Monday, March 30, 2009

The Heroin Diaries



I just finished reading a book by Nikki Sixx, The Heroin Diaries. This book chronicles each day of Nikki’s life, from December 25, 1986 to December 23, 1987 based upon a diary which he kept at that time.

Nikki Sixx is an Italian American guitar player and song writer. He was born in 1958 (named originally Frank Feranna). In 1981 he was a founding member of the hard rock band Motley Crue. Having acquired new management in 1983, Motley Crue began achieving major success in 1984 and reached its peak in 1990. In 1987, the period covered by this book, they released the Girls, Girls, Girls album.

In his book, Nikki describes his consumption of huge quantities of alcohol, cocaine and heroin. He often suffered from cocaine induced paranoia, frequently locking himself in his closet (page 19). He seldom bathed (page 104). He was very rude, neglecting to visit his grandmother during her terminal illness or attend her funeral (page 145) and refusing to speak to his mother and sister (page 305). At one point he was arrested for throwing a bottle of whiskey on a crowded train (page 373). He performed innumerable sex acts with women who were total strangers. He was also an extreme atheist, and when a friend mentioned God, Nikki pulled down his pants, pointed his two middle fingers in the air in an obscene gesture and screamed “F--- you God! If you’re so real, strike me down.” (page 355)

In any case, he was so ill and self abusive, it appeared as if he would not survive very much longer (page 383).

Yet he is still alive today, and still performing. In fact, he has since married twice and fathered four children, with whom he seems to have a strong relationship.

On page 384, Nikki describes how he overdosed on heroin and had a near death experience. When he woke up in the hospital two days later, he wrote “maybe there is a God”. That was the turning point of his life. It was a very long hard road to recovery from there, however today he has been clean and sober for seven years. He now describes drug use as “retarded” . Well, better late than never.

The fact that belief in God can have such a powerful, life saving therapeutic effect, would seem to validate that God is in fact real.

92 comments:

BrooklynWolf said...

The fact that belief in God can have such a powerful, life saving therapeutic effect, would seem to validate that God is in fact real.

One could make the same argument about Jesus.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not saying that this book supports the existence of God exactly as the Torah describes Him. However it does validate the existence of some sort of Supreme Being.

In other words it would seem clear that a Supreme Being, generally called in English God, created us for the purpose of serving Him and as long as we deny Him, we are not able to be fully healthy.

Animals, on the contrary, were created to serve man, not God. Therefore they have no religious instinct and are perfectly content believing in nothing spiritual.

Larry Tanner said...

"The fact that belief in God can have such a powerful, life saving therapeutic effect, would seem to validate that God is in fact real."

I disagree. The case better shows that belief can be therapeutic - something perhaps like a placebo. To me, it settles nothing about the existence of a personal creator.

jewish philosopher said...

So how do you explain it? Has anyone ever been cured of an illness by believing in something clearly false, such as the earth being flat or the existence of Santa Claus?

Larry Tanner said...

By definition, belief entails thinking it's true. They believe in the truth of G-d's existence, and the thought comforts and helps them. This is all well and good. No problem. I just don't think it makes a case for G-d actually existing. And yes, sick children have had their spirits lifted with accompanying health benefits because they thought Santa was coming or was going to give them a present.

jewish philosopher said...

A child is happy to hear he's getting a present, whoever the giver is.

If you find a book about an addict whose life was saved by Santa, I'll be interested in reading it.

The point is that apparently, the religious instinct is a need people have which, if not satisfied, can have serious consequences. In fact there has never been a peaceful, thriving atheistic society. Why?

DrJ said...

One of your weaker posts, JP.

Just another oversimplified repetition of your unproven and outright false equation of

evolution=atheism=drug and sex addict

Nobody denies that faith is a powerful impulse and motivator, that's all your story demonstrates. Faith is no different than love, hate, or envy- it can make us do wonderful or terrible things. But it has nothing to do with the factual existence or non-existence of a diety.

jewish philosopher said...

