> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf
> Of Snow Leopard
> Sent: Thursday, May 20, 1999 7:32 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: virus: Blue Pill Theorum
> Blue Pill Theorem (A Matrix Allusion):
> If two equally improbable and mutually exclusive ideas are
> faced, it is
> better to take the one that brings the most benefit/the least pain.
Improbable <> impossible!
Does an "idea" require a decision? What are "mutually exclusive ideas"? Unlike a "White Horse" (A brand of whisky that was marketed with the slogan "You can take a white horse anywhere" over some rather improbable images), you cannot "take" an idea anywhere. You can only consider it. Why should an idea bring either pleasure or pain? Surely ideas just bring mental stimulation?
If you are alluding to the film "Matrix", are you trying to suggest that a "beneficial", low pain delusion allowing you to exist in slavery is preferable to an uncomfortable, sometimes painful reality with the chance to fight for your and your fellow man's dignity? Sorry, I forgot. You have already answered that question. You are a "Christian" aren't you.
> Now, even if I thought your sources were reliable in “disproving” the
> validity of the Bible, even if I could believe it as truth,
> look at what you
> stand for.
They are reliable, irrespective of what you believe. Although of course, what you "believe" is your business. Just don't attempt to foist it on others.
Just what do you imagine we stand for? Other than reason? Other than the triumph of ethics over viciously arbitrary and irrelevant moral standards? Other than the knowledge that any modern man is ethically superior to your gods as depicted in their babble and demonstrated by the majority of their followers through history.
> If you saw a person talking to another about a
> family crisis,
> and the listener says, “I will pray for you,” you’d call ‘em
Yes, of course. One pair of helping hands not only does more good than millions of sets of praying lips*, one set of hands are often all that is needed to make a difference. (*from "Hands That Help Are Better Than Lips That Pray" -Ingersoll)
> On the
> other hand, if nothing else, it is psychologically
> beneficial, to know
> someone is doing what they can, [which you would see as
> nothing] to help a
> situation, or to do what you can in a situation that
> otherwise cannot be
Why is it psychologically beneficial? It only would be beneficial if the person is delusional enough to imagine that "prayer" is "doing" something. And if the other person imagines that it is not simply a way for you to feel good while doing nothing effective. Could we describe the situation you postulate as "Praying on somebody else's bad fortune?" sounds suspiciously like the media's activity in any crisis where an "emotional" slant is possible.
> Better to do nothing and feel like you’re doing
> something than to
> do nothing at all.
If you think so. It is strange that you imagine that there are circumstances where there truly is "nothing" that can be done. You must live a truly miserable, boring and unfullfilled life, waiting for your "anticipated hereafter". In my experience, there are always things to do. Even when you have situations where the prefered action is to wait, there are surely other situations to be dealt with and things to do?
> If there’s no God, I haven’t lost
You have evidently lost the ability to consider certain things. For example, just above you suggest that you had difficulty with the fact that the bible is just that - babble. You said you had difficulty accepting evidence that your gods and their books are filled with lies. You seem to have lost the ability to make ethical decisions for yourself in that you have to take into consideration your gods opinions on what you do and weigh them more important than your own. You have lost the ability to call yourself rational - because in order to "believe" in gods, you had to act irrationally and decide to accept the idea of gods in the face of all the evidence. Seems to me you have lost quite a lot. You have lost the ability to rejoice over the good things that happen in your life, those are of course "blezzings". You have lost the ability to decide what things are your fault (everything) and what things are caused by the vaccillations of fortune (nothing, your gods don't believe in fortune). Everything bad that happens to you is no doubt caused by your gods punishing you for your imagined "evils". And of course, you have lost the ability to see how much you are missing.
> I’ve gained
> a peace-of-mind, and security concerning the afterlife.
Have you? Is stopping thinking equivalent to peace-of-mind? In which case, I don't think I want any part of it. What security have you got? A written guarantee? An independent body that will ensure impartiality? A constitution? A bill-of-rights? What makes you think there is an "afterlife"? What evidence do you have for this? How do you interpret "security"? Before you answer, take a look at "The Borg of Heaven" at http://members.icanect.net/~zardoz/pictures.htm . Also think on the nasty, primitive, vicious nature of your gods, as shown in your bible and in the behaviour of his followers. I know I would not want the gods portrayed in your bible as neighbors - never mind considering them as objects worthy of respect - forget worship! As Mark Twain put it, "It is not the parts of the bible I don't understand that worry me, it is the parts I do understand."
