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Domarius

Ghosts

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Often people also talk about what feels like a body or force holding them down onto their beds; which seems to have been a common theme surrounding demons.

 

That's just Old Hag syndrome. That happens to a lot of people, religious fanatics or not. It's because your brain makes you immobile when you sleep, but some people 'wake' from their sleep without losing this immobility. In this half awake dream state they can use all their senses but can't move, and often see weird creatures or witches around them. Sleep paralysis also explains most alien abductions.

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That's just Old Hag syndrome. That happens to a lot of people, religious fanatics or not. It's because your brain makes you immobile when you sleep, but some people 'wake' from their sleep without losing this immobility. In this half awake dream state they can use all their senses but can't move, and often see weird creatures or witches around them. Sleep paralysis also explains most alien abductions.

 

 

I thought Old Hag syndrome was when you wake up next to some hag whose name you can't remember...

 

Im glad you brought this up macsen cause it supports my point from earlier, strange shit does definitely happen but that doesnt mean that there are otherwordly/supernatural forces at work. Simply because one sees an event that beggers explanation does not mean we have to revert to square one, i.e. There +must+ be something out there cause look at this! or Well, I saw a shadowy figure in my room for a second, therefore any criticisms of a belief in supernatural powers must be considered nullified.

 

Even if an event were utterly unexplainable, it is not an argument against a materialist worldview. You need bales of evidence, years, centuries of it. This is what materialism, the belief that the physical world is THE world without recourse to supernatural powers or whatever, has on its side. Im sorry domarious if this conversation has degenerated into an argument of science v. religion but this is where these paths lead every time.

 

Hell, even if I saw a ghost, a real transparent boogeyman moaning and groaning along a lonely road at midnight, I would not abandon my materialist beliefs. I would have to alter them to a great degree, Ill admit, but I would bet that somehow, someway, that ghost would fit into the world in a way that did not throw open the doors to superstition.

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Hell, even if I saw a ghost, a real transparent boogeyman moaning and groaning along a lonely road at midnight, I would not abandon my materialist beliefs. I would have to alter them to a great degree, Ill admit, but I would bet that somehow, someway, that ghost would fit into the world in a way that did not throw open the doors to superstition.

 

Well, if the supernatural was proven it would cease to be supernatural and become... er... natural.

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I thought Old Hag syndrome was when you wake up next to some hag whose name you can't remember...

 

Wouldn't this be the Hangover Syndrome? :)

 

Even if an event were utterly unexplainable, it is not an argument against a materialist worldview.

 

If we are pedantic we could say that an event that is not explainable, it can't be explained by it's nature, otherwise it would be explainable. But if en event is unexplainable, then how do you talk to somebody else about it, because you need a basic form of explanation to tell somebody about it.

 

You need bales of evidence, years, centuries of it. This is what materialism, the belief that the physical world is THE world without recourse to supernatural powers or whatever, has on its side. Im sorry domarious if this conversation has degenerated into an argument of science v. religion but this is where these paths lead every time.

 

Personally I think that everything is materialistic if it manages to interact in some way with use. Since we are materialistic creatures, something that interacts with us also has to be materialistic. That doesn't rule out "supernatural" beings though. Consider this scenario:

We are living inside a gigantic computer and we are the characters in a game. The programmer could modify all our memory so that we can see things that other don't or remember things that never happened. But even than there is this form of interaction with us, because the programmer also would have to access his machine to modify the memory and behaviour. Even though this modification may not be noticable by us.


Gerhard

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sparhawk:

"Wouldn't this be the Hangover Syndrome? :)

If we are pedantic we could say that an event that is not explainable, it can't be explained by it's nature, otherwise it would be explainable. But if en event is unexplainable, then how do you talk to somebody else about it, because you need a basic form of explanation to tell somebody about it."

 

Who are you calling a pedophile?!?

