Bill O’Reilly Has A New Book Claiming That Jesus Died In Protest Of High Taxes

killing jesusI can’t even. Via the Daily Beast, early Christianity expert Candida Moss reviews a new scholarly work for the Fox News crowd:

Jesus was killed because of taxes. That’s more or less the message of Bill O’Reilly’s new book. In Killing Jesus: A History, Bill O’Reilly and writing partner Martin Dugard bring us their long-awaited “accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived.”

The basic argument is that Jesus died because he interfered with the taxation-heavy Roman revenue stream. The reason the Jews eagerly anticipated the Messiah, writes O’Reilly, is, “When that moment arrives, Rome will be defeated and their lives will be free of taxation and want.”

It’s true that the people did long for the Messiah and that the majority of them were poor and oppressed. But even if the Romans had been overthrown the people would have still been paying tithes to Jewish authorities to sustain the Temple, as Biblical and Jewish laws demand.

O’Reilly argues that Temple taxes and profits from the moneychangers were back-channeled to Rome. But there is no evidence that the Romans benefited from the financial affairs of the Temple during Jesus’ lifetime.

The most striking part of O’Reilly’s biography is what is left out. The single most consistent social teaching in the New Testament is that Christians must support the poor, widows, and orphans, but this hardly gets a mention in Killing Jesus.

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  • Juan

    The really scary thing is that there are millions of people here in the US who will totally buy into this heinous piece of moronic right wing drivel.

    • kowalityjesus

      I think Bill is just trying to uphold his ongoing contract with Satan.

      • Codgitator

        Satan is way too cunning to approve this sort of derp.

        • kowalityjesus

          One man’s trash…
          He isn’t appealing to future colonists of Enceladus, ya know.

    • mannyfurious

      They are not “intelligent” people, per se, but they are extraordinarily clever. Their ability to twist and manipulate things to fit their worldview is breathtaking in its breadth and efficacy.

      • Juan

        They are well-trained, non-thinking, and I imagine deeply frightened people. Just like the protagonist’s friend In the movie, They Live, who did not want to see; the masses do not want to know. It seems that most people are deeply terrified of taking a critical look at their own ideology. In fact, if you were to point it out them, they still would not see it.
        To paraphrase Rick James, “Ideology is a hell of a drug.”

  • Simon Valentine

    yeah, and crowd surfing developed in appropriation to christian symbolism. true story.

  • Calypso_1

    That’s funny, when jebus was hanging out with the wee little tax collector he said he was saved after he gave half his possessions to the poor. Right after that he said render unto Caesar.

    • Sean

      Why are you determining Jesus’ own position on taxation by directly quoting what he said on the subject?
      That’s rational. It makes logical sense.
      Do you really think Americans want to hear that nonsense?

      Only Bill O’Reilly can make a Robin Hood type character sound like a character in an Ayn Rand novel….

    • Liam_McGonagle

      I’m sure Matthew doesn’t count as a ‘real’ apostle in O’Reilly’s book, seeing as he wasn’t born a Christian. Or at least that Matthew never could prove it with a registered birth certificate, at any rate.

      • spookiewon

        Um, Jesus wasn’t born a christian either…

  • lifobryan

    “How long wilt thou say these things? How long will the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?”

    Job 8:2

    • Calypso_1

      as long as dogs eat their own vomit

  • Ted Heistman

    I have a feeling this will be in the bargain book section for a dollar fifty in about 6 months.

    • Calypso_1

      and they’ll most likely still be charging full price for the kindle edition.

  • Chaos_Dynamics

    Did Jesus have a loofah?

  • Andrew

    The Antichrist appears.

    • DeepCough

      “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that
      Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
      KJV (1611): 2 John 1:7

    • http://Overgrow.ning.com/ ElectroPig Von FökkenGrüven

      <=- The Unclechrist. d=O)

  • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

    I just don’t know what the lord would do without these egomaniacs around to tell us what he really meant when he said…. whatever… suffer the little assholes to come unto me

  • $24170503

    Will the sequel be,
    “Resurrecting Satan”
    “How a Kenyan, Muslim Hawaiian Community Organizer brought Marxism to The U.S”
    :)

  • Sean

    Jesus….O’Reilly is pretty obsessed with dead cult heroes isn’t he?

    • http://Overgrow.ning.com/ ElectroPig Von FökkenGrüven

      Who can refute the words ascribed to someone that nobody alive has ever met, or will ever meet?

      It’s a great idea–as far as getting the wilfully ignorant and the pathetically uneducated and unthinking to bend over and take it–to put words in the mouth of someone who’s been dead for 2 MILLENNIA, and whose father is claimed to be an invisible omnipotent fairy from the sky.

      Nobody with a functional set of three or more firable synapses listens to pinheads like O’Reilly these days…the sad part is how many do.

      • Sean

        Ohhhh….I want that coin.
        Is that a geode in the center?? If so…I want it even more. That is a cool idea.

  • Sean

    As a secular atheist….I find it infuriating how the teachings of Jesus have been deformed by modern-day Christianity.

    The message of Jesus was pretty revolutionary….AND very similar to the overall message in Easter spiritual teachings.

    Jesus’ ENTIRE message has been completely ignored. Instead, Christians today worship the man…not the ideas he had. They’re in love with the way he died, the rituals made up after the fact, the symbolism, etc. They could care less about the core message itself.

    Jesus’ message could be summed up with two main points.
    1) Love is the single most powerful and redeeming force in reality. Without it, all hope and meaning are absent from life.
    2) You are not what you think you are. Consciousness is your nature. And consciousness is not what you think it is. You are ALL “sons” of “God.” You are all infinitely differentiated aspects of the one unified whole of reality…an objective oneness which is consciously apprehended through each individual subjective perspective.

    I’m an atheist…and I find his teachings to be quite important. I don’t actually believe Jesus existed…but that doesn’t matter. The IDEAS are what matter. If the writers of those teachings felt they had to filter it through a human character for it to be more palatable to people, I get it. Socrates probably didn’t exist either. So what? His ideas are what matter.

    Jesus himself even commented on how his disciples were so hung up on WHO he was…and ignoring WHAT he said.
    —————
    His disciples said to him, “Who are you to say these things to us?”
    Jesus said, “You don’t understand who I am from what I say to you.”
    —————

    Compare the following verses. One is a quote from Jesus. The other is from the Kena Upanishad…………..
    —————
    Jesus said, “I will give you what no eye has seen but which sees, what no ear has heard but which hears, what no hand has touched but which touches, what has not arisen in the human heart but which is the arising.”

    That which cannot be thought by mind, but by which mind is able to think.
    That which is not seen by the eye, but by which the eye is able to see.
    That which cannot be heard by the ear, but by which the ear is able to hear: know that alone to be Brahman.
    —————
    Pretty interesting isn’t it? BOTH verses point to one’s own consciousness as the key….the individuated portal through which the objective unified consciousness of the universe peers through. Do you ever hear Christians talking about THAT?

    In closing, a final word from Mr. Jesus……
    —————
    Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is both within you and outside you.
    —————

    • jnana

      you shouldnt judge all xians by the actions and ideologies of SOME of them, particularly the most hypocritical

      • Sean

        I don’t.
        I judge Christianity by the overall average actions and beliefs of most Christians.
        Just because, say 2%, feel differently….doesn’t mean they are definitive of the religion….nor should they pretend to claim to be the only ones with the “correct” understanding.
        That’s one of the many problems with the Bible. It’s SO convoluted that literally ANYONE can find ANYTHING in it.
        An immoral sadist can find inspiration from it.
        And a moral humanist can too.
        Every “believer” cherry-picks the Bible.
        Not a single one of them take the whole thing en masse. That would be impossible. It’s far far too contradictory for that.

        • jnana

          “That’s one of the many problems with the Bible. It’s SO convoluted that literally ANYONE can find ANYTHING in it.
          An immoral sadist can find inspiration from it.
          And a moral humanist can too.
          Every “believer” cherry-picks the Bible.
          Not a single one of them take the whole thing en masse. That would be impossible. It’s far far too contradictory for that.”

          I thought that was the beauty of good artwork. its wide open for personal interpretation. projection makes perception.

          • Sean

            I agree.

            But how many Christians are willing to say, “Of course the Bible isn’t meant to be a literal work of non-fiction. It’s a book of myth, fable, and parable. It’s a beautiful work of art. But, it’s not meant to be taken as literal truth…and certainly not as a book that was literally written by the creator of reality(assuming such a creator exists.”

            I’ve never met a Christian who would say that. I know they exist….but they are part of a very very small minority. You can’t say they speak for the majority of the religion.

            I’m an atheist, but I thought I made it clear in my first post that I respect Jesus, whether he was a real person or a mythic figure. His words are what count…and I find much beauty in them….the sort of beauty I find in almost all religions.

            And….I respect the Bible immensely. To understand Western history and literature, you need a good understanding of the Bible. It’s a must.

