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  • mistermuse 4:48 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , atheism, , , , , , , , On the Origin of Species,   

    GOD, MAN and CHARLES DARWIN 

    I was very unwilling to give up my belief…. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. —Charles Darwin

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I have on occasion speculated that if I weren’t a deist, I would without doubt (or more accurately, with doubt) be an agnostic. For me, atheism is a non-starter; I cannot rule out possibilities beyond the point where mere mortals have the capability to ascertain. For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility: we’re limited humans. Even if you and I don’t believe in the ‘revealed’ God, why fall into the trap of conflating man’s invented God (religion) with the fact of creation and thus the plausibility of a creator, divorced and absent though He (It) may be from what He (It) hath wrought?

    These thoughts were in the back (but not too far back) of my mind as I was reading CHARLES DARWIN – A SCIENTIFIC BIOGRAPHY by the late Sir Gavin de Beer, a British scientist and author of many books on zoology, embryology, genetics, etc. I’d come upon this old book while library-browsing, and realized that, while we all know what Darwin was famous for, do we really know Charles Darwin, the man? What was he like, and what did he believe at various points in his life as his thinking evolved (pun intended)?

    Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in getting to know Darwin is that he was “The man who struggled with his own ideas” (BBC website), keeping silent for 20 years before going public with his painstaking research, and describing his writing On the Origin of Species as “like confessing a murder.” Its publication in 1859 represents “one man’s struggle with the most radical idea of all time — the idea that humans shared a common ancestor with apes.”

    Darwin was born of Christian parents in 1809 at Shrewsbury, England, the son of a successful physician and a mother who died when Charles was eight years old, after which (quoting de Beer) “his home upbringing devolved largely on his elder sisters to whom, in spite of their persistent fault-finding, he was ever grateful for instilling in him the spirit of humanity.” Additionally, his grandfathers were important Enlightenment figures: Josiah Wedgewood, anti-slavery campaigner, and Erasmus Darwin, a doctor who ‘wrote the book’ (ZOONOMIA) on the radical idea that one species could transmute into another.

    Darwin’s father wished him to become a doctor, but after realizing that his son had an aversion to practicing medicine, he (quoting de Beer) “proposed that he [Charles] take holy orders in the Church of England. Indeed, at this time in his life, he felt so convinced of the truth of his religion” that he accepted. But after three years of studies at Christ’s College, he considered the time “wasted. His greatest pleasure was collecting beetles for the sheer joy of collecting.” After meeting men of distinction in botany and other fields, he studied geology and read books “from which he derived a zeal to travel and study natural history.”

    A set of fortuitous happenings led to a position as a neophyte naturalist on the HMS Beagle, which set sail from England in Dec. 1831, not to return until October 1836….five years of meticulous observations, collecting specimens and exhaustive exploration too lengthy to detail here, but which began a new chapter in the history of science.

    Years later, “The result of his experiences was that (says de Beer quoting Darwin) My theology is a simple muddle; I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind, in the details….the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wonderful universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know from whence it came. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect.”

    “Darwin never felt any but the most friendly and charitable feelings for those who differed from him in matters of religion, provided that they were honest. This is amply confirmed from both sides. Rev. J. Brodie Innis wrote to Darwin, We often differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing of which I should feel very proud if anyone could say it of me. Darwin’s description of their relations was equally generous: Innis and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never thoroughly agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at each other, and thought one of us must be very ill.”

    And now I feel I know Charles Darwin, the man.

    P.S. My thanks to Richard Cahill, whose July 23rd post “God, Man and Donald Trump” inadvertently suggested my title for this post after I thought better of my original (or more accurately, less original) title.

     

     

     
    • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 5:02 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very cool! I like this post as both an Anthropologist and an Agnostic! Very well written! ♡ Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 10:06 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        excellent, indeed, so same here, Melanie… 🙂 btw, I’m Mélanie from Toulouse, France… 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:07 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Hi! How fun to say hello around the world to another Melanie!!!!