 

Seriously, thats correct but I was not referring to literally explaining what someone saw but rather trying to explain what gave rise to what someone saw. I can explain that I saw a headless man in the window of an old house, but I cannot explain what the hell was standing in the window. My point was that even in the event of seeing such a thing, a headless man in a window is truly hard to explain, I would not then logically be forced to rule out a materialist cause. I would not be forced to allow non-materialistic causes to my list of possibilities. So when someone says "hey science cant explain everything!" this is undoubtably true but is still no cause to abandon a scientific outlook.

 

sparhawk:

"Personally I think that everything is materialistic if it manages to interact in some way with use. Since we are materialistic creatures, something that interacts with us also has to be materialistic. That doesn't rule out "supernatural" beings though. Consider this scenario:

We are living inside a gigantic computer and we are the characters in a game. The programmer could modify all our memory so that we can see things that other don't or remember things that never happened. But even than there is this form of interaction with us, because the programmer also would have to access his machine to modify the memory and behaviour. Even though this modification may not be noticable by us."

 

Ahh, my very next point. There really is no such thing as the "supernatural." (supra-above, natura-existence, the world, nature) If one is experiencing an event , then it is taking place in the world, as you are a part of the world and you are seeing it. In fact, by definition no one has EVER experienced a supernatural event, as anyone who has seen anything has seen something taking place IN the world. And if it were the case, as you describe, where a computer programmer is manipulating our minds, then we would simply be unaware of that component of the material world, we would be living in an illusory version of the material world. Just because the characters in the game are misperceiving the world doesnt mean that what they are not seeing is outside of or not a part of the world, its just not a part of their perceptions of the world.

 

This is related to the notion of universes and multiverses. The term multiverse is incoherent, IMHO, because if there is some relation between multiple universes then they form a whole unit of some kind. What we called the universe is actually only a corner of what really seems to be the universe. If this were not the case, if there were NO connections between the units called universes, we would have no way, absolutely none, of knowing of the existence of those other universes.

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Just because the characters in the game are misperceiving the world doesnt mean that what they are not seeing is outside of or not a part of the world, its just not a part of their perceptions of the world.

 

That's exactly my point. :) Of course this kind of excuse is also used by esoterics to explain everything, because it provides a save haven. They can always see, "Yeah, maybe it's outside of our own universe and we only get glimpses of it every now and then." thus removing the need of explaining anything at all. Incidently this is the same as invoking god. :)


Gerhard

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That's exactly my point. :) Of course this kind of excuse is also used by esoterics to explain everything, because it provides a save haven. They can always see, "Yeah, maybe it's outside of our own universe and we only get glimpses of it every now and then." thus removing the need of explaining anything at all. Incidently this is the same as invoking god. :)

 

I call God, or any such explanation, the ultimate "X" or variable because it can do anything, be anywhere, and fulfill any requirement that the person invoking it needs it to. Its the wild card that can be tossed on the table whenever a real question presents itself. I used to teach elementary science at the Franklin Institute, one of my presentations was the Science of Flight. I cannot tell you how many times when I asked the question "Who invented the worlds first flying machine?" (Da Vinci) the response would be.....you guessed it....GOD!

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How old were your students? I knew the US education system was bad (especially in Kansas), but by crikey, that is getting silly.

 

God is something people make up to put the universe into a human scale and context, and to make things seem purposeful.

 

The "afterlife" is something people dream about because that cannot (or do not want to) comprehend that they are finite, mortal and ephemeral.

 

Personally, I find the idea of eternal life truly horrifying, and most typical depictions of heaven are places I would find quite unpleasant (though strangely, I find the typical depiction of Hell somewhat agreeable). I wouldn't mind reincarnation, provided I had absolutely no memory of my previous life, and I wouldn't mind living for a bit longer than the average human lifespan or uploading my mind into a robotic shell if I can find something to kep me occupied, but at some point I will just want everything to end.

 

But imagining that you will persist in some form is just that - imagination. There is no reason to think that in a finite universe (for all intents and purposes), on a mortal planet orbiting a mortal star, that you would be any less ephemeral. A human life is not even a faint ripple in the ocean of existence, and that is probably the reason people are attracted to religions - they make people think they are a giant wave in that vast ocean, rather than an infintesimal, temporary drop.