            Interestingly, it was reading the Bible(the whole damn thing) that lead to me letting go of Christianity(and religion in general). I was raised a Christian. Around the age of 24, it struck me…..I thought this book, the Bible, was inspired and/or directly written by the creator of reality itself. Now….IF such a book truly existed, who wouldn’t read it? And I mean ALL of it. If you truly thought the Creator of All Reality…..wrote a book….you’d be insane not to read every single word of it. And yet, most Christians have never read the entire thing. I hadn’t either.

            So….I started, Genesis 1:1 and read the entire thing. Once I finished, I then read the apocryphal books. Along the way, I studied the formation, cultivation, and spread of Christianity.
            The whole venture took about 2 years. But, by the end, I was an atheist. An atheist with newfound admiration for the Bible….but no longer able to accept it as some sort of literal word of a literal god.

          • Ted Heistman

            “”Of course the Bible isn’t meant to be a literal work of non-fiction.
            It’s a book of myth, fable, and parable. It’s a beautiful work of art.
            But, it’s not meant to be taken as literal truth…and certainly not as a
            book that was literally written by the creator of reality(assuming such
            a creator exists.””

            Basically The Seminaries of every mainline protestant denomination of Christianity says that and vast numbers of Roman Catholics too.

          • Sean

            Maybe so. Of course there are those who take it as such.
            But, most Christians do not.

            Over 70% of American Christians say they believe the virgin birth and resurrection are literally true. Not myths…not parables…not poetry….but literal history.

            It’s nice that some people don’t take it all so absurdly….but most do. Pointing to the minority that don’t doesn’t really mask the fact that most people do take it seriously.

          • Ted Heistman

            So why is this upsetting to you? I mean these are polls of random people, of average intelligence and probably nominal Christians. If you really think most Americans are Fundamentalists I think you are deluded.

          • Sean

            Where do you live?

            40% of Americans think Jesus will return in their life time. If that’s not fundamentalist, what is?

            I live in North East Tennessee….the buckle of the Bible Belt. Almost everyone here believes such things. Those who do not are very few and far between.

            However, younger people are rejecting such claims fast and furious.
            But the majority of Americans still believe many things on faith. It’s by no means a minority.

            It upsets me because these people treat others, act, and vote in ways that are conditioned by their beliefs. Beliefs matter….to everyone. I’d never be so bold as to make someone believe or not believe something. That’s fascist….and impossible.

            BUT….we ought to have a national conversation about it. By making such things an off-hands taboo….we stagnate public discourse and societal health.

          • atlanticus

            Did you know there are other people out there, right now, who are treating others, acting, and voting in ways conditioned by *other* beliefs, perhaps more objectionable to your personality than Christianity?

            There are even people out there who are making decisions based on their beliefs that other people should be dead or that they should be able to screw over other people, literally or figuratively, if they choose to do so.

            You might argue that many of these people are also informed by their beliefs in religion, but I think they would be the way they are, regardless of a handy excuse. That’s the reason for the warping of the original message of Christianity, to begin with.

          • jnana

            I don’t think it really matters what other people believe. there are all sorts of strange beliefs, whether mainstream or obscure. all that really matters, I guess, is what you may learn from them.
            I find it important to recognize the common ground we do share and open-mindedly discuss our disagreements.
            mostly, I posted a reply to you because I hear too often “how stupid those xians” are” and I believe its a mostly biased assessment. rarely do you hear so much bashing of other religions, although I do agree with most of your assessment about xianity. I just feel its a dead horse that’s been beaten too much, and people need to move on.

          • Sean

            “I don’t think it really matters what other people believe”

            Beliefs inform action. Those actions affect us all.
            I think what people believe matters more than just about anything.

            Even a seemingly harmless belief has it’s problems. Any belief based on faith(belief despite absence of evidence) can, and often does, lead to credulity among the believers. Credulous people are very very easy to take advantage of.

            Cynical malicious politicians and priests have always taken advantage of people bred on the idea that faith is a virtue.

            Of course no one should be ‘forced’ to believe, or not believe, anything. But….we should talk about it. If someone doesn’t want to question their own beliefs….it’s vital for others to do so. It keeps society healthy. Without that, it quickly becomes stagnant….and often opens people up to abuse and coercion by power-seeking people who know how to manipulate a person who takes things on faith.

          • jnana

            everyone lives and believes by faith, all the time. we couldn’t live without it. do you have any evidence life is worth living the next moment? yet, we continue to struggle and suffer and for what? how much of the beliefs you have do you truly have direct evidence of? mostly, you have to trust the technician/priests because you surely can’t do the research. Rather, you are depending on others to do it for you, having faith in them.
            Also, you claim others dn’t have evidence for their “faith”. But have you experienced what I have experienced?

          • Guest

            —————————
            everyone lives and believes by faith, all the time.
            —————————
            Many people do. Most do. But not everyone.
            I sure don’t. I make sure that I don’t believe anything on faith. If there’s something that cannot be known….I admit that I do not know it. To say I do know something that cannot be known….that’s just absurd. Faith is defined as belief in spite of an absence of evidence. If the evidence were there….it wouldn’t be faith. It’s just not true that everyone lived by faith.

            Many theists use that argument against atheists….saying atheism is a faith. It’s not. It’s a deduction of one particular belief: the existence of supernatural paranormal god(s). Atheists don’t have “faith” such god(s) don’t exist. They simply ask, where is the evidence? When sufficient evidence is not forthcoming, the only logical conclusion is that the argument “god(s) exist” cannot be grounded….and therefor cannot be conclusively called “true.”

            —————————
            we couldn’t live without it. do you have any evidence life is worth living the next moment?
            —————————
            Of course I do. I look at my past….and I see that life, even when it was hard, was worth it. Life is beautiful, painful, joyful, depressing, difficult, and effortless all at once. None of these things need be taken on faith. They’re a direct outcome of paying attention to what life is. By looking at our past, and our present moment, we can deduce that the future will also be worth it….just as the past was worth it. That’s not faith.

            —————————
            yet, we continue to struggle and suffer and for what?
            —————————
            The joy of existing. It’s a big game. It’s like a play or movie with a never-ending plot. Without the struggling and suffering….life would be meaningless. It would just be a big vapid blissed-out state void of any struggle or redemption. The Christian idea of heaven actually sounds like a kind of hell. Their idea of heaven sounds 100% the same as someone zonked out on heroin 24/7. The only heaven worth living in is one where struggle is possible. Without struggle, life means nothing. Life itself is heaven….the only heaven worth living in.

            —————————
            how much of the beliefs you have do you truly have direct evidence of?
            —————————
            All of them. If I don’t have evidence for a certain claim….I don’t pretend I have evidence and pick something to believe. For instance, I have zero idea how or why the universe exists. We might know details….but the big question: Why is there something instead of nothing….is a question without an answer, as of now. I’d be supremely arrogant and immodest to claim I know the answer to that. I don’t know. I can’t know. And no one else knows either.

            In fact, it’s the mystery that is exciting and sensual. Some people are very uncomfortable admitting that they cannot know something…..so…..they chose to believe in an answer anyway. But, that’s just cowardly and dishonest. I do not understand why so many people are so afraid of not knowing. The mystery is immensely invigorating and intriguing. Why not work to find the answer….instead of pretending to have an answer?

            Some people say knowing your lover(or wife, etc) loves you…is based on faith. How absurd. If someone loves you….there is evidence to convince you. Without that evidence, it would simply be a guess. A hunch. I know someone loves me because they show it….that display of affection is evidence of the love that animates it.

            —————————
            mostly, you have to trust the technician/priests because you surely can’t do the research.
            —————————
            I don’t just trust someone on face value. I do indeed do the research. What’s my excuse not to? We all have the entirety of the world’s information at our fingers. Why would you not seek that out? I seek out anything and everything that we can and do know. Of the things we cannot and do not know….I admit I cannot and do not know it. Simple.

            —————————
            Rather, you are depending on others to do it for you, having faith in them.
            —————————
            Absolutely not. I have faith in no one and no thing. That’s credulous. If someone claims something is true….I look in to their reasoning behind it. If the reasoning holds up empirically, I accept it CONDITIONALLY(that part is important). If the evidence does not hold up, I reject their claim. Again…simple. And it require no faith. It simply requires curiosity, honesty, and effort. Many find that too hard or daunting….and so they fall back on the easy and comfortable approach: faith.

            —————————
            Also, you claim others don’t have evidence for their “faith”. But have you experienced what I have experienced?
            —————————
            I think you’re misunderstanding the definition of the word faith. If a faith claim has evidence….then it’s not faith. It’s a fact. A fact can be accepted because it is verified. Faith is accepted DESPITE a lack of sufficient evidence. That word sufficient is important. As Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

            A personal experience cannot be objective evidence. It may be subjective evidence….but there’s a huge difference between the two. I myself have had very extraordinary experiences that lead me to entertain certain ideas….but I would never be so arrogant as to say that experience I had is objective evidence that others should respect as empirical in nature. Surely you can see the difference, right?

          • atlanticus

            “I don’t just trust someone on face value. I do indeed do the research. What’s my excuse not to? We all have the entirety of the world’s information at our fingers. Why would you not seek that out? I seek out anything and everything that we can and do know.”

