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PaulS last won the day on September 7

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About PaulS

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    Alternate Administrator & Site Sponsor
  • Birthday 08/20/1968

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    Mandurah Western Australia

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  1. I think that is an excellent example of how some people think that God is all about 'them'! Hence why we have such an anthropomorphic version of God in many different religious texts (albeit entirely different Gods, of course). Community may be a non-starter if one holds this anthropomorphic outlook about God, but if one were to think broader, say ecology-wise, then community also applies to "interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat". I haven't looked it up, but I think the laws of gravity holding the solar system together are another example of community. Community is not just about 'people'. That said, what are people other than another type of animal, so I guess we are still in the same boat as our amoebic ancestors. There was community when the planet first formed and started to grow and evolve. We are still the same community but just at a different stage of evolution. Whilst people continue to look at the bible as though it is somehow the dictated word of God, it is hard to move past such a small view. But once one starts seeing the bible for what it is - human thoughts and writings striving to capture the essence and ideas of how they view things at that time. For me, it's quite alright for bible authors to be wrong, mistaken, taking a different path or whatever. I still sometimes enjoy their thoughts and sometimes they are useful.
  2. Turning 58

    And always wear sunscreen!
  3. I think you make a good point Burl - indeed perhaps those two commandments were unnecessary. Well, obviously the author or translator thought they were necessary when they wrote them, but of course a couple of thousand plus years on and such commandments may indeed require questioning. Along with a few of the others I would say that many Christians are stuck on insisting are commands from God and not man. It's even possible the lack of serious contemplation or deeper thought is actually the error of the one who states proudly that they know these are God's commandments. A bit like a beef stew that does seem to have flavour, it's just that the flavour is artificial - not that that bothers the consumer of course.
  4. Sorry Bill, not something I've ever looked at. Cheers Paul
  5. End Times?

    Bill, I remember watching that film in our church when I was about 10. I still vividly remember the scenes of the electric razor buzzing by itself on the edge of the bathroom basin and a lawnmower idling unattended. I was traumatised for years and a couple of times I'd come home and find nobody there and would immediately panic that I had missed the rapture! The joys of indoctrinating our youth! Cheers Paul
  6. End Times?

    I was just reading about this yesterday as apparently Saturday was meant to be the end of the world (again). I guess there is still a few hours of Saturday left somewhere in the world, but I'm quietly confident that we are going to be okay. I have several Christian friends and family that genuinely expect the 2nd coming to happen during their lifetime, as 'all the signs are there' they believe. Like Burl says, this is a belief that has been floating around forever. The bible even reports Jesus believing God was going to establish His Kingdom during Jesus' generation and return Israel to prominence. A couple of years ago I was getting rid of a few old guns but a Christian friend was very adamant that I needed to keep them for protection during the period of anarchy that was to follow the 2nd coming. It may seem relatively harmless but it can be scary to know that there are people who think and believe these things. Remember the Heaven's gate mob - about 40 of them committed suicide believing a spacecraft was tailing Haley's Comet as it passed the earth.
  7. I wonder if people of an eastern culture would pick up a book by a 'Bob' or indeed a "Joseph' or 'Derek' and think that the author's name sounds more 'sage-like' than what they're familiar with such as Wei Wu Wei?
  8. Agnosticism

    I agree with you Rom and it would seem to me that many are prepared to call the 'nice bits' in life God, yet somehow the bad stuff that happens is not God. For me, it is yet to be explained adequately how this is justified. The closest I could come to accepting this as 'God' would be if everything was God - the good, the bad and the ugly. If every breath we take, if every cell that gets cancer, if every suffering child, if every blissful marriage was considered God, then fair enough. Yet, I could not equate that God to 'love', more like simply 'existence', warts and all. I do wonder if 'God' could be our entire existence as a whole and all (both the animated and the inanimate) is in fact 'God' experiencing existence. That sort of understanding would satisfy me about pain and suffering as well and love and cuddles - it is just 'God' experiencing existence. Which maybe ties in with Joseph's thinking somewhat - we all just 'are'.
  9. Dark turn of social conservatism

