Comments on Faith; Videos; Not Enough Sleep

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There have been some interesting comments posted to my entry below on faith and rationality. If you don’t ordinarily look at the comments, I recommend you scroll down and take a look at those. Maybe you’ll have something to say in response. Please feel free.

Meanwhile, I’ve just come off editing a year-end video piece for the school wrestling team (a sort of wrestling music video)—which was a lot of fun to do, but involved some late-night video-editing sessions. Now, I’m back to organizing a year’s worth of receipts to do my taxes (let’s hear it for Turbotax), and still cranking away on the miniseries novelization. That’s fun, too. Oh, and I’m about to start a new round of consulting editing (I edit and do rewrite on educational web content, for teacher professional development—if you should happen to sign up for a PBS Teacherline course in high school algebra, there’s a good chance you’ll be coming across material that I worked on). So…that’s why not enough sleep.

That’s also why not enough entries in the blog. But I’m trying.

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  1. Chester Twarog
    | Reply

    Dear Jeff,
    It really, really, saddens me that you and others “believe” in the presence of some “imaginary” god within yourself–it’s just you.
    Mind and consciousness are functions of the evolutionary biology of the brain and nervous system (not just Homo sapiens, either).
    Please consider reading John Searle’s book “Mind–A Brief Introduction.” It’s an education.
    page 302 “science names a set of methods for finding out about anything at all that admits of systematic investigation.”
    Page 208: “The consciousness in the brain is not a separate entity or property, it is the state that the brain is in.”
    Page 165 “Our ability to have intentional contents about the nonexistent seems mysterious, but our ability to construct fiction stories (“God” and “Santa Claus”) seems much less mysterious.”
    **page 124 “Consciousness is just a brain process: qualitative, subjective, first-person process going on in the nervous system.”

    Of course, it probably saddens you and others that I and others do not “feel the presence of the Holy Spirit or God or Jesus”, too.

    And, that’s just it–if there were really some god or jesus or holy spirit–there could no denying something that actually exists. Either “they” exist or they don’t. Either they exist and everyone can confirm it or they are “imaginarily real” to some and others know that they are (imaginary). I was raised a Catholic but became an an Atheist in 1970 because there is no god.
    Why, as a very good writer of SF/Fantasy, aren’t you able to connect that your fictional characters are, in fact, fictional and not real with some biblical characters many of which are fictional, too: Adam, Job, Abraham, Moses, Samson, Ruth, God, etc, and not real?
    The Old Testament is Hebrew revisionist history–and of their Lord and Saviour Gods: Yahweh, El, Elohim. Their first commandment is that a Hebrew, either of the Kingdom of Judah or Israel, shall have no other gods (GODs) beside Me, the Hebrew God(s). Thusly, your “Trinity (three gods)” violates their first commandment.
    Plus, idol worship (the cross, the stations of the cross, saints) also violates the second commandment.
    I am currently reading and it is also recommended to you and your readers: Lee Smolin’s “Life of the Cosmos”.
    I have read many books on religion over the past fifteen years but too numerous to list here. Like “Pagans and Christians” by Robin Lane Fox.
    And I am not “closed minded” at all. Science also requires flexibility in that new knowledge, technologies, and discoveries may affect some details of a scientific theory or hypothesis; it’s self-correcting; it improves upon itself; it explains; it’s testable and falsifiable; and the best we’ve got.
    If there was some kind of god, I wouldn’t be an Atheist.
    OK, you are an avid amateur science person but science and religion are separate: science relies on evidence that is valid for all, anywhere and everywhere in the Universe; religious faith beliefs are personal or cultural but not Universal.
    Therefore “God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Allah, Vishnu, Brama, Apollo, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, Mercury, Thor, Zeus, Athena, Sedna, Yahweh, El, Elohim, Mithra” on and on, are all imaginary beings and creations of various cultures–and always will be.
    Were you aware that Mithraism was competing with Christianity for dominance but King Constatine chose “Christianity”?
    Ben Bova and others have stated that it is pointless to argue about religious faith. I also know this but sometimes I just can’t.


