I don't want this to be a chance for you to tell me what is wrong with the theocratic abscess burrowed; the thorn in your side or the vacant imperfection imposed upon the resident scapegoat. I care not to afford you the opportunity to lick your wounds in my sight or to appease the cultural norms subscribed.

Without the fear on the other side of the fence nor the ruckus in the alley way I want you to tell me what the benefit of an atheist lifestyle is had the social and political majority not absolved you and the necessary protestation of that artificial insemination had manifested itself in hindsight.

In other words, had there been no myth where would you see yourself rather than where would you see yourself in light of it.

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Hey listen, go easy on him.  I've seen that movie.  He's had a hard life.  If we'd been through all that, we might be a screaming lunatic as well.  Seriously. 

And in case everyone hasn't figured it out yet, the reason for the weird dialogue and the strange phraseology, is that our Mr. Henson is attempting to be as obscure as possible, to leave the impression that he is so far above us in intellect that we have to scramble for dictionaries to determine what he's saying. It's a revenge tactic, and probably took him all day to compose.

 I was on to that from the get go. I think at least a few of us were.

Oh, I know that Jared, I just wanted him to know he's not fooling anyone.

I understood David's words to be a symptom of the mildest stage of PTSD, that hyper-alert stage in which the afflicted person again and again foresees danger and prepares him/herself to battle it.

I don't want this to be a chance for you to tell me what is wrong with the theocratic abscess burrowed; the thorn in your side or the vacant imperfection imposed upon the resident scapegoat. I care not to afford you the opportunity to lick your wounds in my sight or to appease the cultural norms subscribed.

You do realize how condescending and insulting you come across, don't you? Sorry to burst your bubble, but you do realize that trying to preach your ideals while stifling others is not beneficial to anyone. If you are not interested in open and honest discussion, or hearing other ideas, why are you here? If it's simply to proselytize, may I remind you that doing so is against the rules. Would it be be acceptable if I went on to a Christian (or name the theology of your choice) site and said, "Don't bother replying contrary to what I am saying. My intent is not to allow you the opportunity to voice your deluded and false opinions. So just sit back, listen, and learn something."? I would say that would be a rude and counterproductive statement for me to make. Just so you know, that's exactly how your introduction comes across. This is not a platform for you to preach unchallenged. Especially when you are being so insulting. I am always interested in hearing opposing views. But if you aren't not only are you not being intellectually honest, and close-minded, but you are also wasting everyone's time.

In other words, had there been no myth where would you see yourself rather than where would you see yourself in light of it.

To be perfectly honest, I don't care if there has been myth in the past, or for a hypothetical past where there never was any. I care about now. The myths of the past may have been inevitable. Early man did not poses the knowledge that we do now, yet they had so many questions about the world they saw. They tried to answer those questions in terms of what they did know. They knew that people made things, and did things, so a really great being must have made the things they can't make, and cause the things they couldn't cause. Considering what they knew, I can't really fault them for 'making sense' of the world in the way that they did. However, that doesn't mean that we should continue restraining ourselves to that line of thinking to this very day. We have learned so much since those days. We have done the testing and the real work to expand our view and understanding of the world we are on, and cast that view into the stars. So the question of if would things would have been better if there was never myth is unimportant to me. The question that matters is, have we learned our lesson? We live in an exciting world where we need not attribute lightening to an angry deity. But that doesn't mean that all myth is bad? The stories of the Egyptian, Greek/Roman and Norse gods are very interesting and intriguing. They are fun reading today even if people did once think they were actual truths at one point. I don't mind that the days of the week and most months are named for Pagan gods. And I enjoy the Pagan festivities that surround the holidays that eventually became Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. But I can do that without believing the mythical parts of them as truth. Again, what have we learned? What the festivities mean to me now, need not be identical to the ones who started the traditions. There is a lot of wonderful art with religious subject matter, but as an appreciator of art, I don't let that stand in the way of me seeing the wonderful skill and vision of the painter or sculptor who produced it. I can see an oil painting of Jesus and see it as a well done work, without the need to bow down and worship him as my savior. The past is important. It shapes the course of many things. But it isn't everything. Remember, if you don't know history, you'll be doomed to repeat it. So the question is not how history would have been different, or if it would have been better. Rather, the question is whether we have learned from history. And if we have, what does that history mean to us now? The same goes for personal history. Suppose that you went though your life having never hurt someone (physically or emotionally). Are you a better person having never hurt anyone by chance? Or are you a better person for realizing the impact those actions had, learning from them and choosing to avoid such actions in the future? I would wager that the one being consciously 'good' is superior to one accidentally being 'good'. Remember that religion is not necessary for a moral and productive society. Maybe some people were 'good' to stay on a deity's good side. But such is not the origins of morality. We needn't be burdened by the errors or misunderstandings of the past. It's time more people realize that we can and do have productive and thriving societies through the hard work and cooperation of very real, and very alive people. No need to muddy the waters by trying to claim that it has to be based on any form of theology. So, what have we learned, and where will we go from here?

My greatest concern, James, with, "The myths of the past" is that regrettably, those myths are still influencing the selection of present-day world leaderships, therefore, resisting them now is more important than ever before in human history, for as long as people are dying because of "god's will"!

Agreed. That's why I ask 'what have we learned', rather than wish it never happened. I hang my head as well when people in power cling to the myths of the past as truth. My answer to the problem is continued education, as well as 'resisting them' by pointing out their errors and holding them accountable when necessary. My hope for the future is that more can learn from the mistakes of the backwards thinking of the past, and instead strive for a better future free of the superstition that so many once thought was undeniable truth.

I think a lot of humanity's aggression and hegemonic idealisms (like religion) are largely due to our genetics not changing much since prehistoric times, also maintaining levels of testosterone at their prehistoric levels even when we don't need it so much for survival in nature now.

So, if we hadn't have had religion on our backs, we might have been burdened more with other, aggressive and selfish idealisms, like increased racism, nationalism, and maybe more anarchism and localized aggression, e.g. more gangs, criminals, and so on.

Asians have been historically less hegemonic, and (I think) they have lower testosterone levels? In any case, it seems (to me) that their beliefs were more peaceful, while focused less on angry, fatherly, punishment oriented deities.

Sorry Paul, I can't accept that - most of the wars from Mesopotamia to the present, though actually about power, were fought under the pretension of my religion vs theirs. If you want to discuss Asian testosterone levels, let's start with Ghengis Khan, who conquered much of the Middle East and most of Europe.

American and European slavery of Africans was condoned on the basis that Africans were the descendants of Cain (with their skin color being the mark placed on Cain by god), or of Ham, the son of Noah who accidentally saw his drunken dad's wrinkled, naked body, and was cursed to serve his brothers' descendants forever.

Then we have the Crusades, the Inquisition - not trying to be antagonistic Paul, but if you're saying that without religion, we'd have been more peaceful, less racist, less misogynistic, I just can't buy it.

In modern tiimes, most wars have been between linguistic groups rather than religious groups. Why? Inability to understand each other hence inability resolve differences. I believe it was Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who said that.

To borrow some words I heard recently:

"There Ya Go"

A world of individuals all speaking Google, that thought makes me giddy with hope.

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