    No state church in Australia. The catholic and anglican traditions are the more prominent and a number of politicians may have an affiliation with these, but it's not made much of a deal. That said, clearly this weak use of democracy shows that many pollies do fear for their seats should they openly vote in favour of SSM. I believe SSM is inevitable here, if not this time around then very soon thereafter. Already the opposition party is declaring they will make it law if they are voted in next election (and there is a very good chance of that anyway). Like Finland, gay couples are recognised in every other way to heterosexual couples, so practically speaking there won't be much different if SSM should be introduced, but clearly it would mean an awful lot to gay couples to be allowed to marry their loved partners. To be denied that must feel like the last bastion to them for being treated and feeling like freaks.
  10. Dark turn of social conservatism

    I may be forced to eat my words to some degree in the near future, Jack of Spades, but hopefully the compassion of my fellow aussies will shine through instead! Our government has just announced a 'postal plebiscite' where Australians will be able to vote, voluntarily by mail, for or against same sex marriage. On the face of it that may seem like democracy in action but there are a number of problems with this method which can sway the result. But even if the vote was to win in favour of SSM, our politicians are not legally bound to enforce or pass laws in support of the affirmative vote. Perhaps they'd be silly not to, but politicians are politicians and have lobby groups to answer to of course. In any event, it's recognised as a pretty weak way of determining the issue and the concern is that a no vote might see the matter die in the water for some time. I've got my fingers crossed that Australia will see the light and recognise gay people as just as human and entitled to love as heterosexuals.
  11. Dark turn of social conservatism

    It's not that the religious conservatives are different in Australia but more that they simply don't have the numbers. Broadly speaking, Australia is a very religiously tolerant country and although it has Christian origins (from when the English invaded the country and displaced the original aboriginal inhabitants), Christianity is on the decline. Last years census identified that just half of the population identified as Christian (100 years ago it was 97%). Not sure of the precise % but the number of actual churchgoing Christians is significantly less. Australian's elected an openly Atheist prime minister in 2010 (essentially our head of state although the British Queen officially is) and rarely is Christianity and God raised to support any political debate. That's not to say some politicians don't play to those conservative Christians - just that they're not a large influence and certainly nothing like we see the US wrapped up in. Our current government is considered conservative but not really in the religious sense. They haven't rolled anything back in support of christian conservatism and indeed are even slowly moving forward with gay marriage (too slowly in my opinion which is a sign of some christian conservatism, but moving toward it nonetheless) and improved recognition of Australia's first peoples. Perhaps the Australian you were talking to may have been referring to the harshness of conservative Christians who might have picked up the worst elements of American political conservatives - this vocal minority has become harder and harsher in its language against gay marriage, transgender people, etc, but they are by far a minority and pretty much considered 'loonies' by the rest of the population. I don't want to paint a picture that Christianity doesn't have any influence in Australia, because it still does. Just not in any sort of ultra conservative way I believe.
  12. Dark turn of social conservatism

    I agree with you concerning Russia and the US, but I'm not convinced it's a worldwide phenomenon. I don't see the same conservatism in countries such as Australia, China, South Africa or most of those (if not all) in South America. Admittedly Russia and the US alone have a huge influence, but for the US that influence is waning whereas in Europe I think Russia's influence is a threat. Yet I see China actually as a limiter to any Russian advances outside of its current borders.
  13. Dark turn of social conservatism

    I think they are very astute observations, JOS. Without a doubt I think there are many vocal and passionate disenfranchised conservatives in the US who see Trump as this Christian King. Perhaps even a 'divine vessel' if you will. We see the likes of Pat Robertson tel-evangelising for Trump and telling millions and millions of Christian viewers/followers that disagreeing with Trump will invites God's wrath etc. You can see how that pesky ol' democracy habit must get in the way of really acting for God! Without a doubt the US is one step closer to developing a theocracy, but my hope is that there may be enough people to see through such foolishness and who will be prepared to stand up against poor government decisions/actions - particularly autonomous ones that don't have the backing of the Congress and senate.
  14. I still can't get past the fact that the President of the United States just 'Tweets' this out there, without any policy detail or legislation or even a guideline to follow it up. That's the sort of thing I'd expect from a teenager with a Twitter account - all tweets and no accountability. Is Trump deliberately just playing with people's lives to satisfy the Christian lobby or something, or does he actually have a plan with may contain just a hint of compassion for transgender people?
  15. Imagine being one of those people that sees a tweet from your Presudent that you will no longer have your job! Even worse, no follow up with policy or detail - people are just left in limbo. Does the President mean it or is it just a cruel joke? This would affect several thousand individuals. What a disgusting way to treat people and a reckless abuse of power. Seriously, what goes on inside the guy's head? Do many Americans think this is quite an alright way to act as President?