          Like

        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:08 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Oh by the way I am in Salem, Oregon, USA

          Like

    • mistermuse 6:24 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! You are the (even better) female equivalent of a gentleman and a scholar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 6:26 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m basically an agnostic but choose to err on the side of belief in a higher power simply because I feel more empowered when I do, And the world seems more magical.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:40 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not so sure that we fall on different sides of the deist/agnostic comparison – your belief in “a higher power” sounds similar to me being an agnostic if I weren’t a deist. Perhaps it somewhat depends on one’s definition of deist. As I understand it, no deist believes in a revealed God, but some may believe in the efficacy of prayer and/or even an afterlife. Personally, I believe prayers are useless and a possible afterlife is “beyond the scope of man’s intellect” (to quote Darwin).

        Like

    • Don Frankel 4:54 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Who else can I have these conversations with? We’ve been on this subject on and off for the last few years. I’ve realized something about you and Richard and other people I know, their religious upbringing seems to almost have been traumatic. In that, someone or someones tried to brow beat all of you into believing. I was brow beaten into non-believing. Makes me wonder why people get so excited about it all. Or should I use the term stimulated? Mental illness ran rampant in my family.

      What most people don’t want to realize is we just can’t know. We are stuck with these pathetic little things we call minds. We can’t see or hear things that are happening around us all the time. We can perceive just so much and understand it seems, less.

      Darwin is a prime example of how we are at our best when asking questions and at our worst when we assume we know all about something, we can’t possibly know.

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:53 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, your upbringing strikes me as a prime example of that old saying to the effect that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Perhaps I am another example, though under different circumstances (my parents divorced when I was 12 and from that point I grew up without a father; looking back, I see that as the beginning of a traumatic period, though I didn’t understand it at the time). Anyway, I’m glad to have gotten to ‘know’ Darwin, because I didn’t realize the anguish he went through in evolving into the man he became – a man I can thoroughly empathize with and relate to.

      Like

    • arekhill1 10:33 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I appreciate anybody paying attention to me, if there is an afterlife, Darwin must be fuming in it for being mentioned in the same breath as Trump, Sr. Muse.

      Like

    • mistermuse 12:21 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt that’s true, Ricardo….plus, the fact that The Donald represents a major step backward on the evolutionary ladder would seem to raise questions about The Theory. Darwin can’t be too happy about that, either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 11:35 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I never saw this post in my Reader – some posts have been appearing lower down among ones I have already read.
      I’m glad I came to have a look at your Blog and find this very interesting essay on Darwin. I think it is hard nowadays to imagine just how difficult it was for Darwin to accept his own theory and present it to a narrow-minded world. I got his Origin of the Species out of the library once. It is a massive work, both literally and figuratively.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:32 am on July 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s an excellent point about Darwin….and it seems that “narrow-minded world” will ever be with us. In the past 100 years, we’ve seen everything from the Scopes Monkey Trial to the present violence and barbarity of religious fundamentalism. Not much evolution in that world.

      Like

    • M. Talmage Moorehead 10:49 pm on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility…”

      That’s brilliant! I love it. Thank you.

      Talmage

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:58 am on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I “humbly” (working on the more realistic “semi-humbly,” but evolution is a slow process) accept your judgment. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

  • mistermuse 8:22 pm on April 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Greeley, atheism, , , , , , Scopes Monkey Trial,   

    HERE A QUOTE, THERE A QUOTE 

    Now and again, when I come across a quotation I particularly like, I bookmark it or write it down to save for possible use in a future post. Over time, I’ve accumulated a considerable cache of said quotes, which has me feeling somewhat like the poor soul beneath this 1837 tombstone in Thermon, Maryland:

    Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and no place to go.

    So here I am with a quoter’s worth of quotes which I have yet to use, and probably never will, as things stand. To coin a phrase, my quotations situation has come to a dead end. They’ve no place to go. I’ve reached the now-or-never point — use ’em or lose ’em. Thus, the reason for this post: it’s full speed ahead, and let the quotes (the first of which defines an atheist in a way I’d not heard of) fall where they may:

    The atheist does not say ‘there is no God,’ but says ‘I know not what you mean by God; I am without idea of God’; the word ‘God’ is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation. The Bible God I deny; the Christian God I disbelieve in; but I am not rash enough to say there is no God as long as you tell me you are unprepared to define God for me. -Charles Bradlaugh

    He who is not aware of his ignorance will only be misled by his knowledge. -Richard Whatley

    Moral systems are devised not to make life difficult, not to forbid pleasure, but to protect human beings from other human beings. -Andrew Greeley

    Allright, forget it. We’ll play in your ballpark. -Spencer Tracy (Clarence Darrow) to Fredric March (Wm. Jennings Bryan) when the Bible (but not Darwin’s ORIGIN OF SPECIES) is admitted as evidence in the film based on the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, INHERIT THE WIND.

