The Big Picture: Nerd Gods

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Damn you Bob, I respected you, now you gotta go make the masses think agnosticism is a third choice! If you lack a belief in a deity of some kind then you are not a theist. If you are not a theist, you are an atheist. And that's that. You don't even have to have a belief. Plants are atheists, they lack a belief in a deity. If you want, you can take it further, and believe in a lack of a deity (instead of lacking a belief in a deity) and that would be explicit atheism (though really there needs to be another word for it. Agnosticism is about knowledge, yes, agnostics believe knowledge of the existence of a deity is impossible to know. Hell, most Christians preach that. Gnostics (not the Christian sect you were discussing, a different thing entirely) believe that knowledge of the existence of a deity is possible to know. Not that they believe in a deity, just that they think, at one point, it'll be possible to prove it.

Well, I've been pursuing some of the text in here so far, and I've noticed no one has called Bob out on this one, so I guess I will.

Bob, you are off on your belief on the "evolution" of God/s and what gnosticism means. Please, allow me to explain.

First, the evolution theory of God/s. You talked about how cavemen viewed Gods as the natural forces (Druidism approach essentially), then they attached human characteristics to them, and then BAM we got us a Greek pantheon! That isn't the case though for religions across the globe. Judaism has existed for thousands of years. Best guesses place it as far back as 1500 B.C. (Scholars best guess as to when Moses would have lived.) So, for well over 3500 years we have one religion that has existed. I'm not an anthropologists, but I've got a feeling that this may be the oldest surviving religion, and the views have not changed that much for it. The arguement could be made that since Abraham believed in other Gods and then changed to one he might have been the one to initiate the transition, but that doesn't make it evolutionary. Cults don't grow large when they compete directly with mainstream view. The only one to do that in the last 1500 years was Scientology, and that was through some pretty nasty tricks.

So, what of the other viewpoint? Gnosticism? Well, here's the problem with gnosticism, it mixes and matches but never keeps things in context. For instance, what if I told you the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told? (To paraphrase that story: A man is mugged on the road and left for dead. A holy man and a priest both ignore him because he is unclean. A Samaritan comes and takes him to an inn and gets him all healed up.) Some would look at that story and just go, "Oh, do nice things. Got it!" But that misses the bigger point that Jesus was making with that parable. He was trying to show Jews that everyone is good, because he showed how someone that Jews disliked would help total strangers yet the holy men would not.

This is the problem with Gnostics and agnostics, they take small parts that sound nice but don't have the same meaning when taken out of context. If you really want to understand this though, you need to go back to how the early Christian church had to fight off the tide of Gnostic Christianity, which was attempting to blend multiple myths into Christianity (this is partly the reason why we have so many pagan festivals with a new Christian flair. The other part was just keeping up the tradition). Entirely new books were written 200 years after Christ attempting to say that they were made by the apostles, yet they claimed things that directly conflicted with the books we had from them directly or from their letters.

I would love to go more into this, but I would first need someone to critique me here. Any takers willing to start a healthy debate?

Gnostic Christian? Must learn more...

I liked it.
But i am for a merge of the Godzillaism and the Church of Spiderman and the X-saints. Monotheism is just soooo unimaginative and boring.

Agnosticism is not a belief you can have and therefore the people claiming that you are just a 'careful atheist' are partly right. Actually there is no third choice, you either believe, or you lack the believe.
I can understand claiming this third choice when someone asks you, to prevent any awkward discussions, but when bringing up the subject yourself, it is silly. Most people in the modern world are agnostic in the sense that they understand that a certain belief cannot be proven or disproven. This says nothing about your belief.
Furthermore, atheism is not "not believing", it is lack of belief in Gods. The difference may appear subtle or semantic, but that is far from the truth. Claiming a God does not force anyone to choose between them existing or not. Not forming an opinion is not agnostic, it is atheistic.

This youtube video explains it rather eloquently I believe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNDZb0KtJDk

Your statement in the beginning hints that you were already vaguely aware of this, but simply have not yet understood.