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...they were all completely insane, which is what drove me Catholic...

:blink:

You actively chose Catholicism? One of the strangest cults on the planet. Originally based on a Monotheistic Jewish sect, it rapidly incorporated the traditions and deities of the older religions it displaced, until it is where it is now: A polytheistic religion (that is only rivaled by Hinduism for sheer number of deities and divine characters - for all intents and purposes, the Trinity, the ridiculous number of Saints, the plethora of Angels, Devils, Demons and other characters make Catholicism one of the most polytheistic religions around) with a suite of arcane traditions and practises that are regarded as sinful witchcraft in most of the Old Testament, and were outright condemned by Jesus. Most Catholic depictions of God are essentially just pictures of the Ancient Greek deity Zeus, with Zeus crossed out and replaced with God. Interestingly, Catholics choose to disobey most of the Ten Commandments, for example "thou shalt not make graven images" (ie, don't make artistic representations of things, like cricifixes with Jesus on them). For a religion that is so obviously fictional (almost none of it has anything to do with the Bible, which itself is largely fictional), it is surprising how many people are willing to delude themsleves that it is anything other than fantasy. I don't think I have ever encountered a Catholic who has ever opened a bible, much less read it (which is typical of most Christians - they know at most only the few passages that they like, and ignore the rest). So I can't see how Catholicism could be regarded as any more sane than any other cult..

 

and as for collecting wealth, take a look at how much loot is hoarded away in the Vatican, and ask yourself, "what was that Jesus said about giving to the poor and steering clear of organised religion?" While I am of the view that Jesus was a largely mythical character based loosely on a politically active Jewish dissident with a penchent for performing illusions and tricks, some very sensible ideas have been attributed to him, yet strangely, most Christians, who claim to base their lives on his teachings, ingore almost all of them.

 

Seriously, while I don't mean to offend, by the same token I cannot take people's religious beliefs seriously, and I have no qualms about demolishing any concept promulgated in the name of faith.

 

Of all the religions, I find Bhuddism the perhaps the least offensive, since it does not presume the existence of any kind of deity (it is an atheistic religion), and recognises the temporary, irrelevant nature of human existence. A happy intersection of the principles of Science, Bhuddism and Hedonism without any mystical or spritual bullshit is what I would suggest anyone seeking some kind of method for organising their life around, if they absolutely insist of having some kind of coherent philosophy. For me though, life is to rich and involving to waste time with some form of organised philosophy. Actually, Satanism has a pretty simple yet effective rule for living: do whatever you want as long as you avoid harming others. I'm not a Satanist, but that pretty much sums it up for me (of course putting that into practise can be a lot more complicated).

 

 

If any Australians are here, particularly the ones in Sydney; you might remember a show on SBS, John Saffran VS. God.

 

 

Aussie here... I thought the one where he tried to join the Ku Klux Klan (John Saffran is half-Jewish) was absolutely hilarious...

 

I pissed myself when he suggested that as he had blonder hair and bluer eyes than Hitler, he was well suited for the KKK. :laugh:

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o:How old were your students? I knew the US education system was bad (especially in Kansas), but by crikey, that is getting silly.

 

The shows were for ages K through 8 when I was performing on the road but in house shows had families. That was a worse-case example, the average audience member might know a handful of science facts but little more. Its not something thats a part of their everyday lives, at least as far as they know.

 

There is a real effort here by conservative religious organizations to attempt to drive out the materialist view ( in the form of evolutionary theory) from the classroom. Not only in Kansas but here in Pennsylvania and in a few other places. My professor wrote an open letter to the Dover school board here about their desire to include some "intelligent design" crap in their biology. You should see these animals on TV, attempting to sound as if they had a splinter of a clue whats going on, in the end they all fall back on....you guessed it.....GOD! In a saner place, this would be a laugh, but here 53% of adults believe that "both sides of the debate should be heard" and 2/3 of Americans believe Bog plays a +direct+ role in shaping their lives.

