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About MarkD

  • Birthday 02/21/1953

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  • Location
    Berkeley, California
  • Interests
    Gardens, dogs, exercise, reading and anything to do with the mind, consciousness, identity/self, meaning and the basis of god belief.

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  1. You'd think people would have more interest in the big questions even without a Jerry Springer circus going on.
  2. Thanks, Joseph. Sorry to see how little traffic there seems to be here. I guess progressive doesn't sell as well as fundamentalism with a leavening of fire and brimstone. Oh well.
  3. Oh good. Those I definitely do recommend. Perhaps the book I'm seeing between my posts, "Throwing Away God" by J.M, is just an ad to help keep the site afloat?
  4. Thank you for the welcome, thomas, but if you mean that book that appears between my two posts, I have no idea where that came from or why it is there. I know nothing about that.
  5. The Sparrow was recommended to me on another Christian site (Biologos) and turned out to be quite the page turner, as was the the sequel. Filed under science fiction it is pretty thought provoking in the realm of religion as well. Without giving too much away this is what I can tell you. The story takes place on an alternative earth where technology is more advanced and socio-economics are even more brutally unfair. A young radio astronomer monitoring an automated search for intelligent life picks up a transmission of something musical from a nearby star system. The Jesuits, ever eager to establish first contact, puts together a mission to go there using technology that permits them to get there in a small number of years for those on board, but many more years for those left on earth. As it turns out there are two sapient species on this world. One a predator species, the other a herbivore. The former has a very structured society, warlike with a high development in the arts. The latter lives very close to nature and has been bred by the former for a number of uses. The biblical parallels are interesting in that the predator species might be thought of, like ourselves, as having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil while the herbivore has not. Lots of subplots and to find out how the story ends ...
  6. Hello Romansh, this is Mark from the Agnostics site. I was just going to post that I'm now doing Pilates twice a week so I wonder whether that will add to or subtract from my narcissism. But now I'd rather catch up with you. I think I've evolved in my thinking about God and religion to the point where I am a believer in "something more", which I think is the basis for the prevalence of God belief. But I don't think that something more had any role in the creation of either the cosmos or of life (so as far as external Gods are concerned who create the empirical world but dwell elsewhere, I'm still an atheist). Rather, I think belief in God fits because consciousness is fully capable of manifesting as more than ones personal sense of identity. In addition to the conscious mind with its concept of who we are, consciousness may well produce the something-more which is thought of as God as a byproduct. That would put it on par with who we think we are and no less real. But I certainly don't think it is just like conscious us. I imagine this internal God as an earlier iteration of consciousness, still at work putting the world together as we experience it with our conscious minds. Just as in the physical brain, the reptilian brain is overlaid by the limbic brain which itself is overlaid by the frontal lobes, so our waking consciousness is but one center of agency. The manifestation of consciousness which gives rise to God belief is active in dreams, prayers, reflection, creativity, inspiration and intuition. And, to the degree we are open to Its influence it informs our sense of what really matters and has meaning for us. Our conscious minds are fairly rudderless or arbitrary but is and needs to be informed by the rest of consciousness. I think it is this part of consciousness which must be satisfied to find fulfillment in life. So in a sense, we work for It as much as It works for us by doing so many things below the surface to free up our conscious minds to perform the abstract, rational weighing of hypotheticals for which we were created/evolved. I think we have been created or evolved to serve the function of CEO for consciousness. But we are answerable to the full board and can be over ruled if we don't heed its direction. Any how good to find you again online. By the way, I'm driving up to Vancouver in September with the dogs for a few days to meet the missus who will be finishing up at a conference. We will spend three nights in Vancouver and then three nights in Washington on Bainbridge island and three nights in Oregon before getting back to home in Berkeley, California.
  7. Oops, I was trying to post this on the introduction thread. Not sure how this happened but would appreciate it if a mod could move it there. If not, chest la vie.
  8. Hello from Berkeley, California. I'm interested in religion but I'm not religious. Is that cool? For me the question isn't do I believe in God but rather, what is it which has made God belief so compelling for so many people nearly everywhere people have lived and for about as long as we've been recognizably human. For me the mystery of God is centered in human consciousness, the same place we find our sense of self and personal identity. Understood as a natural phenomenon within consciousness but divorced of any role in the creation of either the cosmos or of life on this planet, I have no problem with the concept. It is only as something 'out there' but supernatural that I have to admit to being an atheist. Anyhow I'm all for extending ecumenism not only to other religions but to the nonreligious as well. I don't think either believers or doubters are going extinct any time soon. So my interest is on improving relations and making the world work for everyone. This is my first time here so I'll do some looking around now. Maybe I'll see you around.
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