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Comment: Re:Just out of curiosity. (Score 1) 931

by bhoult (#43568469) Attached to: Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

Thank you for your response.

The generality I was trying to point out in 1 & 2 is that scientifically you can only regress (ask why, how, or where did that come from?) a finite number of times before you arrive at one of several conclusions:
a. I don't know, but choose to believe anyway (faith)
b. I don't know but some really smart guy somewhere that has studied this does (faith in percieved authority)
c. I don't know and therefore regard my understanding of the parent elements as non-absolute.

It seems that if any premise is slightly plausible and is accompanied by a sufficiently complex explanation then the recipient must either claim to understand, agree with and thereafter support the premise or appear to be ignorant and lacking in comprehension. I know this is true of many theologies, I am just pointing out that a "scientific" worldview is not in practice any different.

I think that science as a tool has provided a great deal of benefit in that it has given us accurate measures of observable phenomenon, and that by producing models of these phenomenon we are able to derive practical tools. But I also think that there is a tendency to want to apply this tool outside of the domain in which it is valid. To the extent that we believe all of reality is testable and that our understanding of it is absolute. Given our obvious limitations it seems evident that this is not the case, and yet the scientific atheist chooses to ridicule those that dare to look beyond the limited box he has confined himself to.

God does not "give" hope, basically hope is the result of looking for something greater than has so far been experienced. When one hopes for any kind of future it becomes obvious that if all we can ever be or accomplish will eventually be heat uniformly distributed across the universe at the apex of entropy then we must either accept that our motivation to go on is dependent on continuing to suspend disbelief through constant distraction and denial or be willing to look for evidence that is not limited to the finite and fully comprehensible. Basically because we hope we look for God, and if we don't limit our search to those things that are so small we can fully understand and explain them then we find an abundance of evidence.

I don't dispute that religion(s) of all forms have been used for evil ends. The same is true of non-religious institutions. The reason is that both are composed of a huge number of regular people with complex motivations, when the primary motivation is pride and the advancement of self evil will become evident. I think that your judgement is prejudiced by your preconceptions in this case, but I doubt you will be swayed by anecdotes or statistics. Power and pride lead to corruption, and religion can certainly be a means to power but I challenge you to attempt a more balanced understanding before you resort to wholesale condemnation.

Comment: Just out of curiosity. (Score 1) 931

by bhoult (#43564851) Attached to: Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

Disclosure: I am a Christian who has daily questioned my belief but hold to the commitment I made 30+ years ago. Sometimes I feel good about it, other times I have doubts, but that makes no difference with respect to the commitment I know I made. When I think about atheism though I wonder about the following things. If anyone has good answers it would be helpful at least to me.

1. Where do we come from? As I understand it we evolved. And where did those things come from, as I understand it they spontaneously appeared from a "primordial soup", which existed as a result of "the big bang" which so far as I know there is no explanation for ... just that it must have happened.

2. What are we made of? That would apparently be molecules, which are made of atoms which are made of subatomic particles, of which we can only see evidence of a few given great effort and what we can see seems completely inexplicable. Matter is almost completely empty space, protons should repel each other in a nucleus but are somehow held to together by a "strong force" ... what is that? What is light? What causes gravity, or magnetism? How can we scientifically "know" something when it is built upon complete mystery?

3. What are we for? In most cases those who look for the greatest hope available and strive for it against all odds instead of just giving up are admired. Except in the case of faith they are ridiculed. It seems the atheists are those that when faced with a difficult challenge with small odds of success merely lie down and claim it is hopeless. There is no purpose, there is no future, everything is meaningless. Not only that, but they think that by discounting all except that for which they have direct proof and giving up to the perceived inevitable, that they somehow attain intellectual superiority.

It seems obvious to me that with the 3lbs or so of neurons and fat in our head, and our brief stint on this small earth and limited capacity to perceive, comprehend or remember it that we must either admit to a degree of faith or be logically delusional. Not finding sufficient proof, or having the capacity to comprehend the proof I have for a belief for or against God I instead choose to pursue the goal that offers the greatest hope. Evidence will not be found in carefully constructed arguments, but by looking for those things that make people into better people. Kinder, more generous, more loving, more forgiving, more hopeful. I am aware that many Christians have failed in this regard and I regret that, but I pay more attention to the many that have succeeded.

Comment: Re:Have done this for 3 years in the US. (Score 1) 523

by bhoult (#43215621) Attached to: How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

No comment on the first question. As far as a shower I just sprayed myself with a garden hose in the front yard for the first couple years. It was fairly miserable in the winter and involved a lot of hyperventilating and gritting teeth. Last year I found that walmart online had a propane inline water heater so now I have an outdoor shower that is quite pleasant.

Comment: Re:Have done this for 3 years in the US. (Score 1) 523

by bhoult (#43209729) Attached to: How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

Yea... it is 19ft diameter with a trampoline suspended from the ceiling as a sleeping platform. So fairly small. I have some recent pictures of the outside, but the inside is not as presentable as I would like due to it being both a house and a tool shed. Half of it is tools which means it is pretty much constantly cluttered inside. Hopefully will add a tool shed this year and get all that stuff out. Can send you the outside pics if you want, but it was just another small snowstorm like the last ones. It is comfortable for a single guy without aspirations of being seen by, never mind keeping up with the Jonses. It would suck if there was more than one person living in here that.

Comment: Re:Have done this for 3 years in the US. (Score 2) 523

by bhoult (#43208639) Attached to: How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

I know... I am saving a little... but I doubt any amount would be "enough" at the rate things seem to be going. I have basic medical insurance but when the time comes I am sure I will be screwed like everybody else. Probably good that I don't have a family. My main concern is the quality of fertilizer I will make wherever I end up.

Comment: Re:Have done this for 3 years in the US. (Score 1) 523

by bhoult (#43208251) Attached to: How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

Well.. I am grandfathered into the verizon unlimited data. Don't really use it though so when the contract is up will go prepaid and save $50/mo. Problem is that carriers are a little limited in this part of the country.

Part of the electric is a installation charge they spread out over a number of years. I think I only use about $18/mo, but I don't complain since they had to run about a half mile of cable to get here. I hope to convert to solar eventually... buying bits and pieces if I find them inexpensively.

Comment: Re:Have done this for 3 years in the US. (Score 1) 523

by bhoult (#43208203) Attached to: How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

Arkansas... but it is only 1.3 acres. Outside of city limits, but only 10 miles from a town of 30k. Luckily I am friends with a couple of my neighbors so am basically free to use about 20 acres. I probably should have put that community is also pretty important when living cheap. Not necessary, but it sure makes it more fun.

"Life is a garment we continuously alter, but which never seems to fit." -- David McCord

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