I still remember when I first moved from Nova Scotia to North Carolina and having an argument with the geography teacher over where Nova Scotia was located. After about five minutes of arguing we went to the map and I was kicked out of class for the rest of the year for "show boating" as he put it. Then even when I was living in Bar Harbor, Main I still met people that didn't know where *Canada* was. It's like come on, Main is right on the border with New Brunswick and there's a ferry that runs from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, How could you not know where Canada was?
Your geography teacher didn't know where Nova Scotia is? SMH. And then he/she kicks you out of class for making him/her look bad for not knowing his/her own damn material. BTW, it's spelled "Maine".
I personally believe that there exists an entity who created the universe. But I have absolutely no issue with Atheists. My belief is personal, held for personal reasons. I cannot prove the existence of this higher consciousness that I believe in, so why would I expect anyone else to share my belief?
Here's what stresses me: according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, of the ~7 billion people on the planet in 2010, about 80% of them were affiliated with one of 16 major religions. This means that 4 out of every 5 people I meet will believe that they are the lucky winners of the religion lottery, having chosen correctly among all religions, past, present, and future, and are now privy to the secrets of the universe.
The scale of this delusion is mind-boggling. Let's hypothesize there is a true religion. Then it follows the others would be false. How many others are there? Depending on how granular you want to be the answer is between 1 (everybody is right) and the world's population plus one (everybody has a different wrong idea, and the right idea) Since having more people believe one idea does not affect whether it is correct or not, that means the odds that the average person has chosen the CORRECT religion are pretty low.
I believe this is the first thing obscured by the religious mind: that numbers do not matter, only what they believe. Every injustice perpetrated by religion seems to spring forth from this immense conceit. It seem that, ironically, most people instinctively shield themselves from statistics while seeking the Truth.
I agree, that's a problem with religion. Who can say which one is right? That used to bother me when I was religious. I knew that the Jews and Muslims and Hindus all believed in their religion, just as I believed in Christianity. With my eternal soul in the balance, how could I be sure which was correct? Why wouldn't God just tell us how he wanted us to be? That's why it was so liberating when I dropped all that crap.
If there is a God, he clearly doesn't care what people do. I mean, he created the Universe. Think of the immense power and ability of such a being! Why would he get bent out of shape over what a bunch of creatures on one little planet in one little galaxy do? He operates on such a level that we cannot begin to comprehend. That's why I don't believe in sin. I don't think God needs to be worshiped. That's a primitive belief, from when the Earth was all there was. Now we know there is so much more. God doesn't care if we kill each other. How could it possibly make a difference to him? I think he probably feels bad for us, because we still haven't figured out how to get along with one another, rather than trying to dominate one another. But then, I'm probably just projecting.
So, of course every religion is wrong. I'm probably wrong too. But religions have to be Right! Each one is the only way to salvation! And that's the problem. They all think they know the Truth and use that belief to justify all kinds of terrible things. It would be better if they had the humility to understand that a belief in God is not about right and wrong. As you point out, how can one say what is right about a being that created the Universe? And as I pointed out, we can't know for sure either way. If such a being exists, we cannot possibly know its mind. A belief in God is just about what helps you in your life. Don't kid yourself, we all have our delusions. As long as they're not used to dominate others, I let people have them.
Is is me or are you just "repeating what you have been told to think about the particular topic" by the parent post? Were you going for Funny but accidentally got Insightful?
It was not the parent post that introduced me to that idea. But I will admit I did not come to it completely on my own. I have come to understand over the past 15 years or so that the world does not work the way I was taught it did, and that there is more to society, history and current events than I previously understood. It is a work in progress, as it must be. But these realizations have caused me to rethink why I held the beliefs that I did, and have led me to a new understanding of the truth and indeed, reality itself.
I hold some quite unconventional beliefs and understandings, which most people are unreceptive to. In discussing these things I have come to understand how important perspective and preconception are to people's beliefs; what they consider possible or impossible, likely and unlikely. I have studied advertising, public relations and propaganda to better understand the methods and mechanisms of influencing the public mind. And I now see just how relative everything is. I try my best to be a free-thinker. But if I am honest I must admit that I have my own biases and preconceptions. Like I said, it's a work in progress.