            Oh, so you go to the lab and see the results of the experiments with your own eyes? Unless you’ve performed the experiment yourself, or seen the results directly, you’re just relying on someone’s report of the events. Time and time again research groups have been busted for falsifying results, usually because their funding is provided by someone who wanted a specific answer in the first place.

            You really do know less than you think–I don’t care what scientific journals you read. (Not that that’s any excuse to stop reading them, or doing your “research”, but I’m just pointing out that anything other than direct experience is indeed, questionable)…

          • Sean

            Even direct experience is questionable. You can’t know if your own brain is seeing reality as it is…whatever that even means.
            So…in a sense, I agree with you.

            However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all evidence is equal in nature. Even if you’re taking evidence from a scientist second hand….there’s a method(the scientific method) that has built in error correction at it’s core. Religion, for instance, does not. So, the claims of a scientist and the claims of a preacher are not on equal footing.

          • atlanticus

            “Even direct experience is questionable”

            Indeed!

            Still, my point about science is a specific complaint about the reliance on funding from questionable or obviously biased sources. I have no problems with the scientific method. This reliance is what is preventing the scientific method from operating in reality.

          • Sean

            @johnnyjnana:disqus
            —————————
            everyone lives and believes by faith, all the time.
            —————————
            Many people do. Most do. But not everyone.
            I sure don’t. I make sure that I don’t believe anything on faith. If there’s something that cannot be known….I admit that I do not know it. To say I do know something that cannot be known….that’s just absurd. Faith is defined as belief in spite of an absence of evidence. If the evidence were there….it wouldn’t be faith. It’s just not true that everyone lived by faith.

            Many theists use that argument against atheists….saying atheism is a faith. It’s not. It’s a deduction of one particular belief: the existence of supernatural paranormal god(s). Atheists don’t have “faith” such god(s) don’t exist. They simply ask, where is the evidence? When sufficient evidence is not forthcoming, the only logical conclusion is that the argument “god(s) exist” cannot be grounded….and therefor cannot be conclusively called “true.”

            —————————
            we couldn’t live without it. do you have any evidence life is worth living the next moment?
            —————————
            Of course I do. I look at my past….and I see that life, even when it was hard, was worth it. Life is beautiful, painful, joyful, depressing, difficult, and effortless all at once. None of these things need be taken on faith. They’re a direct outcome of paying attention to what life is. By looking at our past, and our present moment, we can deduce that the future will also be worth it….just as the past was worth it. That’s not faith.

            —————————
            yet, we continue to struggle and suffer and for what?
            —————————
            The joy of existing. It’s a big game. It’s like a play or movie with a never-ending plot. Without the struggling and suffering….life would be meaningless. It would just be a big vapid blissed-out state void of any struggle or redemption. The Christian idea of heaven actually sounds like a kind of hell. Their idea of heaven sounds 100% the same as someone zonked out on heroin 24/7. The only heaven worth living in is one where struggle is possible. Without struggle, life means nothing. Life itself is heaven….the only heaven worth living in.

            —————————
            how much of the beliefs you have do you truly have direct evidence of?
            —————————
            All of them. If I don’t have evidence for a certain claim….I don’t pretend I have evidence and pick something to believe. For instance, I have zero idea how or why the universe exists. We might know details….but the big question: Why is there something instead of nothing….is a question without an answer, as of now. I’d be supremely arrogant and immodest to claim I know the answer to that. I don’t know. I can’t know. And no one else knows either.

            In fact, it’s the mystery that is exciting and sensual. Some people are very uncomfortable admitting that they cannot know something…..so…..they chose to believe in an answer anyway. But, that’s just cowardly and dishonest. I do not understand why so many people are so afraid of not knowing. The mystery is immensely invigorating and intriguing. Why not work to find the answer….instead of pretending to have an answer?

            Some people say knowing your lover(or wife, etc) loves you…is based on faith. How absurd. If someone loves you….there is evidence to convince you. Without that evidence, it would simply be a guess. A hunch. I know someone loves me because they show it….that display of affection is evidence of the love that animates it.

            —————————
            mostly, you have to trust the technician/priests because you surely can’t do the research.
            —————————
            I don’t just trust someone on face value. I do indeed do the research. What’s my excuse not to? We all have the entirety of the world’s information at our fingers. Why would you not seek that out? I seek out anything and everything that we can and do know. Of the things we cannot and do not know….I admit I cannot and do not know it. Simple.

            —————————
            Rather, you are depending on others to do it for you, having faith in them.
            —————————
            Absolutely not. I have faith in no one and no thing. That’s credulous. If someone claims something is true….I look in to their reasoning behind it. If the reasoning holds up empirically, I accept it CONDITIONALLY(that part is important). If the evidence does not hold up, I reject their claim. Again…simple. And it require no faith. It simply requires curiosity, honesty, and effort. Many find that too hard or daunting….and so they fall back on the easy and comfortable approach: faith.

            —————————
            Also, you claim others don’t have evidence for their “faith”. But have you experienced what I have experienced?
            —————————
            I think you’re misunderstanding the definition of the word faith. If a faith claim has evidence….then it’s not faith. It’s a fact. A fact can be accepted because it is verified. Faith is accepted DESPITE a lack of sufficient evidence. That word sufficient is important. As Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

            A personal experience cannot be objective evidence. It may be subjective evidence….but there’s a huge difference between the two. I myself have had very extraordinary experiences that lead me to entertain certain ideas….but I would never be so arrogant as to say that experience I had is objective evidence that others should respect as empirical in nature. Surely you can see the difference, right?

          • jnana

            Life is Mystery. What is not Mystery, is not life. Therefore, what is known is not real. And what is the Unknown, IS REAL.
            Although you and most atheists claim you don’t ever have Faith, I firmly disagree and know that all beings, if even deeply unconsciously, live by Faith. I also know you don’t have direct evidence of many of your beliefs, because you can’t possibly do all the research others have done for you. For much of it, you just have to take their word for it. Quantum mechanics, physics, astronomy, microbiology, and much more are beyond your limited understanding and direct knowledge. All you will ever truly be able to know is your Self. And your Self(not to be confused with your ego) is created by the Good God, and therefore you may have an intimation of who this God is. Im sure you heard we only use 10% of our potential. There is a lot more to you than you may realize.
            But I accept your disagreement and would only like you to keep an open mind. Then, you may someday truly Know

          • atlanticus

            …”everyone must stand alone, I hear you call my name, and it feels like…hooome…”

            Question, how do you know God is Good? Who defines this? What is Good?

            Also, the concept that we only use 10% of our brains (it is usually quoted as brain, not potential, as I’ve heard it) is demonstrably false.

            Although, I concede that I am not a neuroscientist, so must rely on the research of others. Just playin’ Devil’s Advocate, so to speak…every argument between a theist and an atheist should have at least one agnostic point of view.

          • jnana

            I know God is Good, because I long for the Good. I long for the Pleroma(Fullness) because I have intimations of having been there. And/or the desire for the Good is placed in my soul by the Good to bring me back to the Good. In the world of duality it would be called circular reasoning, but I know that god is Good because of my desire for the Good.
            What is Good? Good is what I long for, my deepest desire(s). So, by meditating on what are our deepest desires, we may know what is Good. When we are perfectly honest with ourselves and are blessed with Insight, we will Know. So, its not necessary to tell others what is Good, because those who come from the Good will be in accord with each other. One question: do we all come from the Good? Id say yes, but the alternative is possible, too.
            I sometimes play Devils Advocate with my self, exploring deep doubts and fears. And one potential reality Ive entertained is that the desire for Good(and Truth and Love and what have you) was placed in our souls by a malicious creator who likes to cause us suffering, eternally playing with us the way a cat plays with a mouse, letting it live as long as it is entertained by it. Then killing it for fun.
            As for the 10% “statistic”, it was more of a metaphor than a fact. I’m a poet, not a scientist
            ;)

          • atlanticus

            :/

            …I think it may be slightly easier to argue with atheists…

            “What is Good? Good is what I long for, my deepest desire(s). So, by meditating on what are our deepest desires, we may know what is Good. When we are perfectly honest with ourselves and are blessed with Insight, we will Know. So, its not necessary to tell others what is Good, because those who come from the Good will be in accord with each other.”

            Okay, what if your deepest desire was to murder or rape practically everyone? Would you say God was on your side and that the murder/rape was good? That sounds like the exact formula for the more disturbing end-points of fundamentalism.

            Just because you can get a lot of people to agree with you that it is Good does not make it so.

            I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t even have to get much further than the Greek philosophers to find hundreds of counter-points to that logic…

            So, again, Who or What defines what is Good? If you decide that you decide what is Good, doesn’t that make you God?

          • Calypso_1

            “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Amen

          • jnana

            The Bible is not the same as the Good.
            dead letter of the law and all that

          • Calypso_1

            Capitalizing Words Does Not Imbue Them With Extra-syntactical Potency.

          • jnana

            The Good is different than the good.
            A personal noun refers to a person w/ independent existence. The Good is also a place and a reality.

          • Calypso_1

            Cool.

          • Andrew

            I think that depends on the reader.

