Community to Die For

I heard something interesting last week about the heat wave the midwest had in July of 1995.  There were two communities in Chicago that were right next to each other, and similar in socio-economic levels, but one had vastly better survival rates during the heat wave. And by survival rates, I’m talking about the elderly folks who are usually among the fatalities related to heat waves.

It was interesting, because I think what was found could be useful in other SHTF situations.

 One is called Englewood, the other is called Auburn Gresham and they’re literally next to each other. They have the same microclimate; both very poor, both lots of older people living alone. In Englewood, the death rate was about 33 per 100,000 residents. One of the highest in Chicago. In Auburn Gresham, it was three per 100,000 residents. It was safer than many places on the far more affluent and white north sides of Chicago. Auburn Gresham is a neighborhood that has poverty, yes; and it’s segregated, yes. But it has small commercial establishments that draw older people who are vulnerable to heat waves out of their homes and into public life. It has a viable social infrastructure. -ERIC KLINENBERG

Are you taking your social infrastructure into account when you prep?  I think the easiest thing to look at is the commercial district in your town. Whether that’s a historic main street or the local mall. Is it more closed than open? If you’ve never seen a dead mall, count yourself lucky. It’s creepy. Out here in Iowa, this can be seen sometimes in the smaller towns.  The downtown is all closed, or the cluster around the freeway exit is all boarded up.

I’ve never lived in one, but I hear there are entire communities made up of nothing but residential houses.  Which sounds like the problem highlighted with the Chicago community of Englewood.

I would strongly advise anyone living in such areas to think about adding a move into the prep list. Even if you only move to the next town over, or the next neighborhood, if it can improve the chances of a bunch of old people, it can certainly improve the chances of a prepper.

That said, I think those areas are likely to change as pressures increase. I’ve seen some interesting arguments for encouraging garage businesses, and brave gardeners turning expansive lawns into cooperative farms. Iowa recently relaxed it’s regulations for the selling of home baked items. I think there’s a definite trend, but it will take more hard work.

Are you in a resilient community? Are you working to improve the resiliency of your community?

-Calamity Jane

 

78 comments… add one

  • Yikes! January 22, 2013, 10:04 am

    No. I’m pretty sure that my neighbors would eat me in the event of an extended power outage.

    Back in Maine though, Yes. Easy. If you’re in Maine, don’t leave. Just stay there. Trust me.

    I have no idea what Eric Klinenberg is talking about. Social infrastructure is a technical term that refers to internet and electronic communication technologies. This guy seems to be conflating the general idea of infrastructure (roads, buildings, sewers) with that of communitas (social solidarity and community feeling), and calling is social infrastructure. It makes me think I should re-read Durkheim on organic and mechanical solidarity.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure what you mean by a resilient community. Is it one that fully integrates all of its members so that no one person is more likely than another to be left out in the cold (or heat) in a disaster? Or is it one with a lot of locally produced food? Do you just mean that we should move to a nicer neighborhood?

    Hell, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to move. My neighborhood is lousy with little red gangsters.

    Reply
    • Calamity Jane January 22, 2013, 10:24 am

      I think there can be multiple definitions of a resilient community. I think what Eric K was talking about in the piece I read, was specifically the local commercial aspect. “Is there something besides residential, is there a thriving business community as well?’ I think that is an example showing that communities, like eco-systems, do better if they aren’t a mono-crop.
      I think your point to the locally produced food is another aspect of a resilient community, and certainly a community that fully integrates all of the members is going to be stronger than a fractured community. “Nicer” is relative here… I wouldn’t move to a gated community of nothing but McMansions and golf courses. But I would move if the majority of businesses in town were shuttered, or non-existent.

      Reply
      • Yikes! January 22, 2013, 10:51 am

        So write something defining the “resilient community” in the context of disaster preparedness. Maybe it will get to be an internet meme like “Roving Bands of Armed Thugs” and you’ll be famous by next Monday.

        One of the problems that I have is that some of those criteria conflict with one another. I’ve seen all sorts of economically thriving communities in which people are alienated from one another. Moreover, a bustling local economy usually undermines local food production. I guess I think that the definition of a good community is different when things are normal, than it is when there’s a disaster and the regular flow of commerce is compromised.

        In any case, your point’s well taken. We ought not be myopic in preparing for the end of the world.

        Reply
  • T.R. January 22, 2013, 3:13 pm

    We should be prepping for NO infrastructure . That is highly unlikely , but prep for the worst , hope for the best .

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle January 22, 2013, 3:54 pm

      yeh, what T.R. said.

      and, we should also be watching out for our elderly neighbors. they shouldn’t need to shut themselves up in “convection oven” houses, during the summer. (a major reason they die during heatwaves)

      if the residents were more “upscale” you’d call a neighborhood with businesses “trendy”. people only do business where they can make a living. if it isn’t safe to walk to the “corner store”, there won’t be a corner store…

      Reply
  • John Brown January 22, 2013, 4:02 pm

    You do not die for a community, you die because of the community, because most cities and states ignore the Bible’s good teaching.

    Isaiah 5:8
    8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

    When the economy and electrical system goes down in most countries, people die in their cement, brick, and wood coffins they call houses.

    Reply
    • Pineslayer January 22, 2013, 11:50 pm

      John Brown, that is a great verse. It shows that we are not meant to inhabit or harvest all resources. Many Christians need to take that heed when thinking about our current population issues. It is a very divisive issue. Communities are people, at least they used to be. How will we unite to to address this problem of Strip Malls, gated suburbs, and long commutes to shitty jobs. Answer, don’t participate. I am not a practicing Christian, but I have respect for those with compassion for others and we must try every day to show those around us a better path or we are nothing more than part of the problem.

      Ezekiel 25:17
      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men, blessed is he in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brothers keeper and the finder of lost children.

      Sorry if I got off topic.

      Reply
      • John Brown January 23, 2013, 2:55 am

        Pineslayer
        > It shows that we are not meant to inhabit or harvest all resources.

        Yes, I was reading another translation to my kids today and it describes being placed into the middle of everything you bought up, as a curse or woe, being cut off from everyone else. I really need to take this back to Hebrew myself and study it more as it is a very rich chapter.

        > Ezekiel 25:17
        > blessed is he in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness,

        > I am not a practicing Christian,

        I have something for you to think about.

        I bought 30 acres of wonderful land with no restrictions off a lake 1 mile wide x 4 miles long in Central Maine. I wanted to build a house there, at the top of the big hill. It had everything including springs and fish. Basically, I just wanted to just to get away from everyone, I had enough of urban Massachusetts.

        Then I wanted to put the 10 commandments on the front door of my new house, and build a summer camp for troubled city kids so they just could get away for two weeks under the stars. Reason being, I think it resets a person and once removed from the city environment and spending a few nights looking at the stars, it changes their perspective. Especially after leaving their 9mm, rap music, and baggy pants behind and basically being naked and alone looking up.

        Then I moved to GA after 9/11, 1400 miles away.

        But, I decided to give it up, mostly to to run for Congress in 2010 (and other religious reasons) so my local socialist wouldn’t run unopposed and I got permission from my wife to sell OUR property that we worked so hard to hold unto and it was paid off! I basically told her I rather die broke and homeless then to do nothing and be rich while my country died. Plus, I got it in my mind, I rather defend my neighbourhood here, then run away when the country fell, to go hide somewhere while my neighbours got slaughtered. Basically all or nothing. BUG in. Though I felt very bad about selling the property because it was losing a dream.

