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Jack of Spades

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Jack of Spades last won the day on December 20 2017

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About Jack of Spades

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  1. Jack of Spades

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    It's not that simple. New continents didn't start existing the moment they were discovered or the moment their existence was verified by multiple accounts. People who accidentally ended up to the new continents had a life there and the reality of the new continents very much determined how their lives turned out (or ended), even before the existence of the said continents was verified.
  2. Jack of Spades

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    Worth to know: In the US defense space, since the moon landings, there has been a policy to study all the "crazy ideas". It's a policy to make sure that all the unthinkable ideas get researched, in order for the US to not get surprised by new inventions by someone else as happened with Sputnik. To put it another way; if the US defense industry scientists study something, it means only that there is a government policy in place to allow the scientists study everything open-mindedly, in order to guarantee that if there is something to the idea, the US is the one who finds it first. It is not a proof that there actually is something to the idea. For that, you would need results.
  3. Jack of Spades

    Presidential Poll

    If a news channel reports that an earthquake killed 1000 people, when in fact, only 800 died, does that mean that everyone was, in fact, safe and nothing bad happened? The pro-Trump case is always based on this distortion of reality, the claim that if someone exarrogates Trumps negatives, it somehow means that the said negatives don't exist at all. The thing is, someone abroad doesn't need to have any particular news channels perspective on Trump to be bitterly opposed to him. All one has to do is to watch live coverage of his rallies and read his twitter feed and talk to his supporters and that will do it. During the election, I listened to Trumps own words, I read his twitter feed, I talked to his supporters and in few months that convinced me (based on my 20 years amateur interest in history and some knowledge of cults) that this is a very dangerous man, who, if left unchecked would damage the American republic beyond repair. To this day I have seen nothing that would prove my initial conclusion incorrect. Edit: Food for thought: During the rise of Putin, before he was a dictator, I talked to some Russians about politics and expressed alarm about Putin's dictatorial tendencies (again, based on my amateur interest of history). Their position was always the same "It's the Western media" The Western media says Putin is a bad guy. That's just the Western media. Western media is to blame. Today Putin is a dictator. Probably the "Western media" got something right.
  4. Jack of Spades

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    Yeah. There is a strong biblical case to be made that the "inerrant word of God" view on the Bible is not very biblical. Paul in the NT reads the OT (the only Bible of his world) rather creatively and allegorically. For example in Galatians 4 Paul goes all-in with allegoric reading of an OT story to make a point. I think historically fundamentalism can be seen as a counter-reaction to two different phenomenons; first as a protestant counter-movement against the authority of the Catholic church and then again few centuries later as a counter-movement against the authority of science. In Christian lingo, one could say that trying to live in the world of 1800's or 1950's is not any less worldly than living by the spirit of the times of 2018. It's just worldly life from another era.
  5. It could be that labeling him a secular humanist is not accurate. My personal spiritual experience is so strongly theistic that I guess I lost interest in trying to understand Sponge in depth at the point when I had become convinced that he's not a theist. I watched some interviews and I think he had insightful criticism of Christianity, but I didn't really share the direction where he was going. If I dig deeper into what Sponge and his kind exactly means in nuances, that would be for educational purposes only, but not something I'm personally out to embrace. I'm personally going into the opposite direction.
  6. Jack of Spades

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    Anti-abortion stance is not new to the culture of the ancient world: The Hippocratic Oath which originates centuries before the first Christians, specifically prohibits abortion. "I swear by Apollo the Healer.... I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion." That ancient Greek text, unlike any book in the Bible, is perfectly clear on the matter. But it's important to recognize that the existence of such a ban doesn't mean that the motive for it would be what we are inclined to think. It could be that it's considered a murder, or it could be that it's considered sexual impurity, or it could be that it's considered an unsafe practice, or something else. But, we are getting off-topic here. The topic is fundamentalism, so I don't think it's relevant what the church did after the Bible was put together. From the point of view of fundamentalism, the church might just as well been unbiblical, and the only thing that matters is what the Bible says, not what the early Christians did. I rest my case. I recommend everyone who's interested in the topic and somewhat new to the ideas, to read the Wikipedia page "Abortion and Christianity".
  7. Jack of Spades

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    You'll find more educated opinion than mine on the topic of how to exactly interpret the verse by simply googling it. I'm just mentioning that it exists. The fact that the interpretation of single verse in the Mosaic law would be crucial here only highlights the fact that the Bible doesn't provide a good case against abortion. Edit: The Mosaic law is very detailed and spends lots of ink addressing far more trivial things. If the law wanted to make it clear, there would simply be a command something along the lines of "Whoever shall kill a pregnant woman, has taken two lives and the punishment shall be...". It's the absence of that kind of command that speaks the most to me.
  8. Jack of Spades