Why is this important? Because atheism needs to be an acceptable position worldwide, especially in countries like America. 'Inventing' the smart atheist called an agnostic, just disqualifies people who are clear about their atheism. Especially if you are directly linking them to militant atheists, such as is being done in this video, disqualifying them by association.

I think we can all agree on one thing here: Scientology got it's due in the end.

..That said, I apparently subscribe to the religion of Wrex. If you piss him off, he will eat you.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

This has gotta be my favourite Big Picture video so far :) Well done Bob... you pretty much voiced all the same ideas and views on the subject I've had recently in a very eloquent, sensible and, in places, amusing way. Good job :)

religion is just another thing some people use to avoid thinking for them selves, and as a scapegoat. "God said so"
not everyone, but a few...

I'm a born and raised Christian (in a fairly relaxed way) and am like those people you mentioned. don't *really* believe in God and miracles and stuff, but DO believe in many of the good morals, and teachings of how to live life. I can think and see for my self that many of the headline things in there are good stuff. and I'm not one of those anoraks thats going to go "oh, this obscure line in the bible when taken literally doesn't make sense! I'm going to assume the whole religion is rubbish! that 'love thy neighbor stuff' must be a trap!!!"

I also think that denying gays the right to marriage, and to call it marriage like everyone else, in this day and age, is sickening, and tantamount to the times when people were hearing about a certain dream... what this? the bible disagrees? hmm, how fortunate that I was born with A BRAIN!

saying the bible is basically fan fiction is SPOT ON!

I will raise my children Christian, just as my parents raised me.

oh, and I feel the same way about Christmas.

I feel that both Christmas, and Christianity in general, do more good than harm, especially when mixed with a pinch of common sense. I would say this is probably true of most religions.

which brings me to my one criticism of the video "some religions aren't behaving themselves at the moment" not 100% sure what you meant, or how tongue in cheek it was meant to be... but its worth remembering: terrorists are extremists, its not their specific religion's fault. remember the extremest of all religions, Catholic, Christians... have done some pretty terrible things...

Thanks bob, for summing up my religious beliefs in the first half of you video. Yes being an agnostic actually means you believe in something....

Kadamon:

Captain Pooptits:
It's pronounced Haruhi ffs visit a speech therapist.

That's like saying "Soliloquy, it's pronounced (soliloquy)".
Did not help at all.

I don't need to help him, he can look it up for himself. They say her name plenty of times in the series.

LiftYourSkinnyFists:

Captain Pooptits:
Haarooohee, Bob? Haarooheee?

You just lost all nerd credibility with me. Stop your preaching now. Right now goddam.

It's pronounced Haruhi ffs visit a speech therapist.

All this coming from a "Captain Pooptits".

Cry more?

Your tears are so delicious.

Rainboq:

Captain Pooptits:

It's Haruhi ffs.

Oh be quiet, he can pronounce it however he pleases.

No, he cannot.

If you heard someone butchering the French language this badly, you'd know what I'm on about.

Eric the Orange:

Captain Pooptits:
Haarooohee, Bob? Haarooheee?

You just lost all nerd credibility with me. Stop your preaching now. Right now goddam.

It's pronounced Haruhi ffs visit a speech therapist.

I'm going to assume that was sarcastic or you are joking. Real people aren't that stupid.

But you really should indicate it in some way, it doesn't come across in text.

You're absolutely correct. Bob should stop being so stupid and just work on his Japanese pronunciation already.

Iv always felt that Greek mythology was the way to go.

Greek mythology has a lot of different moral lessons witch today's people could learn a couple things from.

but personally i think religion in general is a bad thing.

any way i understander the values that could be picked up by many comic books, or other mediums is a good thing, and less harmful then a colt style religion. (they all are)

I still think the best way is to use examples and values that can be found in real life history/today.

I thought this was all a pull for Gnosticism. Scientologists literally believe in their doctrine, so they don't fit into your idea of the Gnostic nerd ideal, and thus cannot be a worst case scenario.

Good stuff Bob, this was a genuinely interesting proposal, and hilarious to boot.

Godzilla-ism? Man, fuck Godzilla. Gamera is our true saviour. He's the Guardian of the Universe, for cryin' out loud.

