The Church Of LOTU

As you know, over the last year I’ve been working on a book about religion. During this time, while I’ve been debating the subject with people on the show and in person, one of the common arguments I’ve heard for keeping religion is “people need something to believe in”. I used to scoff at this statement. I certainly don’t feel that need. I’m happy with my own assessments of what’s right, what’s wrong, what is true and what is false. However, it struck me recently that perhaps other people aren’t like me. Perhaps they do need help figuring answers to the big questions. Perhaps they would like a place to gather on a regular basis with like-minded people to discuss the subjects of life, the universe and everything. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons religion continues to survive in the 21st century.

Atheism doesn’t have such a place. As an atheist, I don’t have a place where I can gather with other atheists to discuss “the big questions”. And, while this isn’t a problem for me, I got to thinking that perhaps it might be a hurdle for the new atheists, the people who are reading Dawkins and Hitchens and are preparing themselves to let go of superstition and mythology to embrace critical thinking and logic.

Scientific literature, and working scientists, rarely seem to attempt to play the role of answering the big questions either. There are exceptions, such as Carl Sagan, but these are truly the exceptions to the rule. Scientists provide us with the best information they have about how it all works and they leave it up to us to decide what that means to our individual lives.

So… I’ve decided to start a new religion which I’m calling

THE CHURCH OF LOTU.

The Church Of LOTU

“LOTU” stands for the “Laws Of The Universe”. The idea is that this religion, this church, will be fully based in science and critical thinking. It will not worship any mythological deity but will respect, and try to interpret, the laws of the universe as delivered to us by the latest scientific research. LOTU will also endorse the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. Unlike every other religion on the planet today, LOTU will not condemn people who do not agree with us to an eternity of torture and vilification. LOTU doesn’t care what you believe. LOTU respects your right to believe whatever makes you feel good. We may disagree with you. We may debate you vigorously. We may even chide you for believing in bronze age mythologies in the 21st century. We will also, however, fight for your right to believe whatever you want.

Yes, I know that the words “religion” and “church” seem to be incongruent with atheism but they need not. Wikipedia define ‘religion’ as:

“A religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people, often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.”

LOTU may well have all of those things. Note there is no mention of a supernatural deity in that description.

Wikipedia defines ‘church’ as:

“A church is an association of people with a common belief system, especially one that is based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.”

LOTU is definitely the first but also, obviously, NOT the second. Christians have always been fond of stealing ideas from older traditions (Easter, Christians, monotheism… hell, even the Jesus story is a rip-off of Mithra), so I feel quite comfortable stealing one of their words.

At the moment, I’m working on writing the “scripture” for LOTU but, as I’ve leaked word of it to a few people over the last week, I thought I should throw the doors open and let those of you who wish to join me in the creation of the first new religion for the 21st century. This is Religion 2.0.

To start with, I’ve created a Facebook group (I know, BOO! HISS!) for us to discuss the idea. I hope a few of you will join me.

72 thoughts on “The Church Of LOTU

  1. Here we go again.
    In a thousand years they’ll be worshiping the great prophet KAMRON and persecuting all non believers of the Laws Of The Universe.

    Why can’t we all just grow up and transcend this need for belief bullshit.
    Has our own self domestication process (civilisation) made us so infantile that we need to believe our destiny’s are controlled by celestial laws or law givers.

    The word LAWS should ring alarm bells for a start. Where do these laws come from? Can we never accept our own subjectivity in such matters.
    Funny how the universe got along just fine for 13.7 billion years without “our” laws. Then we showed up.
    Lucky we’re still confined to just this small rock.

    Religion…. a pox of the mind.

  2. You beat me to it Brett.

    Yes, human nature is such that if this was to develop into religion as in the past it will develop into myth and storytelling without strong controls and then the Fundamentalists and alternatives will move it in other directions and away we go again.

    As Richard Bach put it in one of his books the army of the cross would battle the army of the crescent would battle the army of the dodecahedron. Do we want another religion?

    I’ll hang around and watch though.

  3. You are on to something for sure here, Cameron. Religion has a lot to answer for across the world for various reasons. I am sure that deep down, a lot of people might think “what is the point of Religion” if they were asked but that’s the way they were brought up. How many people confess to be a non-practicing *insert name of religion here*?

  4. brett, I don’t think LOTU will require “belief”. In fact, LOTU is the place for people who don’t trust belief but requires evidence, critical thinking. Your concern about laws is interesting. The law of evolution? The laws of thermodynamics? The laws of physics? Do these bother you as well? They aren’t “our” laws, they are the laws we have uncovered. These are the Laws Of The Universe.

  5. Ian, if I called it an “atheist discussion group” would you be equally concerned? That’s really all a church (by my definition) is – a place for people to gather to discuss a common set of principles or practices (‘religion’). I’m using these words deliberately because they are highly charged and because I want to go head-to-head against the traditional religions and churches that are built on intolerance, violence and mythology. There is no mythology in LOTU – it is, by definition, defiance of mythology and faith.

  6. LOL Brett did you even read the full article for the explanation of what these laws Cameron referred to are? We didn’t invent them, we just discovered them – and continue to discover them.

    There’s no subjectivity involved with E=MC² … we just mapped our language to what has been in place for 13.7 billion years.

    If you don’t believe in physics-driven destiny and aren’t religious … then what, everything is just chance? That conclusion seems to me, well to use one of your words, infantile. Ignorant even. Pick one path or the other – and if there’s another explanation for the universe then I’d be interested to hear about that rather than your rancorous remarks.

  7. Sorry Cam, wrong place for this post but I couldn’t get your category link to Buckminster Fuller to work. Thought you might be interested in this link re demolition of Bucky Fuller’s Union Tank Car Dome:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/another_one_bit_2.php

    Related connection re community design: Have a look at the film, Future by Design about architect, Jacque Fresco. (easy to find online as a download) Some similarities to Buckminster’s ideas.

    Cheers

  8. I must admit I’m going in circles on this one Cam.

    I think I might be too much of a relativist to be an Atheist at the moment; perhaps an Agnostic of sorts, but even then I’m not sure about the labels or the need for them.

    I’m not sure science has the answers any more than anything else does. Much science seems to me to be quite subjective and open to influence by social factors and human institutions. Is science not one of the great human narratives that needs to be criticised in itself, along with religion (and philosophy for that matter)? You see my conundrum?

    I find myself grappling with the question: are there any absolute truths at all? I find myself being critical of the field of science all the time, as well as religion.

    I’m just not sure that Atheism and critical thought ultimately go together, if you catch my drift. I am interested in critical thought though, so I’m willing to discuss religion, Atheism, science and the big questions of the universe ’til the cows come home – if in fact there are actually cows, and there is in fact a home : )

    Thanks very much for continually making me think though, I really appreciate that.