I would actually describe this post as a masterpiece, as usual. ;-)

I think that an atheist must explain: if belief in God Who takes an interest in us personally is so clearly false, irrational, illogical, unscientific, delusional and neurotic then why is it so powerfully therapeutic?

The obvious answer is that belief is not nonsense, but on the contrary very good sense and it is the first step back to sanity.

E-Man said...

I don't know if belief is clearly right because it brings hope. I would say that belief in G-D is comforting, therefore I would say a rational person who wants to be happy should believe in G-D unless there is strong proof against it, which there is not. Any proof atheists think they have against G-D's existence is not an absolute proof. Think about it, if I believe in G-D then I have happiness in this world and if there is a next world then I have happiness there too.

The atheist has nothing to comfort themselves in this world or the next except now they can do things that G-D would disapprove of.

jewish philosopher said...

I would like to go a little farther though and suggest the fact people feel a need for religion indicates that God created us to serve Him.

Anonymous said...

>Any proof atheists think they have against G-D's existence is not an absolute proof.<

Your ignorance is astounding.
No atheist would ever attempt prove god's non-existence, as no atheist would ever attempt to prove the non-existence of little green men living in the center of Uranus.
You can't prove a negative. I'm sure you would have known that, had your mind not been addled by so many years of vapid fundamenalist propoganda. .

E-Man said...

Wow anonymous, that was harsh. I was saying that there is reason to believe in G-D, therefore, if one wanted to disprove this belief it is impossible. Why would anyone believe in little green men unless there was something compelling about it. By G-D there is a strong reason to believe in Him.

jewish philosopher said...

E-man, just as aside, anon was pretty mild compared to a lot of the comments I get. That's why I started moderating about a year ago. I was just getting ridiculous.

By saying there is a God we are spoiling all the fun, and atheists literally froth at the mouth when they read my blog.

Anonymous said...

E-man, you're correct about one thing.
You believe in the unfalsifiable as a compelling argument for the establishment of a deity. There may be compelling reasons for belief in god, but I cannot disprove your assertions because they are unfalsifiable. However, The little green men in Uranus analogy reduces both to the absurd. Your belief is not so much compelling, but more of a compulsion.
And as for Mr. Stein, he is an idiot. Just examine the vapidity of his illogical conceits. He is certainly not going to pursuade anyone with a smidgeon of discernment employing his dopey non-sequiturs.

jewish philosopher said...

E-man, see what I mean?

Anonymous said...

People have said that the fact theat there is evil and suffering disproves the existance of G-d. That being the case, G-d's existance is falsifiable. If its falsifiable, then it is a valid scientific explanation.

Anonymous said...

Different anon here...

I think the point is that there is exactly the same amount of evidence for God as there is for little green men or Santa.

So even if one accepts that belief in God has desirable results* it is no more likely to be true or false than if no one believed it. Anon's original parallel is actually quite apt - a child is happy because he believes in Santa but no one really thinks that is an argument for the existence of Santa. Why make a special case for God?

If the answer is something along the lines of 'God is a special case' then I'd love to know why your God, in particular, should be a special case any more than Odin or Zeus or who or whatever else I'd like to imagine.

You wrote:

I would like to go a little farther though and suggest the fact people feel a need for religion indicates that God created us to serve Him.

Why? Or rather - how? How do you support such an argument? I could just as easily argue that the fact that people feel a need for food indicates that corn created us to eat it. It's hard to proove wrong but the argument is far from convincing...

* It may be true in some cases such as the one in the original article but I don't see any evidence that it's universally true. If the plural of anecdote isn't evidence then a singular anecdote certainly isn't.

jewish philosopher said...

The two things which distinguish humans from animals are speech and religion.

Speech can be explained as being advantageous for survival. How does an atheist explain religion?