On a more serious note, why does Bob feel that religion needs a reboot when many feel no need for it at all? And his statement that only 'a couple' of the major religions are misbehaving is overly kind. No religion has a monopoly on nutjobs (despite Scientology's efforts to corner the market), even Buddhism (e.g. Shoko Asahara).

I'll finish this post with one of my favourite poems:

They all err-Moslems, Jews,
Christians, and Zoroastrians:
Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
One, man intelligent without religion,
The second, religious without intellect.

-Al Ma'arri (973 - 1057)

dark-amon:
Actually the philosophers have had a pretty static perception of what the term 'God' means (refering to Bobs comment on humans perception of gods changing over the course of history). The premises is actually more than 2000 years old.
Why do I mention this? Because philsophers or people with a certain degree of philosophical knowledge seem to be the only people who work on the question on higher metaphysical entities on a rational level. I rarely see anyone from any church do it and amny of the atheist community that writes books on the subject lacks knowledge on metaphysical analysis.
And about the latter half of the episode, although many younger philosophers would probably find the ideas cool, but if one where to show up everyone would sigh: "another scientolgy-church!"

Just to be safe here, people with "higher philosophical knowledge" don't always ponder metaphysical questions. Sure, to the layman, they may appear interesting and you'd wish that someone would ponder them, but that's not philosophers do--nor should they. Metaphysics is just a branch of philosophy, and for some many "great" philosophers a useless one. Nietzsche, for example, thought it was useless to think over questions that by their very nature could not be explained. Hume, too, dismissed them in his Treatise on Human Nature and instead focused on the epistemological aspect of existence. Some of the greatest philosophers were Christian, and I don't mean to put forward the usual theistic greats of the 13th and and 14th century, I mean Soren Kierkegaard, for example, the father of existentialism was a Christian.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you are the greatest danger to philosophy. And not just you, but all those with half-baked knowledge of philosophy.... and sometimes even me.

Giest4life:

Just to be safe here, people with "higher philosophical knowledge" don't always ponder metaphysical questions. Sure, to the layman, they may appear interesting and you'd wish that someone would ponder them, but that's not philosophers do--nor should they. Metaphysics is just a branch of philosophy, and for some many "great" philosophers a useless one. Nietzsche, for example, thought it was useless to think over questions that by their very nature could not be explained. Hume, too, dismissed them in his Treatise on Human Nature and instead focused on the epistemological aspect of existence. Some of the greatest philosophers were Christian, and I don't mean to put forward the usual theistic greats of the 13th and and 14th century, I mean Soren Kierkegaard, for example, the father of existentialism was a Christian.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you are the greatest danger to philosophy. And not just you, but all those with half-baked knowledge of philosophy.... and sometimes even me.

First of, ouch!
Second of, are you saying I'm among the greatest threats against philosophy because a post I already admitted was porly written? That's a pretty weird asumption.
And finally I said my post was porly written but never did I state that philosophy is all about metaphysics. I said philosphers are more suited to handle metaphysical questions than most religious lunatics (not saying all religious people are lunatics, just the lunatics) and the hardcore atheists.
And BTW. You do come out as an arrogant twat when you stand there high and mighty and make a false impression of a humble character as you sis in this post.

I made a god when I was a kid and worshipped it, as I figured I should give this whole "religion" thing a chance.

I got bored with my cat/bat/snake God, though.

dark-amon:

Giest4life:

Just to be safe here, people with "higher philosophical knowledge" don't always ponder metaphysical questions. Sure, to the layman, they may appear interesting and you'd wish that someone would ponder them, but that's not philosophers do--nor should they. Metaphysics is just a branch of philosophy, and for some many "great" philosophers a useless one. Nietzsche, for example, thought it was useless to think over questions that by their very nature could not be explained. Hume, too, dismissed them in his Treatise on Human Nature and instead focused on the epistemological aspect of existence. Some of the greatest philosophers were Christian, and I don't mean to put forward the usual theistic greats of the 13th and and 14th century, I mean Soren Kierkegaard, for example, the father of existentialism was a Christian.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you are the greatest danger to philosophy. And not just you, but all those with half-baked knowledge of philosophy.... and sometimes even me.