        Last year I had someone that wanted me to do a special job, but, I had to find an old Jeep for it. Customer couldn’t find one, his deals kept falling through. I decided to find one myself and located a 1963 Willys that was perfect. To make sure we got it and it wasn’t too messed up, I went right away for it after picking up his cash. I had to drive for a couple of hours to reach the North GA mountains and the roads were hairy, especially going down the mountains because the roads were so narrow, the trailer would cross the lines or shoulders.

        As I finally get there, as I pull in I see a big sign to the side the gate. The ten commandments! So, I met the guy selling the Willys and get to talking to him and his wife. They are devout Christians and … during the summer they run a summer camp on their huge farm, on the mountain, for city kids to get them out of the city and into a different enviroment.

        Can you beat that :-)

        Reply
        • Jason January 23, 2013, 7:00 am

          Pineslayer,

          I see you are a Pulp Fiction fan (Ezekiel quote) ….

          John Brown,

          That is an absolutely amazing story & funny how God works in ways we do not see or imagine.

          You said: “I basically told her I rather die broke and homeless then to do nothing and be rich while my country died. Plus, I got it in my mind, I rather defend my neighbourhood here, then run away when the country fell, to go hide somewhere while my neighbours got slaughtered. Basically all or nothing. BUG in.”

          I could not agree more.

          I had the supposed benefit of living a “rich” life. I owned & ran 3 different companies, making a huge amount of money, owned an ocean view, gated estate home on 2 1/2 acres (a lot of land for San Diego) with a pool we built that would rival any fancy hotel & the rest of the trappings. I am a strong, born again Christian who got caught up & lost in “the” lifestyle.

          I grew up with 2 very smart parents who gave us kids nothing but a work ethic mentality. For years I hated it because all of my friends got the things I wanted, that most kids wanted, but I had to earn it. I felt cheated as stupid as that sounds.

          When I forged ahead in the working world, what my parents instilled in me paid off & I became successful because of the work ethic I learned. Then I became the proverbial kid in a candy shop. I lost focus on the Lord & became a prisoner of my success. I traded eternal rewards for instant gratification. I paid the price. God was a passenger, not the pilot of my life.

          At the ripe old age of 46, God decided to bless me with a near death experience & I really consider it the best gift God gave me to this point in my life. I was rolling in money & suddenly find myself driving to the hospital because I am feeling weird & have no idea why. I am in excellent physical condition (my exercise routine was that of a triathlete) yet, I am feeling like I was going down.

          The next thing I know, I am having an emergency bypass surgery – it was a single bypass but as the surgeon said – I was extremely lucky to make it to the hospital. Me, Mr. Bullet Proof gets humbled quickly.

          Within 2 months I dismantled everything I built. Two of the companies I closed. I did not sell them, I shut the doors because I wanted nothing to do with the residual, mental attachments or stresses. The remaining one I reduced it to me becoming a one man operation, consulting firm. I gave up a life of having my 2 assistants prepping everything for me, pick up dry cleaning, gassing up my car & the rest of the stupidity though I was exceptionally busy.

          I changed my focus completely & my older kids were just 6 & 8, which was perfect timing. I lost a considerable amount of money (7 figures) but got a “real” life back & got “me” back & that was worth more than the losses.

          My focus has become using the gifts God has given me to advance His Kingdom & will only follow that leading where ever it takes me. If He wants me to rebuild my business, it will be only to serve Him & will distance myself from the money trap & keep scriptural. If He wants something else, I’ll go that direction, no problem.

          The houses, fancy cars & the rest are a distant memory & I could not be happier. I remember one day years ago, going to a car dealer & test driving this very expensive car thinking, if I drove one of these, I have made it in life. Seven years later I was driving it & it was not worth the price I paid for it.

          As far as this article, I live in suburbia & will stay put because that’s where God wants me. I do not worry about any SHTF situation because I have already experienced the worst of it in my personal life & anything else will be a cake walk by comparison & can easily deal with it.

          Reply
          • Pineslayer January 23, 2013, 11:07 am

            Jason and Mr. Brown,

            Great stories. I should have died a couple of times and those incidents have left their marks. I wouldn’t go back and change anything, because they have all brought me to where I am now, which is a good place. I am trying to change the mindset of my friends a little at a time, food being the easy subject to get them to come to the table. I don’t want to have to watch them suffer because they thought that it was going to be alright, I don’t have the resources to prep for all of them. In the end I can only do so much, but I will continue to push.

          • Jason January 23, 2013, 12:55 pm

            Pineslayer,

            As far as your friends, sometimes you can only lead the horse to water ….

            I am fairly top in my field with my consulting job however, I have learned that you can provide information with tons of supporting documentation, provable trend matrix’s but ultimately the client has to choose to move forward. When they do not or try to bastardize it, I cannot be emotionally invested in their decision. It is not easy but it is their choice.

            I have learned much more thru failure than success & believe me, I have had some monumental failures! I have told my kids that I have been successful barely 51% of the time but that remaining 49% failure rate looms much larger & taught me more.

          • John Brown January 23, 2013, 2:06 pm

            > will stay put because that’s where God wants me.

            Same here, I have the Ten Commandments on my door now. Not that I do not use a bit of wisdom and have bug out bags ready, along with food and stuff. But, if I have to flee for my life I probably will not take the yeast.

            > I changed my focus completely .. my older kids were just 6 and 8, which was perfect timing.

            Yes, that is the age when they need parents the most. If we are fortunate we raise children better then ourselves, by paying more attention to them then ourselves.

          • Jason January 23, 2013, 4:08 pm

            John Brown,

            I had the weekday nights & weekends free for my kids *physically* but my mind was in a constant state of problem solving for work. Essentially, I was a half dad.

            After the surgery I saw my life for what it was in a whole new light & decided right then & there to flush the life I had been living. I had to only push the toilet handle once.

            It was the single best thing I ever did & my older 2 turned out awesome … so far :-)

            I can honestly say that I do not miss that former life.

  • Yikes! January 22, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Think positive, guys!

    What’s the point in thinking about the end of the world all the time if you’re not looking forward to it?

    Jesus.

    Reply
    • John Brown January 23, 2013, 3:06 am

      > if you’re not looking forward to it?

      Since you mentioned Jesus …

      Before Jesus returns, many people have to die and many people will be deceived and lose their souls which is worse then death of the body. Including probably a majority of the citizens of the USA. That is why I am not looking forward to TEOTWAWKI, though I am looking forward to the end of blasphemy.

      I prep for the return of Jesus, I prepare for SHTF to survive until he does.

      That is the point, get it :-)

      Reply
      • Yikes! January 23, 2013, 7:31 pm

        Yeah, I get it, John. You’re looking forward to me going to hell.

        Duly noted.

        Reply
        • Jason January 23, 2013, 8:24 pm

          Yikes! I like your sense of humor – Hell always needs more comedians :-D

          Reply
    • Jason January 23, 2013, 7:20 am

      What may surprise you Yikes! & speaking for myself is, this is the ultimate in positive thinking. Life will always ebb & flow but to have a focus solely based upon oneself & this minuscule life is negative thinking in my opinion.

      The difference between thinking focused upon this life & the one basing life with eternal rewards is, the eternal life mindset is borderless while the other is deeply limited.

      Reply
      • Yikes! January 23, 2013, 7:33 pm

        I wrote the comment after john and TR both started slinging brimstone out of the gate.

        I just got home from work and haven’t read any of the subsequent comments… so I have no idea what you’re on about here.