          • Calypso_1

            I AGREE:

          • Sean

            Right Fucking On Point.
            Nothing is more annoying than when people say things like, “Maybe one day you’ll know Truth like I do.” or “My beliefs are based on Faith and the longing for the Good in Life.”
            Nothing screams “metaphysical narcissist” like capitalizing normally uncapitalized words.

          • Calypso_1

            In sympathy for those on this path: The longing and pursuit of Love & Union with the Highest Being is one i am loathe to decry. Of all our intrinsic individual limitations of experience & perception, persons who have a heartfelt desire for truth no matter the form or weakness it may have are few enough in this world. Though I might find a need for broadening the shared ground in a case like this, I can truly say that jnana has always come across as decent & sincere in such pursuits. It is in this forum, of any I have ever found, where such searches actually yield at times a commingling and awareness of the other…even when coupled with confrontation.

          • atlanticus

            It does when I’m talking about The End Of Time (“Of” intentional).

          • Calypso_1

            what of The Fetid Omen of The Feinted OM within The Fomented I, whereto I Teemed Of Nth?

          • atlanticus

            …the…offensive smelling…prophetic sign…of the…false attack…”om”…within…the…promoting growth…i…to which…i…swarmed of…utmost…

            O_o

            Sure. If that doesn’t deserve capitalization, what does?

          • Calypso_1

            anagrammatic extrapolation of
            The End Of Time
            interpolated w/ intra-syntactical potency:

            putrescent portents of the autocosmogeniture’s aggro-artifice inciting i to engulf exponentially ad infinitum

            immanentizing the eschaton – a rueful ruse

            what do you speak of when you speak of the End Of Time?

          • atlanticus

            “immanentizing the eschaton”, naturally.

          • jnana

            That’s why I gave the caveat, ” when we are perfectly honest with ourselves and blessed with insight”.

            I don’t believe anyone who is truly conscious can commit evil, unless they are too weak to do Good. If you are conscious(awake) why would you need to rape or kill? I don’t believe anyone’s deepest desires involve harming others. Unless there are some people who aren’t created by the Good.

            So who defines what is Good? I mean, isn’t it pretty clear every individual has to do that? Either that or abdicate responsibility and hope salvation lies in conforming to the society around you.
            People are often deceived about what is Good, but if someone wants to know and guards themselves against deception (by “Knowing themselves”), it becomes much clearer. Sophia is Infinite and it can take many lifetimes to get to know her.

            from Jeremiah

            “31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

            I think this is true, that is, that everyone has a direct line to the Truth.

          • atlanticus

            I see your caveat, I just think that each term, unpacked, is so nebulous that it chases itself…as you admitted, “circular reasoning”.

            Take “insight” for example. Insight into what? Ourselves? Again, I do think some people truly desire to rape and kill. Their deepest “insight” would lead to the same conclusion. To say these people are *not* created by the Good leads to the start of the same circle:

            Q: Okay, well then what is this “Good” which has created some but not all?

            A: We each have to decide for ourselves.

            Q: Even those not created by the Good?

            Believe whatever you like, of course. I just wouldn’t give you an A on a philosophy essay, is all…

          • jnana

            That’s kinda why I dropped out.
            Philosophy=Love of Wisdom
            more of a lifestyle, a dynamic relationship and all that involves, which can be fun to write about, but is best lived.

          • jnana

            Why would someone with clear insight into who they are want to rape and kill another? With insight into who you are, you would realize you are not simply a physical body with solely physical desires. If you believe your deepest desires involve harming another for temporal physical satisfaction, you are deluded and do not have Insight.

          • atlanticus

            Because not everyone looks into themselves and sees what you think they should see. That’s only what *you* see.

            Some people look into themselves and see NOTHING. One can take that insight and be all Buddhist about it, or they can become a nihilist, but that is in fact, what they truly see.

            Do you see how you are defining Insight? If one does not “see” what you think they should “see” it is not the “real sight”?

            I.e. You are creating your own definition of Good, Insight, etc. You are the God of your own religion.

          • jnana

            All bodies need to eat. Some have more of an appetite than others but we all need proteins, fats, etc. We all must breathe. All One as some mystics say. Only when something obscures who we are do we think we are separate. Conditioning and psychological complexes can create delusions and twist the mind. All sorts of desires may arise. We get bit by some bug and need to scratch the itch. At the root is Eros and Thanatos, which are one and the same. Fulfillment and annihilation of the Self. At the root of all Life is the same desire.

          • atlanticus

            Roses are red, violets are violet, methinks your responses are on autopilot. ;)

            If anything, pointing out the physicality of our bodies would be an argument that we ARE only a physical body with physical impulses…there is no reason to assume that we are “all one”, except in the most abstract sense that we are all one species, or we are “all one” in the sense of being part of this universe…of course, these “insights” require scientific understanding (or other conditioning), and so aren’t exactly obvious…

          • jnana

            our perspectives cant seem to find resonance.
            but that’s only an illusion
            ;)

          • atlanticus

            Once, during a salvia trip (the only hallucinogen I have repeated experience with) I realized that I couldn’t turn around because if I did I would see I was everyone. Or something like that. It’s all a little fuzzy.

          • jnana

            Salvia Divinorum isn’t technically a hallucinogen as it doesn’t act on a certain dopamine receptor which all other hallucinogens act on. It is a mysterious plant that might have a lot to teach about the nature of consciousness. There is very little research done on how it acts on the brain.

            Why do you think plants influence consciousness? Some have obvious importance, such as Opium. but what about the entheogens? Is it simply chance that they can have such a strong influence on our consciousness? It is clear to me that they have had a beneficial effect on many individuals, guiding many to be more empathetic and granting many Insight. Having the opposite effects for some, too.

            I have a theory that some entheogens kill parasites(physical and spiritual) and that is one reason they have a strong(often beneficial) influence on our consciousness.

          • atlanticus

            Well, I have a theory that hallucinogens open trans-dimensional portals and this is the reason for Indigo children and The End Of Time and alien abductions from the future who are actually our descendents after generations of GMO food and/or the “Hyperspace Elves”, who have to come back in time to collect fresh DNA and souls because they don’t have any…but they’re really being controlled by the Pleiadian neo-Nazis who are the descendents of the Illuminati elite…and…this is all really Crowley’s fault anyway, ’cause if he hadn’t started talking to them/us, They wouldn’t even know we were here (in the past) to manipulate to ensure their future. Therefore, LSD was a plot by the occult NWO to open dimensions/future time possibilities…

            I think the Terminator is in there somewhere, as well. (Oh fuck! I forgot “Ancient Aliens”…okay, well, they’re in there too…like, at the beginning, somewhere.)

            Nah, I don’t know. I don’t even necessarily believe that entities are physically outside of our consciousness or actually separate from our own consciousness…I just know that the one time I took ‘shrooms, I thought everything was fucking retarded. My “inner voice” or the “shroom voice” is a horrible cynic. :/

          • jnana

            no, im serious. Some people theorize parasites have a deleterious effect on consciousness. For example, the parasite in cat shit(toxoplasmosis) is suspected of being a cause of schizophrenia and cause other mental problems. This parasite infects rats and causes them to be attracted to cat urine. So the rats get eaten by cats and keep the life cycle of the parasite going. (crazy cat lady syndrome?)
            Also, there are scientists who don’t think that an organism is really one organism, that is, you have all sorts of micro-organisms living in and on you. You have heard of that parasite that infects an ant and basically controls it. Who knows how much we may be influenced by parasites? I know parasites thrive off a crappy diet and I have a theory they may actually cause us to crave crappy food.
            Have you read the Don Juan books by Carlos Casteneda and The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz? They mention spiritual parasites that sap us of our energy and influence us in a way that will cause them to thrive off us.

          • atlanticus

            Oh, I am WELL aware of T. Gondii. I was telling everyone about that shit (heh) before that NYTimes article…like, when I was in high school, I think. Always fascinated me because my whole family loves cats and I have an uncle who is schizophrenic and practically everyone has had some “other-worldly” experience…yup. In fact, I left this comment elsewhere on Disinfo some time ago:

            “Cats and their poo parasites are only responsible for schizophrenic, arty shut-ins and slutty ladies…and maybe witchcraft. So, you know, they’re actually part of the solution.”

            As for Carlos Castaneda…*sigh*…that guy… I read part of “The Teachings of Don Juan” (I might even still have the copy, somewhere around here…) but even beyond the controversy surrounding whether or not Don Juan even existed…eh, perhaps you never heard what became of Castaneda’s “companions” after his death?

            “After Castaneda stepped away from public view in 1973, he bought a large house in Los Angeles which he shared with three of his female companions. The women broke off relationships with friends and family when they joined Castaneda’s group. They also refused to be photographed and took new names: Regina Thal became Florinda Donner-Grau, Maryann Simko became Taisha Abelar and Kathleen Pohlman became Carol Tiggs.