First of, ouch!
Second of, are you saying I'm among the greatest threats against philosophy because a post I already admitted was porly written? That's a pretty weird asumption.
And finally I said my post was porly written but never did I state that philosophy is all about metaphysics. I said philosphers are more suited to handle metaphysical questions than most religious lunatics (not saying all religious people are lunatics, just the lunatics) and the hardcore atheists.
And BTW. You do come out as an arrogant twat when you stand there high and mighty and make a false impression of a humble character as you sis in this post.

I'm willing to let every thing slide, you can believe what you want about whatever. But one question, where the hell did you get this from that I believe you are the greatest threat to philosophy because your post was poorly written? I'm just stumped.

Giest4life:

First of, ouch!
Second of, are you saying I'm among the greatest threats against philosophy because a post I already admitted was porly written? That's a pretty weird asumption.
And finally I said my post was porly written but never did I state that philosophy is all about metaphysics. I said philosphers are more suited to handle metaphysical questions than most religious lunatics (not saying all religious people are lunatics, just the lunatics) and the hardcore atheists.
And BTW. You do come out as an arrogant twat when you stand there high and mighty and make a false impression of a humble character as you sis in this post.

I'm willing to let every thing slide, you can believe what you want about whatever. But one question, where the hell did you get this from that I believe you are the greatest threat to philosophy because your post was poorly written? I'm just stumped.[/quote]

To answer your question: my post is porly written because it is written in such a way that I didn't express what parts of the definition of what a god is that has been static since pre-socratic times, and some other parts. Thus what I wrote has a likelyhood to make people draw conclusions about what I wrote that is incorrect. Like your assumption about what I wrote about metaphysics.

Captain Pooptits:

Rainboq:

Captain Pooptits:

It's Haruhi ffs.

Oh be quiet, he can pronounce it however he pleases.

No, he cannot.

If you heard someone butchering the French language this badly, you'd know what I'm on about.

There's a difference between language and pronunciation, language is not only pronunciation, its grammatical structure as well.

And yes, I do speak french.

dark-amon:

Giest4life:

First of, ouch!
Second of, are you saying I'm among the greatest threats against philosophy because a post I already admitted was porly written? That's a pretty weird asumption.
And finally I said my post was porly written but never did I state that philosophy is all about metaphysics. I said philosphers are more suited to handle metaphysical questions than most religious lunatics (not saying all religious people are lunatics, just the lunatics) and the hardcore atheists.
And BTW. You do come out as an arrogant twat when you stand there high and mighty and make a false impression of a humble character as you sis in this post.

I'm willing to let every thing slide, you can believe what you want about whatever. But one question, where the hell did you get this from that I believe you are the greatest threat to philosophy because your post was poorly written? I'm just stumped.

To answer your question: my post is porly written because it is written in such a way that I didn't express what parts of the definition of what a god is that has been static since pre-socratic times, and some other parts. Thus what I wrote has a likelyhood to make people draw conclusions about what I wrote that is incorrect. Like your assumption about what I wrote about metaphysics.[/quote]

I don't think your post is poorly written; just poorly contemplated.

teknoarcanist:

Emergent System:

teknoarcanist:
On Christmas:
I know it's trendy to decry Christmas as a capitalistic orgy, but really: what's so wrong about a secular holiday devoted to good will, gift-giving, charity, and kindness towards your fellow man, divorced from any obligation or threat from a higher power to do so? Sound pretty damn good to me!

It alienates everyone who isn't a christian? Can't go anywhere without hearing some crazy motherfuckers screaming "JEEESUUUS JEEESSUUSSS" our of a speaker in what passes for music during the holiday.

Think you misunderstood me. Bob said Christmas had become a celebration of capitalistic excess known as 'X-Mas'. I was asking: what's wrong with a secular holiday geared towards (to my mind) charity, good will, etc? I'm confused as to how that would alienate non-Christians??