  9. John, you’re making a common mistake, one I hope to address with LOTU. Science isnt about the “answers”. Science is about the process of how we get the answers. Yes, it is a human process and, as such, is imperfect. But, while we are all still human, it’s the least worse process we have for discerning the truth about how the universe works. It isn’t about “absolute truths”. Science delights in overturning old theories. That’s how we progress. The scientific method is about applying rigorous critical thinking, combined with evidence gathering and peer review. If you have a better approach to determining how the universe works, I’d love to hear it.

    Classic religion, on the other hand, avoids critical thinking, evidence and peer review at all costs. It keeps it’s followers mired in mythology, superstition and fear.

  10. My faith in science (at its current level of maturity – disregarding early “facts” like the world being flat and all that) would be absolute were it not for the fact that scientists on both sides of the Creation|Evolution fence cannot agree on anything yet both have allegedly strong cases for both arguments – why do we continually fail to arrive an an objective conclusion to this question when it’s all science and fact-finding?

  11. And that’s way beyond less than absolute truths – we’re talking very opposing theories with nothing in common yet seemingly both are true, according to the science. Baffles me.

  12. Hmmm…didn’t think there was any room left on this bandwagon.

    Bit cautious of all the appeals to tolerance and reason when reading them between the epithets against religion: ‘condemning to an eternity of torture and vilification’…
    Bit dramatic don’t you think?

  13. Nat, in pretty much every question in science, if you look hard enough, you’ll find people who are prepared to argue for different theories. That’s one of the wonderful things about science. When it comes to evolution, there is no doubt in the minds of the majority of practising evolutionary biologists on the major issues. It’s like global warming. For the last few years, most scientists working in the field were in agreement on the facts. There are a handful who disagreed. And yet the media said “there isn’t any agreement!” like both sides were equally valid.

    Besides – there isn’t any science at all behind the argument for creationism / intelligent design. That’s why they were soundly defeated in the Dover case and haven’t tried another case since. What makes you think they have a “strong case”? The ID story is absolutely NOT “true, according to science”. Nothing could be further from the case. So there is no need to be baffled. Read up on the Dover case. http://tinyurl.com/2b8bu5

  14. Steve, plenty of room for debate and discussion here. I welcome it.

    As for my “dramatic” epithet – isn’t that what most of the branches of the major monotheistic religions believe is the deserved destiny for non-believers? And eternity in hell?

    “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8)

    And you call ME dramatic?

    Nice the way the “fearful” are thrown in with the murderers.

  15. Hi Cameron

    Thank you for the invitation.

    Firstly: I am not Protestant, which means that Sola Scriptura holds no sway. Yes: Apocalypse says that – but it has to be read in the broader context of Church teaching which calls for a ‘fear’ of God.

    As to the statement: ‘Unlike every other religion on the planet today, LOTU will not condemn people who do not agree with us to an eternity of torture and vilification. LOTU doesn’t care what you believe.’

    Its just not the case that those who ‘don’t agree’ will go to hell. The statement connotes an authorotarian regime that waves the stick of hell against anyone who might dare to question the the Pope’s choice of tiara. Its a misrepresentation. I can’t speak for other religions, but for Christianity it is not ‘the religion’ that condemns, but each individual by their own choice. The gift of free will is absolute and their lot is their own doing.

    Otherwise, not sure how souls in hell are vilified. Did you mean vilified as a heretic (for e.g.) before they die?

    Also – I really don’t agree with the lumping together of all religions. I think the reference to ‘religion’ is unhelpful – mostly because each is so different. Rastafarian might not as well be be Islam. Each should be assessed on their merits. Secondly, the notion of religion as you have defined is intrinsically secular. From a theistic point of view the notion has stripped out the very essence of the major religions – i.e. God, and only left what the secularists believe is there: a group of people getting together. I think it puts the 2 camps at cross purposes.

    Finally – didn’t mean to call you dramatic – just the sentence.

  16. Steve, are you saying that as a Roman Catholic you don’t believe everything in the NT is true? If so, how do you know which bits do you accept and which bits do you reject?

    As for damnation of the non-believers in Christianity, isn’t it your GOD that condemns those you disagree or don’t believe? Who, from your perspective, set up the structure where some would be rewarded and the rest would be punished? You seem to be trying to suggest that the non-believers CHOOSE an eternity of torture. Isn’t the truth that your God condemns them to that if they don’t believe? This is why I say Christianity is inherently violent and intolerant. It gaily accepts that anyone who doesn’t get on board deserves an eternity of torture. I find that idea abhorrent and intrinsically disturbing.

    By vilification I mean they are abused. Possibly not the best choice of words. Let’s just leave it at “torture”.

    Yes, I agree, my definition of religion, for the purpose of LOTU, is secular. There is no supernatural, mythological entity involved. I’m hoping to take the best bits of religion (community, charity, support) and leave behind what I consider to be the dangerous elements (denial of evidence, aversion to critical thinking, belief in supernatural entities and powers, intolerance of non-believers, inherent violence) replacing them with a philosophy built around the respect for the scientific method, critical thinking, and human rights.

  17. Cameron – am I saying that as a Roman Catholic I don’t believe everything in the NT is true? No. I am saying what I have already said, but will say it another way: The truth (in this context) is supported by two pillars – the Bible and Tradition. There was no bible for the first 350 or so years of the Church’s existence – how did people know what the teachings were before that? And where is the authority that says the Bible is the authority – the Bible?

    You’ll know what the Bible does say about interpretting scripture privately (and without guidance)- II Peter 1:20. For all the bad press Catholics get for not knowing the Bible – its a bit odd isn’t it that when you get to John 6 all of a sudden we take it just a bit too literally…?

    Anyway – its not as if the CC rejecting Sola Sriptura is out of left field.

    As to God condemning, I can only repeat what I have said. Though I will expand. God loves us so much he gave us absolute free will, even to reject him. We will make that choice. Would it be just for someone to be with God after they have made the decision to reject him? It is just wrong to say that someone reaping the consequences of their choices amounts to being ‘violent and intolerant’ and that the Church would ‘gaily accept’ a soul’s eternal damnation. Again – more of the same epithets which really detract from your pleas to reason and ‘tolerance’.

    And as to the definition of religion, well then Christianity is much the same as LOTU: we don’t believe in mythological entities either.

    Glad to hear of your respect for the scientific method though – would that be the one invented by the CC? Bishop Grosseteste of Lincoln (13thC) wasn’t it? Or maybe Thierry of Chartres (12thC)?

  18. NatanaelB LOL 2U2 mate.

    Mathematics’s is based upon Platonic Idealism.
    A presumption that the mathematics itself is a form of reality independent of human reality and that with our scientific studies we are in fact revealing that reality.

    I don’t buy that one, and that my friend is a quite valid position to hold in this day and age and not quite as you put it, infantile.

    Think about this, most of the surviving modern religions are based upon the presumption of language being reality itself, hence the word of god bullshit you hear so often being touted by the believers.

    Maths, physics, language, all one and the same thing IMO.

    Yep, I do believe in the scientific methods, my livelihood and well being are totally dependent upon them which is why I would never want to see science take on the same fallacious mantle as religion.