 

A memory from my undergraduate school days, kind of sums it all up. I was at a fair, the local high school students had a row of projects running down the length of one hallway. The projects were all about biotechnology, how we will have fifteen pound apples and broccoli that can walk and all these other wonders. Above this row of projects was a line of flags running the length of the hallway as well. The flags were also made by the children, they had such slogans as "Angels watching over me" and "WWJD?" What the fuck kind of booby-hatch is this? I remember thinking.

 

 

 

o:God is something people make up to put the universe into a human scale and context, and to make things seem purposeful.

 

Agreed. This sentiment needs to die.

 

o:The "afterlife" is something people dream about because that cannot (or do not want to) comprehend that they are finite, mortal and ephemeral.

 

Hannah Arendt, the radical political writer, had a book about the role that mortality plays in forming political beliefs and such, I cannot remember what.

 

o:Personally, I find the idea of eternal life truly horrifying, and most typical depictions of heaven are places I would find quite unpleasant (though strangely, I find the typical depiction of Hell somewhat agreeable). I wouldn't mind reincarnation, provided I had absolutely no memory of my previous life, and I wouldn't mind living for a bit longer than the average human lifespan or uploading my mind into a robotic shell if I can find something to kep me occupied, but at some point I will just want everything to end.

 

Me too. I wouldnt mind extending my life to a degree but no way forever or even really really long. Life is too painful if you are conscious at all.

 

o:But imagining that you will persist in some form is just that - imagination. There is no reason to think that in a finite universe (for all intents and purposes), on a mortal planet orbiting a mortal star, that you would be any less ephemeral. A human life is not even a faint ripple in the ocean of existence, and that is probably the reason people are attracted to religions - they make people think they are a giant wave in that vast ocean, rather than an infintesimal, temporary drop.

 

But what an interesting drop they are! Its a shame so many of them spend their lives mired in fantastic illusions of cause and effect when real mystery, real wonder, waits at their very fingertips.

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Me too. I wouldnt mind extending my life to a degree but no way forever or even really really long. Life is too painful if you are conscious at all.

 

As a biologist, my preference would be (should the technology become available within the next 30 years or so) to freeze myself down into a deep hibernation for a few million years, wake up, spend a few years studying the way life forms have evolved, go back into hibernation for another ten million years or so, wake up spend a few years studying life, repeat this process until my natural waking lifespan is spent and then die. Preferably by being eaten by some exotic wonder of evolution. I'm nearly 30 now, and I have days when I really couldn't be bothered any more, and I expect when (if) I get to my seventies I will have had enough... I suspect my habit of riding fast motorcycles might bring about my end a little sooner than the predicted median maximum life span of 85, but I'd rather go at 250kph head first into a truck than slowly waste away in a bed in an old folks home. A quick but exciting death seems much more desirable than a slow boring one... ;)

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Personally, I find the idea of eternal life truly horrifying, and most typical depictions of heaven are places I would find quite unpleasant (though strangely, I find the typical depiction of Hell somewhat agreeable). I wouldn't mind reincarnation, provided I had absolutely no memory of my previous life, and I wouldn't mind living for a bit longer than the average human lifespan or uploading my mind into a robotic shell if I can find something to kep me occupied, but at some point I will just want everything to end.

 

I agree entirely. The best part of life in my view is the knowledge that it won't last forever.

 

As for reincarnation, if it is assumed that you will have no memory of your previous life (which it generally is - even those who believe in reincarnation don't generally remember what happened the last time around), then there is no distinction whatsoever between reincarnation and death.

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whoa lol. this thread is going waaaaaaay off topic. Well, its in the off topic forum. *gets pop corn* start arguing dammit : P

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I agree entirely. The best part of life in my view is the knowledge that it won't last forever.

 

As for reincarnation, if it is assumed that you will have no memory of your previous life (which it generally is - even those who believe in reincarnation don't generally remember what happened the last time around), then there is no distinction whatsoever between reincarnation and death.

