerance” seems to be a GOOD one!! Wanna open it for us, please? Shall we debate the point, in your words: “By “tolerating” believers, the religious, are we not in fact harming them?”

    Thanks for this one and the way we could debate “religion”, Nathan. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Finis…

    dokseblok

    December 12, 2007 at 13:26

  3. dokseblok

    Sound advice, that of the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia.

    I wonder… by “tolerating” believers, the religious, are we not in fact harming them? Here I go again, but have you read “Tolerance“?

    Let’s indeed start another discussion. Why don’t you email me with the topic and I’ll open a thread? (Note the question mark… This is a request, not a statement of exasperation!)

    Nathan Bond

    December 12, 2007 at 09:30

  4. Good Morning Nathan!

    Yeah, GW would certainly have loved to have had you in his camp! Unfortunately he will be leaving the camp soon…he has been ousted by those who no longer believe what he says. There is a question doing the rounds in the US at the moment: “How do you know when Bush is lying? When he opens his mouth and starts talking!”

    I am glad you respect the private rights of others in this regard. Nevertheless, one must bear in mind that “the streets” are paid for by you, I and all others. Thus, everyone has a right to them and to air their views therein. And yes, it is the right of every such tax-payer to object to anything affronting them in these streets albeit in a forum that is conducive to effective communication and solution driven.

    But history shows that, due to man’s fundamentalist and dogged determination to “change the world according to his/her value system”, conflict will arise and the sound of clashing values will be heard even in the outer realms of the universe.

    Many Nathans and Docs in the world today try to get their viewpoints across to the nations out there. It might influence someone, it might not. Many Nathans and Docs are screaming out against the various forms of religion, which are truly hurting, choking and destroying people and their existence. It might stop one person, it might not. Yet, the “truth” seems to march on with dogged determination and has become virtually unstoppable.

    You made your choice as to your method to address this, choosing to follow the “standup theology” route. Mine will always be according to the words of a wise mentor, who played a very important role in my life, the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia: “Our quest in life should be to help others; but if we cannot help them, would we at least not hurt them”.

    I think we have reached the end of our debate under this thread. Will it be OK to start another, based on one or more of your other articles?

    dokseblok

    December 12, 2007 at 08:47

  5. dokseblok

    I am all for individual liberties. Freedom of speech; freedom of the press, freedom of assembly; freedom to petition redress of grievances; freedom of religion. I’d have made a good American… Nahhh.

    So, smoke your coke if you wish. In the privacy of your own house. But bring it into the streets, where my children will be exposed to it, and I’m going to object. Pray. And worship. In your own house. And Fridays, or Saturdays, or Sundays in the “Club House”. But bring religion into the streets and I’m going to object. Because religion embrowns our world.

    Now, how to object? Call me cynical, misanthropic even, but I don’t think people generally change their minds as a result of a good, solid argument. So I’ve decided, dokseblok, that I shall ridicule religion. That’s my weapon of choice. And the only success I think I may hope to achieve is for some believer, somewhere, sometime, to remember something I have said or written and to realise, even only for a fleeting moment, that there is someone out there that think him, or her, ridiculous for believing bunk.

    But hey, I’m a selfish writer, first and foremost. I write to discover what I think.

    Nathan Bond

    December 11, 2007 at 22:01

  6. Ah…Shakespeare…my favorite!!! ABSOLUTELY!!! Couldn’t wait as a child to see The Tempest and immediately fell in love with everything resembling Shakespeare!!!

    True…you cannot prove the non-existence of any deity, Nathan. It places you in the same position as those you tend to mock and scorn…believers in a deity. They have to prove the converse.

    Nevertheless, isn’t it YOUR business what you choose to believe in or NOT believe in, as it is the business of those who choose who they wish to believe or not believe in? And the “ridiculing” of someone’s deity or, as you say “God”, is this the right thing to do and within your province to do? Or is it because you had a bad experience with someone’s deity or “God”, as you put it, and now you are gunning the shi’ite out of them?

    Don’t get me wrong here…there isn’t any hope of anyone finding some of the “righteous religious”, “frozen chosen”, “name it and claim it” or “snarf it or barf it” believers near me or mine!!! Fundamentalism just goes against my grain and I do not give a quarter to anyone that likes to ride on the back of “famous” preachers, writers, controllers or manipulators, quoting so extensively, in the hope of trying to appear “learned”, “well-versed”, “eloquent” or “important”!!! That is SO fake and the world is FULL of them with their fancy hairstyles (the Hinn-do comes to mind…), flashy cars and million dollar houses and ranches, all paid for by their followers!!! In my view, it is people like them that gives their own “religion” a bad name!!! This is my life and I am NOT going to be manipulated, cajoled, controlled or fear-factored into believing that which I don’t want to!!!

