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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:59 pm 
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*sw000ns for Griffy*

:love:

*sm000ches for Anthy*

:kiss:


It occurs to me that I was once told that the word "holy" originally meant "the other". Dunno if that's true but it seemed relevant somehow,.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:05 pm 
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In Hebrew and Arabic, the roots that we translate as "holy" mean "separate." K-D-SH in Hebrew and H-R-M in Arabic. (There may be other words for 'holy' in Arabic that I don't know about. Probabily superwiz could enlighten us.) The English word, though, comes from the German "heil," doesn't it? Meaning "high."

Above ... apart ... I suppose these come to the same thing.

(Is happy to be even again with Frelga.) :)

Jn

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:09 pm 
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holy
O.E. halig "holy," from P.Gmc. *khailagas (cf. O.N. heilagr, Ger. heilig, Goth. hailags "holy"), adopted at conversion for L. sanctus. Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not impossible to determine, but it was probably "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated," and connected with O.E. hal (see health) and O.H.G. heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the Ger. salutation heil).


Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved March 13, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/holy

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:18 am 
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Health! Yes, of course. Thanks, Frelga.

Jn

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:55 am 
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One of the things that troubles me whenever I come across it is some statement to the effect that we humans are "limited", that our minds "cannot comprehend creation", etc.

Huh?

What species is having this discussion? :scratch:

Not only can we comprehend creation, in one very real sense WE created it.

We are what we are. We have not even begun to scale the heights of what humans are capable of. Don't let's sell ourselves short.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:28 am 
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I believe humans are limited, you don't :D

I agree that we have not begun to scale the heights of what humans are capable of. It frustrates me greatly to see people get bogged down in nonsense ( like greedy capitalism and politics :blackeye: ) when it seems painfully obvious that we can be much more than that, that there's plenty out there we've yet to discover and invent.

However, neither have we descended to the depths we are capable of yet, and that's a small mercy.

But yes, even though we can go much, much further than we have - I don't believe we are limitless. We have a narrow little band of creation we can exist in. Outside that band, we will perish if unassisted. And there, beyond the limits of the human race, lies the parts of creation that we are, as of now, clueless about.

Or at least, that's how I consider it ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:34 am 
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No doubt we are limited. I only meant we have by no means reached that limit.

Sadly, I think we have gone much farther down than up. And I guess this isn't the place to point out that neither greed nor capitalism are necessarily evil. Nor are they even merely necessary evils.

But that's another thread.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:58 am 
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What an excellently wide range of opinions and beliefs! I'm so happy that I took the chance of posting my nebulous thoughts; they have really sparked some interesting thoughts.

First of all, I have to say to Anth and Prim that I really appreciated both of your posts. The only reason that I didn't say something at the time was that I didn't want it seem like the "believers" were ganging up on the "non-believer" (nel). I realize now that was a silly thing to think. But in any event, I'm very glad that dear Griffy saved the day. :love:

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Pardon the intrusion


Don't be ridiculous, my dear friend. It thrills me to no end to see you post here.

Quote:
Quote:
It has been little factors that could easily be passed off as coincidences. It has been awe at nature's beauty, and the incomprehensible hand and mind of artists like van Gogh or Mamady Keita (when you say "attribute them to natural forces" to me that is just another way of saying "attribute them to God"). Most of all, and most inexplicable, it is in learning to Love that I have come to "know" God. I simply cannot accept that Love could come from any other source.


Now, this is interesting to me because although I have (and do) experience wonder and sometimes awe with the, as you say, little things ... I have also in my past been privileged to feel a sort of ecstasy on a few occasions and I have called them 'spiritual' for lack of a better word. And yet, unlike many, my interpretation of these profoundly moving experiences do not lead me into a belief of a creator, a god or a higher power. Rather I prefer to think that I've been able to connect with the sentience of the planet itself and life as a whole .... knowing it as neither good nor bad but something that just is.


I honestly believe that the differences in our beliefs are largely a matter of semantics.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:20 am 
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vison wrote:
Sadly, I think we have gone much farther down than up. And I guess this isn't the place to point out that neither greed nor capitalism are necessarily evil. Nor are they even merely necessary evils.

But that's another thread.


I agree with your first sentence, and I'm intrigued by your second. I'm always curious to explore new viewpoints ... so if that thread is started, I'd be there reading!

*Griffonfully refrains from saying any more on the topic, since that would probably cause off-topic wandering and a thread split ;) ... hey, there's one way to start a thread :P *


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:35 am 
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It would be an interesting thread. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:44 am 
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Voronwë, I didn't intend for my post to give any impression of "ganging up" on Nel.

Nel, I am sorry if that was the impression I gave. I certainly did not intend to do so.

I will step back from this thread.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:56 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
First of all, I have to say to Anth and Prim that I really appreciated both of your posts. The only reason that I didn't say something at the time was that I didn't want it seem like the "believers" were ganging up on the "non-believer" (nel). I realize now that was a silly thing to think.