        Reply
  • Yikes! January 23, 2013, 8:24 pm

    OK, I skimmed over most of that.

    My enthusiasm for religious debate was pretty well exhausted by 1998 or so when I got stuck sitting next to a Jehovah’s Witness in front of two Nation of Islam dudes (the black separatist ones) on an 8 hour Greyhound trip. The Witness never was convinced that there’s more than one version of the Bible in print, and the Muslims were mostly focused on the fact that Allah gave them carte blanche to push their multiple wives around. We never did sort out whose magical ghost was more powerful, and I swore I’d never get dragged into that crap again.

    Let’s talk about guns some more. That was fun, and marginally productive.

    Reply
  • Yikes! January 24, 2013, 12:41 pm

    The idea of developing a community that works in regular life and in disasters is important.

    I don’t know why this thread leaped sideways and died.

    I wonder if it’s because changing a community or relocating are really beyond the means of the people reading. I should logically move away from where I live because it’s terrible, but the fact is that I’m constrained by other obligations. I have to be here for the time being.

    Maybe everyone is just committed to a house, a mortgage, a job or school, and can’t reasonably move just in case there’s a solar flare. Actually changing a community that you live in is equally difficult for most people… especially when you’re the only one who’s building a bunker in the back yard.

    I’m just speculating here.

    Reply
    • Jason January 24, 2013, 8:58 pm

      Here’s the deal Yikes! ….

      People are creatures of habit AND love to complain about whatever. Moving has been described as uprooting & is exactly that, whether you move 1,000 miles or just across town – it is stressful. People get a level of comfortable where they hang their hat & days turn into years.

      People will come to this blog or any other survival blog & dream. Dream of wonderland, that place they wish they could go to but when push comes to shove, the 98% stay put because it’s their identity & it is too damn hard to move. They will complain about the changes in traffic, gang bangers, kids on skateboards, graffiti, pollution & the list is endless. But they still stay & so do most of their kids & their kids ….

      Point two & probably most important, nobody really believes things will crash, blow up, melt, EMP or will be attacked by zombies. Besides, what better place to be when it all comes apart than around familiar surroundings? There is a lot to be said about for the local hook ups you can get.

      I fall into this 2nd camp. I know – blind, stupid, naive & arrogant. However, my position does not come from burying my head in the dirt rather, it comes from a thorough study of the Bible. I know it is not a subject you care for but the wisdom & trends spelled out several thousand years ago are remarkably uncanny. Also, doesn’t it strike as odd that the center & much focus of our world throughout history is on Israel? Not the Congo, America, China or Russia – no, it is Israel AND the Jewish culture. Strange isn’t it?

      Many years ago I believed the Bible was just a bunch of crap & unrealistic stories written by sand dwellers to eventually become an opiate to control the masses. I knew lots of Christian people & quite frankly, they drove me nuts because they seemed phony, weak & brainless. This was my point of view when I started to read & study.

      If you like history & unparalleled intellectual stimulation, then the Bible is where it’s at. It has been nearly 30 years & I have yet to get bored AND no book is ever the same when rereading it. And by the way, I do believe God is real & very much alive.

      Reply
      • Yikes! January 24, 2013, 11:10 pm

        OY!

        I was just trying to get the string rolling again, brother.

        I was being diplomatic in not saying that people just like to “prep” for the SHTF because it gives them the illusion of control and security. The best “prep” on earth is quite obviously to be stinking, filthy rich… but most of us can’t pull that off, so we make do.

        Yeah, we need hurricane supplies and a shitload of candles in case the power goes out, but there ain’t no zombies. There’s not going to be any sudden disaster that puts the whole U.S. government under. Gold is never going to be worth what you’re paying for it, and you’ll never get to shoot any roving thugs with your AK-47 (or Mossberg 500 as the case may be) without going to prison.

        The rest of this is pretty much wankin’. But wankin’ serves a purpose, and keeps the tinfoil-hatters off the streets.

        People don’t move because it’s not about choosing the safest home. It’s about doing whatever is within your means to make you feel like you have the world by the ass without breaking your bank account. Personally, I embrace it. It’s fun.

        Where the religious stuff is concerned. I could really care less, but I respect your right to believe what the hell ever strikes your fancy. The nature of theology is that it can’t be challenged in any meaningful way.

        I daresay I’ve read more of the Bible than most practicing Christian fundamentalists. I also know it’s the most heavily edited volume on the face of the earth. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on out there in the ether, and my mind is open where that’s concerned. On the other hand, I decisively do not think that any other man or woman has a direct line to god either. As a result, I resent anyone claiming god’s authority to support their own claim to the moral universe.

        I’ve had many conversations with pastors and priests. I invariably walk away thinking that they don’t know a damned thing more than I know. They’re just some guys who don’t mind overstating their positions in order to get people to listen to them.

        Still, you’d be a good drinkin’ buddy, I think. I’m fairly lit right now, and this is fun. Preach on, if it makes you happy.

        Reply
        • Jason January 25, 2013, 6:10 am

          Yikes!,

          You are soooo obvious – I KNEW you wanted to keep things alive & was only too happy to oblige! As stated before, I like your sense of humor & style. You don’t mind calling things for what they are while keeping things alive & that is an art – congrats.

          As far as wankin’ yea, you nailed it. The big reason while much of this lacks depth is because of the foundation or premise which is built on – fantasy. If you go a little to the left on your Internet dial, you will hit a couple of blogs with a bigger following owned by Creekmore & Rawls. I say “owned” because they ran out of substance & solicit the audience to write ‘Guest Posts” in order to serve the audience & the wannabe wank authors. Some of these guest people put in so much damn time to say absolutely nothing.

          In Creekmore’s case the tale of the tape comes from the audience comments. Most reflect him & his mindset – he is such a dope, barely smarter than a box of rocks. I find it quite amusing watching him inflate more as he gains audience share, thinking he is actually pretty darn smart. A fool who surounds themselves with fools is still a fool. I’ll admit it, I always try to bait him but he doesn’t bite anymore.

          Prepping …. that is a very interesting subject. Many of the societies throughout history prepped for the natural disasters that would occur. It is Biblical to prep as well – not because of some wrath of God rather, life happens & it is prudent to take care of one’s family. By the way, many view God as some sort of cosmic slot machine or some entity who must enjoy burning ants with a magnifying glass. I love the stupid statements “if God is so loving & so powerful while does he allow ______________ ?” (Fill the blank with any flavor of choice).

          The best of all are the Atheists. They generally have an angry edge to them & many times will staunchly shake their fist at those who believe in God & try to back them down with shock statements like – Fuck God. So silly & mindless.

          C.S. Lewis said it best: “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…” or my favorite “Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist.”

          However, when the author walks onto the stage, the play is over.

          You made a great observation – “I’ve had many conversations with pastors and priests. I invariably walk away thinking that they don’t know a damned thing more than I know. They’re just some guys who don’t mind overstating their positions in order to get people to listen to them.” In far too many cases that is right on the money. Why? Because it far easier to talk it than to live it & sometimes the talk is pure avoidance of the real question being asked.

          There is an old saying that is so true – character is what you DO when nobody is watching. Unfortunately, some well meaning people cannot simply just be.

          Anyway it is 3 a.m. here in San Diego & I need my 3 hours of beauty sleep but I may add more later with regards to your statement about a direct line to God ….. oh how fun!