    It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. -Zora Hurston

    Any physical cause [of the universe] is by definition part of the universe to be explained. Thus any purely scientific explanation of [it’s] existence is doomed to be circular. Even if it starts from something very minimal – a cosmic egg, a tiny bit of quantum vacuum, a singularity – it still starts with something, not nothing. -Jim Holt

    “GOD” is most accurately defined as the personification of ignorance, representing everything we do not yet understand. -Kenneth Marsalek

    On the sixth day, God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor. -Unknown

    I don’t believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear. -Woody Allen

    Well, humor is the great thing, the saving thing, after all. -Mark Twain

     

     

     
    • arekhill1 9:34 am on April 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The only difference between the God your parents told you about and Santa Claus is that your parents eventually told you there is no such thing as Santa Claus.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:53 pm on April 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      There is no such thing as Santa Claus? What a bummer, to find out after all these years!

      Judging by that first quote (by Charles Bradlaugh), there is also no such thing as an atheist who says there is no God. But, based on every other atheist I’ve ever come across, I’ve got a feeling that Bradlaugh speaks only for himself. Nonetheless, he sounds like my kind of atheist….an agnostic!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:49 am on April 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Yogi.

      Maybe if we observe enough we’ll get it but then maybe we can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:25 am on April 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Yogi couldn’t have said it better, Don.

      Like

    • Mélanie 12:19 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mark Twain and Woody Allen… 2 great philosophers, as well… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 6:21 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hmmm. Now I’m thinking I should have included a quote from mistermuse. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 10:13 am on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheism, , , , eternity, , , , the afterlife   

    MORE ABOUT THE BEGINNING 

    I hadn’t intended to write a follow-up — much less a serious one — to ABOUT THE BEGINNING (my last post), but after thought-provoking comments by Don Frankel and Michaeline, I had to face the soul-searching question, “Am I a muse or a mouse?” The answer is a squeaker, but I decided to face the muse-ic and go where mice-men fear to tread. So let’s go back to, oh, About The Beginning.

    That title, of course, referred to the coming into existence of the universe. In that post, the words after WHAT ATHEISTS BELIEVE proclaimed the nonexistence of a creator, i.e. the “Nothing” that “makes sense”….as opposed to the revealed creator, the biblical God of believers. For me, neither scenario passes the smell test. Here’s why:

    It is said that man cannot live without his illusions. Perhaps that is not entirely a bad thing….if the alternative is unbearable. If you don’t know what you don’t know, perhaps illusion is the saving compensation. That, to me, largely explains  the “revealed” God of religion. But if that need for “faith in a power stronger than ourselves” (to quote Michaeline) is as subject to perversion as any other human want, is it not also a force for good? In any case, that’s a proposition that is beside the question here; a fairy tale is still a fairy tale no matter how benevolent. The greatest saint in history has either gone on to eternal life or not, irrespective of his or her faith. We cannot believe our way into what may not exist.

    The atheist’s position is a different kind of challenge….not in an adversarial sense, because this isn’t a debating contest, but a reality search, no matter where the search leads….even if the reality turns out to be beyond human reach. Certitude, in such a case, is for dogmatists….which atheists are not above, in my view. Barring absolute proof, how is certainty that there is no god any less dogmatic than certainty that there is?

    Don refers to “idea[s] in Physics” (such as the search for a theoretical “God particle,” which is beyond my pay grade and perhaps beyond finding). A less pie-in-the-sky idea in Physics is the Big Bang Theory, which (to my unscientific mind) is entirely plausible, but which addresses only the means (how the universe was created), not what was behind the means….or behind the scenes, for the more theatrical-minded among you.

