Niko's Nature

“Whatsoever thy soul shall say to me, I will do for thee.”

26 notes &

Controversial Opinion #1

digitalpapist:

nikosnature:

digitalpapist:

I felt torn over whether to air misgivings about this, but I suppose I should just put it out there:  I have strong reservations about the canonization of John Paul II. 

This isn’t to dispute his personal holiness, nor his impact; I wouldn’t be a Catholic without his intercession.  Nor is this due to the laundry list of complaints traditionalists have against him like Assisi or liturgical sensibility or doctrinal mushiness.  In many ways, I think such complaints are wrongheaded and uncharitable. 

My reservations are due precisely to the complete lack of information concerning John Paul II’s role in the sexual abuse crisis. 

Simply put, we have absolutely no idea what he knew, when he knew, and what he did.  Aside from anecdotes which flood in from various sources (The Weaklands, the Weigel’s, etc), has there been any systematic analysis done here?  If so, where is it? 

Nine years is simply not enough time to evaluate all this, especially when official records are still just being released. 

I understand the reservations one might have on account of that.  But really, based on what we do know, it doesn’t make sense to blame John Paul II.

http://nikosnature.tumblr.com/image/63934863379

Who said I was blaming John Paul II?

I was pointing out that we have absolutely no idea his role and knowledge of the crisis, and the steps he took to remedy it.  No information.  Zero. 

Well, I’m just pointing out that before JPII was in office, crimes were at an all time high, and after his reign they were at an all time low.  Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does wiggle its eyebrows and wink suggestively. 

26 notes &

Controversial Opinion #1

digitalpapist:

I felt torn over whether to air misgivings about this, but I suppose I should just put it out there:  I have strong reservations about the canonization of John Paul II. 

This isn’t to dispute his personal holiness, nor his impact; I wouldn’t be a Catholic without his intercession.  Nor is this due to the laundry list of complaints traditionalists have against him like Assisi or liturgical sensibility or doctrinal mushiness.  In many ways, I think such complaints are wrongheaded and uncharitable. 

My reservations are due precisely to the complete lack of information concerning John Paul II’s role in the sexual abuse crisis. 

Simply put, we have absolutely no idea what he knew, when he knew, and what he did.  Aside from anecdotes which flood in from various sources (The Weaklands, the Weigel’s, etc), has there been any systematic analysis done here?  If so, where is it? 

Nine years is simply not enough time to evaluate all this, especially when official records are still just being released. 

I understand the reservations one might have on account of that.  But really, based on what we do know, it doesn’t make sense to blame John Paul II.

http://nikosnature.tumblr.com/image/63934863379

8 notes &

foxtrotsky:

Hi, I saw you’re post, and I was interested in some of the things you said.

converts to catholicism are very boring usually but very amusing in how fervent they are

I actually find them fascinating people.  Why do you think they are boring?

like yeah i guess it’s a pretty great religion when you didn’t have to grow up being treated like shit because you were the daughter of a single unwed mother and you were queer

Well, I’m sorry if people treated you cruelly.  If they did so, then they were fault.  The Catechism says this about how Catholics should treat people with same-sex attractions.

CCC 2358 “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

i guess it’s pretty awesome when you’re not a child being told you’re going to hell and made to feel guilty and hate yourself

Well, whoever told you that didn’t seem to understand Catholic teaching well.  No one knows who is going to hell and who is not.  All we know is that God promised that those who love Christ will be granted salvation.  Because God loves us, no one should hate themselves and no one should be made to hate themselves. 

yeah then i guess it’s pretty fucking awesome and easy to ignore the gaping holes in catholic theology lol

I’m curious as to what you think those holes in Catholic theology are?  Maybe we could talk about them.

8 notes &

Is the internet killing religion?

Hi, saw your post and I had a few questions. 

socalsounds:

I came across an article this past week on CNN’s website titled “Is the internet killing religion?”. My interest was immediately piqued upon seeing that and I began to read it. I soon began thinking to myself “could the internet really be doing that? Is it really killing religion and if so, why is it happening?

Before we discuss anything, let’s take a look at what the internet really is. Because despite popular belief, the internet is more than a means of killing time, reposting the latest vines, posting “selfies” or Instagramming photos of your hazelnut macchiato to all of your followers. By definition, the internet is “a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks”. Computers communicating with each other, exactly what we built them to do. You can teach numerous classes on the history and development of computers and the internet, so there’s no need for me to get into that here. Google it if you don’t know.

What’s most important here is what the internet is capable of doing, and the answer is that is can do just about anything you need it to do.