          Reply
          • Calamity Jane January 25, 2013, 10:44 am

            Jason, that’s dangerously close to an atheist strawman you’ve built there. As an atheist, I don’t feel angry, I certainly don’t feel anger towards a being I don’t think exists. Although, looking back at your comments, perhaps it is CS Lewis who was building the straw man. Still, let’s try to avoid the inaccurate generalities.

            If character is what you DO when nobody is watching, but as a christian you think your god is always watching, what does that make your actions?

            Now, I think I’ve dipped far enough into your religious debate, I’ll bow out and let y’all continue to sling your verses.
            Do try to have a good weekend. :-) Work on those new year resolutions or something. :-)
            -Calamity

          • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 1:17 pm

            B’yah, it’s all in good fun.

            I’ll check out those Creekmore and Rawls things.

            Atheists, I don’t know. They’re also guilty of claiming that they know things they can’t know.

            That’s the thing really. There’s just some stuff that we can’t know. Most people can’t stand a vacuum, and so they fill in the gaps with whatever stories are at hand. For me, I’m OK with it. If the master of the universe has pressing business for me, well I’m probably doing it already. What kind of master of the universe can’t get me to play ball?

            If your primary religious concern is ethics, that’s another matter. I prefer to take that case by case.

          • irishdutchuncle January 28, 2013, 7:04 pm

            yeh, what Yikes! said…

            “claiming they know things they can’t know”.
            on the other hand, the Deity claims he does exist.

  • Jason January 25, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Jane, thank you made my point.

    What you may not realize is CS Lewis was a professed atheist prior to becoming a Christian. As an exceptionally well educated professor in Medieval Literature at Oxford, I tend to think he had the capacity to examine the facts about God better than most & with an extremely critical eye. Although it may be challenging for you, Mere Christianity is an excellent work to read where he examined both sides of the equation.

    My “generalities” are based upon many, many personal discussions & much reading from the atheist camp. Your type of response quite common because it invoked an emotion or a strong reaction to shut down any mention of God as evidenced by the 2nd half of your comment.

    “If character is what you DO when nobody is watching, but as a christian you think your god is always watching, what does that make your actions?”

    My answer – imperfect. Nothing more, nothing less. I know I fall short everyday & screw up plenty, probably more than most. It is impossible to not screw up when compared to a Holy God simply by definition. Also, I am not religious whatsoever. I attend a non-denomination church & study the Bible & specific history because I do not want to be influenced with heavily slanted man made doctrines.

    However, what I have found by living both sides – a non Christian & Christian life, life is far more enjoyable than the latter. I was 33 when I became a Christian & lived an extremely full life before that commitment with many dark days & actions & many fantastic successes.

    In my early 20′s I was quite involved in a think tank environment exploring the possibilities of man, where “God” was considered a myth or a pointless crutch. I had the benefit of being with some very brilliant people on the cutting edge of this human potential movement.

    One day it dawned upon me that none of it made real sense because it seemed so limited, as strange as that sounds. As discoveries were being made by the group, it made me think there is something greater than our puny, arrogant little minds. Was it God? Ha, what a joke.

    The deeper I dug, the greater I found the limits of man became & I actually backed into a church by accident, led by a famous scholar. I listened with a highly biased ear but something seemed to ring true – it is inexplicable because it wasn’t the words, it was something else. Thinking it was some sort of ether, I reexamined that move. I went back looking for faults & found that they only belonged to me thus, began my journey.

    Reply
  • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I’m skeptical of scholars. I’d almost rather talk to a guy who spoke to god this morning through an image of the virgin that appeared in his corn flakes. At least that guy is going to have a story to tell. And who knows, maybe god really was using those cornflakes for a PA system.

    I’m kind of one of those scholars, and I’ve certainly spent all of my adult life around academics. They’re rewarded for creating convoluted, abstruse arguments based more on abstract reason than concrete experience. The question I have for any prominent theologian is whether god also talks to his cornflakes. If not, he doesn’t know any more than me, and is probably wasting my time.

    My cornflakes have got nothing but static for years. Maybe I should crunch some aluminum foil on them.

    I guess I’m content that the universe continues to spin. Existence is a powerful argument, and one which eludes people with complex explanations.

    Reply
    • Jason January 25, 2013, 2:24 pm

      Skeptical of that which your are, interesting – sounds like an occupational hazard!

      Let me ask you a question. What is your personal issue with God and or what is your viewpoint about Him?

      This is a trick question because in order to answer it satisfactorily, you must remove yourself from the experiences of the nuts & flakes you’ve encountered & have an almost evidentiary answer based upon your own thoughts. Obviously, I very carefully & specifically crafted that question.

      “Existence is a powerful argument, and one which eludes people with complex explanations.”

      Sometimes those complexities appear because some are trying to explain personal faith, which can, in of itself create the sense of elusion.

      By the way, why do you care about the relationship between God & cornflakes? :-)

      http://nohoagogo.blogspot.com/2008/04/cheeto-chuck-norris.html

      Reply
      • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 2:49 pm

        It’s a messed up business.

        The choice of cornflakes was arbitrary.

        Trick question… pfft.

        My only point is that I don’t worry about the mysteries of the universe. I let them be.

        I will re-evaluate that position at such time as Xenu pops up in my corn flakes (or shredded wheat), right after I stop by the hospital to have a psychiatrist check my brain oil.

        Reply
        • Jason January 25, 2013, 3:32 pm

          You disappoint me – I gave you a wide open opportunity. Maybe it seems messed up because you may think it is subjective but actually, it transcends that line of thinking.

          “By the way, why do you care about the relationship between God & cornflakes? :-)” the smile was acknowledging your arbitrary meaning.

          Hmmmmm, I wonder if you are thinking that I may see through the obtuse or a contrived & convoluted answer or discussion …. just a thought.

          Reply
          • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 4:04 pm

            Your question is premised on the idea that there is a “god” and that I have no choice but to have a relationship with “him.”

            I’m not afraid you’ll see through anything because my goal is clear communication on this point. I’m not into opaque arguments.

            There’s an order to the universe. I can see that with my own eyes. I don’t assume that it is an anthropocentric order. We are part of that order whether we like it or not, and what’s beyond it is quite beyond our understanding. Why are you so intent on looking up mother nature’s skirt?

            All things considered, it has nothing to do with the price of cornflakes.

          • Jason January 25, 2013, 5:12 pm

            And so it goes …. for a guy who likes clear communication, you did your best to avoid a direct answer. Come on, you can do better than that & I am not going to lead you.

            PS

            It is simple.

            PPS

            Where do you see, with your own eyes, the evidence of a non-anthropocentric view?

          • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 5:55 pm

            You should consider the possibility that ‘m not following your line of reasoning.

            You want your trick question answered: “What is your personal issue with God and or what is your viewpoint about Him?”

            My first answer is that I can’t answer the question because I disagree with the premise.

            If I’m pressed, I’ll say that this is two questions in one. Taking the second first, I’ll say I never met him so I can’t say whether he exists. Given that, I can answer the first part of the question and say that I have no personal issue with god, who may or may not exist.

            I don’t know how to better answer that question. I’m trying to play ball with you here, but I have a limited interest in debating Christian theology. I was not raised in any religious tradition whatsoever. I’m not rebelling against any church dogma, nor am I determined to project humanity onto the void. It’s all good insofar as I’m concerned.

            I do get pissed off when people claim divine authority. That’s about the extent of my investment.

