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  • mistermuse 10:13 am on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bible, , , 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. ūüė¶
      (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.

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    • 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.

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  • mistermuse 4:12 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bible, , , , word of God   

    THE BIBLE MADE ME DO IT 

    Hair we go again.¬† Remember the story which made news¬†back in 2011 of¬†a beard-and-hair-cutting attack¬†by one Amish faction against members of another Amish faction? For shear cut-zpah, this topped everything….at least,¬†by way of¬†religious headlines:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM6FDzTXdkU

    Because the Amish believe the Bible is the holy, inerrant word of God and teaches, among other things, that hair is sacred, their men grow a beard. Cutting it is regarded as shameful; to do so forcibly is nothing less than a bald-faced assault, as a pun-loving jury found Sam Mullet and his faction guilty of in 2012:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYHzFn_LSXU

    Since then, Mullet and seven of his disciples have been serving multi-year prison terms while their attorney appealed. Now comes word that, in a split-decision on August 27, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions. While the government considers its appeal options, the defense attorney will seek to have Mullet and his fellow cut-ups released. If this happens, their victims may well find themselves running for their beards, if not their lives. Of course, horse-drawn buggies are also an option, especially for the slow-afoot.

    Now you may think that if the Bible is the holy, inerrant word of God, it wouldn’t be¬†the Scriptural¬†equivalent of the Elephant and the Blind Men parable at best, and at worst,¬†the Hydra¬†it has become at the hands of every self-delusional head case in history, bearded or other-wise. To say nothing of the Koran. Is there anything man can’t or won’t¬†screw up?

     

     

     

     
    • arekhill1 4:39 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hair is sacred? Even Donald Trump’s?

      Like

    • mistermuse 5:51 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Donald Trump? Speaking of head cases….

      Like

    • allthoughtswork 6:52 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank goodness for atheism.

      Like

      • mistermuse 8:14 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I’m an agnostic when it comes to atheism, but I do believe the world would be a much safer place if every religious extremist woke up tomorrow morning no longer believing in God.

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 7:14 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I thought the Mullet was a weird hair style. Now you are saying Mullet and his accomplices (surely they think they accomplished something by cutting off beards) are being released by an appeal to a higher court !

      I am glad I got my haircut today and I have not grown a beard cuz I am a girl. Why bring up the Bible, the Koran and neglect the Torah? mistermuse, you are slipping here. Maybe you need a close shave? Or a haircut , too? Ha! Ha!

      You know I am just kidding around here. By the way, can I be an agnostic and believe in some sort of creative energy or force that made our universe? Science has reduced the atom, found the center, the nucleus. They examined the neutrons, went further in and found only “strings and quarks” that is, energies that cannot be explained. They were looking for the “God particle.” They are still mystified, so they are atheists. Just like my better half~~~~

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    • mistermuse 8:38 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I would’ve included the Torah, but I thought that’s where Osama bin Laden hid before he headed to Pakistan. Oh, wait, that was Tora Bora – my bad. As for “strings and quarks” and the like, all that stuff is over my head, but whoever God is, he certainly has “hide and seek” down to a science.

      And I’m glad to hear you have a better half, Michaeline….but why have you been keeping it from us all this time? ūüôā

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    • Don Frankel 5:53 am on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hiding behind the Bible or most other things as you violate the penal code doesn’t usually work but it’s just a rationale for abhorrent behavior.

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      • mistermuse 7:02 am on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Sometimes I think God created the human race so he could look in on us and laugh himself silly whenever he gets bored. It would explain inspiring the writing of the Bible, knowing that every latter-day Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Mullet would do their own inspired take on it.

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:38 pm on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Here I go again with my theology professors. They have done some serious research regarding the approxiate dates when the New Testaments were written. It appears they agree that the four Gospels were written by different authors at about 60 to 70 AD. Most Scolars of theology are mystified by the Revelations supposedly written by John. Many think who ever the author was must have been under the influence of some chemically induced hallucinations.

      That is, to my best knowledge, the theories projected by these dedicated scholors. Of course, they used electron microscopes to determine the age of the orignal parchment or whatever material these gospels were written upon. They also have studied as their life’s work various languages, like Aramaic and Hebrew, to name a few major ones.

      I agree with Don Frankel about “hiding behind the Bible” in order to commit a crime. In Detroit we had a saying: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Time, of course, meaning a jail or prison sentence.

      mistermuse, what about “my better half?’ Are you implying I have two different personalities?
      Of couse, I could just say I am a woman and subject to “moods.” Generally, I try to override my moods when I am writing something by staying logical as I can. ūüôā

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      • mistermuse 2:08 pm on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Michaeline, I don’t think this is a Revelation, but I also have two sides: my serious half and my fun (or tongue-in-cheek) half. I appreciate your good nature even when it’s hard to tell which side (or combination of both) is “inspiring” me.