Can it forgive my sins?  Can it make me a better person?  Can it answer the only real philosophical question? “If all life is just pain and pleasure, but pain and pleasure have no ultimate meaning beyond themselves, why shouldn’t I kill myself?” 

There are websites and applications for just about anything you need. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Pinterest, Yelp, Wikipedia, Youtube, Netflix, and…Brazzers. Hey, whatever floats your boat. In my opinion, the internet is one of the most important developments in history, right after the invention of written language. Why? Because it allows easy us access to a world of information. We have access to books, articles, videos, journals, and encyclopedias. We can connect with each other and share our thoughts and ideas faster and easier than ever before in the history of the world. We can get up to the minute news and updates from around the world. You can talk to people you’ve never met, in parts of world you’ve never been to. People thousands of miles away, and they’re practically right there in the room with you. As a musician, I can write a song, lay down my guitar and bass parts. Then I can send it over to my good friend in New York for him to add some keys to, then he can send it to his singer to add a vocal track. Then I get it back for editing and mixing. That’s pretty fucking incredible, don’t you think?

The Bible, on the other hand, is an ancient book written by bronze-age goat herders no sooner than a few decades after the events in the book supposedly took place. Oh, yeah, those anonymous authors who wrote the book also were not eyewitnesses to the events either. The book contains stories of magic and superstition as well as promoting racism, rape, incest, misogyny, slavery, murder, genocide, and infanticide.

Does it promote those things?  How do you know? 

It has also been verifiably altered,

Can you give me an example? 

added to

When?

and translated many times into many languages using copies of copies of copies, with no original documents to be preserved or found.

But does it matter if there is an original if the first available complete copy has been accepted by the Church as true?  Why can’t we go off that one?

It is widely considered to be the ultimate moral compass for humanity to follow.

Isn’t Christ the ultimate moral compass?  Isn’t the bible is only the “little compass insofar as it points to Christ?”

Right…

Ask yourself, how can the bible be the “infallible word of god” when it has the word “version” printed right on the cover?? Here’s a fun fact. There are over 200 versions of the bible in English alone.

Yes, but the Church has declared some official, some not official.  Do the official ones differ in any significant way from each other?

Before I continue on this tangent, what does this have to do with the internet?

Allen Downey, a computer scientist at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts has been studying the rise in people claiming no religious affiliation for many years. Since 1985, Downey has seen the number of first-year college students claiming no religious affiliation grow from 8% to 25%. This is according to the CIRP Freshman Survey. All links to articles and information can be found in the description by the way. Downey includes statistics from the General Social Survey (GSS) that show that the number of religiously unaffiliated people has risen from 8% to 18% between the years 1990 and 2010. This coincides with information provided by the Pew Research Center reported in 2012 saying that one in five American adults, and a third of those under 30 years of age, are not affiliated with any religion.

In his paper “Religious affiliation, education and Internet use,” which was published this past March, Downey analyzed data from the GSS and discovered a correlation between increased usage of the internet and religious disaffiliation. In 1990, adult internet usage was practically zero. 20 years later, that number was practically 80% in 2010. In that same 20 year period, he noticed a 25 million person increase in those who claim no religious affiliation. GSS numbers showed that people who use the Internet a few hours a week were less likely to have any affiliation by about 2%. Those online more than seven hours a week were 3% more likely to not have any religious affiliation.

But it’s incredibly important to point out that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. Just because some findings may lead to a certain cause, doesn’t mean that you’ve determined the exact cause and researchers know that. The beautiful thing about the sciences is that somebody can make a discovery, then immediately set out trying to disprove what they discovered so that we can whether or not it was a fluke. Researchers can find a link between A and B, for example, but instead of saying “we found that A causes B” they’ll say “We see a trend of A leading to B, but we should probably run some more tests”. That differs historically from religions who would say something like “This illness has killed many! What have we done to anger God? What have we done wrong to incur his wrath?”.

Don’t you think that’s a bit of a caricature of religious people considering most scientists throughout history have been religious, (and a good number of important ones have been members of the clergy?)

Fortunately Downey was able to control for factors including education, religious upbringing, rural/urban environments and income; and he was still able to find a link that allowed him to “conclude, tentatively, that Internet use causes disaffiliation”.

Downey believes that decreases in religious upbringing have had the largest effect, accounting for 25% of reduced affiliation; college education covers about 5% and Internet use may account for another 20%. He attributes the remaining 50% to “generational replacement,” meaning those born more recently are less likely to be religiously affiliated. However he doesn’t attempt to explain why that is. There is still much research to be done, especially since Downey only looks at time spent online, and not content. For all we know people could be too busy playing Farmville and updating their Facebook statuses to bother going to church. So we cannot say for sure that the internet is directly responsible for the decline in religious believers, but it’s  safe to say that it’s certaining playing a role in the phenomenon.