            Oh, I said that I don’t assume an anthropocentric order. That’s different from making a case that there’s not one. I have no bloody idea. I just don’t see any evidence of a bearded schizophrenic spinning the world on his finger and talking to people through their cornflakes.

          • Jason January 25, 2013, 6:39 pm

            Criminy sakes, all of that to say you have no relationship with God & since you have no empirical proof of His existence, He probably does not exist. What was so hard about that? Clear, simple & straightforward.

            What is funny is I have no interest in debating Christian beliefs because there will never be a winner, only two people further stuck in an invested & bordering on self-righteous points of view.

            I was trying to understand how you think & how you assembled your beliefs. It has been my long experience that people, not necessarily you, make up things in order to avoid what may be perceived as pain. I call it the straight arm technique. Additionally, I believe one can’t ever coerce or talk someone into any belief with any measure of (lasting) success.

            Your turn ~

          • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 7:13 pm

            See, I thought I pretty much said that before. ..

            No cornflakes, no way of knowing.

            No way of knowing, no point in worrying about it.

            I never said probably doesn’t exist though. I said I don’t know, and wouldn’t be comfortable making bold assertions about something that big. Like I said, when the cornflakes are on the table…

            You can’t win any argument when you and your counterpart disagree on the underlying premise.

          • Jason January 25, 2013, 8:19 pm

            Oh ye of slippery & carefully orchestrated thoughts ….

            I know you are smarter than what you are portraying & also sure you get I was establishing a premise. However, I will assert that, whether corn flakes are on the table in front of you or not, this little interchange is the beginning of proving God is real & exists.

          • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 9:24 pm

            Well, don’t go all Socratic on me.

            If you can prove god, spill it.

            I told you at the start, I’m not up for Mr. Toad’s wild thanatopsis. But if you’ve found the path to Valhalla, I’m all ears.

  • John Brown January 25, 2013, 3:23 pm

    > what does that make your actions?

    For a Christian, actions you might have to repent of 490 times a day and that is the difference in this life and the one beyond.

    Reply
    • Jason January 25, 2013, 3:34 pm

      John,

      It is only 12:30 pm here in San Diego & I have gone well past 490 for today!

      Reply
  • Pineslayer January 25, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Hey Calamity Jane, I am like you with my beliefs. Do you find it a hindrance when talking to your friends about the future? Around these parts I stick out less than I used to and it is less of an issue. Recently I have had a run in with a neighbor, who I had thought was a friend and would have tried to help, since they are oblivious to reality, but nice enough people, or so I thought. I was confronted at a X-mas gathering about my gun ownership and now feel like, to heck with them. I will be stretched to the max if the ball drops. Do you think my feelings are justified? No pressure :) I find myself in the minority in the prepper/survivalist community and struggle with the decision of who to help.

    Reply
  • Yikes! January 25, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Friends?

    Reply
  • John Brown January 26, 2013, 1:13 am

    > If you can prove god, spill it.

    Show me the mathematical odds of the Curse of the Zeroes being a random occurrence and how you figured out the odds.

    Reply
    • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 1:42 am

      John!

      Jesus loves you!

      Which is fortunate since I sometimes have the impression that you’re kind of a twat.

      What the hell are you on about, brother?

      Jason said he was going to prove god. That’s awesome! I want to hear it.

      Reply
      • Jason January 26, 2013, 3:47 am

        Sorry, life got in the way at a crucial moment for you & others reading this thread.

        Since you brought it up & you jumped the gun on me a bit, which is fine, let me ask you – who was Jesus Christ, historically speaking? (Technically it is Jesus – the Christ & for your benefit I used a past tense).

        You had said you have a great familiarity with history, so this question is important to further establish a foundation for physical proof. This is not a trick question or one that is going to back you into saying something, it is very straight forward about a man who changed history more than any other person ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our calendars – worldwide, forever changed because of his death & that name alone, Jesus Christ, stirs up emotion on its own merit.

        ANY answer is perfectly ok, providing you are being honest.

        Earlier I said ” this little interchange is the beginning of proving God is real & exists.” Here’s is a small snippet of why I believe that as so ….

        It is impossible, at least by my view, to talk about and or have any energy that stirs up so much emotion regarding any subject without the possibility of its existence. Jane the atheist proved it in her quick statement to me. If God did not exist, why the energy or emotion? Why attempt to turn the discussion away? That subject or response is certainly not born of lunacy.

        Einstein once went through an exercise regarding a type of mind mapping by explaining that “darkness” only exists as a result of the absence of light, not because it exists on its own merit. Light can be studied, darkness can not. Darkness cannot be broken down.

        So for some things to exist, it is completely relative to the opposite not existing or the absence of it.

        For purposes of our discussion, cornflakes cannot exist unless non cornflakes existed. It is common knowledge that cornflakes do exist in your world but since I do not have any in my cabinet, does that mean they do not exist? That would be silly unless of course all of the stores in San Diego had none & said they have no idea what they are. Then we have a problem or to put it from your point of view – I have a problem.

        Got it so far?

        Reply
        • Jason January 26, 2013, 3:56 am

          PS

          You said of John Brown:

          “… I sometimes have the impression that you’re kind of a twat.”

          I am not being flip but that does have an emotion base & non twat must exist in order for the term twat make any sense whatsoever, correct?

          Reply
          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 9:22 am

            I was a course shy of a philosophy minor as an undergrad.

            I came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter whether the Schlick was shot by Schlick or a non-Schlick. Then I walked across campus.

            I did say that. It was kind of rude of me. (Sorry, John.)

            Yep. Most people are non-twats. It’s a title of distinction.

            What R U drivin’ @?

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 10:47 am

            What am I driving at? Simple, straightforward answers. I am purely logic based.

            You have already established a pattern of communication with regards to this specific subject and I recognize the stumbling block. This is an integral part of the proof of God’s existence.

            What you may not realize is the closer to the truth we get, the greater the fear & avoidance/reactionary patterns become for you & that’s perfectly normal.

            However, it is a demonstration regarding the power of the unseen & supposed fictional characteristics which cuts through the beliefs of needing physical properties as proof. Lucky for you there are physical properties as I am trying to point out.

            Some people would say or think I am calling your bluff but I do not care about that because it is a silly tit for tat game, I am several layers beneath that at the moment.

            Where I am at is at the door of truth, I’ll say it is pure truth & here’s the interesting part, I am putting my beliefs on the line. However, I have no fear about it nor do I have anything invested in whatever choices you make – those are yours alone. As I said before, it is impossible for me to talk you into something.

            There is one particular parable in the Bible about a rich young ruler who came up to Jesus & essentially asked to join his crew. Jesus said to him to give away ALL of your riches to the poor & you are more than welcome to come along.

            The rich young ruler made his choice to keep his wealth & forget about being a part of Jesus’s posse. It was the rich young ruler’s sole choice with which Jesus had nothing invested nor did Jesus get emotional about it.

            If you want to stop, it is ok by me & I will draw some conclusions for you.

        • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 10:20 am

          A’ight. That’s what you’re drivin at.

          Nope.

          I’m not a history expert. I have a better than average grasp of history because I usually look up the history of something when it’s pertinent to some argument I’m trying to sort out. In the gun debate, I’m pretty sure I looked up more history than most of the guys on the thread. I make no such guarantees about biblical history.

          Bear in mind that I’m an agnostic, more or less, not an atheist. I have no idea what god is, and my argument from the start been that nobody else does either.

          Jesus the Christ (I kind of like that) was a guy who lived in a patch of desert in the Near East like 2000 years ago. He might have been a magical guy, but there’s no way of knowing. Opinion is divided.