    As a creative writer, I can’t get my head around creation without a creator. This post didn’t write itself, and I can’t see a universe creating itself, no matter how miniscule the brain behind these words or the particle that exploded into a universe. But then there’s always the question, who created the creator? Whence cometh God? Ah. That calls for another theory. Here’s mine (it’s probably not original, but what do you want for nothing, as an atheist might say):

    There is no such thing as time outside of creation. The creator has always existed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean human beings have souls which will pass into that timeless realm after death. Then why did the creator bother? What’s the point? As the late vocalist Peggy Lee asked, Is that all there is? We may never know.

    Presumably, a creator who created and sanctions such misery and suffering as is our lot on earth would be the same “person” our souls would be at the whim of in an afterlife. Of course, many of us are fortunate enough in this life to experience more than enough love and empathy to offset the madness. Based on this mixed bag of a creation, can it’s creator be other than a mixed bag?

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough….or not.

     

     

     
    • arekhill1 11:46 am on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Sr. Muse, you fail to mention the Big Toot Theory of the Beginning, which was that our universe was blown out of the rear of some hyperdimensional bovine in another, better universe. I’m grateful for that, because it gives me a chance to mention it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:16 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s one of the things I like about you, Ricardo – you don’t give a toot, even though the universe may have. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve become quite a big tooter in my old age.

      P.S. Unlike the other two positions in the second paragraph of my post, the Big Toot Theory definitely passes the smell test.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs 1:01 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I won’t say many but know there are more than a dozen nonbelievers that don’t give a toot what others believe. So what’s the big fuss? The fuss comes when ideas are pushed on us and our lives are controlled by these ideas. 😦
      (nothing new)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:34 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, that’s the holy terror of religion, isn’t it: trying to force the belief on others that only their sect, denomination or cause knows the will of God and has all the answers. As for nonbelievers who don’t give a toot what others believe, that’s no skin off my nose (but I would hope they care about something).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 6:25 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Having been the skeptic practitioner of two religions, I think that I do not need doctrines or directives on how to live my life. I believe if a person has tried and suceeded in living a life that suits her abilities and needs, then that life is to be enjoyed to the very end. What may or may not come after is not worthy of my conjecture. Actually, I think that dead is dead and there is no going forward or backward.
        What is the creator if there is one? Some people are still wondering what actually happened. My question is, does all this speculation actually make a difference in our daily lives? I have always felt a connection with others regardless of their station in life. I have tried to share whatever I had with those less fortunate. Living life to it fullest is more important to me than wondering about the philosophy behind it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:55 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Philosophy admittedly isn’t everyone’s cup of poison hemlock, and far be it from me to criticize those who don’t have a taste for it….but I think it’s safe to say the world would be a much poorer place without history’s great philosophers. Though such thinking may not make a difference in most daily lives, even Jesus reportedly said, “Man does not live by bread alone” (though according to the bible, he had God, not philosophy, in mind when he said it),

      At any rate, one of the implied takeaways from my post is that “all this speculation” makes no difference whatsoever in what (if anything) happens AFTER this life. Nonetheless, for those who can’t help but think about it, I can relate (more often than not, with tongue in cheek).

      Like

    • Don Frankel 2:13 pm on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I think you’ve turned this up, down and sideways as much as anyone ever could. I just don’t think there’s any definitive answer to any abstract concept. The human mind can only do what it does and it can’t do that.

      Like

    • mistermuse 3:15 pm on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. You’ve pretty well summed it up. Between writing this post, the last post and the comments, I feel like I’ve been working on this for six days and it’s time to rest. Conveniently enough, it’s Sunday.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sam373 11:11 am on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The problem with these questions is that the created although created in the image of the creator, limits itself and thus limits that which created it, he or she.
      Consider this, life is a school where one learns what one does not know. Life as we know it may be but a moment of eternity. But what can the student learn if the student refuses to consider the possibilites.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:52 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Regarding your first point, irrespective of how the created “limits itself,” I would suggest to you that the created is intrinsically limited – at least, in this life. For example, the created has a limited lifespan, limited powers and limited mental and physical capabilities….and is therefore limited in the extent to which it is “created in the image of the creator.” We can hope for an eternal afterlife in which all that is wrong is made right, but who knows?