Or did you just skip over/not know the meaning of the word 'secular' ;)

But hey, always nice to hear my Asshole Atheist brothers railing against intolerance while calling Christians 'crazy motherfuckers'. Protip: this is why Christians think we're all dicks, guy. Google the words 'hypocrisy' and 'arrogance'. Or watch Richard Dawkins talk for five minutes. But for the love of god DON'T BE RICHARD DAWKINS.

If you want to talk about some hypothetical secular holiday that's fine, but if that's your goal then don't start your appeal by directly replying to a statement made about christmas, opening the paragraph where you plan to write about it with "On christmas:", and then refer to it as "Christmas". Maybe clarify it when you decide to change the subject mid-sentence, especially if your post is very easily misunderstandable.

...though I shouldn't, I can't help but to comment on the irony of the entire second half of your reply to me...

That was a decent video. There is one thing that bugged me about the "jedi-ish religions" a bit tho.. And that is - why call them religions? It's the same reason why I don't fully understand why Confucianism is considered a religion. It's a lifestyle choice, cultural tradition, call it what you will, but why religion? Why should we label things that give us moral guidance and a value system a religion? I would say that a religion should always involve some kind of omnipotent being, a force that's higher than humans. With this it means that you can be a nominal christian, but not a religious one, like Bob said. SO why call the jedi's a religion? From where I stand, I'd say that it would really mess things up and deform the boundaries of the word religion, which to my mind is unnecessary.

Militant atheists are boring? Please explain, because even with the 'Hitchens excluded' comment it still seems like you're making a massive assumption about a group of people without using any evidence to support it. I get that it's just a throwaway comment, but I expect this stuff to be supported.

Also, whoa, what's with the hate against Dawkins on this thread? Despite whether you support his comments, Richard Dawkins is a very intelligent individual who actually brings up very good points and citations in some of his work. One could call his attacks on religion a form of intolerance, but what about when you have many religions telling people that they will be punished in the afterlife for not agreeing with them? Is that a form of intolerance?

And to be clear, I'm an atheist myself, but an irrelevant rather then militant one. The evidence clearly points away from the kind of supernatural being that religions follow, and thus I follow said evidence. If one were to give me some evidence of a higher being that couldn't be refudiated, then I would be more open to the concept and attempt to rationalize it. No, that doesn't make me agnostic, that makes me a skeptic who likes evidence.

Yet another great episode.

I feel forced to submit a link to this discussion that's very topic appropriate. Someone else has probably posted it already.
http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=404

The Tenets of Buellerism
Always lock the garage. And running a car in reverse doesn't turn the mileage back.
You can never go too far. But if you're gonna get busted, don't let it be by a guy like THAT.
The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. This was akin to something d-o-o economics. "Voodoo" economics.

You could extend this 'nerd gods' idea to video games... i'm sure there's plenty of deity and non-deity characters that people could 'worship'. I like the idea, it would mean people worship the values that each individual or story represents rather than get up in arms over which superhuman figure created life and demands homage for it.

I'm probably what you would call a 'militant atheist', but here's the thing. I think the messages of most religious sects are, for the most part, good... like don't kill, don't steal and so on. Where i have a problem is accepting any kind of 'superior being' or 'higher authority'. We stopped doing that shit when we pretty much abolished monarchical rule and power. (see the Divine Right of Kings act involving King Charles of England and what happened to him as a result). People can do with being taught the life lessons of respecting their fellow man regardless of colour, creed or gender... but we don't need any ruling figure. The idea of a 'nerd religion' that follows values and ideals that make us better human beings rather than being subservient to a petulant deity is far more appealing.

You know, one day people will realize that Xmas is NOT actually a bland, politically correct way of spelling Christmas. X comes from the Greek letter Chi, which was the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. So Xmas = Christmas. It's just abbreviated.

Good video regardless, but still, get your references right.

I definetly agree with you in rgards to this...

As things stand now, I'm starting to think about trying a religion like Haruhism, or even Pastafarianism, something maybe a little less serious...

Here's what I think:

The reason topics like this come up is because people have been lied to over the last three decades about the notion that all religions are equal when the exact opposite is true.