          Jane’s reacting to the thesis that there’s god. That’s different from reacting to god.

          There need not actually be cornflakes for someone to have the idea that there could be such a thing as a cornflake. In fact, there were none at all when the Kellogg boys whipped em up in the kitchen at the sanitarium. People can think in the abstract, and so they can invent stuff.

          I suppose that John Kellogg was all excited about the idea of cornflakes before he made them. He probably went and told all of his friends and they reacted to the idea of them even though there technically were no cornflakes yet. A possibility of a thing is not the thing.

          You’d have a problem if the stores ran out of cornflakes (SHTF!), but you’d have a bigger problem if the corn flakes were only ever thought of, and not invented at all.

          A slim majority of Americans have had some engagement with some Christian Church at some point. Most likely Jane was emotionally responding to the content of her experiences with religious types at some point.

          I’m matter of fact about Jesus the Christ, and the God, and the Buddha, because I had no experience with any religious dogma as a child. If they show up in the cornflakes, I’ll just roll with it.

          I recognize the pattern of your argument, but the name of it escapes me. Been years, you know.

          Oh, you can never win an argument with a philosopher. They just keep changing the context and dynamic of the discussion until you give up. If you want to win an argument, go fight with a lawyer. They at least adhere to a set of logical rules, and can conceive of the possibility that they have miscalculated.

          Reply
          • Jason January 26, 2013, 11:28 am

            Philosophers & lawyers are easy to deal with, in fact most everybody is easy to deal with because everybody has a specific & finite language pattern. Once discovered, deal within it. It is sort of like going to France …. you can get along much better when you speak their language.

            When you remember the pattern of my ‘argument’ let me know because I have no clue. I have an advanced education in neurolinguistics & very strong grasp of mathematics, which oddly go hand in hand. I, for the most part, try to remain fluid.

            I understand your argument & belief that you bend towards agnostic but quite frankly don’t believe that’s where you are coming from. There is way too much in your world that you accept by faith.

            Let’s set aside the speculative reasoning behind why Jane & others believe as they do because it has no bearing on this discussion. However, I believe you are incorrect – most American’s have had an engagement with a church & nearly all have been exposed to God. In fact I’ll take it a step further, we were ALL born with a pure belief in God the Creator – 100%. Somewhere along the line we became independent. Funny but that is explained in the Bible.

            Ok, so you have no problem understanding that Jesus actually existed, was alive & a real person. Whether He is God in the flesh could be part of that proof is next I would assume for you.

            I am going to Starbucks for my morning cup of coffee & a bit of breakfast, my stomach is talking to me. As Jesus said – “I’ll be baaack” ….. or was that Arnold?

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 12:34 pm

            Philosophers generally spend their entire lives in one running argument. They are well entrenched, in my experience. It’s a life commitment for them.

            Lawyers take on thousands of arguments throughout their lives and are not usually personally invested in the outcome of any given one. Argument is a fun sport for them.

            I’ll pick the lawyer every time.

            Neurolinguistics, cool. I know a bit about linguistics, but I’m not a math guy. So you’ll lose me if you start writing equations.

            I probably won’t remember the style, but that doesn’t matter. Your argument’s your argument. It wasn’t an insult. All argument takes some form or other.

            What I said about Jane was entirely material to this discussion. You brought her into it when you speculated that she was reacting to god. My response to that is that she was not; she was responding instead to an ideology. If you’d like to test our divergent speculations on what was driving her response, I suggest that you ask her.

            Now you’ve said: “most American’s have had an engagement with a church & nearly all have been exposed to God. In fact I’ll take it a step further, we were ALL born with a pure belief in God ”

            We are talking about different things entirely. I said that most Americans have been exposed to Christian belief systems, and that is not the same as being exposed to god. I completely disagree with your assertion that we are born with a belief in god.

            I do believe that we are born with complex brains which eventually allow us to ask questions about things that are beyond our comprehension. The belief in any given religious structure is dependent first, on one’s enculturation; and second, on one’s fluid analysis of the experiences of his life.

            If you are planning on basing any of your argument on the fundamental truths embodied in a religious text, you will not be persuasive. The Bible is a cultural artifact, written by fallible people, and provides no proof of god.

            I think that a guy named Jesus existed. I’m no more certain of that than I am of any 2000 year-old history, but no less certain either. Trying to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus is a misstep in this argument because the only conceivable evidence that you can offer will necessarily come from religious texts… unless Jesus the Christ talked to you through your cornflakes this morning. Can you get those at Starbucks?

            The only order I see is in nature. I expected that you would recognize that and then would argue from natural evidence, knowing that I’m an empiricist.

            Don’t mistake indifference for faith. I guess I take it on faith that the sun’s going to come up in the morning, but if I gave a damn why I’d study astronomy and look into it.

            Prove god first. Then worry about the Christian window dressing.

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 1:35 pm

            Why did I divert from a little work I slipped into the office to do to see if you responded …. silly me, the curiousity got the better of me. You do take some enjoyment in being a little slippery. I get it & guess I should drive my point with pinpoint accuracy. Give me a minute while I change tacts & will be back.

            In the meantime …..

            Philosophers, by in large love to hear themselves talk & damn near hold a mirror in their hand while they do so. They are in a deep, hypnotic state as they care very little for what you say unless of course, it feeds ego. The key to getting through to them in drive their own bus deeply into themselves while being you/me assume the driver’s position. Once fully in rapport, you can change the pattern of the conversation in any direction providing it is based upon solid ground.

            You are not an atheist so Jane’s comment does not apply.

            Depending upon the pole you read or believe, anywhere from 80-90% of Americans claim Christian belief & what is Christian belief without God? I let Jane answer that! That was a joke.

            “The Bible is a cultural artifact, written by fallible people, and provides no proof of god.” Sorry, you are completely wrong but I cannot go there with you because of resistance. The Bible is a fully integrated message (system) from start to finish written over thousands of years. It is completely impossible – that is with 100% certainty, that it could have been engineered & weaved together by fallable man. I’ll say it again – 100% impossible.

            “The belief in any given religious structure is dependent first, on one’s enculturation; and second, on one’s fluid analysis of the experiences of his life.” You are wrong again. The Apostle Paul was a “Christian” hater & murder of them on assignment to imprison and or kill them. He also went from house to house, dragging both men and women Christian believers to prison. He caused believers to be bound and probably tortured in an attempt to get them to deny their faith in Christ. When they refused, he voted to have them condemned to death.

            At the height of his mission he changed – suddenly (over a 3 day period) & ultimately became a writer of several books of the Bible …. and he was born after Christ died so he had NO physical proof. Why would he do that? His cultural upbringing & environment was completely the opposite. There are literally millions of additional examples with equal weight. There is only one plausable explanation – divine intervention.

            You see order in nature, that’s a decent start. While you wait, think about why there is order in light of entropy.

            By the way, if you think I am going prove God is in a tree or a monkey’s toenail, you are wasting time your time.

            Lastly, you are not indifferent, the evidence points to the contrary.

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 2:32 pm

            Dude,

            Friend,

            I’m not the one who was trying to convince you of anything. You set out to convince me of the existence of god, and I have been game for that to this point. I saw no purpose in talking about religion in the first place.

            I think it was John Cleese who pointed out the argument is not simply contradiction. You can say I’m wrong, but unless you provide some concrete support for your position you will not be persuasive in light of the vast cross-cultural evidence that I’m right.