        As for the rest, I would amend the first sentence of your second paragraph to “life is a school where one SHOULD LEARN what one does not know,” for not only do some “refuse to consider the possibilities,” but many are never granted the opportunity….such as those who die or are killed in infancy, are born with severe brain damage, or are raised brainwashed in circumstances from which they cannot escape even if they knew they were brainwashed.

        Nonetheless, I respect your thinking and appreciate your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sam373 2:16 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink

          The Creator is Spirit and we are in his image and likeness Will continue forever.
          That spritual part of us gives life to this flesh. This physical existence is temporary and I believe one of many classes.

          Like

    • mistermuse 3:54 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Far be it from me to try to persuade you that what you say about “continuing forever” is only belief rather than knowledge, because I am no more convinced that it is false than I am that it is true. I only know that I do not know. That is why I am neither an atheist nor religious (unless you call being honest with oneself and believing in empathy and love “religious”).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam373 6:26 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Honesty is the begining of trust.

        Religion is to do anything consistantly, right?

        Belief in a one God concept is an individule’s decision; regardless of others pro &/or cons.

        Like

    • mistermuse 7:43 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I wouldn’t define religion that way unless meant in a non-religious sense; for example: I am very religious (conscientious & consistent) about responding to comments to my posts.
      As for the rest, if you’ll pardon the pun, I’m having a devil of a time imagining who could disagree.

      Like

      • Sam373 8:41 am on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        If i may, I have a lot of respect for you for even intertainig these conversations.

        Religion is what many, most of us do; but the creator requires relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:10 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The respect is mutual, but relationship with creator seems to be anything but mutual….at least, not in any non-delusional way. Yes, many have claimed to have communicated with God – anyone can claim that, and even believed it – but God has never communicated with me, and if someone were to claim that’s because I’ve never been open to Him, I would say two things: 1. How do you know that? and 2. I was once a practicing Christian – give me a break!

      I don’t mean to be flip, but “mutual” means “mutual.” If God “requires relationship,” He knows where I am (not vice versa) – how is it not up to Him to start the relationship; not just with me, but with every human who has ever existed? We’ve been around for tens of thousands of years – what is He waiting for? How much longer do humans have to kill each other over their conflicting beliefs that God has made himself and/or His will known to them or their prophets?

      No, my friend, I’m afraid that if there is ever to be a REAL relationship, it will be in the next life – if there is a next life. And, as I suggested at the end of my post, the nature of such a relationship is problematic in more ways than one.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sam373 5:43 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The creator has communicated with me a number of times but not as often as I WOULD LIKE.
      too often to my requests the response as not what I wanted to hear. Nevertheless, I am persuaded.

      I am a follower of your writings.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:22 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It sounds as if I have succeeded in my intention not to be a proselytizer to my way of looking at things. I wish you the best.

      Like

    • barkinginthedark 12:58 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      okay…this is a question i have pondered…physicists all agree that the universe is expanding…yes? So – what is it expanding INTO? continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:26 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Into the continuing great unknown. If that be a copout of an answer, so be it — a better answer is beyond my pay grade. Good question, though.

        Like

  • mistermuse 2:11 pm on January 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheism, Bruce Almighty, , , , It's Alive!, Monty Python, Oh God!, , , The Bible   

    TODAY IS “PLAY GOD DAY” 

    We should not play God before we have learned to be men, and as we learn to be men we will not want to play God. –Paul Ramsey, Christian ethicist

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    According to holidayinsights.com., January 9 is PLAY GOD DAY. While not an official holiday (i.e., it’s not sanctioned by God, the President or Congress), it nonetheless should be one, as man has been playing God since emerging from the cave, if not before.

