Time to introduce myself. I've been prowling around this site for a few months and have finally added a pic. He is Colonel Thomas Blood, a supposedly distant relative of mine and 1st class scoundrel. I use his name, as mine is sufficiently unusual to show up on a Google search. I am a nurse, and health care is rampant with xians. I am also an ordained clergy person and - well things are just a bit complicated right now. Folks who I don't want in the know, will not come snooping here on their own.

Enough intro: Here is the morsel for you to chew on. I have heard it expressed explicitly at least once, and implied by several of you that if one is an atheist, the is NO WAY that you could ever become sufficiently delusional to believe in a god. Well I was. Or did.

I grew up with a believing mother and an atheist father. We never went to church and my religious training was minimal (one year of a generic protestant Sunday school). I was atheist by age 15. I was always fascinated by xians however, especially the really confident kind. Long story short; over several years I developed and pursued the hypothesis that the only way I could be sure that there was no god was to diligently seek him. This led me on multiple pathways until I wound up in a fundamentalist country church one night where I was invited to "come to Jesus" Multiple threads in my life had brought me to the place where I was able to suspend my skepticism enough to accept the possibility of this being real. When I stood up, the world changed. The event and my theories about would take another blog.

The result of this "encounter " was that I became a fundamentalist xian .  My lack of religious upbringing actually worked against me as I had no framework for my new life, only that "reason" had failed as method for finding the TRUTH.  Over the course of decades my inquiring mind kept pushing me into ever more "liberal" understandings of God until I finally realized that my theology had become "Jesus as metaphor" and that I no longer needed the metaphor.

So here I am, full circle again. The experience has not been a complete waste of my life (Thank GOD!!!). I have a very full, hands on type of understanding of religious faith and have first hand knowledge of many of the different flavors of belief. I find many of you off-putting. You can be so bloody sanctimonious sometimes, as if all people of faith were idiots. I am sure I actually had more IQ points when I was religious than I do how. But I DO understand how you feel. I sometimes have to stop myself from thinking "How can anyone BELIEVE that crap?" when it was not so long ago that I did in fact believe it myself.

I've rattled on long enough. Have at it!

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stiff shit  - I love it. 


@"stiff shit  - I love it." 


I love all that prison/street slang - its grouse mayte

you can take the girl off the street but .....

What's grouse, mayte? 


"You said it here >>>>> "

Nope. You inferred those things from what I said. If you had not worded them in a loaded manner I would have let it go but you put words in my mouth that I do not endorse so I made that clear. So, yes, you did make things up and no apology is needed from me.

"I would like an apology (that'll never happen)"

Contrary to your rude comment here, I do apologize when I have screwed up. I do not apologize for factual statements though so you happen to be correct here.


If I move the quoted material to MS Word to work on it, I have the bad habit of making the corrections in a quote but to not say so would be dishonest so I mentioned what I did. It was not intended to be anything other than a notice of the facts. From now on I will endeavor to not correct any typos when I quote you. Just so you are aware, proper quoting then requires typos to be marked with "[sic]" which is a Latin term used to denote that the typos are in the original work the quote is from.

"There were scores posted from that test Ward. You would have know [sic] if you did one or not - I dont [sic] know why you had to go through past threads unless you were insecure about something."

I post to a few websites and have at times taken some online tests a post has referred readers to. I did not recall any such test but, rather than refute your claim without verifying it, I decided to check.

"I dont [sic] stalk or hover around people waiting to trip them up"

Considering your last two posts directed at me were rather acidic, I'm going to call shenanigans on this claim of yours.


AS<J:  I've got this for a visual model of empathy.  What do you think? 


@Simon - well I think its its good but I think the model should look like a person so that we can see ourselves in the example. Something like this maybe:


Daft Jesus - the Gift That Keeps On Giving.

My one is not inspiring at all (although it's a little informative).  It looks like some kind of weird pig's face.  The Canberra picture is amazing.  I think it portrays compassion though rather than strictly empathy.  Empathy is hard to make a pictorial representation of because it's an internal feeling divorced from action. 

What makes sense (to me) in your diagram is that empathy (although it's not an all-or-nothing thing) grows from increasingly understanding the similarity of others to one's self.

Mirror neurons in chimps were discovered when the chimp's neurons fired while it was watching a human do something that the chimp already knew how to do. I.e., it was able to connect another being's action with itself performing the same action.

That discovery may sound simple on the surface, but it profoundly led to ways to scientifically demonstrate or measure empathetic activity in brains, both animal and human.

@Pope Beanie - thank you for this insight.  "empathy (although it's not an all-or-nothing thing) grows from increasingly understanding the similarity of others to one's self."  - I agree, - we can understand someone's similarity to one's self, and we can try to understand someone else.  So we can say that perspective-taking and reading people are linked. 

Imo, laughter is a way to communicate empathy, or lack thereof. It grabs people's attention to similarities of feelings and ideas, often contagiously, or it can separate people when it highlights differences between them (e.g. in bullying). It's interesting how laughtracks only highlight the former, while our dickhead talk show hosts laugh to highlight the latter.

Think of laughter and smiling (or chortling and sneering) as innate ways for humans to communicate "Yeah, I get it, too!", before we had words a wide variety of words. (Even rats can laugh, albeit supersonically.)

@Gallup - "That's good advice. You should start taking it."

I dont know whether you've noticed but as soon as I feel that Im being baited or if I feel it getting a bit snarky - I avoid it. I dont stalk or hover around people waiting to trip them up - Im not that insecure. I'm not here in debate mode either - I'm just here to have conversations and to learn. But I do have the right to defend myself if I feel that im being singled out.

Even your advice up there reads like a threat to me.


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