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Comment: Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (Score 4, Interesting) 1037

by Brain-Fu (#46676537) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

It is easy to present solid arguments against fundamentalist christian hermeneutics, because the system of thought is wildly self-contradictory and full of philosophical holes. The fundamentalists who ardently deny this and try to defend their faith are in two categories: those who are capable of critical thinking and those who are not. Members of the former category will eventually see the merits of the arguments the atheists present, whereas members of the latter category never will.

One point worthy of note is that many fundamentalists, when they experience their philosophical enlightenment, will abandon Christianity completely. They mistakenly believe that all Christian denominations share the philosophical problems (and moral problems such as oppression of homosexuals) as fundamentalism. This is very untrue.

"Mainline" Christianity (including some Lutheran groups, Episcopalians, and others) take a much more educated approach to interpreting the Bible, recognizing it as a human work which contains human errors and contradictions, as well as being steeped in the culture of its day. The Bible is seen not so much as a framework in which one must remain, but a vector which should be re-assessed in the light of modern knowledge (scientific and moral). The emphasis is not on a literal afterlife, or an offended God that provides a proscription which must be strictly followed to assuage his wrath. Rather, in the recognition that most of this language serves as metaphors for states of mind that can be achieved in this life, the practice becomes much more about living in humility and love in this life, and receiving the benefits of that here and now.

Of course, they still believe in God, which is an impossible-to-prove point. But notions like "God hates atheists and other religions and will send them to hell" and "god hates homosexuals" and "women should be silent in church" are seen as outdated beliefs held by those who did not have the benefit of modern knowledge, and a painful part of our own history which must not be forgotten in order to ensure that they are not repeated.

 

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 2) 1037

by Brain-Fu (#46676443) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

"Lucifer" is a Latin word. The texts were written in Hebrew and Greek. If you read any modern translation of the Bible, the word "Lucifer" doesn't appear in it anywhere. "Lucifer" is just a remnant of the Vulgate.

The singular reference in the Old Testament (Isaiah 14:12) was as a translation from the title "morning star," one of several titles being applied to a very human king (as a prophesy of his downfall). The reference in the New Testament is in the book of Revelations (22:16), when Jesus simply states "I am the morning star." Interestingly, that one was not rendered "Lucifer" in the King James Version.

The gross misreading of the Bible on this point has a very long history, and is very typical of Fundamentalist thinking (literal interpretation of the end-result, with barely any understanding of the history, and always twisted to suit a set of forgone conclusions).

There are Christian denominations that take an educated and critical-thinking-based reading of the Bible, though they are in the minority these days. The problem here is not the Bible itself, however, but the widespread tradition of reading it in a very uneducated and uncritical way.

Comment: Re:I'm not even a fan, but (Score 4, Insightful) 1174

A bit off topic but this troubles me and I never manage to get really good answers to this one.

Supposing that "All citizens have the legal right to marry a member of the opposite sex" is both the letter and spirit of the current law...how does one resolve the following edge cases:

1) A naturally-born hermaphrodite who can pass equally well for either gender based upon dress. Can such a person marry someone of either gender, thus being a direct contradiction to the spirit of the law? Or can such a person just not get married, thus suffering a grave injustice? Must the person choose a gender and stick with it for his/her entire life (which seems a bit arbitrary), and will the person be forced to get a divorce, by the state, if (s)he changes his/her gender-facade after getting married?

2) If a man has a gender-changing surgery and becomes a woman, what gender can she then marry? Can she marry a man now that she is a woman? Or must she marry another woman and have an ostensibly homosexual relationship due to being genetically heterosexual?

Reflection upon these edge cases makes it seem to me that the distinction between men and women isn't quite as absolute as the law would make it out to be. Since these things can be a bit ambiguous or even change, it seems like the law should just not take gender into account (at least for the issue of marriage).

Comment: Re:Make it illegal (Score 2) 1199

by Brain-Fu (#41568483) Attached to: Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

You do realize that there are also medical studies and medical professionals that refute exactly what YOU are saying (that is to say, they insist that the evidence plainly indicates that second-hand smoke is not a risk (or if it is a risk then it is vanishingly small)).

Since you didn't bother to cite any sources, I won't either. But you can just as easily google things like "second hand smoke myths" as you expect us to google for your sources.

Comment: Agreed (Score 3, Insightful) 1199

by Brain-Fu (#41568279) Attached to: Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

Making meat consumption illegal is not a likely consequence of making tobacco illegal.

However, both are equally absurd. Adults should be free to make their own decisions about their own health, choosing their own trade-offs between short-term pleasure and long-term consequences. The government should be stepping in to protect this important freedom, by preventing companies from screening/punishing employees for what they do on their own time.