    If you’re an atheist, you may well ask how man can play what doesn’t exist. Friends, if you think about it, it’s done all the time. In olden days B.F. (Before Film), a man could only play the Almighty in his own time, but since then, God-playing has not been confined to tyrants, despots, politicians and overlords. The invention of motion pictures has been a godsend to a man playing God even after the man is gone. God is not dead — like Frankenstein’s monster, it’s his own creation….and IT’S ALIVE! To wit:

    Here is a list of films (including the actor/God)  in which man has played God. I do not proclaim it a complete list, nor have I seen but a few of the of the films on the list. What do you want for nothing? Remember, this is PLAY GOD DAY, so take it or leave it. I doubt God Itself ever made a better offer.

    THE GREEN PASTURES (1936), Rex Ingram
    THE BIBLE (1966), John Huston
    SKIDOO (1968), Groucho Marx
    MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975), Graham Chapman
    OH, GOD! (1977), George Burns (plus two sequels: Oh, God! Book II, and Oh, God! You Devil)
    TIME BANDITS (1981), Ralph Richardson
    TWO OF A KIND (1983), Gene Hackman
    NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985), Ferdy Mayne
    RELIGION, INC. (1989), George Plimpton
    ALMOST AN ANGEL (1990), Charlton Heston
    THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (1997), Val Kilmer
    THE ACID HOUSE (1998), Maurice Roeves
    DOGMA (1999), Alanis Morrissette (the first actress to play God?)
    BRUCE ALMIGHTY (2003), Morgan Freeman
    SUPER (2010), Rob Zombie

     
    • ladysighs 7:26 am on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Save me a place at the table. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:54 am on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      So as not to be sexist Muse.

      I guess we could say love is more wonderful the second time around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:59 am on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ladysighs, we all have a place at the “end table,” so I don’t need to save you one. Beyond that, you’re on your own (apologies for the dark humor so early in the day)!

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:14 am on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love it, Don! Movie critics like Leonhard Maltin say “Bride” is one of the few sequels in movie history which is even better than the original, and the original was pretty damn good. This was great “camp” before the word “camp” became part of movie lexicon.

      Like

    • arekhill1 11:31 am on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think a “Play Satan” list would be an interesting project for you, Sr. Muse. My personal favorite, for obvious reasons, is Elizabeth Hurley.

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    • mistermuse 4:39 pm on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d “barely” heard of Elizabeth Hurley until you mentioned (and I Googled) her, Ricardo. It seems I’ve been missing a lot by not keeping abreast of things, celebrity-wise, in recent years….but I’m not Bedazzled enough to undertake another such project. I have too many books to read, too many football games to watch, too many naps to take, etc., etc., etc.

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    • Don Frankel 7:42 am on January 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You know even with all the stitches, the smock she’s wearing and the bad hairdo, she’s kind of hot.

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    • mistermuse 10:38 am on January 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree, Don. Bride was played by Elsa Lanchester, who was married in real life to actor Charles Laughton. Those who remember her only from much later films such as MARY POPPINS and MURDER BY DEATH would probably be amazed to learn it’s the same woman.

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  • mistermuse 12:03 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , atheism, , , ,   

    “BECAUSE I COULD” 

    I don’t remember who and where it was (not that it really matters — they’re everywhere and nowhere), but I saw a news report recently of a computer hacker who, when caught and asked why he did it,  answered “Because I could.”

    How ignorant is that? I mean, if I were to do likewise unto him, impersonally drive him crazy and arbitrarily make his life miserable, would he let it pass if I told him I did it “Because I could?” I’m not God, after all….if I were, there would be no question of letting the victim figure it out for himself. I wouldn’t have to tell him anything.

    Except if I were such a God, how I could live with myself….which, it seems to me, is why man had to invent a god in his own image — a God who works in mysterious ways, a God who at least professes to care, at least pays lip service to empathy; and, to go man one better, promises eternal bliss in a next life for those who love, honor and obey Him. Above all, man cannot have a Creator whose mixed bag includes God-caused suffering for which He is morally responsible. Man brings more than enough grief on himself in this life  — he needs all the help he can get to get through it without losing it.

    But, assuming there is a non-invented Creator (which I assume is a non-starter for atheists), what are we to make of created reality?  Wouldn’t a realistic relational afterlife (if there be such) demand that a Creator apologize to us as much, if not more, than we apologize to Him for wronging others? And if that is the best we can hope for, how surreal is that? How could there be a moral Creator who supposedly would have been cognizant of all this from all eternity? Can you say “premeditated?”