> if I’m wrong,
> when I die, I’ll meet some all-forgiving entity that’s
> open-minded and
What makes you think you will do anything but decompose after your death? What makes you imagine an "entity" interested in meeting you? If there are "entities" out there, what makes you imagine that they will be open minded and rational? If there were an "afterlife" and some a "rational entity" (why only one? Nothing else in the Universe we know about is present in quantities of one.) present in it, why would it regard anyone as irrational as you present yourself as being as anything other than an object to despise? Why do you imagine a "rational", "open minded" and rational being, when the one you have chosen to worship is the opposite?
> Either way, I’m in good shape.
As above, it seems to me you are deluding yourself about this.
> Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit http://www.msn.com
Funny you raised this example now. I have a really good friend who had persuaded her mother to allow her younger sister, who is 13, to come and visit her here in the US for the summer. Her mother, who recently become a "Christian", was terrified of the idea, and after everything had been arranged - including tickets, which they could not really afford, had been bought, her mother changed her mind and said "No" on the day before she was scheduled to leave. The day after that, her sister and mother were in a pedestrian traffic accident. This happened in Russia last week. Her sister is now in a coma with massive cranial and abdominal injuries and a very low probability of survival, and even less of a chance of recovering her personality or experiential knowledge. Initially, the reports suggested that it would be better for her sister that she should die, but later reports have made things look a little more hopeful. Her mother is "too distraught" to do anything and is persuaded that it is "all her fault", that her gods are punishing her; so she can't deal with the hospital, and refuses to visit her daughter (sad, because it has been shown that the voices and sometimes touch of familiar people can sometimes be beneficial to people in comas - which is more than has ever been proven for prayer). She and her Christian friends are instead, praying about what has happened. You no doubt applaud her behaviour, and would no doubt argue that as there is "nothing which can be done" that we should just do the same and should pray for them too?
Actually, in my opinion, hugs are much better than prayer. Because hugs allow others to feel that you are feeling with them. While prayers are just undignified words. And I hope you realise, despite your beliefs, how without actions, words mean very little? So our friend is getting the needed hugs, and lots of (atheist) company, all of whom are ready to talk it out for as long as it is needed.
Instead of prayers, or "accepting" that there was nothing we can do (being on the other side of the world and all), we arranged for my SO's brother to go and help, and he has arranged for (caring atheists!) friends of the girl to visit and talk to her (from just outside the door of the ICU). We arranged to have CAT scans sent from Russia, so that we can have evaluations performed here (I have a number of friends in the neurosurgery field), we spoke to the Russian surgeons (more competent and caring atheists) on behalf of our young friend, received a full report on what had happened and what was being done, arranged for her sister to receive some experimental immune system booster treatment which has proved helpful in other circumstances where the risk of opportunistic infections is high, and then spent a lot of time with our friend with my anatomy and neurology textbooks, explaining to her exactly what had happened to her sister, why it was not harming her sister to continue treatment, no matter how poor the prognosis (she cannot be feeling pain at this stage), and what would be needed if she survived in terms of support, assistance and therapy (to compensate and manage the kind of brain damage she has suffered). Our friend has now joined a number of support groups (for stroke/brain damage victim's relatives) and is reading up on modern treatment regimes. She recognizes that her sister will probably not survive, in which case she has maybe wasted a little time, but if she survives, she will be in a much stronger position to help get her what is needed. We continue to monitor the situation a couple of times a day, and as the situation changes, we are discussing the implications and likely consequences with her.
Can you see, how our friend is in a much stronger position (and probably better supported) than any Christian would be? She is facing the situation together with her friends, knowing that she can count on them for real life support, as opposed to being an object of prayer. She is working on replacing fear, uncertainty and doubt with knowledge, preparation and quiet determination that if her sister does live through this, she will be able to help her. She is also comnfortable that if her sister does not live, that she had a good and a happy life, and that she will have died without pain.
Of course if her sister dies of her injuries, she will miss her and mourn her. So we have discussed what this would mean, and have arranged so that if necessary, we will have a "commemorative dinner" where we will all help her remember her sister, and acknowledge her life and her death, which will help our friend to mourn her and reach settlement.
But her sister will be dead, and she will be alive, with a life to live and a future to enjoy. My friend will get over it and while she will remember her fondly, and miss her laughter, it will not become the obstacle that it does for so many people. She won't cry out that "life is unfair" (why should we expect it to be?) or need to invent gods to explain it. Sooner or later we all die. It isn't all that important in the larger scale of things. We really shouldn't need to imagine a romanticized afterlife in order to justify our lives here on earth or the fact that shit happens.
TheHermit. < Who doesn't have much time right now, but who felt that somebody suggesting "look at what you stand for" had best examine their own viewpoint when it is as shaky as our very own Christian Collective's seems to be. >