Using Occam's Razor (the simplest answer is the best) I can explain it quite simply: God created man to serve Him, He created animals to serve man.

Anonymous said...

First off - I think you misunderstand Occam's Razor... A more correct way to state it is that 'plurality should not be posited with necessity'. The point being not so much that simpler explanations are better - but that the explanation requiring less elements is to be preferred.

By this criteria your explanation for religion is not better than a naturalistic explanation that does not need God or miraculous acts of creation. To dig a little further - your explanation really leaves us with another question - who is God? Where does he come from? etc... A purely naturalistic explanation avoids those elements entirely and is therefore preferrable.

By analogy if asked to explain how a computer works you could answer 'by magic'. There is a much better explanation of how computers work but it is far far more complex. The simpler answer is the first one - the other requires reference to physics and chemistry that is beyond most people. Which one is better? Do you really think Occam would prefer the first answer?

It is possible to explain religion as being advantageous for the survival of communities. It also makes sense in that it provides an explanation for the world when people where not sufficiently sophisticated to discover a better answer for themselves. As we've evolved we've discovered better answers. :)

Actually - consider showing a computer to a pre-historic man (thought experiment you need a time machine to actually do this) and after some time asking him how it works. Seems likely he'll say defer to something supernatural (essentially - 'by magic') but it's not a good explanation, it's just the best one he has. You can explain the development of religion in a similar way (the best explanation early humans were able to come up with for a world they couldn't otherwise explain).

You didn't reply to my other post btw.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous I - hope you don't mind me joining in.

Anon II

jewish philosopher said...

"Do you really think Occam would prefer the first answer?"

According to you the best answer is "nature made the computer". How about not nature, not magic, but an intelligent designer. Just like we were made by an intelligent designer I call God.

"It also makes sense in that it provides an explanation for the world when people where not sufficiently sophisticated to discover a better answer for themselves."

Why doesn't any other animal need any answer? Dolphins, chimpanzees and German shepherds seem quite happy never thinking about anything spiritual.

Anonymous said...

According to you the best answer is "nature made the computer". How about not nature, not magic, but an intelligent designer. Just like we were made by an intelligent designer I call God.

I never said anything recognizably like that and you're avoiding responding to what I actually did write. Am I take this as agreement with what I said?

Perhaps we can we go back to my first post where I raised a number of issues with claims you made (i.e. that the existence of religion is a kind of evidence for the existence of God). If we can lay that topic to rest we can perhaps move further afield to intelligent design and evolution. Unless I'm persuading you and you agree that you're original points were actually groundless?

I'm not unwilling to discuss intelligent design btw just unwilling to be dazzled by an unending series of inconclusive arguments. If your response to this is to bring up other objections out of the blue without responding to the ones I've already raised then I have other things to do with my time.

"Why doesn't any other animal need any answer? Dolphins, chimpanzees and German shepherds seem quite happy never thinking about anything spiritual."

Is that a question? Humans have evolved more complex brains than other species; one which is able to concieve of many things that are not true - religion is one of these (and as I mentioned it had some utility). Me thinking about things that are not true doesn't make them more likely to be true. If I believe in a celestial teapot it's no more likely to be there (than if I don't).

Misc points: humans are not the only animals with language - chimps and birds have limited forms of language (admittedly far less complex than human language). You seem to imply that humans are not animals - is that intentional? (but you say the only difference is speach and religion, right?)

jewish philosopher said...

Anon, as far as I can tell, you're position is "It is obvious and self evident that there is no God. Therefore any explanation for anything is better than saying 'God did it.'" I can't really argue with a close minded dogmatist.

Only human's have the ability to express themselves using arbitrary sounds and grammatical rules.

E-Man said...

Atheists have a problem with explaining what the first cause for the universe is. Laws o science exist, but are unexplainable. Why do two bodies attract one another, gravity. Well why does gravity work? What causes the laws of nature to hold true? How did the universe of space and time come into existence? These questions all point to a G-D as Aristotle and many other philosophers point out. Even Spinoza admits that there is a greater power at work.