  19. Steve

    So you *do* believe everything in the NT is true but choose to ‘interpret’ what it says. Is that correct? Does that mean your personal interpretation may at times differ with the Papal interpretation? Do you take any of it literally?

    “God loves us so much he gave us absolute free will” and then when we decide there isn’t enough evidence to support the theory of him, condemns us to torture. That is a strange definition of love, Steve. Is that how you love your children? “Make your own decisions but if I don’t like them, I will punish you for eternity?” That’s isn’t a loving father. That is a vengeful father, a cruel and vicious father.

    A mythological entity is one where there is no hard evidence to support that it currently exists or ever did exist. Unicorns, fairies, and King Arthur are examples of mythological entities. Jesus and God also fit into that category unless you have some evidence you’d like to share with us. In my reading I have never come across any evidence to support the existence of either. Therefore, as far as I can tell, they are both mythological.

    The scientific method pre-dates the CC by hundreds of years Steve and pre-dates the characters you mentioned by a millennium. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks started it and the first experimental scientific method was actually developed by Muslim scientists. If anything, the CC tried hard for hundreds of years to destroy scientific research. That’s why we had “the Dark Ages”. Books were burned, entire libraries destroyed, and rational thinking frowned upon. The CC systematically destroyed all works which didn’t agree with their view of the things and then threatened scientists, such as Copernicus and Galileo, who developed alternative theories. While it may be true that, during the years when the CC ruled much of Europe with an iron fist (if you weren’t a Catholic you were a heretic and executed) that some Catholics were involved in making scientific progress, only if, however, that progress didn’t counter the established teachings of the church. The CC today is still mired in the Dark Ages. A recent example is Benedictus’ announcement to appoint hundreds of new exorcists for the CC. Hardly an example of a scientific approach. And, of course, the whole theory of a mystical, interventionist god being is not only completely unsupported by evidence but is actually refuted by scientific evidence, as Victor Stenger recently pointed out in his book “God The Failed Hypothesis”. (http://tinyurl.com/ysvjlt)

  20. Cameron

    Sorry, but I think I have been pretty clear – II Peter 20:1 warns against interpretting scripture personally. It isn’t complicated. I understand the Bible as interpretted by the Church (we already know the Bible doesn’t say everything – John xxi 25, 2 Thes 2:14).

    Not sure why you have to bring my family into this. But, as you have misconstrued the plain meaning of my previous posts – you have also misconstrued the teaching on God’s love. It has nothing to do with what he likes (stop blaming him). It is about the choice that we make. It’s hard to fathom how one could hold your view when the whole NT narrative is about God giving his only son. Now that is not about whether you believe that happened, but the inconsistency between the notion that God gave his only son and God being a ‘cruel and vicious’ father.

    Now to the History. Gee there’s lots – all very general. Names and dates would be helpful (like i supplied you.) And the CC Destroying science??? Cameron – they invented it!

    But if the Church was so anti Copernicus, why did he dedicate his Six Books on the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbits to Pope Paul III? Do you know something he didn’t?

    When Galileo published Letters on the Sunspots – the future Pope Urban VIII wrote to congratulate him (so much for systematic destruction and threats). What I think you’ll find is that the issue with Galileo was that he insisted that his theory was fact, when the other churchmen/scientists weren’t convinced and needed more evidence before they could abandon Tycho. Fancy that.

    I know you have raised other issues (Grosseteste is Middle Ages – not Dark Ages BTW) thouh they are all very general and lack any datail. And going by the half baked comments in relation to Galileo, I suspect they are just as raw.

    Re the link to Amazon and Stenger’s book – wire me the $18.48 and I’ll buy it ;-).

  21. Steve, I didn’t intend to bring your particular family into it, and I’m sure you understand that. I was just pointing out the problems with your definition of “love”. You say “stop blaming him” (God) and yet, according to your faith, he set up the rules whereby some of his “children” will be eternally punished in the most horrific way possible for using their judgment and intelligence instead of blindly kow-towing to an invisible master.

    You bring up God giving up his only son. This is another point I don’t understand about Christian mythology. Supposedly, a father who offers up “his only son” to torture and murder is somehow considered loving. Again I see this as part of the inherent and disturbing violence at the core of your religion. We obviously have very different concepts of the meaning of “love”. I cannot think of any father being considered “loving” if he gave his child up willingly for torture and murder. Especially if there was no reason for it. He condemned his only son to be tortured brutally and murdered so he could make a new pact with the human race… he couldn’t just find it in his heart to forgive? How brutal. And, then, of course, he hasn’t forgiven, because those of us who use our intelligence and critical faculties and say “there is no evidence” are apparently destined for an eternity of torture ourselves. So it all a sham. Luckily I don’t believe any of it to be true, or else I’d be seriously cranky.

    You remain adamant with your position that the CC invented the scientific method despite my comments about the work of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Muslims.

    As for Copernicus’s dedicated, you’d have to ask him. But a guess is that he probably dedicated his book to the Pope for the same reason he delayed publishing it – fear. Keeping in mind the religious and political climate of Europe in the early 16th century (the Spanish Inquisition was only a century old), to publish such a heretical work could have almost been signing one’s own death warrant. We must accept that any scientist living in his time had to tread extremely carefully so as not to attract the wrath of the church.

    Regarding Galileo, was it also other scientists who ordered him to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633? On purely scientific grounds too, I imagine? His sentence involved him being required to recant his heliocentric ideas, ordered imprisoned, his offending book “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” was banned and publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future. Is that fully baked enough for you, sir?

    I notice you neglected to provide any evidence to refute my position that Jesus and the Christian God are mythological entities, so I’ll assume we agree on that point.

    I also notice you neglected to comment on the recent announcement of the Pope’s new band of exorcists, so I’ll assume we agree also that the CC is certainly not in tune with current scientific thought, at least when it comes to evil spirits.

    In the end Steve, you will of course believe whatever works for you. I will stand up for your right to disagree with me (and the scientific community) and won’t even condemn you to an eternity of torture for it.

    I think it’s clear though that even a cursory examination of the the position of the CC, now as in the past, will show that they are extremely removed from science and critical thinking. The very foundation of the religion is one of believing in the existence of several mythological entities (Jesus and God) for which there is zero hard evidence. This places it at the opposite end of the spectrum to LOTU.

  22. Phillip – it’ll take a while before LOTU has people placed in positions of authority, throughout all levels and departments of government to be able to offer those sorts of benefits 🙂

  23. Cameron

    Now i have doubts about your religion:

    I have said i am an RC

    I have said we don’t believe in mythological entities

    But because I have not sought to disprove your position yet – you will assume I agree that Jesus is a myth.

    So much for critical thinking.

    And exorcists? Well, if its OK I’ll run the arguments I choose in the order I choose them. I can’t stop you from assuming in the meantime, but I would recommend against it. Anyway, everyone likes to set the agenda in these things – so I don’t blame you for trying. Though if you want to deal with exorcism as a stand alone- happy to oblige.