    But….I don’t see why I should ridicule them, as it would drag me down to their level.

    Yeah, I find your writings fascinating, to say the least, and I do find some novelty in your work. I would love for us to explore them more, if OK with you?

    BRAVO, Nathan!!! You hit the nail on the head!! “Stand-up theology”, indeed!!! Excellent!!!

    dokseblok

    December 11, 2007 at 19:48

  7. dokseblok

    Literary rules… who knows what the author meant?

    You quote me: “God, Allah, Jehovah, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva simply do not exist.” And then you say: “Many ask us to prove that they exist. Can you prove that any of them DON’T exist?”

    Of course I can not prove that they don’t exist. I can also not prove that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld does not exist. (A slightly convex disc, complete with edge-of-the-world drop-off and consequent waterfall, resting on the backs of four huge elephants which are in turn standing on the back of an enormous turtle, named Great A’Tui.)

    You want to “believe” in “God”, you prove its existence! Present me with evidence for the existence of “God” and I’ll start worshipping it expeditiously. Until then, ridicule is all “God” will get from me.

    About my extensive quoting… I read widely and I am carefull not to present the words and thoughts of others as my own. You do label some of my statements “colorful” (American, are you?) and “fascinating” and so I deduce, blithely too, that you find some novelty in my work.

    Most of my stand-up theology (mocking dogma) is pretty original, I guess. Essays on the Resurrection, the Ascension, Baptism, the Trinity, Free Choice and the like. I admit that it is mostly difficult for me to come up with serious comment on something as foolish as religion. God centered, of course. The only kind.

    Nathan Bond

    December 11, 2007 at 18:05

  8. Nathan, would you be so kind as to delete one of the duplicate posts. We had a power failure and it seems that it went through twice when I sent it.

    I have been reading through some of your articles. As I said before, fascinating stuff!!!

    Nevertheless, it seems to contain quite a lot of “cut and paste”, as it is commonly known today, from other’s works. I am au fait, as I said before, with many of the works you seem to constantly quote and I have studied them in detail. I seem to find very little of your PERSONAL viewpoints in your articles.

    Nothing wrong, if the purpose of the article is to be informative only, yet my idea of a debate on some or other topic is to glean an author’s PERSONAL viewpoint, sans CONSTANT reflection upon or quoting of another’s works. They are not here to join the debate and to debate on another’s points of view, which are being “piggy-backed”, would be defending THEIR theories/viewpoints, instead of one’s own, not so? My interest here is to debate YOUR points of view, how YOU see it, how YOU experience(d) it and what research YOU have done to substantiate YOUR claims, not somebody else’s. Is this possible?

    dokseblok

    December 11, 2007 at 14:18

  9. Good Morning Nathan!

    I’m not going to go into literary rules regarding statements and/or questions. But, can we agree that if it has a question mark behind it, I will respond and please, fell free to reciprocate.

    Read your posting of December 10, 2007 at 2:17 pm again, Nathan and take note of the words “I am perfectly willing to concede”. Nevertheless, I don’t see the purpose of this debate to be a “you said, I said” exercise. That would be “cat-fighting” in action and would defeat the purpose of our being here. Let’s move on…

    ENCORE on your quote from Russell!!! Are you aware that there are many movements, who have a deity as basis, who would share this sentiment, holding that “God put us here; He gave us all the tools to stand on our own two feet and it is up to us whether we want to grow it or destroy it; we don’t need His help to do either; it is up to us. We were created intelligent enough to “run this earth””.

    As to your Statement: “God, Allah, Jehovah, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva simply do not exist.” Many ask us to prove that they exist. Can you prove that any of them DON’T exist?

    dokseblok

    December 11, 2007 at 12:40

  10. Dokseblog

    “Darwinism a religion? Doc?”, in my post of December 10, 2007 at 2:17 pm above, is not a question. It is a statement indicating that I disagree that “Darwinism is a religion”. It is an expression of exasperation.

    You claim that “we have now established that ‘religion’ does not always involve a deity”. We did not establish that “religion” does not always involve a deity. That is your position; I have clearly stated that “I do not regard ‘godless religions’ as religions at all”. (Ibid.)

    “God” is the problem, though. People may well leave organised religion as you say, but unless they abandon the ridiculous notion of “God” they will remain prisoner of fear and terror.