Voronwë, as always, your sensitivity is much appreciated. :hug: That said, when I enter a discussion and post potentially controversial thoughts, I can handle respectfully stated disagreement, even from several friends at the same time...especially when it comes to a topic that in the long run none of us can discuss with provable certainty.

With respect to Prim's post, I didn't even take it as expressing disagreement with mine. It sounds as though she and I have similar outlooks on the "why bad things" issue, except that she believes that God interacts with the world through the actions of human beings. I am open to that interpretation, but I think I had better work on the larger question of whether I believe that God exists first (it's a slightly complex question and might take me, oh, a few hours to work through. :P)

With respect to Anthy's post...it didn't bother me in the least, but it did bring home to me the difficulty of discussing this issue in a way that does not, hmmm, seem a little bit prejudicial to one side. Although I know - know - she couldn't have meant this, I can't get away from reading her analogy as, the "believers" are the ones who have accepted the more complex things as normal (i.e. they are further advanced in time), and the "non-believers" are the, er, 12th century denizens who can't understand televsion. I *know* she didn't mean that...and yet I keep reading it that way. I have every confidence that if I was to try an analogy, it would inadvertently show "believers" in the 12th century light. And I think that illustrates something about how we (all?) perceive our own positions versus our opposites' positions, maybe just at a subconscious level. But in any case, I certainly didn't feel ganged up on by her post.

I guess your sensitivity was even more greatly appreciated because I am dealing with a situation right now, in so-called "real life," where I feel that someone else is severely lacking in sensitivity, or perhaps just discernment, and I am at a loss for how to deal with it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Voronwë, I didn't intend for my post to give any impression of "ganging up" on Nel.


Prim, I didn't mean to suggest that your post did give that impression. I don't think that either your post or Anthy's post did. I was just explaining why I only responded to nel's post and didn't acknowledge both of your posts, despite appreciating what both of you had to say. I mostly just didn't want to come off as "rah rah rah" for our side. Which is silly, I know. And (as usually happens) now I've caused more problems then I would have if I had spoken up in the first place.

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I will step back from this thread.


Please don't. :( If anyone should step back from this thread, it should be me, because I am the one causing all the confusion. But I'm going to keep on trying to understand where people are coming from, and I beg you to help (and I don't beg very often).

Quote:
With respect to Anthy's post...it didn't bother me in the least, but it did bring home to me the difficulty of discussing this issue in a way that does not, hmmm, seem a little bit prejudicial to one side. Although I know - know - she couldn't have meant this, I can't get away from reading her analogy as, the "believers" are the ones who have accepted the more complex things as normal (i.e. they are further advanced in time), and the "non-believers" are the, er, 12th century denizens who can't understand televsion. I *know* she didn't mean that...and yet I keep reading it that way. I have every confidence that if I was to try an analogy, it would inadvertently show "believers" in the 12th century light. And I think that illustrates something about how we (all?) perceive our own positions versus our opposites' positions, maybe just at a subconscious level. But in any case, I certainly didn't feel ganged up on by her post.


Well said, nel. First of all, while I'm not going to speak for Anthy (though I almost feel that I could speak for her since I feel like her I understand her feelings about this as if they were my own) I can certainly confirm without any doubt that she did not mean it that way. But I do think that this highlights the difficulty of this type of discussion, and why it is important to enter into with a spirit of openness and seeking understanding (even if agreement is not possible). Because it is so easy to take offense where none is intended, and frankly I don't want anyone to feel like they need to step back from this thread. I think it is a very important discussion.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:27 pm 
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I've simmered down. (Sorry. . . .) This discussion is too good to keep out of. I'm reading, and I'll be participating as much as my work allows.

I'm glad you're sticking around, too, Voronwë. :hug: I hope Anthy does.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:31 pm 
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:hug:

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I hope Anthy does.


Me too. I can honestly say that sometimes she expresses my own feelings about this difficult subject better then I do.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:02 pm 
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nerdanel wrote:
With respect to Anthy's post...it didn't bother me in the least, but it did bring home to me the difficulty of discussing this issue in a way that does not, hmmm, seem a little bit prejudicial to one side.


This is a difficult issue to discuss!

Quote:
Although I know - know - she couldn't have meant this, I can't get away from reading her analogy as, the "believers" are the ones who have accepted the more complex things as normal (i.e. they are further advanced in time), and the "non-believers" are the, er, 12th century denizens who can't understand televsion.


I actually wasn't trying to address "believers" vs. "non-believers" in that post, I was trying to address the underlying theme that I read in some posts here, the one where people feel that because they have never experienced anything that would allow them to believe in something "else" going on, then they cannot accept that something "else" going on is even POSSIBLE.