    Chet Twarog

  2. Chet Twarog
    | Reply

    Dear Jeffrey,
    Sorry, some additions and to correct minor errors in the last comment:
    Although I have been told not to argue or debate relgious faith, I sometimes have too although it still frustrates me that I have not been able to convince anyone. It always has to be an individual decision. I do drive with self-made window messages.
    ‘The “God” of the Solar System is a Star.’
    Did you converse with any Atheists or Secular Humanists before deciding?
    “Mithraism: A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century. Of late the researches of Cumont have brought it into prominence mainly because of its supposed similarity to Christianity.” The Catholic Encyclopedia.
    It was King Constantine I: “The emperor Constantine has rightly been called the most important emperor of Late Antiquity. His powerful personality laid the foundations of post-classical European civilization; his reign was eventful and highly dramatic. His victory at the Milvian Bridge counts among the most decisive moments in world history, while his legalization and support of Christianity and his foundation of a ‘New Rome’ at Byzantium rank among the most momentous decisions ever made by a European ruler. The fact that ten Byzantine emperors after him bore his name may be seen as a measure of his importance and of the esteem in which he was held.”
    However, his “vision” at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge was, in fact, an atmospheric otpical effect of sunlight through ice crystals in the cirrus clouds which his mistook as a “vision” from “God” (of, course the star “god”). Altitude sickness, too.
    Go to:

    Atheistically till Death,

  3. Ironman
    | Reply

    Chet –

    As you say, it’s pointless to argue about religious faith (so please don’t), and I have no intention of creating a great debate here with you on an author’s blog. However, I’m curious to know what you say to peoples’ experiences with their faith, as well as so-called “miracles”? I believe in God and see no reason why science and religion cannot go together, especially in a fiction novel. A person’s religious beliefs are completely up to them, and science fiction with religious twists should not be controversial. You can say “it’s just you”, but you can’t prove this, any more than a believer can prove the credibility of their faith. Feel free to think what you like, but know that you sound a tad arrogant in putting down the beliefs of others — you are not going to change their faith.

  4. Ironman
    | Reply

    “Did you converse with any Atheists or Secular Humanists before deciding?”

    Whoa! What is this? Chet, this is an entirely fictional novel with a basis in science. Just because Jeffrey A. Carver’s beliefs do not match yours is no reason to question his writing. This criticism is unhelpful.

  5. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Chet — I think the reason you haven’t convinced anyone with your arguments about religion is that you seem to believe you have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in these matters. It would help if you’d acknowledge the fact that intelligent, reasoning people can come to conclusions that differ from yours.

    You keep stating that “god doesn’t exist,” as though it were a fact. But it isn’t; it’s just your opinion. Try labeling it that way, and you might find people more willing to debate you.

  6. Chester Twarog
    | Reply

    I, Chester Twarog, am an Atheist because no gods/goddesses/spirits exist. If a diety existed, I would not be an Atheist.
    I did not talk or discuss Atheism with anyone when I self-discovered this. I had finished reading Evangelist Hal Lindsey’s 1970 best selling novel “The Late Great Planet Earth” based on the New Testament’s “Revelation of St John the Divine”. I was 20 years old, enlisted in the US Air Force and stationed at Fort Campbell AAF, KY. After reading this “intense” novel, I thought I should become a Christian if this novel were “true future history”. However, after critically thinking about it and our secular US Constitutional Republic and what I knew from being raised as a Polish/French Catholic, I decided that this was a only religious fiction novel.
    It was then that I reflected on what did happen to all of those gods/goddesses/spirit beings from Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Native Americans, anywhere? If they had been actual Immortal Beings (and much more interesting than YHWH, Jesus the Christ, Allah, Holy Spirit)they would still exist now. If all of these Ancient Immortals are considered Mythical today, then it naturally followed that they are all mythical, pretend, imaginary, created, fictional, etc..
    I did not “know” that I was an Atheist until I attended Salem State College, MA, when I found “The Atheist Debator’s Handbook” in the library in 1974.
    I’ve called myself an Atheist since then. I have read many books, essays, and articles and talked to people on mythology, religion, science, philosophy, history, science fiction, etc.. I have not found any convincing evidence that any deity exists.
    Further, I would like to include this from Phil Blatt’s bablog
    “I do a lot of writing, and it can be hard sometimes to capture the essence of how I feel about science. It’s such a grand adventure, full of learning, full of wonder, full of such amazing experiences. This is why it is so horribly upsetting to see people who clearly have no freaking clue about it, and would rather denigrate science from ignorance rather than once — just once, for a fleeting moment — take pause to understand what it is they so smugly reject.”
    If you want to email me: However, do not do so to try to “convert” me to any other philosophy. I am what I am. I am also quite familiar with the Holy Bible–just because I am an Atheist does not mean that I am biblically illiterate.