    Here’s another Russell gem: “We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world – its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.”

    Nathan Bond

    December 11, 2007 at 07:34

  11. I think you are missing the crux here, Nathan. YOU opened the “evolution” way by asking ME whether “Darwinism is a religion” and I responded in kind. But, if ever you wish to discuss “evolution”, I would be more than happy to do so. For now, I hear your views on this subject…

    Let’s get back to the reason I approached you, in the first place, to debate…

    The debate is concerning your writings and I am trying to form a basis here concerning certain terms used by you, such as the term “religion”, which we have agreed upon now. Let’s stick to this, shall we? But, with the full understanding that, if you again make statements or ask questions, outside the purpose of our debate, I will again call a halt and firstly give my views, even if it falls outside the topic of this debate. Agreed?

    A short reminder…as we have now established that “religion” does not always involve a deity, don’t you think it would be to your and your reader’s benefit, for you as the writer of these articles, citing the word “religion” and using it extensively, to somehow alert your readers to the fact that in it’s use you mean it to refer to “religion with the emphasis on a deity”, which is what we have now agreed on, not so?

    Thus, your very colorful statement: “Spawned of the noisome agglomeration of ignorance, mental faineance and irrational fear; forged in the smithy of certitude; honed in the atelier of fellowship and sold in the thrift shop of two penny bargains – religion is a crucible for calamity”, in THAT sense, would carry weight, especially in view of the fact that such “religion” is, in today’s world, based primarily and mainly, upon FEAR.

    In this, it has largely become “terror of the unknown”, “fear of the mysterious”, “fear of defeat” and “fear of death”. In this vein, Betrand Russel said: “Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.”

    As a result of what is currently happening in the world, regarding deity-based religions, I have seen many Christians and Muslims even agreeing that this is the case! Many such devotees have even left their “churches” as a result, because they didn’t like the “terror” and “fear” associated by and propogated under it, yet they didn’t relinquish their belief in a deity.

    Would you like to comment on this?

    dokseblok

    December 11, 2007 at 00:51

  12. Aaaaaaaargh!

    Not another evolution “debate”, dokseblok! Please! I sincerely hope you did not lead me down a path to another evolution “debate”!

    Way back in December 1994, Richard Dawkins said in an interview published in The Nullifidian: “To get some idea of what it is like being a professional student of evolution, asked to have a serious debate with creationists, the following comparison is a fair one. Imagine yourself a classical scholar who has spent a lifetime studying Roman history in all its rich detail. Now somebody comes along, with a degree in marine engineering or mediaeval musicology, and tries to argue that the Romans never existed. Wouldn’t you find it hard to suppress your impatience? And mightn’t it look a bit like arrogance?”

    Yet, here’s a few thoughts:

    What do I understand by “Evolution”? It is the best explanation of the evidence for the development of species.

    What do I understand by “Belief”? It is that of which one is convinced because one is too lazy, to scared or to dumb to attempt to understand the evidence.

    And here’s what I understand by “Evidence”: All the means by which any alleged matter of fact whose truth is investigated by scientific process is established or disproved.

    Naturalistic evolution and Deistic evolution.
    Well, bring me evidence of a deity and we can talk. Until then proponents can believe all they want, dokseblok; there is no evidence and therefore no reason to consider it. Only “belief” needed, and I have none.

    Abiogenesis.
    Arguments about the improbability of abiogenesis are based on erroneous assumptions that chemical reactions are random and that large complex molecules formed at the outset. The facts are that in virtually all chemical reactions certain elements or compounds have a propensity to react with other specific elements or compounds and that abiogenesis does not demand the first biologically important molecules to have been complex polymers. No “belief” needed.

    Cosmology.
    To wonder whether the Big Bang occurred is to wonder whether the sun will rise tomorrow! Big Bang cosmology can be subjected to accurate observation and testing. Jim Sweitzer (Astronomy, December 2002, pp. 34-39) summarises as follows the evidence supporting the big bang: (1) the darkness of the night sky, (2) the expansion of the universe, (3) the existence of cosmic microwave background radiation, (4) the relative abundances of light elements, (5) the rate of evolution of stars and galaxies. No “belief” needed.

    But, dokseblok, I will not be drawn into a debate on certainty. I will not debate evolution with you or with anyone else. Been there. Thrown away the T-shirt.

    I’d be happy, though, to talk about just about anything else!

    Nathan Bond

    December 10, 2007 at 22:26

  13. I see you quote Dawkins extensively, Nathan. I am au fait with Dawkins and have studied his works. I would appreciate your own views in your own words and not just a copy of what he said. Oh and I love reading what you have written in all your articles! Most interesting! That’s why I asked for us to have a debate.