Little Green men and Santa clause serve no purpose, why believe in them? G-D, however, answers questions. I just don't see how atheists explain the universe. Oh they just say we don't know. But there was a revelatin at Sinai that G-D actually communicated with people and everyone saw it. It was not a claim of one person, but of an entire nation.

If you want to say you don't believe that happened then I will ask you, why do you believe in any history? What proof do you have that george washington existed? So just like you believe george washington existed, so too I believe that G-D spoke to the Jews.

Now once this historical hapening is evident, I believe in G-D. Little green men and santa claus have never been seen by the masses, s I will just assume they are false.

DrJ said...

"Only humans have the ability to express themselves using arbitrary sounds and grammatical rules."

And only bats and some fish have sonar that allow them to navigate. And only reptiles catch flies with their tongues. So what?

If you pick an arbitrary unique characteristic a priori it will distinguish that species from others.

Evolutionary biology does not require that every characteristic of a species have a purpose. Why do we have body hair? Its obviously residual from our ancestors.

Why is our blood red? Because of the hemoglobin, not because red is better-- its simply a side effect.

So is religion. Its a side effect of our impulse to understand things, even when we don't have all the information. That impulse and ability is what gave us the advantage to survive over other species. As others have mentioned, faith also helps pull people together.

Even a MENSA member can understand this, very simple.

jewish philosopher said...

"So is religion. Its a side effect of our impulse to understand things, even when we don't have all the information. That impulse and ability is what gave us the advantage to survive over other species. As others have mentioned, faith also helps pull people together."

I'm sorry, however that is probably about the worst ad hoc apologetic I have ever heard. It would make a Jesuit blush.

Why do we need to understand everything? Do I know why my wife prefers to blue to green drapes? Do I care? Would it help me to survive to be obsessed about this and to start imagining that the CIA has implanted a microchip in her brain which causes her to prefer blue?

About pulling together, many animals live in herds or packs or colonies very nicely without any religion.

onionsoupmix said...

Even non-atheists froth at the mouth. Even observant Jews froth at the mouth because your rhetoric makes us all look so bad.

The religious person has a burden to explain why bad things happen to good people and the atheist has a burden to explain everything else. But guess what? The atheists are doing a much better job at their task than the religious people are at theirs.

jewish philosopher said...

"The religious person has a burden to explain why bad things happen to good people"

I think that's more a problem for Christians, who have this "God is Love" idea plus they don't believe in reincarnation. In Judaism, God is seen as being first of all very demanding and secondly we also believe that suffering may be a punishment for sins in a prior lifetime, so problem solved.

As far as atheists go, atheists sort of remind me of a defendant on trial who is being pounded with evidence that his story is false. Rather than confess, however, he basically just keeps claiming "Well, I don't have an explanation for all this, but I'm sure someday I will." I don't think most impartial juries would buy that.

Anonymous said...

I took a chemistry test the other day. One question was how a molecule is made.

I answered "god did it!"


I failed the test.

I wonder why!

jewish philosopher said...

The teacher may want more detail about how God did it.

Incidentally, before Darwin, God was commonly invoked by scientists. Louis Agassiz, died 1873 and a staunch anti-Darwinist, was the last mainstream scientist to do so.

E-Man said...

Jewish hilosopher said, "In Judaism, God is seen as being first of all very demanding and secondly we also believe that suffering may be a punishment for sins in a prior lifetime, so problem solved."

I just wanted to clarify, this idea is only according to kabbalists. However, the Rambam, Ralbag and other rationalists would disagree with this. They would tell you another answer. Personally, I think the reason, without looking into their specific reasons, is that we never know who is completely evil and who is completely righteous. Plus, rich people can be miserable and porr people can be very happy, so we never know if someone is truly suffering or if someone is truly wicked. I could go further and explain better, but I think I made my point.