But spying for a political race? There aren't really any defenses you can latch onto to rationalize it. Maybe supporting a pro-NSA candidate might have some traction since that could tie back to the other narratives, but even then, the awareness that you're crossing the Rubicon would be overwhelming.
Not everyone has the same moral compass or scruples. There are plenty of people who would want to spy on one or another side of a political race. Not any rational defense? How about making sure the right guy wins? People can rationalize almost anything if they think their motives are good.
And how many incidents go undetected?
Worse, LOVEINT is a bit disturbing, but not the kind of abuse that's serious on a governmental level.
Suppose the next election is Hillary vs. Christie. Would you be happy with people listening in on Christie's phone calls and those of his circle and supporters? Or Hillary's?
Imagine how that could be abused to swing elections. Counter strategies. Embarrass or blackmail donors.
All because the technology is in place with weak protections that a determined agent (or cabal) could easily bypass.
Just the "metadata", knowing who these people talk to, can be seriously abused.
And how naive do people have to be to think that all of that and more is not already going on in a secret organization? Not you specifically, I'm talking people in general.
Seriously, how can an educated person go to work each day, knowing they are violating civil rights of everyone in the country (not to mention the world) and still feel good about their job? They job demands bunch of deluded true believers or people simple without ethics.
This has been my experience. Most of the people I know who hold a clearance believe all or most of the bullshit they learned in school. The US are the Good Guys fighting against those evil terrorists. Sure there are problems, but any lawbreaking was done for the best of intentions. That's who gets cleared. If you color outside the lines, you don't get cleared. My clearance was denied, go figure.
...after all, the status quo came about for a reason and your idea has to be pretty clever to beat it in all, or even most, metrics.
Yeah, but no one can agree on what that reason is.
I think education should be a top priority, after that everything else will sort itself out within a generation.
But what will you teach them, and what if they disagree?
This gets to an interesting dynamic; that people can disagree, or have differing viewpoints and not have one be "wrong". This comes up quite a bit on the topic of religion or the existence of God. Religion is certainly a situation in which people have been told what to think. All of these Christians or Jews or Muslims or Hindus or whatever did not come to their beliefs independently. I very much agree with your point that it is a control structure; they all are. They are more about regimenting behavior and beliefs than anything truly spiritual.
As to the existence of God, we don't know either way. A god or gods may exist or he/they may not. I personally believe that there exists an entity who created the universe. But I have absolutely no issue with Atheists. My belief is personal, held for personal reasons. I cannot prove the existence of this higher consciousness that I believe in, so why would I expect anyone else to share my belief? It's not about right and wrong, it's about what works for a person in their life. I have become more comfortable with the concepts of "maybe" and "I don't know".
Also, the hive mind.
Here is a good philosophical exercise that everyone can do. Think about your values and opinions on various things. Ponder which ones of them are just you repeating what you have been told to think about the particular topic.
That'd be most of them. Most of people's ideas, attitudes and opinions are not their own. They have either been told what to think, or have selected a position from a menu presented to them by some teacher, parent, P.R. firm, news channel, religion, etc. Careful though, most people are likewise unreceptive to that idea. I include myself in this estimation, though I do try to examine my beliefs. It is unavoidable, in a way. It's not easy to transfer knowledge, information or something like values without some form of indoctrination.
But people come to see the established order, or consensus as iron-clad. They are threatened by the idea that the truth can be fluid, and facts they have known their whole lives could turn out to be wrong. It is unsettling, so they avoid such realizations. We see this dynamic in studies that show how people will retain a belief even in the face of contradicting evidence. They will explain away or discount the new evidence so that they may continue with their belief. It is interesting and sometimes maddening to me. But as I said earlier, I know what I think and why I think it. So when most people disagree with me on some subject, I am not bothered as much.
IIRC, he had about 3 or 4 of them built from old microwave scraps and some hand-machined parts. I wouldn't be surprised if he got a "stop or you'll get v&" letter from Flowers By Irene or their friends. It's the kind of thing feds get all itchy about.
We live in a free country; don't let anyone tell you different.