            […]

            Shortly after Castaneda died, Donner-Grau and Abelar disappeared, along with Patricia Partin. Amalia Marquez
            (also known as Talia Bey) and Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl had their phones disconnected and also disappeared. On August 2, 1998, Carol spoke at a workshop in Ontario. The remains of Partin, also referred to by Castaneda as Nury Alexander and/or Claude, were found in 2003 near where her abandoned car had been discovered a few weeks after Castaneda’s death in 1998, on the edge of Death Valley. Her remains were in a condition requiring DNA identification, which was made in 2006.[2]

            Because the women had cut all ties with family and friends, it was some time before people noticed they were missing. There has been no official investigation into the disappearances of Donner-Grau, Simko and Lundahl. Luis Marquez, the brother of Talia Bey, went to police in 1999 over his sister’s disappearance, but was unable to convince them that her disappearance merited investigation. Their opinion changed in 2006 after the remains of Patricia Partin were identified, and the LAPD finally added Bey to their missing person database.[9]”

          • Calypso_1

            I missed you previous T. gondii quote. I’d love to take it to the local embroidery shop to put on a cute kitty pillow…it is however run by members of the local Baptist Mega-Compound.

          • jnana

            I had heard some shady things about Castaneda. never knew about that, though. I have distrusted his stuff since I first began reading it. I first found his books enlightening and entertaining until I got stoned and got the Fear. These crazy ideas came into my head that these books were a CIA psyops. At the time I was 16 and never heard the stuff about psyops and cointelpro(at least that I was consciously aware of). Later I heard about them being a likely forgery but I still think they may contain valid Toltec wisdom mixed w/ other traditions, so I glean from them for spiritual advice. There have been a few forgeries of scripture that I still find enlightening.

          • atlanticus

            I suppose there could be some truth to it…the story goes that he was a scholar in those matters after all, right?

          • atlanticus

            I guess that didn’t really answer your question, beyond letting you know I find Carlos Casteneda to be “suspicious”…

            Again, I really don’t know what to think about entities, or “spiritual parasites”, as you put it, because I have seen them, but I can’t be certain they aren’t in my own consciousness. Basically, no matter what, I have to stick with the default assumption that I can only know what I sense and yet, my senses are imperfect.

          • jnana

            as for the “shroom voice”, entheogens often have the effect of bringing up psychic contents we keep buried. With practice and guidance, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Can you share a bit more on which substances may have this effect? I’m working on purging some thoughtforms that could be described as parasitic.

          • jnana

            San Pedro(especially Peruvian Torch) and peyotl (both cacti contain mesclin) I suspect purge us of physical and spiritual parasites. These entheogens are sacred teachers and ask that you prepare beforehand, perhaps not eating meat and having sex and keeping mindful for a week prior. But they aren’t as demanding as other entheogens, such as Ayahuasca. Well, maybe peyotl is, I don’t know.
            Remember this, too: Ask and you shall receive and try to have a clear intention beforehand.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Thanks. I’ve found intention is key in these things. I had forgotten that I may actually know how to contact ceremonial groups that work with peyote and ayahuasca, neither of which I’ve experienced.

          • jnana

            in Oregon and Arizona, peyote is legal to ingest by anyone with “religious intentions”. I forget where I read that, so its probably a good idea to research that first.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            :)
            Love is the law, love under will.

          • Calypso_1

            email me

          • Calypso_1

            There are whole classes of hallucinogens that have little to do with dopamine receptors.

          • jnana

            Really? Like what?
            But I do know that Salvia Divinorum is a very unique entheogen, not really comparable in its effects to anything.

          • Calypso_1

            Some psychological complexes or better yet types of brain damage can destroy the sense of self. All becomes one. And it isn’t pretty. People conflate mystical & entheogenic induced ego loss states that are coupled with bliss to have meaning & import on a universal scale from which they create sweeping generalizations. Such states can be broken down into constituent components of neurological function and assigned levels of import based on nothing more than yet another physiological experience & a hypothetically extracted belief system. There can be experiences of oneness without bliss and bliss without oneness. The assumption that every living being seeks this oneness is a metaphysical paradigm that no one or One aspect of existence has the right (or means) to impose upon any other consciousness.
            You should hear somebody with erotomania talk. It’s the same concepts. Life/death. Fulfillment/annihilation. We are One. Funny how the object of such desire just can’t feel those ‘psychic’ emissions. Instead they file an Order of Protection.

          • jnana

            I understand that neurological function can determine subjective experiences, but it may be possible the brain is the interface(would that be the correct term?) between material and spiritual realm. In some metaphysical systems “events” occur primarily in the Astral Realm and is then manifested in the Physical Realm. The Astral Realm being the Cause and the Physical Realm being the Effect. That is at least the premise behind some systems of Magick.

            I agree that not all experiences of mystical oneness and bliss are equal to Gnosis. I believe that is what many modern Gnostics make the mistake of. Gnosis may share some similarities with such. But that may be because the Demiurge is an imitator.

            I don’t believe anyone is imposing these assumptions on anyone else’s consciousness. I don’t even know what that would imply.

            I have no intention to impose my understanding of Reality upon you and I don’t need confirmation. Neither am I implying I have Omniscience, although I intuit that omniscience is possible.

          • Calypso_1

            Is it possible that the brain interfaces with something else? sure, and there are those trying to understand what this might actually be.
            The idea of an ‘astral realm’ is a loaded concept, with immense baggage from myriad systems of thought that have no founding in anything other than supposition,speculation & tradition regarding elements of conscious realty that are unknown and largely untestable. There is no way you can say with certainty that these experiences are causal of the ‘physical realm’ despite what impressions to the contrary may be experienced while under the influence of such states. There is no room for anyone to argue that these states cannot be experienced and that such experiences in themselves are not real. It is the idea that we could possible have a true & in particular revelatory understanding of such states that is problematic. Does this mean I discount gnosis ie direct knowledge? I do not. The universe demonstrates many forms of direct interaction. I do not consider knowledge & consciousness as frameworks that exist outside of existence anymore than I would a chemical reaction.

            I don’t believe that you are stating you have omniscience or are trying to impose your understanding upon me. If your framework for belief does not require confirmation then that is your choice, but at best would be defined as faith from a rational perspective.

          • jnana

            according to the materialist evolutionary perspective, why are mystical states even possible? are you claiming they’re simply malfunctions? or could they be our next step in evolution? what is consciousness evolving to and why?

          • Calypso_1

            I am not claiming they are merely malfunctions. Malfunctions though, since they are often less transient than optimized states give great insight into the functioning of complex systems {Don’t get me started on transient malfunctions though :( }.
            Why are mystical states possible? Because they are. Just like anything else. As to our next step in evolution, there is no way to predict that. Speculation is fine & I believe that consciously directed evolution is itself evolving.
            I am well aware of mystical pursuits and a variety of systems & methodologies used in such endeavors because I have practiced them. In doing so I have seen no need to adopt wholesale any metaphysical tradition for interpretive or guidance purposes as none of these systems have had an objective pathway unmired by cultural/historical context. All work is in the now. Unless what is claimed to have been known correlates to what is known, though I may choose to examine it as a method of speculation & discovery, I find it merely an exercise in fashion to adopt trappings of belief systems which have no significant demonstrable bearing on reality.

          • atlanticus

            That is the one question (implied) that always gets me: why do we have consciousness at all? Why can we ask “why”? Do the other animals do this? Because it doesn’t seem like they do, but that could easily be a mistake in our understanding…still, even if the other animals all ponder their own consciousness, the question still stands…

          • Calypso_1

            Unfortunately you are very Wrong. i hope you never have the misfortune of encountering One such as Is capable of That you believe impossible.

          • jnana

            well, not that I would wish harm on my body, cause that hurts. but it is temporary and so has no inherent existence. and any person who only believes in the temporal I expect suffers the same fate as the temporal. pain is temporal bliss is eternal. Socrates was no dummy, y’know

          • jnana

            and what I believe is impossible is that a person can be awake and conscious and still desire to harm another for the sake of egoic satisfaction. I believe to be awake is to realize the illusion of the world and therefore not identify with the body and ego only, but instead to identify with the Spirit. And to harm another is to harm yerself. So I don’t think that it is such a ludicrous belief as you seem to think.

          • Calypso_1

            Why should you assume it has anything to do with ego satisfaction or desire? Or that it has anything to do with pain or bliss, the temporal or eternal.

          • jnana

            Aren’t we all driven to fulfill our desires? It seems to me to be the nature of existence. And am I wrong to say that nearly all of humanity’s desires involve fulfilling the desires of the flesh and ego? Am I wrong to say that nearly all of humanity seeks pleasure and avoids pain(a masochist still seeks satisfaction and pleasure, they just feel that pain gives them pleasure).

            the Buddha is much better at expounding upon this than me. he, too, recognized that the desire for pleasure and avoidance of pain is a trap that ensnares consciousness to the wheel of suffering. to abandon the world of changes is to find refuge in the Eternal Unchanging. unchaining?

          • Calypso_1

            All driven to fulfill desires- certainly not. Many have no drive whatsoever to fulfill their desires. Or to broaden the concept: desires obviously fall onto the standard hierarchy of needs. Individuals have varying developmental capacities for awareness and means to function within those strata. Some individuals both at the appropriate developmental stage & in various conditions are unable to pursue their most basic needs. The more abstract the needs become the more displaced and unaware an individuals desires may be, never having achieved mature enough function to fulfill prerequisite needs. ‘Desires’ can easily become fantasy into which no personal direction or development is directed.