Dr J said...

"Why do we need to understand everything? Do I know why my wife prefers to blue to green drapes? Do I care? Would it help me to survive to be obsessed about this and to start imagining that the CIA has implanted a microchip in her brain which causes her to prefer blue?"

Psychology 101: Defenses-- denial, projection, etc. We believe all kinds of things because those beliefs helps us cope.

The need to figure things our surely helps us-- if we understand cause and effect, we can control our environment.

As a physician, I see people believing in all kinds of "false" things, because it makes them feel better.

jewish philosopher said...

"As a physician, I see people believing in all kinds of "false" things, because it makes them feel better."

Sure, as a rabbi, so do I. Take evolution for example.

However are those false beliefs genuinely helpful and therapeutic in the long term?

onionsoupmix said...

"In Judaism, God is seen as being first of all very demanding and secondly we also believe that suffering may be a punishment for sins in a prior lifetime, so problem solved."

This has got to be the worst answer I have ever heard. God is just punishing me for crap that someone else did in a prior life?

Did you just pull that gem out of a baal shem tov story or do you have a primary source for it? Because my chumash with rashi says clearly that God only punishes future generations if they repeat the same sins. Otherwise, JP, what the hell's the point of being good in the first place, if you're still stuck in the hole for stuff that other people did wrong eons ago?

Look at your God, JP. He is random, capricious, vindictive and He is certainly not Just and Righteous. Not the God I believe in, being that I don't do devil worship.

jewish philosopher said...

"God is just punishing me for crap that someone else did in a prior life?"

No, you did it. That was you. If a thief for example changes into a different suit, will he therefore not to prison? That would be ridiculous.

For sources, check this:
http://www.aish.com/literacy/concepts/Reincarnation_and_Jewish_Tradition.asp

This is justice: Every sin is punished and the punishment is always big.

Let's all try to repent, now once and for all.

Anonymous said...

I think it's difficult to see how you can call me a close minded anything (keep in mind I never called you anything). You don't know anything about my personal viewpoints but you are saying that I'm an atheist (I never said I was) and that I'm close minded and dogmatic. You know nothing about my personal believes except what you choose to imagine.

So you're calling me names rather than contending with the actual arguement. You've put words in my mouth. Apart from being bad form it should be very clear that you simply have no valid response.

You said:

Anon, as far as I can tell, you're position is "It is obvious and self evident that there is no God. Therefore any explanation for anything is better than saying 'God did it.'"

How could you possibly come to that conclusion? I never said that. I never said anything even similar to that.

My entire point in joining this thread was to point out flaws in your original claim that the belief in God (or the existence of religion) is evidence of the existence of a God. You've been very good at dodging that point and bringing up various other things (intelligent design, the existence of language, etc).

So just to be clear - I don't have an argument for the 'non-existence of God'. I don't see any reason to make one any more than I would argue for the non-existence of the celiestial teapot. All I'm doing is pointing out that your arguments are flawed - nothing more.

I can't really argue with a close minded dogmatist.

I noticed - well the last part is wrong but the inability to argue is clear. OK, I'm joking there - there is a real lack of debate here but I don't see that I've said anything that justifies the charge of 'close minded dogmatist'. I'm willing to hear all your arguements so long as we take them one at a time...

Only human's have the ability to express themselves using arbitrary sounds and grammatical rules.

Human language is still limited to particular sounds rather than arbitrary ones (ones we can hear for example). I'll grant you a significant difference in magnitude and level of complexity but I don't see why you think it's signicant (it's just different points on a continuum). Chimps and birds use simplified grammars - human grammar is more complex but lots of things humans do with our brains are more complex.

Why the fascination with language anyway? There are other differences between humans and other animals (e.g. cooking our food). Why focus on language and religion particularly?

... atheists sort of remind me of a defendant on trial who is being pounded with evidence that his story is false. Rather than confess, however, he basically just keeps claiming "Well, I don't have an explanation for all this, but I'm sure someday I will." I don't think most impartial juries would buy that.