    In the meantime:

    As to your comment that God set up the rules whereby some of his “children” will be eternally punished – that’s true in the sense that he gave us free will – but the Fall/Original Sin was not his doing. That was us. Now, of course that does not prove anything – but what it does show is that there are no inconsistencies in the narrative.

    As to God condemning his only son to be tortured brutally and murdered so he could make a new pact with the human race…instead of finding it in his heart to forgive – well firstly your characterisation skips right over the fact of the Trinity – though that isn’t central. You think crucifixion is brutal? Try hell. God gave us the most perfect act of love by letting his son become man to pay the debt owed by man for original sin. Anything less would have made a joke of his gift of free will and trivialise the devestating effects of sin. Not only was it pure love – it was pure justice.
    Anyway – God doesn’t want you to believe so much as to love.

    You’ve skipped over the details of which Muslims/Eygyptians invented science – that’s twice now.

    As to the Spanish Inquisition, again, vague generlaisations. The Inquisition was a reaction to the 700 year old war with Islam that had just ended and was also directed, regrettably, against the Jews who were forced to convert or leave Spain. It was designed to get those muslims/jews pretending to be Christian woh would not recant. Pretty? No – but your characterisation as a sweeping pogrom against reason/science is again- a rash generalisaion that simply doesn’t match the facts. Estimates of the total executed for the entire period are 2-3000. I recommend Kamen’s 1998 book on the subject (Kamen is not Catholic)

    Now – as to proof. Well can I start with the CC as proof? What about the NT? Written 50-100 AD – earliest extant 350AD – with about 260 specimens from the period. Good enough? Well – we all believe Tacitus existed and what he said – By comparison he wrote about 100AD, but earliest complete copy with have is from 1100 AD and we only have 34 specimens. Or Caesar’s history of the Gallic wars – written 52BC, earliest copy is from the 9th Century and we have 11 pieces. So by comparison the NT stacks up pretty well doesn’t it?

    I know – ‘its just not true’.

    Well the NT purports to be an historical account of what happened. If it is not true – it is a fraud. Fraud is a serious allegation that needs to be particularised i.e. who where and when. In a reasonable, critically thinking environment, which i am sure adherents to LOTU would aspire, the onus is on those who make the allegation of fraud to prove it. Until then, we are obliged to take a document at its face value. So the question becomes – who faked the NT?

    The thing is, is that the closer you get to within living memory of the faked events – the easier it can be refuted. In that respect who can’t help but regard the NT claims as fanciful – dead walking the streets of Jersualem – etc. The most striking perhaps is that the veil was rent in two – from top to bottom. I think that one is glossed over. A Massive carpet suspended by golden curtain rings the diameter of a soccer ball.

    Saying that Sydney harbour bridge collapsed would not be as cataclysic as the veil in the temple being torn. Yet the allegation is there – for everyone to refute. And it wasn’t. Not even the Sanhedrin could stop the story getting legs – and by 60 AD Neo was blaming the adherents of the ‘foreign supersitiion’ for the burning of Rome.

    Now, if your allegation is that it was faked long after the key events – well – firstly you have the problem of historians like Tacitus and Jospehus around 100AD who clearly refer to the established religion . Secondly you have the issue of the instituion of the Church. If you say the story was invented 100AD, 200AD or how ever many years after the event – then how do you explain the Church’s very existence (the CC has a direct line of Popes down to Peter) – esp considering the persecutions it was subjected to?

    So, particulars please.

    Until then I will try to resist seeing the irony in a religion of science.

  24. [Brett, what is your opinion on existentialism?]

    Seen in the context of the time of its greatest popularity (the post WW2 era) it is very interesting.

    But like its cousin, post modernism, it becomes completely incoherent once applied as a practical philosophy.

  25. Steve

    The “original sin” was committed by us? Not by me. I wasn’t there. Why should I be punished? What kind of a god punishes someone for another’s crime? Sounds pretty brutal to me.

    So let me get the crucifixion point straight… you’re saying god’s version of “love” is letting his son be tortured for someone else’s crime when he could have just forgiven all benevolently? Where is the justice in that? Again, your religion’s perspectives on subjects like “love” and “justice” are completely topsy-turvy to me.

    A loving god would forgive. Only a brutal, vengeful primitive god would demand a blood sacrifice. It is the most primitive of mythological rituals and the fact that people still justify it in the 21st century is, to me, appalling. This is the god that wants us to love him? Who can love a brutal, vengeful tyrant?

    Regarding the scientific method – I didn’t realize you needed a history lesson but here it goes (unashamedly copied from Wikipedia):

    ——-
    An Egyptian medical textbook, the Edwin Smith papyrus, (circa 1600 BC), applies the basic components of scientific method: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to the treatment of disease. The Ebers papyrus (circa 1550 BC) also contains evidence of traditional empiricism. However, although the Babylonians and Egyptians developed much technical knowledge, crafts, and mathematics used in practical tasks of divination, as well as a knowledge of medicine (and made lists or various kinds), it is the ancient Greeks who engage in the earliest forms of what we recognize as modern science. Even for the early Greeks, geometry was a practical skill like shoemaking, relegated to what its etymology suggests: geo-metrics, or measuring the earth. However, in Ancient Greece, towards the middle of the 5th century BC, some of the components of a scientific tradition were already heavily established. Plato is an important contributor to this emerging tradition. In Protagoras (318d-f), Plato mentions the teaching of arithmetic, astronomy and geometry in schools.
    —–

    Your rationalization of the horror of the Inquisition doesn’t do you justice. Again, like the rationalization of the Jesus sacrifice, it shows the inherent tolerance in Christianity of violence and intolerance towards others. My previous point about the Inquisition was merely to point out the political climate of Europe in the early 16th century during Copernicus’ time. I could go on about the other Christian massacres (the Cathars, the Crusades, even the invasion of the Americas and Pacific nations) but that’s another story. From the OT to the NT to this conversation, I find Christians trying to justify bloodshed.

    The historicity of Jesus – there is not a single contemporary account of Jesus. No single first-hand witness to the events described in the NT. The majority of biblical historians agree that the four gospels were not written by the people they are attributed to. Not a single person writing during his lifetime mentions him. With all of the miracles? The walking on water? Raising the dead? Not a single person wrote about it? Very strange, don’t you think?

    So, as I said – not a single piece of evidence. Zero contemporary accounts. Only stories written down generations later. And these are highly suspect. The Jesus Seminar, a group of about 200 individuals who include “scholars with advanced degrees in biblical studies, religion or related fields [as well as] published authors who are recognized authorities in the field of religion”, concluded that of the various statements in the “five gospels” (they included Thomas) attributed to Jesus, only about 18% of them were even likely uttered by Jesus himself. The rest are forgeries. And this is from an initial assumption that he even existed. So yes, it does seem to be a fraudulent series of documents. Who faked it? I don’t know. It isn’t pertinent though. Once a Van Gogh has been declared a fraud, you remove it from the museum. You don’t worry about who did it and why (well unless you want to sue them, I guess).