            As to saying those desires are related to flesh, I would not be willing to concede that any desire does not come from this realm.

            Pleasure & pain are simply hardwired impulses to invoke specific behaviors that in the majority of circumstances provide base level positive survival instincts to the organism. These can be circumvented both through will, conditioning & more heinous means – even when wholly deleterious to the body/mind.

          • Andrew

            > Life is Mystery. What is not Mystery, is not life. Therefore, what is known is not real. And what is the Unknown, IS REAL.

            How do you know that’s true?

            > All you will ever truly be able to know is your Self.

            Therefore my Self is not REAL.

          • jnana

            Anyone who gets to know me enough to have heard my “philosophical discourses”, that is anyone who has a beer with me and a smoke, will start to pick out such examples you gave and call or imply im a hypocrite. I would rather say that I’m an amphibious creature living in multiple dimensions with sometimes conflicting laws. But then they would just say I’m crazy.

            What is myth? What is reality? What is the myth of reality? What is the reality of myth?

            “> Life is Mystery. What is not Mystery, is not life. Therefore, what is known is not real. And what is the Unknown, IS REAL.

            How do you know that’s true?”

            The Unknown is Reality yes I know
            Because Heraclitus told me so.

            “The hidden harmony is better than the visible.”- Heraclitus

            I remember hearing it as,” The hidden is master of the manifest”

          • Sean

            I feel you didn’t understand anything I said.
            If everything is Mystery….than how(and why) would you have ANY beliefs? If NOTHING can be known….why would you claim to know…anything?

            It’s pretty arrogant to claim that you know I, and others, live by faith. You’re not me. You don’t understand half of my thought process. I would never presume to tell you how you believe. Why do you do it to everyone else though?

            I thought I made it pretty clear. I believe what can be known sufficiently. The word “sufficiently” is a supremely important qualifier btw.

            If I cannot know something….if something truly is a deep mystery….then I do not have ANY beliefs about it. Again, I thought I made that clear.

            You’re right that much of life is mystery. Indeed, all the biggest questions are 100% mystery.
            Why does reality exist at all?
            What is reality?
            What is consciousness?
            ALL mysteries. 100% mysteries.
            Faith…….is claiming that you can know, or do know, the answers to those mysteries. That’s why it’s fundamentally dishonest.

            Again, as I said, when if comes to such mysteries….I do not claim to know. How could I? How arrogant would that be? I don’t live those questions on faith. I have ZERO belief about the nature of reality or consciousness. I cannot know…and do not know. Pretending I do know is grossly dishonest. Instead, I live in and love the mystery itself. The deep mystery of not knowing….THAT is beautiful and humbling and exciting. Pretending to know what you cannot know….that’s just ridiculous.

            —————————————–
            “I also know you don’t have direct evidence of many of your beliefs, because you can’t possibly do all the research others have done for you. For much of it, you just have to take their word for it.”
            —————————————–
            AGAIN….I said if I don’t have sufficient evidence for a claim….I do not believe it. Period. I don’t just “take someones word” on it. That’s what gullible credulous people do. I spend a huge amount of time reading everything I can about everything that is. I’m insatiably curious. So…..indeed, any belief I have is one based on research. Anything I don’t understand yet…or that cannot be understood…I admit I do not know. I don’t have a belief about such things. To do so would be dishonest.

            —————————————–
            “Quantum mechanics, physics, astronomy, microbiology, and much more are beyond your limited understanding and direct knowledge.”
            —————————————–
            You sure seem to enjoy telling other people what they’re all about. Do you realize how arrogant you come across? I read nothing but non-fiction…almost exclusively about the topics you just mentioned. Do I understand those topics as well as the premier researchers in those fields? Nope. But, I’ve read all their books….and do the best I possibly can to learn as much as I possibly can. That which I cannot understand, or that which I have not looked into….I don’t form beliefs about those particular topics.

            Again….I said ALL this in my first post. You clearly did not read it….despite replying to it. Because, you completely missed the thesis of my point. I’ve now spelled it out probably 30 times total. Hopefully you’ll get it by now.

            —————————————–
            “All you will ever truly be able to know is your Self. And your Self(not to be confused with your ego) is created by the Good God, and therefore you may have an intimation of who this God is.”
            —————————————–
            True. Solipsism is impossible to refute…and it’s very interesting to contemplate. I’m very much into Buddhism and Taoism…and fascinated by all those concepts. But…I don’t assign words with heavy baggage…like “God” to anything. I prefer to call all of that “The Mystery.” It cannot have a name….because we don’t even know WHAT it is. Accepting the utter mystery is important. Pretending to know what the mystery is….and give it a name….that is impossible.

            Again, most people are profoundly uncomfortable with not knowing things they want to know. For some reason, that doesn’t bother me personally. I simply do not understand why people are afraid of admitting that they cannot know the answer to certain questions.

            —————————————–
            “Im sure you heard we only use 10% of our potential. There is a lot more to you than you may realize.”
            —————————————–
            I study Advaita Buddhism….non-dualism. So, I get what you’re saying. I could talk about that for ages, but I’ll hold off for now.

            As for the 10% comment….that’s actually a myth. I’m sure you’re referring to the idea that we only use 10% of our brain. That isn’t true actually. We use 100% of our brain. The 10% thing is a complete urban legend. For some reason, many people still believe it. I guess it’s easier to believe something cool sounding than to take 5 minutes and find out if there’s any merit to it.

            —————————————–
            “But I accept your disagreement and would only like you to keep an open mind. Then, you may someday truly Know”
            —————————————–
            Man…..again….you ought to re-read your own comment. Maybe then you’d realize how arrogant it all sounds. I keep a very VERY open mind. So open that I refuse to believe ANYTHING that I cannot know to be true. Something most people don’t remotely do. Try asking 100 people if they know what consciousness is. You’ll get 100 different answers…and everyone will be sure they’re right.

            I’d never say that. I have ideas….but I’d never claim I KNOW the truth. Instead, I live in the mystery of it. I try to learn what I can…and what I cannot know….I accept the mystery.

            Saying, “Maybe someday you’ll truly Know.” Really??? So, I take it you already “truly know?” So YOU know the answers to questions that have no answer yet? Really? Either you’re the most intelligent person who’s ever lived….or you’re profoundly arrogant and don’t even realize it.

            I’d never tell you to “keep an open mind so that one day you shall truly Know(in caps) the Truth like I.”
            No thanks. You can believe whatever you want. I’ll stick to learning as much as I can about as much as I can. And what I cannot know….I’ll admit my ignorance and revel in the mystery. If others want to make believe whatever sounds best….good for them. I’ll stick to being honest with myself and others.

          • jnana

            you may read a lot of science but you cant possibly do all the measurements and observations yourself. not even the wisest scientist can, because scientists are pretty much limited to their fields. some of the stuff you may read you may take as fact, yet later on its found to be not true. I imagine someday all of what is known now will be refuted. also, even if you do the research and make the measurements yourself, you have to have faith that your tools are accurate. that your perceptions are accurate. and that can never be proven, because even if you share the perceptions with others, there is the possibility of mass or shared hallucination.

            for what its worth, I didn’t say “keep an open mind so that one day you shall truly Know(in caps) the Truth like I.”
            you added “like I”
            I wouldn’t tell anybody anything I wouldn’t tell my self. don’t take offense to the simple reminder that open-mindedness will lead to Truth.

          • atlanticus

            Apparently I was (sort of) wrong about that “10% potential / brain” quote.

            The quote was originally “the average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential” from a psychologist in the early 1900’s named William James.

            Eventually, this was somehow warped into the “10% of your brain” misquote.

          • jnana

            William James- probably one of my favorite writers. I would suggest reading his book The Varieties of Religious Experience. He has a very mature and nuanced understanding of religion, especially for his times.

          • atlanticus

            Ah, thank you. I think I will indeed add that to my ever-increasing list of things to add to my Kindle and promptly forget that I ever added…or maybe I’ll make an effort to find a paper copy, this time. :)

        • Ted Heistman

          So you see right wing fundamentalism is representing the majority of Christianity? what is that based on? T.V. shows you have watched? Have any stats? Could you be wrong about that?

  • BuzzCoastin

    render unto Fox the things that are Foxes
    and render unto God the things that are God’s

  • moremisinformation

    “Bill O’Reilly has a new book claiming…”

    And then 25 people (and counting) cared enough to comment – that’s the real travesty.

    • Sean

      Do you count yourself among those who replied? If so….that’s taking hypocrisy to the meta level, isn’t it?
      And if you reply to THIS, you’ll be burrowing into hypocrisy in a fractal-like way.
      ^__^

  • Dingbert

    I would excommunicate him, if he were my parishioner. Of course, if I truly hated him and wanted to be ironic, I would ask him to receive the Eucharist more often:

    “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” -Paul the Apostle

  • http://Overgrow.ning.com/ ElectroPig Von FökkenGrüven

    Bill O’Reilly deserves to be stripped down and staked to the earth directly over the nearest red fire ant mound, have his balls doused with honey, and the results filmed as a “new reality show.”