    It is my view that evolution is a religion in every sense of the word. It is a world view, a philosophy of life and meaning and an attempt to explain the origin and development of everything from the elements to galaxies to people, which is also what any of the modern-day creationist religions are attempting to.

    You say “there’s nothing about evolution that requires “belief”. I beg to differ..

    What about “Naturalistic evolution”, which is “a BELIEF in the development of the species from the first living cell to the present diversity of plant and animal species, where it is held to have proceeded in response to natural processes, without intervention from God or other deities.”?

    What about “Abiogenesis”, which is “the study of the development of the first living cell from non-living matter” and is coupled to the “evolution theory”?

    What about “Cosmology”, which is the study of the development of the universe, which includes the “big bang” concept of the first few seconds of the universe’s existence, which is also coupled to the “evolution theory”?

    And then what about one I am certain you are going to hate with a passion, as it involves a deity…”Deistic evolution”, which is the BELIEF that God created the universe, perhaps using the “big bang” about 15,000 million years ago as his method. In this, it is believed that he set up basic laws to govern the running of the universe, and then left the scene entirely and hasn’t been seen since. The earth then coalesced about 4 or 5 thousand million years ago without any input from God. Later, elementary life forms formed, which evolved into the animals and plant life that we see today through purely natural forces.

    Maybe I need to get on the same page as you in what the words “evolution” and “belief” mean to you. Which view do you hold, concerning the words “evolution” and “belief” you are using in your statements and in which context are you using them?

    As to, according to you, science and religion not communicating, can we first get on the same page here, regarding “evolution” and “belief”, and then tackle that one?

    dokseblok

    December 10, 2007 at 18:24

  14. Dokseblok

    Thank you for the kind words of support and endorsement.

    I do not think, not even for a moment, that science and religion communicate. Science and religion are diametrically opposed. I refer you to Science and religion and The things we do know, as if you have not yet spent enough time reading me.

    I speak of evolution as a fact, without fear of contradiction. There’s nothing about evolution that requires “belief”.

    Even if the evidence did not favour evolution and evolution was reduced to a mere hypothesis, cumulative natural selection would remain the best possible explanation for the existence of life as it is today.[1] The leading American paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould buried this misleading argument, about evolution being a mere theory, safely: “Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data,” Gould wrote in his essay, “Evolution as fact and theory”. “Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.”

    This remains my current position: Despite the fact that nothing in the universe is absolutely certain and that science dictates that nothing will ever be known with absolute certainty, one can attest with impunity that evolution is a proven and fundamental natural process underlining the primal relationship of all life. DNA and genetics are critical to this process and through mechanisms such as natural selection, it leads, over millions of years, mostly to the development of increasingly complex organisms. Evolution is supported by empirical results from a panoply of scientific disciplines – comparative anatomy, palaeontology, embryology, histology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, micro biology and geology. One can indeed speak of evolution as a fact, without fear of contradiction.[2]

    [1] Cf. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Longman Scientific & Technical, London, 1986, p317.
    [2] Cf. Jurie van den Heever, Talle bewyse van evolusie, Die Burger, August 2, 2004.

    Nathan Bond

    December 10, 2007 at 17:33

  15. Whilst you are dissecting what I said on Darwinism, allow me to continue with your article “It’s religion, stupid!”, based upon your understanding of religion i.e. “religion with a deity present, by whatever name called”.

    Your statement: “We squinch at the balagan whelped of partisan eisegesis while religious katzenjammer continues to embrown our world. It must end.”, deserves two words…BRAVO!!! ENCORE!!!!

    I would go so far as to say that the “religious katzenjammer” you speak of and that we find prominent today, is a DIRECT result of an OVERWHELMING eisegesis (distortion of the truth to fit preconceived ideas). In fact, in my view, this is the MAJOR factor that is causing Christianity to have become a downright balagan (chaos)!

    dokseblok

    December 10, 2007 at 17:03

  16. Ahhh…I knew you would ask that, Nathan! OK, let me explain what I mean…I was talking of Drawinism as it is today, not as it was intended by Darwin himself…

    Darwin himself never meant for his theories to become a religion. He saw them purely as scientific theories. When Darwin proposed his theories, he left room for the possibility that he could have made a mistake. In his book “The Origin of Species”, he often began his expositions with the words, “If my theory be true.”