    Tacitus and Josephus (and Pliny the Younger and Suetonius) make a passing mention to the Christians with very few details. There was obviously a band of people doing something. This we know. If this is the sole basis for your religious faith in a mythological being with supernatural powers, you are on extremely shaky ground. I know a bunch of people who swear they have been anally probed by UFOs but I don’t believe them either until they show some evidence. Christianity is in the same boat, I’m afraid. Wild claims of supernatural powers by a few people living under the desert sun in the Middle East 2000 years ago isn’t what I or any rational person considers “evidence”.

    So, as you can see, it’s a flimsy story. Julius Caesar wrote his own accounts of Gaul. Augustus Caesar wrote his own autobiography. Cicero and Nicolaus of Damascus wrote about both of them as well as of themselves. But no mention of a guy who could walk on water, raise the dead, or any other number of astounding magic tricks.

    You may choose to accept that he lived but there is ZERO hard evidence to support that theory and so he is, by definition, mythological.

  26. “I know a bunch of people who swear they have been anally probed by UFOs but I don’t believe them either until they show some evidence. ”

    Honestly. Your church sounds like a hoot.

  27. Cameron

    Your science lesson is plain wrong – medicine and maths is not the scientific method. None of those cultures went on to establish science as we know it. It didn’t because no method ws established. Yeah – they could patch people up and draw a triangle – but science? No. Though apologies for asking you to support your statements with facts – its annoying at first (your tone makes it plain), but as founder of LOTU you might want to get into the habit.

    Anyway – like I said, the onus is with you. If you are going to accuse people of fraud the polite thing to do is actually support your allegations. I know you’ve quoted what others think: but thats not really the same thing is it…or do you just BELIEVE?

  28. Sorry Steve, we’ll have to disagree on this point about the invention of the scientific method. There is absolutely no doubt that the beginnings of the method go back to ancient egypt and greece. Sure, it took thousands of years to become fully developed, but it started back then. No problems with asking me to support my statements. Always happy to. Just didn’t realize this was even a point of debate. Read Wikipedia.

    The onus of what is with me? I’ve already explained that there is no firsthand accounts of Jesus’ doings. You haven’t debated that point, so again I’ll assume you agree. The majority of biblical historians agree that of MML&J, John is the least authentic, and Matthew and Luke are based on a combination of Mark and the Q source. So they aren’t even original writings. Mark is the only book even remotely authentic, it’s the earliest of the 4 and it is anonymous and was written decades later at the very earliest. The Jesus Seminar, after 15 years of study, declared the gospels only 18% original even IF you assume Jesus ever existed at all. Which is possible but, again, we have zero – ZERO – hard evidence to support that theory. Only stories told many decades later by one unknown (probably) middle eastern man which appealed to the lower classes of the time and eventually got a power base behind it when they did a deal with Constantine’s and his army in the early 4th century. Then they killed off anyone who disagreed with them until they were the only game left in town for centuries.

    Face it Steve – I know this is going to be hard for you to accept – but your entire faith, your entire religion, is based on one man’s collection of rumours and fairytales of a magic man with strange powers. If believing these stories are true makes you happy and gets your through your life, then that’s great. If that’s working out for you, then I’m pleased for you.

    But some of us need something a little more substantial – evidence, facts, logic. Fairytales stopped cutting it for me when I was a child.

  29. The Jesus Seminar? Are you kidding? JS are a bunch of wannabe liberals with one former priest. No credible scholar give serious attention to their work. They assume there can be no supernatural explanations before they even begin their enquiry. A fair enough assumption for secular matters – but when studying the Bible – the story about God becoming man? Maybe if you rely on other proofs to deny there is no God. But you can’t use that analysis to disprove God. For example: Luke’s gospel records Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Which must mean it was written after 70AD. So Jesus could not have said it. As if a supernatural figure might not be able to do something supernatural like, say, predict the future?

    Cameron – is assuming your conclusion in order to reach your conclusion a good example of ‘critical thinking?’.

    It must be – Matthew and John were 2 of the apostles i.e. eye witnesses. But according to you because the gospel is wrong they could not have been eye witnesses. Oh, and why is the gospel wrong? Well – there are no eye witnesses!

    Nice one.

    JS has its roots in 19thC scholarship which posited that the gospels must have been written 200 years after the purported events. They excluded any earlier dates on the basis that the memories of Jesus’ followers would have discredited such a distortion. Ryland’s papyrus, which dated John’s Gospel to about 130AD – consigned that little theory to the scrap heap. And so it goes.

    And Q? Instead of Wikipedia try BC Butler – he blew Q (which to this day remains pure speculation: it doesn’t actully exist) out of the water in 1951. Oh and here’s a point – Cameron – ‘tsk tsk’ – shame on you believing in something that has never been proved!!

    And as to your anonymous fraudster from the middle east who pretended to be Matthew Mark Luke John, Paul and Peter – how is it that he managed to fool everyone into believing such a fantastic event only 20 years later? You know the Huleatt fragments put Matthew’s gospel at 50AD?

    You say he fooled Josephus? In ‘The Jewish War’ (100AD) Josephus says: ‘In the days of our pious fathers this curtain was intact but in our own generation it was a sorry sight, for it had been suddenly rent from top to bottom at the time when by bribery they had secured the execution of the benefactor of men – the one who by is actions proved that he was no mere man.’

    Cameron – what interest did Josephus have to corroborate such a pack of lies from your anonymous fraudster from the middle east? Why didn’t he just say: the veil is fine?

    Cameron – how minor event would it have to be for me to be able to fool you about something I sad happened in 1986? Diesel won the Brownlow? The US President’s wife’s name was Donna? The Messiah prophesised in the Talmud for 1000 years became man, was executed and rose from the dead? Take you pick.

    Paul’s trial was in 62AD. Peter was executed about the same time. That was before the sack of Jersusalem. Cameron, what interest did these men have in being tried/ executed for a lie they were perpetuating? Why was it that the temple couldn’t just remind everyone of what actually happened, you know: ‘People! 500 people didn’t see him the third day! Dead people were never walking around – the veil is intact!! His body is over here!.’

    Cameron – put yourself in Ciaphus’s shoes – what would you do? Or did he never exist now as well?

    Or do you say Peter and Paul never existed? Not only was the anonymous middle eastern fraudster making up stories – he was making up the authors as well. 20 years after the event. And people bought it? To such an extent that Nero could finger them as a group to blame the fire of Rome on? So if Peter and Paul never existed – then how did the message spread?

    Or was Tacitus making it up as well? Nero never blamed the Christians – there was no Church by then.

    But what about Pope Clement’s letter to the Church of Corinth in 96AD? Was that a forgery too? Do you say that St Clement didn’t exist? Or had the conspiracy sunk in by then? What was the secret of your fraudster’s success? By and large all he could promise with any certainty was a painful death. Strange marketing plan don’t you think?