Every time I hear that argument, I keep realizing why people are so confused about religion; they truly believe that there is no wrong answer because no one gives them even a hint of guidance before they make a choice.

That said, I think what Bob really said in this video was despite religious issues in modern times, the idea of worshiping an idea or fictional character is a far worse idea than finding a religion you believe in or remaining without one.

As for the video, it has three major points to it.

1. - The idea of following the morals of fictional characters without actually believing in them. Which leads into...

2. - The latter half building on the idea of worshiping a fictional character/series/idea.

3. - Then, the ending showing what comes of something like that, Scientology. (L. Ron Hubbard's works are a bit boring, in my opinion.)

As for worshiping fictional characters like Gundams or Batman...are you serious? What kind of sense does that make? If you do that, by extension you are worshiping the people who wrote the stories that made them who they are.

Now, I am a huge fan of Green Lantern, Sonic the Hedgehog, Wonder Woman, and The Elder Scrolls mythos, but I do not follow them or believe in the beings that are detailed within. They are works of fantasy and fiction, created for entertainment purposes. That's it.

I'm a little confused on this one, because the topic seemed to change partway through.

The first part, particularly the end of the first part, set up for following a system of behavior without believing in a god.

...so why do you then turn around and say we should worship fiction characters? Spiderman is the only one there you even made a case for, the "With great power comes great responsibility" teaching. Then Supermane because he's alien space Jesus? Thor because he's based on a god?

The whole following the teachings without necessarily believing things just gets tossed right out the window, leaving me rather confused as to what the point of this episode was supposed to be.

LadyRhian:

Quaxar:

maddawg IAJI:

Oh excuse me Mr.Widu, but have you survived a month in the harsh winters of Hoth yet!? I haven't either, but I already brought my ticket dammit D=<

Windu... I wish I was. Would've been a whole lot different then.
"I'm sick with this motherfuckin' Siths in this motherfuckin' Republic!" if you catch my drift.

Anyway, I may have not been to Hoth yet (their skiing ressort prices are out of my current price-range) but look at these awesome power converters I got on Tattooine!

You went to Toshi Station, you n00b!

No, no, I bought it directly from this guy's landspeeder boot. Said he was a friend of Merle.
Wait, why is it smoking green?

maddawg IAJI:

Quaxar:

maddawg IAJI:

Oh excuse me Mr.Widu, but have you survived a month in the harsh winters of Hoth yet!? I haven't either, but I already brought my ticket dammit D=<

Windu... I wish I was. Would've been a whole lot different then.
"I'm sick with this motherfuckin' Siths in this motherfuckin' Republic!" if you catch my drift.

Anyway, I may have not been to Hoth yet (their skiing ressort prices are out of my current price-range) but look at these awesome power converters I got on Tattooine!

I'm not going to a skiiing resort, I'm gonna survive in the frozen wasteland for a week (I'll be fine, I brought extra socks.)and I say BAH to your power converters and I raise you one arm of General Grevious! Someone had to loot his corpse while the Troopers were going crazy under order 66.

"Frozen wasteland" is the name of the northern hemisphere's cross-country skiing slope...
You're living in the past man, you have to free yourself from it! A lot has changed since Luke was there.
Wampas are now respected business...things.

Nice arm but what are you going to do with it? Fix it to your body and pretend to be Zaphod Beeblebrox?

Rosalina as a deity is not something I'm considered before. It makes a lot of sense, though, and inclines me toward saying you forgot to mention Video Game Heroes as the New Gods, with millions of worshipers at private shrines daily giving praise to everyone in that pantheon, and oddly enough motion controls fit right in to that paradigm. Link? "And we shall swing the sword, and through us His avatar shall swing the sword, and together we shall fight evil." Cole McGrath? We sit before the alter, and give praise unto him in the form of progress. Kratos? "Unto thee we give this minotaur's face..." This is a very rich area, people. We pray daily, willingly, and without reservation. We pray collectively daily on a scale that a weekly worship can't match, and we adorn ourselves and our lives with idols of these gods.

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