    And that, my friends, is why it is much easier to be either an atheist or a believer in the God of religion — any religion. No muss, no fuss, no getting all bent out of shape (except with each other). Whatever you do, don’t be a deist, or even an agnostic. Why risk torturing your brain with conundrums that tie up your mind in knots?

    Because you could.

     

     

     

     
    • myatheistlife 2:22 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quite poetic… and tragic

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    • mistermuse 9:15 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quite right – the devil, as they say, is always in the details. I appreciate your comment.

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    • arekhill1 1:46 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You’re going to hell.

      Like

    • mistermuse 2:03 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I hope they have beer there (even if it’s warm).

      Like

    • Don Frankel 3:43 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “You can if you think you can.”

      “If they asked me I could write a book about…”

      But of course “You are what your record says you are” and that is bad for the Jets today and they say that the Gods of Football will never let them win another Superbowl.

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    • mistermuse 4:20 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, Don, the Jets won today! I guess Wrecks Ryan showed you (hahahaha)!

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    • vonleonhardt2 2:27 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      In my religion, the act of Jesus on the cross is just as much to reconcile man to God as visa versa, but the evangelical party never touches the second part.

      But, there is an issue of subjectivity there. If you strip an ultimate meaning, then is any meaning more valid than naked exploration of possibilities? Seems most honest in that case.

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    • mistermuse 7:08 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for commenting.

      There is an issue of subjectivity in every belief, is there not? Even our “take” on facts can be subjective, beginning with whether a “fact” is a fact. How many so-called facts are actually facts?

      I see ultimate meaning as the ultimate question, so rather than stripping it from the exploration of possibilities, I would call it the basis for the exploration of possibilities. But your question is a good one and, I believe, contributes to the discussion.

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    • Don Frankel 3:44 pm on December 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I wish old Wrecks had. At this point in the season you’re supposed to lose to get a better draft pick so Wrecks can’t even lose right. But he’s taken his sorry ass down the road. Maybe he’ll get a TV gig where he can kiss Bellychicks rings.

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    • mistermuse 3:59 pm on December 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      With apologies to the ghost of Richard Nixon, at least you won’t have Wrecks to kick around anymore, Don.

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:29 pm on January 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheism, , illusion,   

    FAITH, HOPE AND CLARITY 

    When last we met – if we met – the subject of illusory pursuits was left dangling.

    On that occasion, my (admittedly) arbitrary nomination for illusory pursuit #2 was popularity. Now we come to my choice for #1: the pursuit of religion, which is doubtless (pun intended) even more arbitrary. So I will amen(d) my nomination in order to make it more exact: the pursuit of a specific religion is, in my view, illusory.

    Let us be clear what we’re talking about here. My Webster’s New College Dictionary defines religion as follows: 1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power accepted as the creator and governor of the universe. 1b. A specific unified system of this expression.

    If you suspect that this is leading up to a defense or advocacy of atheism, think again. I lump both atheism and specific religions in Webster’s 1b., in the sense that both become settled acceptances of assumptions or theories which in reality are far from settled. We can believe with all our being that there is no supernatural power. We can believe with all our being that scripture is the word of God. Neither of these convictions is more than the assertion of a human conclusion. Period.

    It is said that one should never argue religion because such arguments are fruitless. Precisely. Hope and believe what you wish. Just don’t expect to convince me, based on faith or what is humanly knowable, that you know God’s will or that there is no God. You know neither such thing. I may consider (so-called revealed) religious faith blind, but far be it from me to try to persuade you to venture beyond where you’re prepared to go. That beyond is a dark and scary place, you know?

     
    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:51 am on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, I have read again your essays on religion, deism, and who or what is God, I now am going back to my Reform Judaic faith. You almost persuaded me to stray from my beliefs with all your words. I like to pray, was always a religious person and have had other experiences that you would not believe. Some of us poor souls just cannot think the way you do. I respect your right to believe in what you may. I hope you will respect my right to have this faith.