    He tortures the entire thinking world every day…I say it’s payback time.

    • Sean

      Is that a Bill Hicks joke?
      If not, it sounds like it.
      Either way, couldn’t agree more. I would definitely watch THAT.

      • http://Overgrow.ning.com/ ElectroPig Von FökkenGrüven

        Well, Bill hasn’t been around for a while, so I guess I just subconsciously started pickin’ up the slack. d;o)

        And now….back to the “religious discussion”…

  • Jelly Belly

    More revisionist history through the eyes of an agenda riddled egomaniac.

  • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

    I’ve never watched Bill O in his home court, but I’ve seen him on the Daily Show and noted his method. Jon Stewart asks him a legitimate question, he doesn’t answer it. He throws out some off the wall and off topic diversion. Stewart takes that and leads it back to another legitimate question, which again gets a foul ball instead of an answer. Over and over. Slippery as a handful of snot.

    I guess Stewart has him on because he enjoys the challenge and it’s an opportunity to expose him

    Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich are like the Mutt and Jeff of right winger pseudo-intellectuals.

  • Sean

    It’s always struck me as odd that people insist on saying Jesus was a real historical person. There’s simply no evidence to suggest that.

    First of all, Jesus himself(if he even existed) never wrote anything down himself. It’s all second hand accounts. Actually…it’s worse than that. The authors of the gospels weren’t even alive when Jesus was supposed to have been alive. Many people don’t realize that. When I was a Christian, I actually thought the gospels were written by his disciples. That’s a common belief among Christians. Everyone I knew thought the same thing.

    But, the gospel writers actually wrote almost 100 years AFTER Jesus supposed death. Think about that. Imagine trying to write down the words of someone who lived in 1913….or much earlier. Given this, it’s pretty absurd to think the gospels are all that accurate when quoting Jesus.

    Also…there’s ample evidence that Jesus was constructed intentionally as a mythic figure…a vehicle by which early Gnostics used to parrot their own teachings. If you want to disseminate a teaching….it’s best to have if spoken by a PERSON. If you simply write down the teachings…it won’t stick. People crave stories and characters. You have to couch the teachINGS within the context of a teachER if you really want people to take it seriously.

    When Christians are confronted with these facts, the one name that ALWAYS comes up is…..Josephus. Josephus was a first-century Jewish-Roman historian. He’s often cited as the ONLY contemporary account of the person of Jesus. But…..the problem is, he only mentioned Jesus in one small paragraph….and it’s since been found that paragraph was surreptitiously added in by later Christians….as a way of legitimizing the historicity of Jesus. Josephus never actually wrote about Jesus.

    Jesus and Socrates are very similar in that sense. Both figures are written about as if they were real historic people….but the truth is, both were probably mythic men used to disseminate particular ideas.

    The difference is….you can study Socrates without NEEDING to believe he was a real person. His ideas are what count…it doesn’t matter if the guy actually existed. But….if you’re a Christian….and Jesus did not exist….that messes with the whole idea that his torture and resurrection are central to Christian theology.

    Though, as an atheist, I don’t care if the guy was real. Like Socrates, it’s the IDEAS of Jesus that matter. Who gives a fuck if the guy literally existed. Let alone if he was a cosmic god zombie. The whole concept of ‘vicarious redemption’ by which one can be absolved of moral responsibility by piling their “sins” on a scapegoat. That entire idea is not only immoral….but it’s based on a myth that never actually happened.

    I just find it funny how SO many Christians are SO concerned with proving the historicity of Jesus. O’Reilly is just the latest in a long line of people who do this. They don’t ever focus on his IDEAS and TEACHINGS. Instead, they try their best to prove he was a real guy….solely so they can square the idea of vicarious redemption with reality. Then again, if Adam & Eve never existed(and they didn’t), that also muddles with the idea of Original Sin….which is the whole reason Jesus supposedly had to die. So, not only is the original sin thing a myth. But the sacrifice that “paid” for it….is also a myth.

    But…..so what? Ok, so the religion is founded on myths. Big surprise. What religion isn’t? What matters……or what ought to matter….are the ideas this mythic man taught. Now that IS interesting….but sadly, completely ignored by most everyone. Just imagine if Jesus actually did come back….and saw that the Vatican, Westboro Baptist Church, Rick Santorum, and Ann Coulter were his spokespeople. He’d be rightly horrified.

    Bill Hicks had a similar joke….
    If Jesus comes back, do you really think he wants to see Christians wearing crosses on their necklaces? That would be like walking up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on your necklace and saying, “Hey Jackie, just thinking about John….good man.”

    • Tuna Ghost

      To start, let me say that I’m not at all convinced of the historicity of Jesus. There are many good reasons to doubt it, but somehow you’ve managed to miss all of them in favor of…a less than scholarly level of reasoning, let’s call it.

      The line from Josephus was very likely tampered with, since a pharisaic jew probably wouldn’t have lauded Jesus, but there’s no evidence it was completely fabricated.

      Your argument about “the Gospels being written 100 years after his death = completely unreliable” would make sense now, but not back when oral traditions were still pretty common. Discounting the Gospels on those grounds means discounting the written account of any oral tradition. Aside from that, some of the creeds noted in the Gospels do have separate evidence of their antiquity, which suggests the authors were referencing something that has some historical legitimacy to it. Probably not a guy that was the son of God, because that’s stupid, but, y’know, maybe a popular Rabbi or something.

      And there isn’t “ample evidence” that he was created as a mythic figure. There is evidence that may suggest he was a mythic figure used by various groups for different purposes, but that’s not even close to being the same thing. There were Gnostic groups around before Jesus (allegedly) lived, and the oldest of them is still around centuries after the last christian gnostic groups died out. Making someone up to legitimize your teachings doesn’t seem to have been a very sound strategy, does it? It’d make far more sense to use an already existing myth or legend or whatever.

      You’d be well served by asking yourself “is it possible that there was a Rabbi in that area at that time preaching a radical new doctrine that upset the established Jewish religious establishment, a Rabbi that was eventually conspired against by that same religious establishment and put to death for Sedition against Rome, and whose legend became popular and eventually the basis for a religious cult?”

      I find it very possible; in fact “messiahs” were popping up fairly frequently and being put to death for Sedition was not at all uncommon at that time. And established religious authorities are not exactly known for accepting challenges to their authority in stride, are they?

      • Sean

        You make some good points.
        I agree with almost all of it.

        However…my one qualm is the idea Jesus was simply a charismatic Rabbi.

        Maybe he was. It’s not conclusive…but it may be true.
        But….that’s not Jesus. The word “Jesus” means something. It’s the name of a very specific person, who did very specific things, and was born and died in a very specific manner.
        If Jesus existed at all…he surely was a ‘heretical’ Rabbi, if he was anything.

        But, that person is not the same person who word ‘Jesus’ points to.
        That’s my only issue. The possibly real historical Jesus might as well be a completely different person altogether from the contemporary idea of who and what Jesus is that most Christians hold in their minds.

    • Damian Caligula

      Brilliant. You said that better than I could ever hope to.

  • Ted Heistman

    Not that I am defending Bill O’Relly but I think the idea that paying taxes to the State which funds social programs is the same as caring for the poor, is debateble.

    I think you could argue that these state bureaucracies exploit the poor and have a vested interest in keeping them poor. I mean where would their job security be?

  • sherry

    Jesus said give onto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Money is neither good nor evil it is the lust of money that is sin. If only that idiot knew that Jesus was not killed he chose to give his life (if he chose to he could have called on 12 legions of angels to fry /crush /decapitate people involved).

  • Sean

    He’s underrated among those under 70 years old.

    Seriously.

    Look up the average age of his audience. It’s utterly hilarious.
    The average age of his audience is….are you ready? It’s………71. Seventy-fucking-One.

    He’s simply pandering to people for whom racism is still a valid pursuit, the mainstream media is still reliable, and fear of “youngsters” is a legitimate concern.

    All his arguments can be summed up as permutations on yelling, “Get off mah lawn gosh-darn kids! And pull up yer pants!”

    Actually…that’s not quite a metaphor. He literally had a segment all about kids wearing their pants low. Seriously.
    Now, personally I think wearing one’s pants low is pretty dumb. But so is wearing a piece of cloth tied around your neck like a noose. BOTH are utterly ridiculous….it’s just that one is called “normal” by people who think “normal” is something worth aspiring to.

    And yes, I’m well aware of all his….”pursuits.”
    I force myself to watch him whenever I can. It’s pure entertainment.

    I watch O’Reilly for the same reason I watch TBN….for both a hearty laugh and for a dose of existential terror to remind myself there are still people in this world with a level of insanity that is beyond absurd.

  • Matt Staggs

    I don’t have any time or patience for trolls and stalkers. He’s banned as of now.