            You have foregrounded a fundamental disagreement on the premise of the argument at this point. We are therefore at a stalemate.

            If you recall, I also said that I respect your beliefs very early on, whether I share them or not. They’re really none of my business, and I feel no need to press the issue further.

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 3:08 pm

            “You can say I’m wrong, but unless you provide some concrete support for your position you will not be persuasive in light of the vast cross-cultural evidence that I’m right.”

            That is interesting because I did provide proof i.e. the Apostle Paul. However, as explained in the first point, the proof is in the text & it is concrete but illustrating it to you is a bit of a dichotomy.

            I have foregrounded nothing as there many facets with which I can choose. We can discuss Jesus as God in the flesh, the integrity of the Bible or even nature itself which screams of deity.

            What I have done is merely isolated the issue, your objections & thought patterns in a clean, clear light in order to move forward in the area of comfort for you.

            All that being said, I completely understand where you are coming from because this is a huge & deeply personal subject as God Himself does have a vested interest in you, me & those who may be following along. It is very confronting to challenge ones beliefs (that) they have worked so damn hard to obtain & maintain because it is ones identity.

            Consider this – no other discussion you could ever have will challenge & confront the mind & all rationale & will stir the heart more than the subject of God & Jesus Christ … and for God to not exist yet, cause such a powerful reaction? That is complete ludicrous.

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 4:11 pm

            C’mon now, we were doing so well. Let’s not be condescending.

            I respect your convictions, yet you won’t do me the same courtesy. Where’s your Christian tolerance, brother?

            I could try to get you on the Darwin bus for a couple of days, but we both know how that would turn out, and what would I have to gain by it in the end? It makes not a whiskersworth of difference to me whether you think people are monkeys or angels.

            Paul isn’t evidence, by the way. He’s an anecdote. I find it surprising that you’re some kind of a scientist, but are so cavalier in disregarding some of the basic principles of empiricism.

            And where the emotional impact of the conversation is concerned, I was much more invested in the Second Amendment thing. The Universe keeps spinning whether I take note of it or not.

            Take heart. Maybe I’ll get hit by a bus today and find out I was wrong. Then you and John can laugh at me in hell from the heaven balcony, like those two old guy puppets from The Muppet Show.

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 5:12 pm

            Don’t mistake clarity & fact as being condescending. As for tolerance, I am excessively patient & when I saw the track of conversation getting a bit to disjointed I elected to cut to the heart of the matter & dismiss the extraneous.

            I can fiddle-faddle with what most anybody can throw out on most subjects because most of it is mindless meandering & most people’s convictions are surface deep. People seem to have traded honest & objective thinking for laziness or fear. Real intelligence is becoming an endangered species, so to speak.

            The Darwin bus is pointless because it is a distraction & not your core belief. You do have a pattern of adding things into the mix that are not quite applicable & suspect the underlying reason is to keep people out or off balance. While it can be amusing & marginally interesting, it serves no real purpose.

            Paul is a historical fact. Jesus is a historical fact, so is Moses, David, Solomon, Ruth, Daniel, Herod, Abraham – all indisputable, don’t believe me, look it up.

            The very last thing I would do is to take any pleasure in someone choosing to believe that God is wrong or does not exist. Most people do not seem to get the gravity of their decisions that when you die, personal choice is eliminated forever.

            People who choose a life without Christ/God are probably the bravest people I know because they are willing to risk their entire eternity that God is wrong or does not exist. Me, no thanks.

            Besides, for those who do not believe, this world is the best things can ever be & those who believe know this is world is the worst things can ever get.

            Here is what I believe is the most ironic part – I have nothing to gain if you choose a life with Christ nor am I penalized if you do not. So why on earth would I go through the exercise of presenting God in a light that you may come to gain a better understanding of His nature?

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 5:50 pm

            Why did you present the argument? I’d guess at two reasons: you like to debate things, and you’re spreading the word of god. I could be wrong.

            I have no idea why you’d think that my argument was insincere. I was extremely straightforward with you and all of the major points that I put forward have been central to my worldview and the argument. I was joking about the muppet thing, of course.

            I have the impression that you’re just irritated that I didn’t reach the same conclusion that you did. I understand that it’s important to you, and I don’t so that’s kind of understandable even though I don’t like it.

            One thing that does concern me is the frequency with which Christian tolerance gives way to Christian pride. I don’t rule out god, but i do rule out a god that’s going to send all of the Hindus to hell because they happened to get the wrong book.

            I have a friend who’s creeping up on 100 years-old. He’s a devout Christian, and he’s been on an absolute crusade to make the world a better place since I was a kid. His work is based entirely in Christian values, and I’ve never had an ethical or personal conflict with him. He has also never tried to convert me, and I’m pretty sure that he thinks god will be OK with people who are good and live a good life, however they happen to look at the unknown. I get that sort of Christianity, and I’m good with it.

            Who exactly are you to tell me what I believe, or that science shouldn’t be a meaningful route of inquiry for me, personally? It is, and it absolutely shapes my understanding of nature. That’s kind of what I mean by condescending, man.

            History consists of stories about facts. It does not consist of facts themselves. We have accounts that tell us that those people existed, but the fact of them disappeared into the ether a couple of millenia ago. It seems to me that you are very much confused about what constitutes a fact. I can look up 100 accounts of Paul and still not know whether he talked to god. Religious knowledge is inherently not empirical.

            You might rethink the exclusivity of your cosmology. Only about 1/3 of people worldwide consider themselves to be Christian. If you don’t make some allowances, you’re condemning about 5 billion people to hell.

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 9:09 pm

            Hmmmm, maybe it’s me. I generally do not confuse easily & can keep on point pretty well. You like to try to put me on my back foot & drag in silly, immaterial points but the constant steps backward & unwinding doesn’t work for a productive discussion in my opinion.

            Personally I think you are full of baloney with your “facts of them disappeared into the ether a couple of millenia ago” nonsense because if I mentioned Socrates, Plato, Nero, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy, Hippocrates, Epicurus or any other non Biblical person, I can’t believe you’d question their existence with the same yard stick you use for the others.

            So while your near centurion friend hasn’t challenged your viewpoint, I seriously doubt you’ve discussed, point blank, how you think & believe God is mythical or that there is no proof of His existence. If you did, I’d bet you’d get a far different response other than the “we are the world” impression you seem to give him.

            My cosmology has nothing to do with world views – I have been through it much prior to becoming a Christian. It is my belief & conviction through a careful & in depth study of several belief systems. I didn’t just wing it, follow some hot babe to church or get enlightened with a hand full of peyote. I considered quite heavily several philosophies & by accident became a Christian.

            Anyhoo, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors ~

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 9:14 pm

            Does this mean you won’t be my drinkin buddy?

            I didn’t take any of this personally, brother. I thought it was an interesting discussion.

            It’s unfortunate that I seem to have offended you in the course of a logical exercise.

          • Jason January 26, 2013, 9:31 pm

            I don’t live in NY & I don’t drink very much but if I am ever in NY, I would look you up.

            It is almost impossible to offend me so no worries. I was hoping you’d use you your intelligence a bit more openly. With these blind blogs it is easy & non threatening to consider or challenge beliefs.

          • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 10:05 pm

            Well, it’s good I didn’t offend you.

            I still don’t get why you think my argument was so crazy and tricky and foolish. There was nothing in it that I wouldn’t have said face to face, for sure. I’d have been more convincing face to face. I do the Socratic thing for a living, more or less, and I’m quite comfortable with it.