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    • mistermuse 11:13 am on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Like the Ten Commandments, religious beliefs are often assumed to be written in stone, but why, I don’t know. Among other things, life is a search for truth. To me, not being open to examining beliefs is tantamount to giving up the search….a search which I concede is beyond many a person’s comfort zone, because sooner or later, we come to realize that ultimate truth is unknowable.

      That said, I respect you and your search, Michaeline – and I commend you for being true to yourself.

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:21 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, mistermuse. Please remember I chose this Faith and had to take classes with Rabbi Solomon before I was accepted by my temple.

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:25 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Also. we Reform Jews know that the truth is unknowable. We are allowed to be agnostic or even atheists. I choose to believe in the Master of the Universe.

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    • mistermuse 8:26 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The more you tell me about Reform Judaism, the less distance seems to separate it from Deism (as I’ve remarked once before). Perhaps one difference (tell me if I’m wrong) is once a Jew, always a Jew (for example, many celebrities, such as Woody Allen) are or have become atheists, but remain “Jews.” Judaism is therefore both a religion which you can disavow, and an ethnic group which you cannot, right?

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      • Michaeline Montezinos 10:51 am on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Good question, mistermuse. First of all, Jews do not usually disavow their religion because for many , unlike me ( a convert), they have been brought up into Judaism as a part of their daily lives. Especially if it is the Orthodoox Jew who closely follows the Torah and the Conservative Jew who may follow certain practices, such as eating Kosher food. The Conservative and Reform men can shave and don’t have to refrain from cutting their beards. The women are more than just housewives and bearers of children. The women are respected and may drive, have a career, etc. As long as the children are cared for.

        Jews come from many different ethnic groups and countries and can have different skin colors; they can be blond, red headed, brown haired or have black hair. I was told that even though I had been a Catholic, once I was converted, I was considered to be a Jew from birth.

        I may have given you the wrong impression. Even a Jew who may think like an agnostic or be an atheist in his thoughts about whether there is a God or not, he/she is still a Jew in the Reform tradition. We are allowed to use our minds and think about certain theories regarding theology.This is not considered a casting away of our moral identity as a Jew. We just keep this to ourslelves or discuss these thoughts with family and close friends. We do not shout out our views from a soap box. We can go to Temple and be active there (as we did while raising a Jewish daughter) but there are no laws saying we MUST do this or that. The main tenet is to respect others and folow the Ten Commandments. It is a religion not confined to a building or place but rather a way of daily life in which we try to lead good and moral lives.

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    • mistermuse 3:44 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m still not sure how one can be a Jew and (literally) an atheist at the same time – it strikes me as trying to have it both ways. I assume even a Reform Jew believes in God, so the moment one no longer believes there is a God, he ceases to be a Jew other than in an ethnic or tribal sense, by my way of thinking. However, no one ever said humans aren’t contradictory creatures, so it’s no skin off my nose (or other part of my anatomy)!

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      • Michaeline Montezinos 7:46 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I know it is hard to understand. My brothers in llaw are atheists. I also questioned their position as Jews. Hiowever, Reform Jews can discuss whether God is a person or not. That does not erase the fact that these men were raised as Jews and still retain the basic morality of our religion. They right way we live shows that our beliefs are still the same regarding how we act and how we treat other people. If we act badly, we must atone and make apologies or restitution. That is reserved for the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kipper) when we confess silently and directly to God our lapses and sins and pray for forgiveness. We have to make restitution first. We just celebrated Rosh Hashanah or our new year according to the Jewish calendar of 13 months.
        I know it must seem strange to a deist and to someone who was a former Catholic. However, this is why I chose this religion. It shows respect for the individual who can pray directly to God, or not and yet still live an honest and admirable life.

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    • mistermuse 9:05 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      In a sense, that reminds me somewhat of my former Catholicism – when something contradictory or illogical could only be “explained” by saying that God is a mystery, it eventually became apparent to me that that is the response of a religious justification which has painted itself into a corner and has no other way out. I don’t doubt that God is a mystery, but that is the only thing about God I don’t doubt. To me, everything else supposedly known about, or “revealed” by, God is a fairy tale written by man.

      Which leaves us, I presume, with agreeing to disagree….but not disagreeably. Peace!

      Like

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