    Today you would find some who see evolution as the ONLY “objective truth”, calling upon others and other “religions” to submit to their understanding (this rings a very familiar bell, doesn’t it?). This, in itself, makes it a “religion”, although, according to Darwin, it was never meant to be as such.

    Marjorie Grene, a prominent historian, said: “It is as a religion of science that Darwinism chiefly held, and holds, men’s minds. The modified, but still characteristically Darwinian theory has itself become an orthodoxy preached by its adherents with religious fervor, and doubted, they feel, only by a few muddlers imperfect in scientific faith.”

    How do you see it, Nathan?

    dokseblok

    December 10, 2007 at 15:59

  17. Yes, the term “religion” used by me in my writings, refers to “religion with a deity present, by whatever name called”!

    I do not regard “godless religions” as religions at all. I am perfectly willing to concede that many ideologies – Stalinism, Nazism, Apartheid… were managed as religions, but I elect to oppose the “Gods” and their noxious influence on humans.

    Darwinism a religion? Doc?

    Nathan Bond

    December 10, 2007 at 14:17

  18. Thank you for that, Nathan,

    I am trying to see where my question was answered, which was based on your statement that “religion needs a god”, in order to form a basis here as to “what religion really is and whether religion must always have a deity as its focal point”. As soon as we reach a basis as to what we are talking about when we use the term “religion”, as used by you in your writings, I would love to explore what you said in your post.

    My reason for asking the question was to establish a correlation between what you write and the real situation i.e. that there are many “religions” without a deity as focal point, such as Taoism, Buddhism, Sufism, Scientology, Darwinism, Libertarianism, to name but a few. There are many more.

    Shall we, for now, agree, in view of the above, that the term “religion” used by you in your writings, refers to “religion with a deity present, by whatever name called”?

    dokseblok

    December 10, 2007 at 14:01

  19. Yes, “God” to me is that thing which is worshiped by the gullible.

    “God” exists only in the minds of its followers. It is this “God” which is the rotten thing in Denmark. I object to any activity that is borne of this “God”. The other – and we agree, methinks, that there are many other motivations for doing bad and mean and non-salutary things, fall outside my scope.

    I stress that even “good” things borne of “God” is objectionable, because it entrenches this chimera in the minds of people – why do “good” things in the name of some non-existent being when there are so many plain ordinary good reasons to do good things in any event?

    Nathan Bond

    December 10, 2007 at 12:37

  20. Thank you, Nathan. I will most certainly study it. I have been to a few of Bert’s lectures before and found his views to be fascinating.

    I don’t know if you ever read any of the works of Donald Hamilton? He says: “Religions are simply the outgrowth of ancient myths and dogmas handed down from generation to generation and formalized into faiths, rituals and traditions.”

    Premshankar Kamble again says: “Religion is nothing but a code of conduct — social norms and norms related to hygiene. Due to historic reasons, it was linked to the concept of God.”

    Let me ask this question: “By referring to “god” in your statement, are you referring to that “god” being a deity, to be worshiped and from whom it is held “all flows”?

    dokseblok

    December 9, 2007 at 19:14

  21. Doc

    If you can read Afrikaans, you’ll find, I think, Bert Olivier’s Wanneer die tyd uit lit is: Aktivisme of apatie? right up your alley. (Bert Olivier is professor of philosophy at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.)

    For me, I think that religion needs a god. It is the very presence of this “god” that makes religion so noxious. Without “god” one may still be able to argue with “believers”, with followers. But when believers dance to the tune of “god”…

    Nathan Bond

    December 9, 2007 at 17:34

  22. Ah…Freud, dear Freud…what shall we do without his 1918 treatise…

    Nevertheless, in still trying to get on the same page as you and having read what you wrote, would you agree that “religion” is not only, as you mention, “the act of fixing one’s purpose and one’s direction to behavior and one’s Weltanschauung on the existence of a god”, but more “the act of fixing one’s purpose, direction, behavior and Weltanschauung on the existence of a deity AND/OR the practice of ancestral/cultural traditions, rituals, writings, history, mythology, experiences, or anything else, whether seen or unseen, perceived or not perceived, that could result in either communal or personal faith or belief, which finds its utterance in practices relevant to such communal or personal faith or belief, which could influence such a person or community’s behavior, values, ethics, etc. i.e. “way of life”?

    What I am trying to say is that the presence of a god or deity is not the ONLY “influence” necessary to constitute “religion”, but that “religion” encompasses much more.

    Thank you for your views on Christianity. I would love to hear your views on the remaining, what is loosely termed in the world today as “religions” or “belief systems”.

    dokseblok

    December 9, 2007 at 15:14


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