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    Fundamentalist is a pretty strong word. It means believing that every word in the Bible is there because God has commanded it to be there, and it's infallible. I often hear the label "classic Christian" used to describe a faith that is softer than fundamentalism, but takes the supernatural parts of the Bible seriously. I think 11 out of those 12 are biblical beliefs, if the Bible is interpreted literally. The 1 that isn't is the abortion part. That is at best, debatable. The closest one we get in the Bible is a piece of Mosaic law, Exodus 21:22-25, that treats causing a miscarriage for a woman as a physical assault, and the punishment is a fine. If it was considered a murder or manslaughter, there would be a death penalty. Literally interpreted that would mean that in God's law, abortion (or it's iron age closest equivalent) was not a murder. To make the case for anti-abortion from the Bible, one has to quote a few poetic expressions such as psalms, and those are vague at best. It's actually funny that the one moral issue that is the most closest associated with fundamentalist Christian morals in the US is actually not based on the Bible, but rather on later philosophies. It's as if someone got political at some point down the line.
  9. Well first of all there seems to be no universal definition for PC so it's impossible to comment on it as a whole, but if we are talking about Sponge's version of PC, personally my core beliefs include theism and active supernatural so I can't really identify with a movement that considers theism and supernatural to be outdated concepts. To me Sponge's etc. religion is just secular humanism wrapped in Christian rhetoric. Not saying it's bad, there are far worse ideologies, but not my cup of tea.
  10. I was agreeing with what Skye said. Enough of the stuff in the Bible resonates with my spiritual experience to think that I could at least imagine accepting the idea of considering the Bible to be the best available authority on matters of faith. I think if you read the sentence again, you'll find the answer. I used in the same sentence two expressions suggesting otherwise "such as" and "etc." I feel trapped by the question. This is a progressive-Christian friendly forum, so it would be disrespectful of me to post my list of anti-PC thesis here.
  11. Jack of Spades

    Deleting 'god'

    Having read some of these Christian mystics, incl. Eckhart myself, I think it's a huge leap to assume that they mean "abandoning God" in sense of becoming an atheist. When you put together everything Eckhart has said, and interpret this particular sentence in the light of everything else he says (as opposed to, being biased to see atheism in it) it's quite unlikely that this sentence speaks of desire to reject theism. The most likely interpretation, in my opinion, is that it's a rhetorical device for trying to point to a distinction between the kind of worship that is born of the holy spirit, and the kind of worship that is a product of unholy human mind. This is a common theme in all Christian traditions and it's not limited to medieval mysticism. In modern days protestantism, the same idea is put in statements such as "reject your religion and start following Jesus" or "I lay down all my religion and follow God" etc. I think we all know that the people who utter phrases like that, are not talking about becoming an atheist and very likely, the same applies to the likes of Eckhart.
  12. This is the view on Christian scripture that would make the most sense to me, if I chose to commit to Christianity again. I would be a "practical fundamentalist", I would rely on the Bible, not because I believe it to be infallible, but because it's the option that makes the most pragmatic sense. By now, I have seen what the alternative is, in practice the alternative is leaving a vacuum in place and that vacuum then gets filled by something else, such as secular humanism, scientific world view, eastern religious philosophy etc. In theory, being open-minded and leaving things open is great but in reality, especially in communities (any setting where there are more than 1 person sharing the belief system), such vacuums have a tendency of getting filled pretty quickly.
  13. Very often in the Bible, any given topic gets addressed from two (at least seemingly) conflicting points of view. That is very characterical for the Bible, and the topic of "unity vs separate" is not an exception. If we put together the entire picture in both Jesus's life and his teachings, there is plenty of unity-talk, but also an unmistakable element of separation from God. f.e. In pretty much every single prayer Jesus utters, he talks to God the Father as a separate person who has a will independent from his will. What I'm trying to say is, in my point of view, what you say is indeed part of the message of the Bible, but not the whole story. If one chooses only the unity - element, the picture becomes recognizably different from the picture that the life and teachings of Jesus paint. I think both of these versions about God are lacking, if we use the Gospels as the measuring stick: 1) Picking all the separation - verses and painting a church-art style picture of God, a human-like figure sitting on a cloud, separate and distant from mankind. 2) Cherrypicking only the unity - parts and ending up painting a picture about impersonal life flow of the universe that connects everything but is really nobody in it's own right. I don't find either one of those pictures to be in harmony with the Gosples, or the New Testament. There has to be more dimensions to the story to make it fit to the entirety of the message of the Gospels. To make sense of that conflict, I find harmony in some "layer" - like thinking, which I'm not too great at articulating but it's somewhere in the direction of being both in unity with God and separate being from him. I guess I think that the unity and separateness are in different "layers" or something.
  14. Jack of Spades


    Does "freethinkers" refer generally to people who think freely in some undefined sense, or the freethinker movement? I think historically freethinkers are a counter-movement against state churches in Europe, thus the "free" in the name refers practically to freedom from the state churches. If the movement has a US version, I have no idea what they do. In Finland, where I live, freethinkers are practically militant atheists and are actively (and arguably successfully) campaigning against the institution of the state church. The past chairman of the freethinkers organization, who resigned from it, called the group "The worst nutjob sect I have known" suggesting that the freethinkers (at least in Finland) tend to attract the most militant, most tribalist type of atheists. From the little I have personally met them, they are not particularly nice people. They are mostly Dawkins - type militant atheists.
  15. I think the post is a perfect demonstration of the overlapping ideas of Christianity and New Age / Buddhism - type of spirituality. I'm generally speaking sympathetic of the kind of spirituality you talk about but what I don't sign into is the rejection of theism, or at least, blurring of the concept. I think "Christ in me" is not a separate concept from personal level interactions with a personal, external God. Rather "Christ in me" is a channel for those interactions. I don't see "Christ in me" as an alternative concept for the classic "relationship with a personal God" - concept.