    Who was Papias referring to when he wrote about the evangelists in 125AD? Or is that all part of the conspiracy? Another forgery? Or was Papias duped as well (Diesel, Donna, God)

    Anyway, how does your lone middle eastern fraudster fit in with your theory that the gospels are 18% original? If the gospel was 50 pages for example – you say that 9 pages were ‘original’. What does that even mean??

    What was the substance of those 9 pages? Was it true or made up? If not true – why make the point about being 18% original? It can be as ‘original’ as you like, its still a lie isn’t it? When were the 41 pages added? (oops sorry – not allowed to ask that one…)

    Do you day Jesus existed at all (Dawkins does)?

    If the Gospels were all faked by the lone middle eastern fraudster, what had to be compiled in the 4thC to make the NT as we know it today? You say that all his books were together and they all got pulled apart? Or did he secrete them around asia minor to be discovered and pieced together; kind of like in the Da Vinci code?

    Did he also write the many books that weren’t included in the NT as we know it? Or do you say that all the NT books were faked – but Thomas’ Gospel was really written by Thomas? If not, it’s a strange coincidence that only the fraudster’s books made the final cut some 300 years later, isn’t it?. Especially with all the glaring inconsistencies, right?

    I was going to sign off by saying how much I am looking forward to your response. Instead I am starting to think that behind all this sizzle and smoke there isn’t going to be any steak. Not even a sausage. Oh well: hope is a virtue.

  30. you proof and you proof, and STILL!

    ‘…maybe if you rely on other proofs to deny there is no God…’

    should read ‘…maybe if you rely on other proofs to deny there is A God …’

  31. This has stirred too much debate to read on my mobile now so I’ll ask the question of Cameron – when are the public holidays? 😛

    I look forward to reading the debate when I get home.

  32. And there we have it Steve. This is what it always comes down to with Christians.

    I tell you 200 scholars worked for 15 years on the NT and decided it was mostly inauthentic. Do you dispute their evidence? Do you challenge their facts with alternative facts? No, you do not. You merely attack their character and their integrity. You use ad hominem attacks instead of evidence. This is the Christian approach. Evidence doesn’t matter to you. Facts don’t matter to you. You choose to see what you want to see.

    Despite me explaining that the majority of modern scholars reject the authorship of the NT gospels, you continue to claim that Matthew and John were disciples. Let’s see what Wikipedia says about that:

    “In modern times, with the rise of rigorous historical inquiry and textual criticism, the authenticity of orthodox authorship beliefs have been rejected in large part.

    The dominant view among critical scholars, the Two-Source Hypothesis, is that both Matthew and Luke drew significantly upon the Gospel of Mark and another common source, known as the “Q Source”, from Quelle, the German word for “source”. However, the nature and even existence of Q is speculative, and thus scholars have proposed variants on the hypothesis which redefine or exclude it. Most Q scholars believe that it was a single written document, while a few contest that “Q” was actually a number of documents or oral traditions. If it was a documentary source, no information about its author or authors can be obtained from the resources currently available. The traditional view supposes that Matthew was written first, and Mark and Luke drew from it and the second chronological work; although not founded in textual criticism, some scholars have attempted to use their modern methods to confirm the idea. An even smaller group of scholars espouse Lukan priority. Despite the lack of a unanimous consensus, however, the majority view certainly agrees with the two-source hypothesis.

    John’s Gospel is widely thought to be the least historical and trustworthy of all the gospels, mainly because John shows a great difference in the sequence and type of his narrative from the Synoptic (Matt, Mark, Luke) Gospels. However, on first sight it looks as though John can claim the highest authority, as it claims to have been written by John, brother of James, an eyewitness, and unlike Matthew (the only other gospel with an ‘author’ who might be an eyewitness) does not depend upon another gospel for its source.

    Starting in the 19th century, critical scholarship has further questioned the apostle John’s authorship, arguing that the work was written decades after the events it describes. The critical scholarship argues that there are differences in the composition of the Greek within the Gospel, such as breaks and inconsistencies in sequence, repetitions in the discourse, as well as passages that clearly do not belong to their context, and these suggest redaction. Most scholars agree on a range of c. 90-100 for when the gospel was written, though dates as early as the 60s or as late as the 140s have been advanced by a small number of scholars.”

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Gospels)

    But, of course, I’m sure you will just say this is all bunk. Evidence be damned. Scholarship be damned.

    Anyway, Steve, as I’ve said before, believe what you want. You have helped me prove my point though for the need for a new religion, one based on evidence and critical thinking, not on blind devotion to ancient myths.

  33. Cameron – mate – the questions!!!! You know – I am asking about your theory re the lone anonymous middle eastern fraudster. Why is that so offensive? I have taken your theory and run about three lengths with it – count up the question markes!! How can you POSSIBLY say i am ignoring the ‘data’

    Obviously you regard having to justify your theory as a personal attack. Don’t be so sensitive.

    You are actually becoming a parody of the religious authorities you despise “Thou Shalt not challenge my authoraTAH!!!!!!!!’ Though shalt NOT challenge JS!!!!’

    Oh well – look – ignore the questions, empty your mind and keep on repeating the Mantra: all Christians are dumb, Christianity is a myth, all Christians are dumb, Christiantiy is a…’

    and HAIL!

    Cameron !!

    High Preist of LOTU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Steve, it wasn’t me you were attacking (at least until the last comment), it’s the Jesus Seminar scholars. And it isn’t offensive when someone ignores the evidence and attacks the integrity of scholars they don’t even know. It’s just poor debating and an insight into the character of the person casting the insults.

    I will however answer your questions.

    You say BC Butler “blew Q”. So why do you think the majority of biblical scholars still believe the Q theory?

    We don’t know, obviously, who wrote the NT gospels or why they wrote them. That’s all speculation. All we do know is that the majority of scholars agree that whoever they were, they were NOT first-hand witnesses of the events. And let’s remember Mark is the only account which is even partly original, Matthew and Luke are copies of Mark. So we have one person, 2000 years ago, ranting about a magic guy. Big deal. It goes into the same box as all of the other rantings from human pre-history. Our history is replete with mythologies of weird and wonderful stories of god and demons. This one is no different.

    The line you quote from Jospehus is, I believe, considered by most scholars to be a later Christian insertion, like the Testimonium Flavianium. The early Christian writer Origen claims that Josephus did NOT recognize Jesus as the Messiah, so it’s doubtful he would have written something like this. Also, early Christian writers don’t mention the paragraph (like the TF), which also detracts from it’s credibility.

    Paul is an interesting point. Again, Paul was not a firsthand witness of Jesus. His reasons for doing what he did are speculation also, but go to any mental institution today and you’ll find plenty of people who suffer from hallucinations and who are a danger to themselves and others. It is a common phenomena.

    Paul existed though. He wrote letters. Jesus didn’t. Neither did anyone who saw Jesus or spoke to him.

    If you want to know what the Jesus Seminar concluded about the NT, I suggest you read their report. It’s called “The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus.”.

    Who wrote all of the early Jesus stories and why is pure speculation.