Comment: Irrelevant. (Score 5, Insightful) 1199

by Brain-Fu (#41568207) Attached to: Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

Being bad for you is NO JUSTIFICATION for making something illegal.

People should be free to seek happiness, even if the mechanism of doing so is self-destructive. That includes the freedom to overeat, sit around and relax instead of exercise, spend too much time keeping their skin tan, watching movies/TV that makes them stupid, and on and on.

When your pleasure-seeking causes direct and significant harm to others, THEN you have a case for making it illegal. If it only harms yourself, self-determinacy trumps the nanny-state (or should, at least).

I will add, from a completely practical perspective, that when you make highly-desired goods illegal you create black markets (because humans make lousy slaves). The black markets then funnel significant money into the hands of criminals who have no qualms about murdering people to maintain their power base. Not only must I then live with these threats, but my tax money gets spent on more law enforcement which is generally ineffective no matter how much is spent and which takes away even MORE of my freedom in order to search for crime. So...making these things illegal causes very direct harm to me...much greater harm than keeping them legal causes me (should I free choose not to indulge).

Comment: Re:More efficient to grow but less efficient as fu (Score 0, Troll) 705

by Brain-Fu (#40888373) Attached to: Meat the Food of the Future

You need to check your facts, buddy.

Are you aware of the numerous communities that live their entire lives, cradle-to-grave, without ever eating meat? Some of them live right here in America! Like the Seventh day Adventist sect of Christianity.

Their children are not stupid or weak or sickly or any different than anyone else's children.

Communities like this, all over the world, have empirically demonstrated that plants give us all the nutrients we need, with plenty to spare.

Lobbyists for the meat and dairy industry have spent quite a bit of money to convince western culture otherwise, with good success. Looks like they convinced you too. But the facts suggest otherwise.

Comment: Re:But ... (Score 1) 846

by Brain-Fu (#40783377) Attached to: The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

You are not safe. Reality forces you to deal with other beings who want to kill you (whether they have weapons or not).

Making guns illegal does not make you safe. It does not even make you safer. It instead makes you and everyone around you more exposed to harm, which serves as an invitation to execute such harm (in the minds of those who are keen on doing so).

Allowing your neighbors to own guns does make you safer. The would-be criminals don't know who will and who will not shoot back, so they are less likely to perform such crimes. Furthermore, if they perform such crimes anyway, shooting back can put a quick end to their harm.

If you don't like guns, don't own them. But when you try to force your neighbors to make themselves as vulnerable as you want to be, expect them to resist you.

And remember, when the seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Comment: Re:But ... (Score 1) 846

by Brain-Fu (#40780805) Attached to: The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

What about us responsible people who decide not to shit out any children, shouldn't we be exempt from paying school taxes?

No, because those schools benefit you in the following ways:

1) They prevent most of the kids from spending their free time vandalizing your property (by keeping them busy).
2) They keep the economy supplied with a basically-competent labor force, which helps support your job and also reduces crime.

Comment: Re:yawn (Score 1) 247

by Brain-Fu (#40768289) Attached to: <em>World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria</em> Launches On September 25

If these panda-people drive players away from WoW, then I will agree with you. If, on the other hand, it draws in new players (of *any* demographic) or retains existing players, then this will be a good example of exactly why listening to your customers is good.

The purpose of WoW is to make money for Blizzard. Everything else is just details.

Comment: Re:The unfortunate state of gaming (Score 1) 247

by Brain-Fu (#40768225) Attached to: <em>World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria</em> Launches On September 25

Some people play games because they want to do hard things. Other people play games because they want to have fun. There is nothing "wrong" with games that are designed to be fun rather than hard, they are just a different kind of game.

Nor is there anything "wrong" with wanting to reach a wide audience. From an economic perspective, this is as right as rain...wider audience = more money = right!

So the abundance of easy games is not something wrong with gaming today. You are simply in a smaller target audience.

The only thing wrong here is your expectation that game-makers should sacrifice profit potential to cater to an audience of people who don't want to have fun. There are a small number of games designed to cater to your market segment, but that number will always be small because there aren't very many of you, and that is exactly how things should be.

Comment: Re:Maybe same old 'leave your guns at entrance' ru (Score 1) 1706

Why do people keep posting this nonsense? This is the third comment I have seen that assumes that owning a gun somehow makes a person stupid. People with guns on them wouldn't automatically start shooting randomly into a crowd of civilians when they can't even see an assailant. Sheesh.

"No matter where you go, there you are..." -- Buckaroo Banzai

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