  • Tuna Ghost

    contemporary accounts of any historical figure from millennia ago aren’t exactly popping out of the woodwork and are not necessary requirements for scholars to accept an account for having some kind of historical legitimacy. Also, just because stupid and/or irrational people believe something doesn’t make it false. That’s just as bad reasoning as only examining evidence that supports your conclusion.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Of for fuck’s sake. Listen. My primary points were that the “proof” you offer doesn’t exist. Proving a negative isn’t possible, so you asking me for proof of my claims that you have no proof is showing an enormous lack of understanding in terms of logic and reasoning. If someone says “you have no proof”, you don’t just say “prove it”. You provide the proof you claim to possess.

    Basically: there isn’t direct evidence that the text from Josephus is completely fabricated, there isn’t ample evidence that Jesus was “created as a mythic figure”, especially since that phrase doesn’t make a lick of sense in any historical context, and your bit about the Gospels not being written until a 100 years after his death is a.) ammunition to completely disregard any and all oral traditions before literacy was common, and b.) doesn’t work as an argument for your side if you are already claiming Jesus never lived at all. If you do have any real proof for any of your claims, go ahead and show it to me. You made the claims, I told you there’s no evidence, and the fact that you asked me to prove that there’s no evidence is a sign that you really don’t understand how this works. Burden of truth is on you, kid.

    Case in point: your little photo montage up there. Did you actually research any of that, as in actual research involving books and respected scholars and critical thinking? Or do you just accept anything that reinforces your idea of the world without question? I’m going to guess that you didn’t, because all of the claims made about Horus, Attis, and Mithras are either completely not true or huge exaggerations. Real quick example: Horus was not born of a virgin. His father was Osiris, his mother was impregnated by his seed. That’s the legend. Also, there is no mention of anything about December 25th. Why would there be? The Egyptians didn’t use that calendar. Which actual research would have told you.

    Congratulations, though, you managed to not engage a single point I made and went after a point that I in fact did not make.

  • Tuna Ghost

    When did I say there was such an account?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Further, why would I try to do that, given that I only mentioned Josephus and refuted your claims that the relevant texts were completely fabricated?

  • atlanticus

    You’re acting pretty immature for a man your age. Or else you’re acting as belligerent and cantankerous as one would expect from someone so entrenched in his ideas, for so long, that he cannot even rhetorically consider another point of view.

    He explained his point reasonably and all you could respond with was a lame insult. Same with your next few comments. He did not initially give you any personal insult, so why the venom?

  • Tuna Ghost

    So how am I a lying sack of shit, exactly? You’re the one that has made several claims of evidence that you don’t have, because you can’t have them, because it doesn’t exist.

  • Tuna Ghost

    You’re right! It’s not about me, it’s about you and your claims. Back ‘em up if you can, kiddo. Crack open a book. Tell me why Egyptian mythology says Horus was born on Dec. 25th when they didn’t even use that kind of calendar.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Josephus was a first-century Jewish-Roman historian. He’s often cited as the ONLY contemporary account of the person of Jesus. But…..the problem is, he only mentioned Jesus in one small paragraph….and it’s since been found that paragraph was surreptitiously added in by later Christians….as a way of legitimizing the historicity of Jesus.

    Those are you words, buckaroo. In literal black and white.

  • Tuna Ghost

    there’s ample evidence that Jesus was constructed intentionally as a mythic figure…

    Your words, chum. Again, in literal black and white.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Once again: proving a negative IS NOT POSSIBLE. If you claim they are true, PROVE IT.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I probably don’t need to tell you again that proving a negative is impossible, but I’ll do it anyway. And I believe I merely asked you if you only examined evidence that supports your claims. Which is silly, because it’s fairly obvious you don’t examine any evidence at all.

  • Tuna Ghost

    hahahahaha oh for fuck’s sake. You asked me to prove a negative. You’re fucking with me, right? No one is this ridiculous.

    Yes, they are my words and they are true. You haven’t tried to rove they are not go fuck yourself shit for brains.

    You are asking me to prove a negative. Right there. Because you don’t understand that such a thing is not possible. Because you don’t know how this works. Logic is a thing, you see, a thing that you can study in places like universities, where you can learn the rules. It’s like math but without numbers! Doesn’t that sound great?

    Are you unaware that the things you write are being recorded? Because you say things, and then say you didn’t say them, and continually move the goalposts as if no one will notice. One more time: YOU ARE MAKING CLAIMS. PROVE THEM.

    Shit, why do I bother? You obviously can’t. You haven’t even tried. I don’t think you’d know where to start. I think you see something in a movie and believe it’s true. I’m starting to think I might be making fun of a retarded teenager. My heart kind of hurts now.

  • Sean

    Actually, those are my words….not this James Smith character’s.

  • Sean

    I really hope you’re not confusing me(the guy who wrote those words) with Mr. James Smith….someone who is giving atheists a fucking terrible image.

    Tuna, I read all yours posts and your disagreements with my initial post….and I take my hat off to your well thought out replies. I agree with much of it…and disagree with some of it…though usually for oblique reasons that would take too long to go into here.

    James Smith, chill the fuck out. This Tuna guy simply stated his ideas in a very lucid and cogent way. And he made some good points. Yet you attack him like you’re some sort of vicious 15 year old asshole who drank way too much Mountain Dew and Red Bull. Calm down. You’re giving all us other atheists and agnostics a pretty terrible name.

  • atlanticus

    That’s a very disappointing response. Have a day.

  • atlanticus

    I was taught to respect my elders, even when they’re acting like brats.

  • atlanticus

    The comment about respecting your age was an under-handed slam you were too thick to pick up on; I was underlining my original statement: you are too old to be acting the way you are. Grow the fuck up.

  • atlanticus

    Ooh, someone needs a nap.

  • Guest

    EDIT: removed comment.

  • Guest

    Removed in deference to another’s sense of consideration.

  • atlanticus

    He’s not a “retarded teenager”–he’s a much older man. But yeah, I actually am starting to feel sorry for the guy.

    He may very well be in the early stages of dementia. I had to go through it with my grandmother. Once, on my birthday, she called me up just to tell me I was a failure for not finishing college. She didn’t even know it was my birthday. Never mind the fact that *she* never even went to college. By her desperate, existential logic, somehow I’m responsible for all of the poor choices she made in her life.

    I eventually forgave her, just ’cause, you know, she’s gonna go soon. I just have to remind myself that I’m lucky I’m not also her caretaker.

    Comments on his blog show that other people have found him to be a “deranged lunatic” and the like, but apparently he wasn’t always that way…so…you know.

    It will happen to everyone if they’re lucky to live long enough.

  • atlanticus

    I feel sorry for you.

  • atlanticus

    I feel very sorry for you.

  • atlanticus

    I’m not lying, by the way. I really do feel sorry for you. I feel sorry about making that remark about you needing a diaper change. I feel existential dread at looking senility in the face. I feel somewhat sorry for even telling you that much, but then I’m not sure you’ll remember it tomorrow.

    I cannot continue this conversation. I will not respond to further comments.

  • Calypso_1

    You need to step off.

  • Calypso_1

    That is a concept you could reflect on related to your own behavior. Behavior which has ceased to relate to anything in this forum and is escalating in abusive tone.
    Whatever internal state is generating your behavior needs regulating. If the behavior is willful then you need to stop as it is inappropriate. If you are not acting willfully you need to calm down.
    If you are unable to calm yourself please seek some help as you may be experiencing a medical condition.

  • Calypso_1

    Are you aware of the commands you are directing towards others? You are expressing yourself in a hostile & vulgar manner. This is not how you have been treated here.
    Do you feel like you have been mistreated?

  • The Well Dressed Man

    Whatever was the original source of the argument has ceased to matter. I see the fact that you’re posting a series of abusive comments hour after hour as the issue, and wonder if perhaps the mods should get involved.

  • Calypso_1

    I have not involved myself in any of the initial positions you were attempting to discuss with others in this thread nor is that my concern. That upon encountering ‘willful ignorance & stubborn stupidity”, in relation to positions where you yourself have no uncertainties, leading to invitations for others to go & Fuck or Kill themselves; that this should limit the acceptance of your presentation or ‘invitation’ to proof should require little processing for a man of your self-declared capacities. This is my concern & why I am respectfully, even in the face of your anger, addressing it.
    Consider that if a person is in fact ignorant & stupid, even if willfully so & your own desire is not to educate but to demand proof for your own correctness, then the onus is on you for any hostility & insult that is directed to such individuals.
    I am unclear as to your inclusion of a hebrew fertility imperative. If you are continuing your interest into my personal proclivities beyond that of requesting I engage in self-stimulation, I kindly ask you to stop as I have no interest in discussing such matters with you.

  • Calypso_1

    I can prove one word you posted here is not true.

  • The Well Dressed Man
  • Calypso_1

    excellent example of projection

  • Andrew

    Well, you did say three hours ago that you were finished here. If you meant today is your last day, you have my apologies.

  • Calypso_1

    “I am finished here”

    yet here you are again.

    case and point.

  • The Well Dressed Man

    light the fuse and run

  • Calypso_1

    comprehension ≠ compliance.

  • Tuna Ghost

    sorry! Things got weird there for a minute. My bad.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I once drank too much Red Bull and Mountain Dew and I woke up in a 7-11 with a terrified Korean family hitting me with day-old hotdogs

    worst thanksgiving ever, really

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