The important question though is, among members of which religion?

So in a nutshell, our friend, Downey is saying that increased education and access to information are major reasons why religion is dying.

You’re assuming there’s a correlation between college educations, internet usage, and education and information usage respectively.  That is a very optimistic view. 

Interesting. Back in the dark, depressing middle ages,

You mean the Middle Ages that produced a quantity and profundity of philosophical thought that hasn’t been surpassed yet?  The middle ages that built some of the most beautiful cathedrals?  Some of the most awe inspiring music?  I wouldn’t call them dark or depressing. 

the great majority of the population was uneducated and illiterate.

Only those who were wealthy, part of the church or otherwise privileged people we able to read or write.

Think its a bit more complex than that.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_the_literacy_rate_in_the_middle_ages

The church was in charge and they kept the masses ignorant and oppressed by keeping them dumb.

What evidence do you have of this?

This ensured that the fear of god was kept alive in them, allowing the church to do as they pleased. Scientists, philosophers, astronomers, free thinkers and anybody else who dared question the word of god was imprisoned. Or worse…they were killed just as an example to the rest.

Actually, all the scientists, philosophers, astronomers, and “free thinkers” were almost all generally supporting the Church.  Not necessarily in all things, but in a good many.  Aquinas, Augustine, Anselm, Boethius, Eriugena, Duns Scotus, Gerard of Cremona, Alcuin of York, Roger Bacon, William of Occam, Nicole Oresme, Nicolas of Cusa, etc. were all Catholics, and most were clergy.

There are close to 3000 gods or deities written about since the start of recorded history. At one time these gods were used as an explanation for natural occurrences we had no other explanation for.

“Sun goes up, sun goes down. That must be the work of the sun god pulling the sun away on his chariot at the end of the day!”

We know now why the sun appears to rise and set everyday. Neil deGrasse Tyson put it perfectly when he said that “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on”. Science doesn’t claim to know everything. It’s ok not to know something, but just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you can fill it with any asinine explanation you see fit.

Do you think that maybe Religion and Science answer two different questions?  Maybe they are not in odds with each other but complimentary?  Religion asks why?  Science asks how? 

It’s 2014 and it is easier than ever before to gain access to knowledge and information. Is the internet really killing religion? Well I think it very much has a great influence on the number of people losing interest, losing faith in religion. Hopefully those people move on to happier, more fulfilling lives for themselves, for their friends and for their families. Free from persecution and fear of eternal damnation just for being themselves, for being human.

Do you think the average millennial internet user has better or worse family ties than the previous generations who did not have the internet?

Religion is dying, you can see its last-ditch efforts all over. You can see how’s it’s struggling to stay relevant and hold on to followers. It’s only a matter of time before Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religions still in existence go the way of the Greek and Roman gods, hopefully to be referred to as Christian mythology, Islamic  and so forth.

Actually Islam and Catholicism are growing.  In almost any way you look at it.

In this digital age of information, ignorance is a choice. We need more thinkers, more doers, more scientists, more engineers. We need all of society on the same page if we want to progress.

How do you define progress?

Unfortunately we are seeing many areas of the world going backwards.

I thought religion was dying?

We need to educate and encourage younger generations. We need to instill that crucial sense of curiosity and discovery that could very well lead new and incredible innovations.

It’s time for people to grow up, leave their fairy tales behind and join us all in the 21st century.

Why do you call religion a fairy tale?  You haven’t actually addressed whether it is true or not? 

I urge everybody, especially young people, to question everything. It is not a crime to think, not in this country at least.

It’s ok to question anything that doesn’t make sense to you. And you absolutely should. Never cease in your inquiry for knowledge. Don’t let anybody bully you or intimidate you for asking questions, for wanting to know more, for being curious. Think for yourself. I think you owe it to yourself.

I’m glad you agree, and I hope you can help answer my questions.

Also, I’ve got a bit of a challenge for you.  Prove this wrong.

Filed under atheist Atheism

37 notes &

Argument for the Existence of God

Syllogism 1 

1. Either something exists or nothing exists.

2. Nothing cannot exist.

a. Therefore, something exists.

______________________________________________________________

1. There can be no doubt that either something exists, or nothing exists, for the two are dichotomous.  2. Nothing cannot exist, for the idea of nothing itself implies a contradiction.  To say nothing exists is to conceive of some “nothingness” and then say that it, rather than something else exists.  But that “nothingness,” though claiming to represent nothing, would in fact be something, (that which is conceived as “nothingness”) and therefore, something would exist.   In other words, nothing is a term that definitionally has no extension.  But if something has no extension, then it does not exist.  Further, to say, “nothing exists,” requires one to first imagine “something” and then imagine its absence.  Therefore, something must exist since one must necessarily presuppose that something in order to conceive of nothing. 