            We just had us an epistemological disconnect, is all. I think that’s the source of the unfunness all of a sudden. Religious discussions typically end that way. They’re a bummer.

          • Jason January 27, 2013, 10:49 am

            ***** Epilog *****

            Yikes!

            Probably the most disappointing part of this dialog rests with me. I had assumed that you were really curious to find out if there was actual proof that God exists, was real & if there was tangible proof.

            F. Scott Fitzgerald once said & I very much agree -

            “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

            This is not a dig or condescending. My goal was not to talk you into or out of something rather, something of a more personal nature – intellectual stimulation.

            The real secret of this conversation for me was I had no idea how I was going to prove it to your satisfaction but I rose to the personal challenge & somehow I knew I could because God was truly guiding my thoughts sans the cornflakes, as strange as that may seem for you.

            In any case, all of my best to you ~

            Jason

          • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 11:52 am

            Of course I was interested in hearing evidence that god exists. It’s just that you didn’t provide any empirical evidence whatsoever. You were hanging your argument on a story.

            You’re used to preaching to the choir or the confused, I think. When you’re challenged, you call foul.

            Now you’re rationalizing the failure of the argument by saying that I’m not enlightened enough to consider more than one thing at a time. I considered the nature of your story years ago, but I came to a different conclusion.

            And your last statement is why I usually don’t bother debating religion. You’re not god’s mouthpiece on earth. God would have made a better case.

          • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 12:08 pm

            I’ve got one hat tip for you.

            Now I’m considering the possibility that god inspired me to get you to think a little deeper on the 5 billion people you want to send to hell.

            How’s that for an exercise?

          • Jason January 27, 2013, 1:33 pm

            It’s a pointless exercise because it is not in my power to send anyone Hell, nor do I want anyone to be separated from an eternal life with God. I cannot do anything about the 5 billion & neither can you.

            Maybe try starting at square one & work your way outward. There is far more nobility, honor, influence & responsibility with that premise.

          • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 2:45 pm

            That’s not what I said.

            You’re not listening.

          • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 2:51 pm

            You’re not stupid. You copped out on the argument, plain and simple.

            Now you’re just doing some defensive preaching. There’s nothing noble in that.

      • Jason January 27, 2013, 3:41 pm

        Maybe I missed something – this is what you wrote:

        “…. the 5 billion people you want to send to hell.”

        I assumed you meant -

        A. I am happy seeing people go to Hell
        B., I am part of God’s camp, therefore I must be all for flushing souls down the toilet.
        C. The more obvious literal where I am playing God.

        None of which are correct.

        My response addressed theses points. That being said, I have lowered my bar long enough playing your vexatious, mental masturbation games & I find that it serves nothing. So either step up or move on.

        Reply
        • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 4:57 pm

          You copped out a dozen posts ago. You know damned well you dropped the ball.

          It doesn’t much matter what I’m trying to get across at this point. You’re not going to hear it.

          Stay in the shallow end.

          Reply
          • Jason January 27, 2013, 5:38 pm

            Wow, now that’s funny!

          • Jason January 27, 2013, 8:14 pm

            Somehow your comment starting with “Of course I was interested in hearing evidence that god exists ….” did not appear on my side until now & I will comment.

            Repeating – what I was doing was establishing where you are at & coming from so I could start. I began with pretty well known evidence that Jesus Christ was real & secular history acknowledges that >>fact<<.

            However, you elected to play little immature word games like, you cannot be sure He really existed because you did not see Him & the Bible is a bastardized document that nobody can trust even though you do not have any proof of such.

            One with reasonable intelligence would think that this supposed "story" that has "duped" hundreds of millions over 2 millennia, radically changed lives & those number are increasing exponentially, might "consider" there must be something to it. Resist, yes I get it & that's normal but to completely eliminate it based upon little knowledge? That is foolish.

            Even if I did provide overwhelming evidence which is available, you'd circle back into your "Socratic" argument & major in the minors & avoid what would seem to be a threat to your identity that you are so heavily invested in. That veil is so thin & you don't know it. You have no depth & it is obvious otherwise your arguments would have some real substance.

            It is all hogwash & you have no real interest other than acting as an intellectual & entertaining yourself in the privacy of your home, which is why I called mental masturbation. You try your tricks to flip it back on me that may work for some but I don't buy it. Then the piece de resistance is to come back with this ridiculous attempt to put back on me -

            "You copped out a dozen posts ago. You know damned well you dropped the ball.

            It doesn’t much matter what I’m trying to get across at this point. You’re not going to hear it.

            Stay in the shallow end."

            How utterly classic. It is like a high school teacher trying to intimidate the freshman class.

            By the way, God couldn't make a better case because he has tried for years & you outright rejected it i.e. your almost centurion friend whom you seem to admire. That example is an incredible witness of Him yet, you thumb the sophomoric, haute nose at God because you've determined that your friend must be a fluke.

            How sad to miss opportunity again & again but you can hold your head high thinking you got the best of someone in an anonymous forum. Such a hollow, short lived victory with some truly awesome spoils for you.

            What a joke.

  • John Brown January 26, 2013, 1:17 am

    > and struggle with the decision of who to help.

    Children first and those who may have filled the lamps part way with oil, those completely without oil you might have to leave outside.

    Reply
  • John Brown January 26, 2013, 2:39 am

    Again,

    > If you can prove god, spill it.

    Show me the mathematical odds of the Curse of the Zeroes being a random occurrence and how you figured out the odds.

    Reply
    • Yikes! January 26, 2013, 10:43 am

      The Google doesn’t even know what you’re talking about, brother.

      I took stats once, but not probability. I don’t think I could help you out, in any case.

      Pax vobiscum.

      Reply
  • John Brown January 27, 2013, 2:00 pm

    > I had assumed that you were really curious to find out if there was actual
    > proof that God exists, was real

    Of course he was not. That is why he did not bother with this:

    Show me the mathematical odds of the Curse of the Zeroes being a random occurrence and how you figured out the odds.

    This is what John 12:40 is about.

    8 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

    39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

    40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

    I heard on SCN Pastor Murray the other night explaining “hardened” (ref Isa 6) means petrified as in flesh being turned to stone, which is by the up taking of silicon and sand.

    Then I was thinking … What are computer chips made up of and how do most of the last generation get their news now? Over the Internet comprised of sand and silicon.

    > I had no idea how I was going to prove it to your satisfaction

    It is not yours to prove, all you can do is sow the seed. The rest is up to God and if you want to know your personal duty, read the last paragraph of Ecc., the rest is vanity.

    Reply
    • Yikes! January 27, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Yeah, yeah. We know, John.

      That’s why I wasn’t having the conversation with you in the first place.

      Reply
    • Jason January 27, 2013, 11:44 pm

      John, to say you’re fringe would be a gross understatement. I am a fairly well read Christian, even studied many of the speculative nuances of eschatology & I had hard time tracking the Curse of Zeroes. Now imagine a non believer trying to keep up ….

      You need to feel & understand the pulse of the conversation if you want to produce a productive comment.

      Next, I’d suggest not to make some prophetical point out of a metaphor like silicon & sand. I believe the reference of “stone” is simply a hard substance like granite – essentially impenetrable, that is what the text means – nothing more.

      Lastly, “prove” may have been a poor choice of words. Demonstrate or illustrate fits the bill better. Also, before schooling me on Ecclesiastes, flip over to Matthew 7:3 & read carefully.

      Reply

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