 

 

It is always funny when you get those people supposedly going under hypnosis and "remembering" their past life as Cleopatra or Archimedes or some other character who lived in Atlantis and knows where all the loot is hidden in the pyramids... I was thinking more along the lines of the New Age notion of reincarnation, where those loonies convince themselves that they can remember all kinds of past lives, as opposed to the Hindu and Bhuddist notions that all memory and personal form and identity is essentially lost on death.

 

And yeah, since all you are really is a bunch of memories linked by a stream of concsiousness, when that is broken, you would cease to exist in any menaingful sense. Like people who have severe and permanent amnesia - they can become an entirely different person, essentially being a blank slate for environmental influences to work on.

 

 

 

@Dram, well I tried to provoke a confessed Catholic into defending his choice of delusion, but he hasn't bitten yet... ;)

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Well the reason i turned Catholic was whilst the church may have done alot of bad things for much of its life; at this point in time Catholics bother me far less than Christians do (If that makes any sense?) and whilst the Catholic Church is incredibly wealthy they don't (or they haven't as yet to me) demanded any of my hard earned cash.

 

That havign been said I don't go to church very often and have studied the bible relatively intensely (at least in comparison to thers at my school) which is probably why I was so annoyed at school because I thought I knew more than the teachers there did. Besides which the Catholic mantra (or at least the late Pope's) these days seems to be "Peace" which I think is probably a good idea for a religious institution; and is alot more sensible than what some of the gigantic American Christian churches seem to be preaching.

 

Whilst any religion in any form is debatable as to its authenticity; the power of belief is something very powerful indeed. Who knows, perhaps we do create gods for ourselves if we believe hard enough. As it is none of us can know what anyone else's reality is really like; there is just no way for us to truly comprehend each other. Maybe some people do see ghosts, in some quirky Matrix-like way; all our senses are controlled by our brain, if their brain thinks it sees a ghost then maybe they do. Maybe they can see, hear or feel demons or god because thats what their brain is telling them?

 

The KKK scene in John Vs. God was hilarious; i also loved the bit where he went to India to find a guru, and found some guy who could teach him the meaning of life btu he had to ask the right question; he kept getting caught up in the semantics :laugh:

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Well the reason i turned Catholic was whilst the church may have done alot of bad things for much of its life; at this point in time Catholics bother me far less than Christians do (If that makes any sense?) and whilst the Catholic Church is incredibly wealthy they don't (or they haven't as yet to me) demanded any of my hard earned cash.

 

I am curious as to why you didn't abaondon religion altogether (the sensible choice). What exactly do you think makes Catholicism any different to any of the other brands of Christianity (apart from the fact that Catholicism is probably the least Christian version of Christianity - it is mostly paganism organised and in disguise). Catholic preists are renowned paedophiles. It is strange that the vast wealth of the Catholic church doesn't bother you. Where do you think they got their wealth?

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Obscurus! :P

 

The Catholic Church is great, IMO. Do you hold the keys to the heaven and the earth? I think not.

 

I can't see how any Thief fan could not appreciate their contribution to the world's art and architecture. St Peters is my favourite architectural marvel. OK, they were horrible in their day, but you know... "cuckoo clock".

 

I'm sure any other religion with such easy access to young choirboys would have just as many pedophiles in their ranks.

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@Dram, well I tried to provoke a confessed Catholic into defending his choice of delusion, but he hasn't bitten yet... ;)

 

oh ok...hopefully he will :P

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Obscurus! :P

 

The Catholic Church is great, IMO. Do you hold the keys to the heaven and the earth? I think not.

 

I can't see how any Thief fan could not appreciate their contribution to the world's art and architecture. St Peters is my favourite architectural marvel. OK, they were horrible in their day, but you know... "cuckoo clock".

 

I'm sure any other religion with such easy access to young choirboys would have just as many pedophiles in their ranks.

 

 

oDDity?