What evidence? Feel free to show me evidence but until then it's more like you're claiming that evidence exists but not entering any into evidence... (I'm making a distinction between 'evidence' and 'argument' here - you've shown some flawed arguments but if you have a photo of God for example that would help).

Anon II

jewish philosopher said...

I may be getting mixed up a little between one anonymous and another.

Anyhow, I don't feel that the religious instinct is conclusive evidence of God's existence, however I think that it is strong corroborative evidence.

As far as other evidence, that's what most of this blog is about. I invite you to read it.

Anonymous said...

The question I have is this: why did humnas evolve a need to believe in a supreme being? It doesn't serve any survival or reproductive purpose. Just the opposite, it is a waste of precious calories and neurotransmitters. Humans don't seem to need to believe in fairies or unicorns or dragons. To the best of my knowledge fairies nnever cured anyone of addiction.

jewish philosopher said...

Praise the Lord, someone understood this post.

Larry Tanner said...

People don't need to believe in a supreme being. Often it's a psycho-sexual thing. Many believers simply project inner homosexual desires, which they abhor, onto an imaginary father figure. They love him and long for him without having to fell guilty about it. Yet they do feel slightly guilty, which often then manifests itself in a preoccupation with other people's sexual lives. This is one reason why theists often blurt out of nowhere that atheists are atheists only to be sexually "free." This of course is utter nonsense.

jewish philosopher said...

That's supposed to be a joke, right?

Larry Tanner said...

No, I think it's quite accurate. Certainly you don't disagree?

jewish philosopher said...

And women who believe also want to have sex with God?

Actually, I think evolutionists believe in Darwin because they all have a crush on him. It's the beard.

DrJ said...

JP and anon, lets follow your argument for a moment. It's nor corrobative, its just plain old fashioned circular logic.

Why do I have a belief in God?-because he created me. How do I know that there is a god and he created me?-because I believe in him. A because B, B because A. Bad logic.

Besides, according to your logic, this god planted some other oh-not-so-adaptive characteristics in man, such as depression, aggression, and many others. They don't promote the cause of believing in him.

DrJ said...

""Sure, as a rabbi, so do I. Take evolution for example.

However are those false beliefs genuinely helpful and therapeutic in the long term?"

Evolutionary biology has helped man and science as a whole (even if not a particular individual) to advance our understanding and our ability to control our environment, just like other areas of science. It also happens to be true.

Religion has helped in some ways, too, but that doesn't make it true. Like many other "isms" in history.

Larry Tanner said...

You're resisting. How else can you explain it?

Larry Tanner said...

Theists want to have sex with other people of their gender, not with the deity. The deity merely allows them to construct scenarios of intimacy that, theoretically, they do not need to feel guilty about.

If you don't agree - and I'd be genuinely shocked if you didn't - then I'd like to hear your sense of the relationship between the theist and deity. Isn't it intimate? Aren't you a bride to him? Don't you yearn for his embrace?

onionsoupmix said...

Please don't use the term rabbi to refer to yourself. It is humiliating. You are quoting aish articles when asked for primary sources. Do you know what a primary source is? Is is not the kabbalistic writings of a first century sage as quoted by some kiruv website. Kabbalah and the zohar is not accepted by many orthodox Jews. When I mean source, I mean that I want a gemara source or a shulchan aruch source or some other generally accepted source for the concept that bad things happen to us for what we did in our past lives. Otherwise it sounds like the Hindu caste system explanations.


"No, you did it. That was you. If a thief for example changes into a different suit, will he therefore not to prison? That would be ridiculous."

If you don't have free will to have changed whatever outcome, it wasn't you who did it. I refuse to believe in a religion which will punish me for behaviors of supposed incarnations thousands of years ago. If that is the case, there is no point to being good anyway, do you understand that?

jewish philosopher said...