I was trying to address the idea of things being possible, or even real, that are WAY outside of our set of provable, personal experiences. I think it's possible for us to feel, as a 12th century person confronted with the idea of television would feel, that something cannot be true because we cannot fathom it. It doesn't make that 12th century guy dumb, any more than it makes me dumb because I can't imagine the things that will be commonplace centuries from now.


But I'm sorry it read that way. :hug:

(BTW, I have not been on painkillers for almost a week. Any idiocy detected in my posts is inherent, I'm afraid. :P)


Quote:
I guess your sensitivity was even more greatly appreciated because I am dealing with a situation right now, in so-called "real life," where I feel that someone else is severely lacking in sensitivity, or perhaps just discernment, and I am at a loss for how to deal with it.


And an extra :hug: for that. This can be tough stuff...

Yov: :kiss: :D

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
:hug:

Quote:
I hope Anthy does.


Me too. I can honestly say that sometimes she expresses my own feelings about this difficult subject better then I do.


:love:


Last edited by anthriel on Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:04 pm 
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Interjecting with yay for no more painkillers!

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:05 pm 
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:horse:


:D


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:31 am 
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Why are there three dimensions?

When talking about God, people throw about "infinite" a lot. I wonder which infinity is meant ... is it the infinity associated with the natural numbers, that is the set { 1, 2, 3, ... }, or is it the infinity associated with the real numbers, which is demonstrably a larger infinity?

Of course this question is unanswerable. I think! Once again I hope to show how words come up short. One approach is to shift the focus away from God for a moment, and simply focus on those who do and don't believe in God ... specifically on their actions.

What differences are there in actions, in lives, between theists and atheists? It's hard to see any true, substantial differences that hold true for the entire groups. There are stereotypes, to be sure, but no reliable sure differences.

Look, religion is typically a communal thing, so I think the biggest measurable difference will be in how religious and non-religious people communicate with each other and find solace in difficult times. A concept of God is often rooted in texts which can be shared and a common understanding of the world established. I think to talk about God influencing the world with magic or miracles, while certainly applicable to the stories religion tells, is not the most important way of measuring God ( or the absence of God ). Look to the communication between people. Of course this can't be scientifically measured. Nor does communication based on X existing prove that X is real.

We ask why, in our most basic questions, and I think we usually answer with analogies. Or, if the question of why is asked repeatedly, the only possible answer will end up being an analogy to something you have experienced by memory or thought. You can ask why forever, of any supposed answer to the previous question of why, but at some point the person being questioned will just point to something you have experienced, and say, it's like that, and that's that. Why does the moon orbit the earth? Newton answered with an anology ... it's just like an apple falling. I've said this before, but the thing isn't that he answer why does an apple fall with "gravity", it's that he created a scientific analogy between these seemingly different things. The heavens were connected to our everyday experience, and one pillar in the old way of understanding God must have fallen, I guess.

There are all these analogies for the "why" question about God, and they seem to come up short sometimes, because they are basically just human experiences, and I guess we're expecting more. But that's all we have. When the only answer we have is our own experience, and so much of that experience is explainable through reason and a systematic method of investigation, then to some God can seem unnecessary, or clearly a human invention. That's a valid argument.

Some see God as necessary as a creator, when shown the universe in its complexity and mystery. Where did all this come from? There is another way to look at it, though. There are some "why" questions that seem to point to God. These are not questions about miracles or magic or invisible souls or the origin of the universe ... they are basic questions about reality that scientists ignore because they have to. Maybe the question I led off with is one of these, though not necessarily. Even if so, there is no perfect argument that the answer to the question must have anything to do with God or some related concept, even if science can't touch it.

I talked about these different sizes of infinity before, and I'd like to end by saying that there are some numbers ( if they really exist ) that can only be pointed to by God ( if God exists ). I do think God exists, though I think it's important to ask what "exists" means in this context. Anyway, some of the real numbers, when expressed in decimal form, are basically a string of random digits after the decimal point. A string of digits without any pattern. We can't ever communicate this number or understand it, because to do so we'd have to be able to hold an infinite number of digits in our mind at once. And yet it's taken on faith ( by way of the Axiom of Choice ) that this number exists! We talk about them, and use them, or at least use the theory of them. We decide that we can understand things about the real numbers even though we can't point to most of them. If these numbers that we can't point to don't exist, then a lot of the properties of the real line that are taken for granted fall apart.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:44 am 
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Great post, Faramond! I'll probably have to read two or three more times to really get a handle on it, though. There is a lot there to think about!

I will say this, though:

Quote:
Look, religion is typically a communal thing, so I think the biggest measurable difference will be in how religious and non-religious people communicate with each other and find solace in difficult times. A concept of God is often rooted in texts which can be shared and a common understanding of the world established.


I agree with this, in general. And yet, I am very much the exception that proves the rule, because for me religion has never been a communal thing, nor is my concept God rooted in texts (for the most part).

I'll be back once I have further digested your post.

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