    The history of the early humanity is full of people believing in crazy stories about gods, demons, and heroes. Just pick up any book by Joseph Campbell. The only difference I can see between the Bible and other ancient mythologies like the iliad and the Odyssey is that the believers of the former managed to get an army behind them in the early 4th century and were homicidal enough to execute everyone who didn’t bow down before them and then carry out a reign of terror for the next fifteen centuries.

    Rational people realize these are all just stories told by primitive humans trying to come to terms with the world around them. There is zero evidence that we should take them seriously, any more than we believe in Zeus, Poseidon, Hercules or Apollo.

  35. Cam, leave the Christians alone.

    Remember that they are essentially mentally retarded people – I know, I know, I have no understanding of the Bible, I´m forced to act childish.
    I have tried to read the bible though. Has anyone ever printed a serious version of the Bible, or are they all pisstakes? I don´t see how we can have an open discussion on the Bible untill someone writes the serious version.

    When can we start pulling apart Islam, Hinduism, Budhism, Judaism? I´m sharpening my ill informed knives for Krishna and Moses. I wonder if they ever met?

    Also Will there be a LOTU Ten Commandments?

    Can we just do the opposite of the Biblical Ten Commandments?

    Though shall not covet thy neighbours wife
    Though shall covet they neighbours wife

    Easily changed.

  36. Marcelo, I’ve seen my neighbour’s wife and… no thanks.

    I doubt LOTU will have “commandments”. We have no need to tell people what to do with their life. LOTU does accept the UN Human Rights charter though.

    As for tackling Islam, etc, I think we tackle the majority of the religious people in the so-called “civilized” countries before we go after the others. If we can get the West to act rationally, perhaps we can inspire the others to sort themselves out? But while we have educated people in the West still running around believing in fairy tales, it makes it hard to tell the rest of the world anything.

  37. Yeah… my neighbours wife is dead and female – we can scratch that commandment then.

    During the Christmas period I did think of a new day to takeover Xmas. I call it ISNESS Day. It´s a celebration of what is.

    A day that you don´t consume or buy buy buy, but merely appreciate.

  38. Yeah… i recieved just as much response when I said it to my secular friends too. No one wants to give up christ mass, or all those Christian xmas songs that seep into our brains while we are children and vulnerable.

  39. Marcelo, I hate Xmas and I have for years. I find the whole day hard work – the forced consumerism of it, the inane biblical connotations, the eating like a pig until you want to burst… I’m not sure “isness” day is very catchy though. 🙂

  40. I joined up over at facebook, found myself refered to tangler, and linked back here. It’s all a bit confusing.

    perhaps a good start might be to actually HAVE a thelotu website at http://www.lotu.com and some explaination, as well as some sort of unified forum that people can access rather than have to open accounts at a half dozen sites.

    I know this is just getting off the ground, but it seems that with 30 something members already on facebook this could go somewhere.

  41. hey Cam..

    “taking seriously” isn’t necessarily the same as “believing in”… Joseph Campbell doesn’t dismiss the utility of mythology for us “primitive” people, to inspire acts of creativity or compassion, or to build foundations of a complex relating with each other, to mark the passing of major life events with acknowledgement of our solidarity with a broader millieu than a community of academics and scientismic enthusiasts. a varied and adaptable inner life requires something bigger than our small egoic selves to measure responses to some of the strange phenomena that come our way, which for many people aren’t as simple as a cup of coffee and a new gadget. you can talk about principles of ‘uncertainty’ approved by the mainstream scientific establishment, and up to a point this covers the big picture, even substitute the *word* “Strings” for “God, Allah, Shiva, Brahman, Tao, Yahweh, etc.” to be a bit different from the rest, just as scientific materialism covers some part of reality represented by various religions, as most do not deny outright that *at some level*, matter exists. yet denying credence to the subtle realms of emotion, creativity, love, empathy, and further still, dreamforms, hypnogogic visionary occurances, subjective *feelings* of connection to powers and forces larger than the small egoic self, is not so easy for “Science” and “Critical Thinking”. seems you are to pray to an Anglocentric Deity of Theory formed by words and starkly delineated images, instead of the intricately detailed and humane, drawn and modelled *representations* of inner states and mysterious transhumanistic forces many of which science is a far cry from recognising as existent, let alone adequately describing, as the deeply loved Theistic constructions of just about every non-Anglo culture on this earth, and from all the history of just about all the people who ever were.

    this is to be a religion of criticism – a denial of religious forms, ironically in the form of religion. the proposal is to do away with the 84,000 books of canonical Buddhist *Science*, and the Taoist *Sciences* of longevity and health in the disciplines of TaiChi, QiGong, GongFu, FengShui. and of the Hindu *Science* of Yoga in its many forms of Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana, the last a form of which you personally subscribe to as a proponant of neo-Advaita on this very network, having spent time talking with Bob Adamson, who learned his trade from Nisargadatta Maharaj, who in turn says “Give up trying to evaluate the real I or the counterfeit I, but associate the I with the Brahman, I am the Brahman.” (Consciousness and the Absolute, p.92) which, for the less informed, is the Hindu naming of the formless Divinity of everything without exception. true, it is “not two, and nor is it one, for it has nothing against which to measure its solitary divinity”, and yet is a god, though without the form characteristic of the Western gods favoured by the reactionary atheist movement. that the Advaitin Divine is so closely akin to the Spinozan Absolute will doubtless be glossed over, and that Spinoza developed his ideas after exposure to the deeply religious cultures of the East is doubtless an “unscientific” facet of the basis of this new religion, and thus should be omitted along with the other aspects of the not-quite-Theism this new ‘religion’ is built upon. as Bob Adamson names this “unnameable” quality “Presence-Awareness”, are we to assume that because he has discarded the nomenclature of his teacher in these matters, that he has disavowed the foundation upon which the edifice of his intellectual formulations are based? even the Zenists have a name for it, although “that which shall remain nameless” being too negative and close to a Nihilist conception of existence, phrasing it “Buddha-mind” or “Self-shining emptiness” often suffices. still, there are in the traditions of Advaita, Zen and Taoism many indications that the ultimate knowable is not a knowing by name, and the knowing by living it is conveniently put into word form anyway. because people need a name for that which they have always experienced as their meaning of life, and the most true way of feeling that they have ever experienced. and “Strings” is as good as any of their names IMHO, as is “Uncertainty”, a mighty fine one. yet, if we are to be strictly “scientific”, even in the mainstream Secular Western sense of the word, are we to ignore the effect of the observer in all this, and deny simultaneously the postmodern slant which science has recently adopted as it increasingly recognises the legitimate place of Subjectivism? so, since *your* subjective viewpoint that the gods do not exist, nor any “non-scientismic” attributes of reality, then surely the subjective viewpoints of other people who believe the contrary are equally valid. or, is this a selective Religion of “That part of Science Chosen to Support our Dogmatic A-Theism”, although globally by numbers still, and this measured by the scientific faculties operated by each human being – ~95% of present humanity and more like 99.9% of humans throughout the ages – whose conclusions refute your own. but this is “bad science” i suppose. and we can make it go away by saying the words loud enough, that “it doesn’t exist”, and that everyone who opposes our new Deity of Reason is less than human – they are to a very last one “Primitive”. and therefore, it doesn’t, to you. but maybe, despite you advocating that people join your Religion, with the potential outcome of destroying cultures based upon a knowing of mysterious events concerning the human system as it relates to the environment for which “Science” has no names, and may be of some future utilty to even the Atheist scientismic community, just as it is of immeasurable consolation in times of grief, tradgedy, birth, growth, kinship ceremonies, describing more effectively than any modern psychology life stage markings, orientation to living conditions in areas not analysed by science for the purposes of which the deities of elements, climatic conditions, the behaviour patterns of plant and animal species have developed… maybe, an A-Theism is not as practical for people not already as reliant as you are on a state dissociated from the mythology of a tribe, of a natural environment, and not as disconnected from their roots as are not a few scienticians, locked away in ivory towers far from a need to orient themselves to a crisis of weather in their air-conditioned laboratories and studies, and numbed by information coming in at such a rapid rate through their eyes via a computer screen, that they need not respond with their whole selves physically to the conditions of life, and dance the evil spirits away, because they have modern pharmaceuticals for that, and instead of praying to a deity for grace or freedom from suffering, they pray for an answer to a question, and the answer is as limited as the question, just as those who ask the world for riches will become rich, as those who offer respect to a “super-worldly” power have the chance for riches beyond the ken of one content with the very “facted-up” life comprised entirely of matter, some very elementary subtle attributes of existence such as rudimentary emoting and intellectual theorising. see, the gods live in the world of vision, and we just might need the boons of the world of vision, which is also the realm of creativity and new ideas, to prevent the deterioration implied in a certainty about a given set of theories, which gradually as people cease believing in, and being devoted to, their gods, will tend towards a state of entropy and dissolution of all that is most vital, leaving an army of grey “thinkers”, speculating about powerful modes of *feeling* the world denied to them because they do not believe enough to risk an *experience* of divinity, just as their followers will suffer likewise from the dearth of numinosity brought about by a closed system of *Non-Belief*, which of course is really belief in mainstream science, clothed in a reactive terminology.