 

I am not sure what you mean by that keys to heaven and the earth remark... And given the rate at which the Catholic church is declining, their 'greatness' is fading fast.

 

I must admit, some impressive architecture has been churned out by Catholics, though it pales in comparison to Ancient Egyptian masonry IMO, or the megalithic structures of the Inca. I am more fond of your basic castles that had a purely functional design. Most religious architecture, be it Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu etc is far too busy and ornate for my liking. I find simple monolithic design more pleasant, though I can certainly appreciate the skill that goes into buildings like St Peters cathedral, and they do lend themsleves as a source of inspiration for some very atmospheric maps in Thief, I'll grant you.

 

Few other religions are as obsessed with the idea of celibacy as Catholics are. It is primarily because of their sexual repression that they inevitably take out their natural urges in a very un-natural way with whatever defencless unfortunate sod that happens to end up alone in a room with a Catholic priest.

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Celibacy is also an issue with other christian faiths too; at least outside of wed-lock. Did you know, my school didn't even teach us anything about contraception or STD's? Their answer was "Abstaining is the best form of contraception". I suppose thats true but it also seems rather negligent on their part. Im supposed to wait till i marry before i learn this stuff?

 

Paedophiles amongst catholic priests wouldn't be a problem if they were allowed to marry; the church can be quite open minded (The pope having acknowledged, for example, the existence of evolution as the most reasonable theory behind human life; something the christian fundementalists have yet to do) but it can also still be quite archaic. I foresee that in time priests will be allowed to marry; and then this won't be a problem. Besides which, this is in no way unique to only catholicism; have you ever been to a christian youth group? Scary stuff.

 

I acknowledge the existance of a creative force (im not a Creationist though, in the sense that i'm an Evolutionist) behind the existence of the universe; as science has yet to give me any answer as to why and for what purpose we, or anything for that matter, exist. I suppose that creative force could be termed a God; but i really don't bother about the semantics of it. Catholicism is as good a route as Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Judaism in my opinion; belief in something is what is important, and is the only thing that matters to me. The bible reads more like a book of jewish mysticism than anything; so i don't really pay much attention to it. I respect the church for what it has done (even if i don't like all it has done) and its immense power and wealth as a political organisation. I think maybe the world might be at least a more lawful, if not better, place if the church still had the power it had. Having said that; dictatorships can be great with a good leader; but hell without one. So i suppose its better having the church be an advocate for peace as much as it can.

Edited by SplaTtzZ

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Why would you assume there is a purpose for anything existing? Meaning is a human property, not one that would appear to be exhibited by the rest of the universe. Asking "what is the meaning of life?" is the same as asking "what is 1 divided by zero?" Both are legitimate questions in terms of English grammar, but are logically meaningless, they are invalid questions.

 

Why would you assume the existence of a 'creative force'?

 

Why do you feel the need to 'believe in something'? What exactly does 'believing in something' mean?

 

Why do you want answers about why you exist?

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I suppose I figure that without meaning there is no purpose to existence. Does existence need a purpose? i would assume so. First there was nothing, an oblivion; then there was everything. Why?

Belief in some sort of religion; or that there is an omnipotent force or set of rules or anything that gives our existence a purpose, is how I (And presumably others) cope with the concept of oblivion, or inifinity or death.

 

Besides, finding the answer to the question of life gives me something to do; and everyone, when they live and experience their life; is in a way doing the same. Even if there wasn't an answer I didn't waste my time, I lived it; and I'd get bored if i didn't have some conundrum to ponder ^_^

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Existence has no purpose. IF it did. and that purpose is to worship a god, then I still wouldn't do it. Any god that was vain enough to ceate a race of people to worship it, deserves nothing but contempt.

 

Whether there is a god or not is a moot point to me.

If there is a god, and as religion would have us believe, it created me to worhship it, then it can go fuck itself, I want nothing to do with it.

IF there is a god and it created me to do what I want with no intention of making me worship it, then that's already what I'm doing, so it doesn't matter.

If there is no god, it doesnt affect me in any way.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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