_________________________________________________________

Syllogism 2

3.     God is that which can be conceived of existing in every possible world, (Definition: God is conceived as a necessary entity)

4.     Only existence can be conceived of existing in every possible world.

a.     Therefore, God is existence.

_________________________________________________________

3. It may be argued that if one defines God as a necessary entity, one is assuming that which needs to be proven, that God exists, since a necessary entity exists necessarily.  But I challenge this on the grounds that it may be impossible to conceive of a necessary entity.  That is to say, a necessary entity may be a term with no extension.  Further, it is clear that any argument seeking to prove or disprove God’s existence must define God as God is properly understood.  God’s necessity is one of the properties of God that believers and nonbelievers consider essential to a definition of God, therefore God must be considered a necessary entity.  Also, it should be noted, if one disagrees with this conception of God, but does not disagree with the rest of the argument, the argument is still sound, having proven the existence of such an entity as was intended to be proven.  The one who disagrees merely disagrees that such an entity is properly called God.  Finally, since God is a necessary being, He must exist in every possible world, for if He did not exist in every possible world, His existence would be conditional on the conditions by which He existed in every world but the ones He did not exist in, but to say God’s existence is conditional is to contradict what has been stated above.  Therefore, God exists in every possible world.  4. Existence must be supposed to exist in a possible world for if we said existence did not exist in this world, it would not be possible for that world to exist, but this would mean it is not a possible world.  Further, existence is the only thing that can be claimed to exist in every possible world, for the absence of any other thing would not make it impossible for the world to exist, but if existence were absent it would be impossible for the world to exist.  Since only existence fulfills the definition of God, it is clear that existence is God. (N.B. By existence I do not mean the totality of existing things, but rather, the principle by which things exist; or put in different words the act of existing itself.)

_____________________________________________________

Syllogism 3

5.     God is existence.

6..     If something exists, then existence exists.

a.     Therefore, if something exists, then God exists.

_________________________________________________________

5. Follows from above.  6. Something cannot exist unless it is possible for things to exist.  It is only possible for things to exist if existence exists.  Therefore, if something exists, then existence exists, and since God is existence, if something exists, then God exists.  By analogy, a man cannot run unless it is possible for men to run.  It is only possible for men to run if running itself exists.  As it is with running, so it is with existence.  Therefore, if something exists, then God exists.

____________________________________________________________

Syllogism 4

7. If something exists, then God exists.

8. Something exists. 1 (2a)

a. Therefore, God exists.

__________________________________________________________

All follows from above.

Filed under Catholic Christianity Atheism Relgion Atheist

13 notes &

avvkvvardness:

the first step in creating something is that you need to be outside and not a part of what you’re creating, so if you’re god and you want to create the universe and, hence, reality, you have to not be real

That assumes that the material universe is the only “reality,” and that there is no reality outside the material universe.  That is of course, assuming that which has yet to be proven.

44 notes &

RE: In Defense of “Cafeteria Catholics”

tommy2shoes:

  1. Cafeteria Catholics take what they need, and leave what they don’t need.
  2. Cafeteria Catholics prioritize the issues they get involved with, because no one can do everything.
  3. Cafeteria Catholics who live in different communities have different issues, and will pick what will help them and leave what might bring harm.
  4. Cafeteria Catholics take the time to contemplate what makes sense, and what will help the greater good.
  5. Cafeteria Catholics are engaged with the Church.

1.  How does one know what they need?  When I was in middle school and high school.  I thought I only needed the social justice teachings of the Church, (and not even all of them.)  When I reached highschool, I realized that wasn’t true.  I could not understand the truth without all the Church’s teachings.  When I reached college, I made the realization that not only did I need the Church’s full teachings, but my social justice efforts did too.  Without them, I was only seeing half the picture, and that’s no way to do social justice. 

2.  This is true, some things need to be prioritized in different Catholics’ lives.  But that doesn’t mean disregard other things completely.  Because the Church’s teachings are all interrelated, if you disregard one thing completely, you necessarily disregard the whole faith.

3.  The Church’s teachings are all good and can’t do harm.  And as has been stated above, while different teachings may have more focus in different communities, they are all always relevant.

4.  Do they though?  I’ve found, that when pushed to contemplate them, they tend to agree that all of the Church’s teachings are necessary and lead to the greater good. 

5.  Yes, they are engaged with the Church, but we are asking them to be more engaged.  Not for ourselves, but because that is what will make them ultimately happy, because it is what will lead them to Christ.

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