    “Science is not Absolute” you say. and this is a Religion of Science. well, what then of the blanket denial, an *Absolute* denial of any and all gods, with no proof of their non-existence aside from your own faith – since that is the meaning of A-Theism, being not just a counter-argument to Christianity, but a clear statement that “There exist absolutely no gods”. So we are looking at the prospect of accepting on faith your word (sorry, “your approved brand of science”) as an *objective* reality, while the subjective feelings, traditions, ways of life and ritual practices, are “championed” by you, who “will defend your right” to argue for what you, Cameron, are arguing to convince people is absolutely wrong…?

    i feel some deja vu coming on – stop me if i get all radical on your good self, but there have been some notable others throughout the century just passed who also believed they would promote the “truth” to the “primitives”… and failing that, different wings of the assertive, empowered and organised philosophical groups would, on the one hand “defend the freedoms” of speech, and deal with the “problem” in other ways than talking.

    i don’t even pretend to “defend to the death your right to say it”. i think your pretty far up your own arse and either shit-stirring a lot of people potentially influenced by the online mouthpiece of your acquistive successes, or you are fighting, like Conrad’s Kurtz, in a jungle of mystery you haven’t even seen a part of, except in your imagination via a casual purusal of some old books by dead white guys and translators, facilitated by a capacity for sporadic creativity fostered by early years of limited human companionship, and exacerbated by a disconnection from the life-giving forces of natural power that being fucked around for a few decades in the harsh terrain of the streets and jungles of the world will teach a person.

    in short, getting a life of your own worth surrendering to a higher power requires humanitarian goals somewhat more sweeping than accumulating followers to boost traffic, with a sideline of riding on the coattails of the popularity and general egalitarianism of the Human Rights charter, using it as an article of slogan to gain adherents, not for the people it seeks to protect, for they are discriminated against as “incorrect primitives” by your new “Religion”, but for selfish aims. have some personal experiences that truly test the limits of what your scientism can explain, before you go messing with mass dissemination of half-baked messianic aspirations.

    so saying, it is understandable that the power of numbers you’ve acquired lately is being used for this end – who hasn’t considered themselves infallible at some point or another…

  42. Eloquently written, “Con”. Whether or not I am doing this for traffic, ego or any of your other criticisms I guess only time will tell. You seem to have totally dismissed the possibility that my motivations could be genuine and ethical. You seem to assume that I’m either naive, stupid, a liar or a crook. Fair enough. People who know me, however, would (I hope) know that none of those accusations hold much water.

  43. Hey Cam, just catching up on your blog.

    I have to say I am very pleased to see you open up to the different ways people feel they fit into this world. That perhaps our strong individualistic way of living is not for everyone, and that many need to identify with something larger than them selves.

    I also wanted to say something about whether LOTU needs to be a “religion” or “church”. There are advantages, such as tax ones which certainly can assist the process. But the belief many people seek does not neccessarily need to be religion. For example, the Environmental movement displays all the hall marks of religion. People take what is given by the institutional authorities as truth and without question, there are ceremonies and “Holly Days”, people who do not believe are not listened to, and can be considered heretics or even worse, evil. There is psychological reward for practicing environmentalism and a desire to enlist others to the belief system.

    The point i am trying to make is that all people are meme machines, and for many of these meme machines there is a section of their brain that needs to have meme programs running that are specifically around belief. These programs do not have to be religion, but they do have to have all the same factors of religion.

  44. Lotu is still only via facebook?

    I quit facebook a few weeks ago because it was too damn annoying. But I’ll sign up again…

  45. Certainly, the reason why people joing Religions is because it gives them something that they can’t get anywhere else… that usually is community, unfortunately facebook, is like a community brought to us by Fox8.

    Give me a cool church to go to and I’d go.

    A website would be better, with forums and DIGG style news on pertinent issues, opinions, interviews, podcasts etc

    a home away from home

    Like G’day world except targeted directly at LOTU

    Am willing to offer free time to it : ) whatever I can do

    P.S.
    I know that your straight and you probably wouldn’t like my blog or podcast, but I’m getting better at doing the podcasts (I think – I’m not the smartest bloke in the room – at least, no one has said that it’s absolutely shit anyway) so I might have something to offer.

  46. http://www.switchpod.com/users/marcelo/Episode6PodcastMarceloCastro.mp3

    It’s not professional, and it’s definately not for a wide audience – it’s just a honest simple blogcast. I’d like to start doing interviews with people in the community at some point, that is, the Bear community or homo’s that don’t associate themselves with that homogenized camp effeminate will and grace culture.

    As for the website – mate if I were more of a geek, i’d do it for you… Surely we can find a LOTU geek that could knock up something like that? I’ll put my hand up to do things like ads and musical stuff (i try to do music production in my free time)

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