  7. Chester Twarog
    | Reply

    I am quite open-mined about other rational possibilities. The Gospels may be
    based on historic Jews named Jesus (Greek for Joshua) in Ancient Israel made
    into a mythos.
    However, there were two important Jewish Joshuas: a Joshua (Jesus) Ben
    Joseph, the First High Priest of the Second Temple and the son of Joseph, who
    negotiated with Cyrus King of Persia to release the Jews from Babylonian captivity.
    The second was a Rabbi Joshua (Jesus) ben Hananyah with John ben Zacharias in
    130 C.E. who changed Jewish laws and practices with a Rabbincal form of
    Judaism–deeds of kindness and atonement for sins.
    Rabbi Johua ben Hananyah means Jesus, son of merciful and compassionate God.
    He was also known as Rabbi Joshua the Nazarite and called The Last Pharisee. He
    died a natural death and is entombed outside the small village of Buqei’a very near
    his school at Peki’in–an ancient village in the hills of western Galilee.
    If you want to read from the source:

  8. Locke
    | Reply

    I try to stay out of shouting matches, but this one, I have to put in my two cents. (and no, I am not trying to convert you, Mr. Twarog)
    The reason you have found no evidence that God exists is because God gives us clues, not evidence. Clues such as this – if you pray for something repeatedly(something with a good cause), your prayer is often answered. He wants us to beleive in him out of faith. If he were to prove that he existed, it would take faith away.
    Also, even if you are right, and God does not exist, and me and my parents, and everyone else who beleives in Him are great idiots – what difference does it make? In my mind, it’s a good thing to beleive whether it’s true or not. Because the commandments, and the advice in the bible is good. If we are kind out of a beleif that it is the way to be right with God, and God does not exist, WE ARE STILL BEING KIND! God gives us a reason to do kind, honorable things, to help people, and to make ourselves better persons. He eases the sting of death, by having us believe that there is an ever-after.(speaking of which, as an atheist, what do you think happens to us after we die? just curious.)And he gives us hope in dark times.


  9. Demosthenes
    | Reply

    Chet, you keep saying that you are open-minded, but I’ve yet to see any evidence whatsoever of THAT! What is all this about, “if there were a god, I would not be an atheist”?! Come on! OK, say that there isn’t a god right now, or no, say he’s out to lunch for a few centuries, and he comes back, what makes you think that you would know, that you would suddenly no longer be an atheist.
    You say that there is no evidence that God exists – well guess what?! there’s no evidence that he doesn’t, either! You can’t prove that there isn’t a God!(hmmm… for that matter, one can’t really PROVE anything,can one? Can we really prove that we ourselves exist? No.Can we prove that the earth exists? No. Can we prove to someone that they aren’t dreaming? No.)
    You denounce our statements of faith, but your statements are also of faith!
    I believe that your comments are very arrogant.
    And another thing! About Jeffrey’s book. The fact that one of his characters is a Christian is reasonable. After all, there are a lot of Christians in this world.


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