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:12 pm on August 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What else would you expect from a woman? I can be inspiring or intimindating. That is just me. Anyway, it keeps my husband on his toes long enough for me to get things done around here in our apartment. We did the grocery shopping this morning and them he took me out to Dunkin Donuts for coffee. He wanted to go to the Mall so I said go ahead. I am happy to stay home and rest.
      By the way, I forgot to mention that one of the Gospels in the New Testament was written in about 300 AD. I think that was a bit of a stretch for any apostle to write unless he got some longevity from Methuselah.
      The thing about breaking down the atom or DNA is science cannot find the source of LIFE. it seems that there is only energy there and I guess that is what “God” is all about. The Creative Energy or Cosmic Force that created and is still creating the Universe.
      As Luke Skywalker proclaimed. “May the Force be with you!”

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:43 pm on August 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It would be nice if the Force stayed the course (with us), but apparently we’re only along for the ride to Sooner or Later….Methuselah, of course, being among the latter living Later.

      Like

  • mistermuse 5:55 pm on June 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bible, , , , Revelation, The Good Book   

    DARE I SAY HEARSAY? 

    We are all erring creatures, and mainly idiots, but God made us so
    and it is dangerous to criticize. 
    –Mark Twain

    RE-PHRASING REVELATION

    Some say the Good Book has all the answers….
    I’d say life reveals that¬†most of those answers
    should be re-imagined in the form of questions.

     

     
    • Don Frankel 7:15 am on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Good point Muse. I think there are only questions. As I seek answers I sometimes gain some insight but that’s the best I could ever do.

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:25 am on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, on this subject, I could just as well have used what Gertrude Stein said (in place of the Mark Twain quote):
      “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.”

      Like

    • Mark Scheel 8:03 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse,
      I remember a philosophy class in college where the first session the instructor defined philosophy as that discipline which raises more questions than it ever answers. That’s probably true of both the Bible (when read critically) and life in general also.

      Mark

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:56 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting point, Mark. I suppose, from a faith (as opposed to a philosophy) perspective, calling Bible “evidence” into question as HEARSAY would be considered HERESY.

      Like

  • mistermuse 6:14 pm on April 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bible, , , , humorous existential questions, ,   

    GOD’S QUESTIONNAIRE REVISITED 

    I have a folder of old magazine and newspaper clippings which I’d filed away years ago because of their interesting and/or oddball subject matter. One such clipping (undated, but in a batch of others from the early 1990s) is titled God’s Total Quality Management Questionnaire (As presented on National Public Radio’s “Car Talk”) — which may sound like an odd venue for such a questionnaire if you’re not familiar with the show’s hosts, the¬†auto mechanic-comics¬†Magliozzi Brothers. Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s CLICK AND CLACK¬†car advice appears in¬†newspapers weekly and¬†at http://www.cartalk.com.

    If you’re like me, you find most questionnaires too simplistic (answer yes or no, or agree or disagree, to questions which beg for more nuanced response). Not so here — most of the¬†questions offer many choices, such as these in response to question #1: How did you find out about your Deity?

    __Newspaper
    __Bible
    __Torah
    __Book of Mormon
    __Koran
    __Divine inspiration
    __Dead Sea Scrolls
    __My mama done tol’ me
    __Near-death experience
    __Near-life experience
    __National Public Radio
    __Tabloid
    __Burning shrubbery
    __Other (specify):__________

    Now, for those of you who have had different¬†Deities at various stages of your life, even the above choices may be insufficient, which is never a good thing unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ve finally found the divine equivalent¬†of Mr./Ms. Right. One can only be disillusioned so many times before one says to hell with it.

    How did I find out about my (current) Deity? Basically,¬†by a process of elimination — I’m a deist, which is probably the last stage before “to hell with it”….though I must admit I haven’t tried all possible Deities. This leads me to question #2 of the questionnaire, but that will have to wait until next time.

     

     
    • Don Frankel 3:19 am on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m thinking that I’m dying to know what question #2 is and then I’m thinking is this one of those things where I’ll have to, before I can?

      My answer to number 1 though is other I guess. I mean isn’t He supposed to be everywhere? So would we need a book, a tabloid or an NDE? I’m not too sure if He’s everywhere by the way. I’m pretty sure He’s in center field though.

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:45 am on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, my computer’s acting up a bit, but Lord willing and the damn thing don’t crash, I’ll get to question #2 before you kick the bucket.

      Speaking of acting “up,” I’m surprised that movies wasn’t one of the question #1 choices. A lot of people undoubtedly found out about their Deity from the creations of Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Brooks, Monty Python, etc.

      Like

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