"Why do I have a belief in God?-because he created me. How do I know that there is a god and he created me?-because I believe in him. A because B, B because A. Bad logic."

How about this, the fact the people have a religious instinct, which serves no practical purpose and is unique to humans, indicates that God created us to serve him.

"this god planted some other oh-not-so-adaptive characteristics in man"

That's always the excuse for atheism - "I don't understand everything God does, proving there is no God." I guess since my children doen't understand everything I do, I also don't exist.

"Evolutionary biology has helped man" Other than eugenics and scientific racism, evolution has no practical applications.

"Theists want to have sex with other people of their gender, not with the deity." Calm down Larry. I think you're browsing too many adult websites today.

"I refuse to believe in a religion which will punish me for behaviors of supposed incarnations thousands of years ago." I refuse to believe that ice cream makes me fat. So what?

Anonymous said...

Dr. J

"Why do I have a belief in God?-because he created me. How do I know that there is a god and he created me?-because I believe in him. A because B, B because A. Bad logic."

My point isn't that people believe in God. It's that people need to believe in God. Nunmeosu studies show that religious people are hapier and have more stable lives. If religiosu didn;t satifiy a need people wouldn't be religious. I don't know of anay studies that show that people who belive in uniccorns are happier, or have more stable lives.

onionsoupmix said...

"I refuse to believe in a religion which will punish me for behaviors of supposed incarnations thousands of years ago." I refuse to believe that ice cream makes me fat. So what?

Your refusal is contradicted by verifiable evidence whereas mine is not.

jewish philosopher said...

My entire blog is full of evidence of the truth of Judaism.

onionsoupmix said...

Your blog is full of your hatred of anything different. That's not proof of Judaism, if anything it is proof that religion brings out the worst in some of us.

jewish philosopher said...

Are you planning on reading the Haggadah next week?

The wicked one, what does he say? "What is this service to you?!" He says `to you,' but not to him! By thus excluding himself from the community he has denied that which is fundamental. You, therefore, blunt his teeth and say to him: "It is because of this that the L-rd did for me when I left Egypt"; `for me' - but not for him! If he had been there, he would not have been redeemed!"

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1737/jewish/Maggid.htm

Anonymous said...

Funny this wicked son. As I read the Haggadah, I notice that the "wise son" also says 'to you'! How come the wicked's 'to you' is so much more malicious than the wise guy's 'to you'?

jewish philosopher said...

I recommend buy a Haggadah with some commentaries.

http://www.artscroll.com/Books/hageh.html

Anonymous said...

E-Man said...
>The atheist has nothing to comfort themselves in this world or the next except now they can do things that G-D would disapprove of.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 5:29:00 PM<

What a dopey remark !
I garner great comfort in this world from knowledge that the biggest joke is on you since god and the next world does not exist. Unfortunately you won't be capable of recognizing the colossal joke that religion has played on you because you'll be too dead to appreciate it.

E-Man said...

This reply proves my remarks to be true.

DrJ said...

It is interesting that all of the theology of JP and other fundamentalists here is entirely dependent on the afterlife/prelife/reincarnation hypothesis.

Without this, the whole web of moral theories and theology becomes undone.

For without an afterlife there is clearly no justice on earth.
Even if there were an afterlife perhaps I'll become a grasshopper, why not let him get punished instead of me...in the meantime, I'll do what I want.

Without an afterlife, there is no incentive to listen to god (other than man's own conscience).

Without an afterlife prayer is useless, other than for meditation.

So all of JP's logical and empirical arguments about evolution, atheism, Torah and morality, in all of his posts-- depend on believing in the afterlife. That is the final link in his chain. So if there is an afterlife, perhaps JP is correct (among other theistic alternatives). If there is no afterlife, all of JPs theology is false.

Now all of you can ask what evidence there is for the existence of a non-physical life entity (AKA soul) the pre and post dates an individual's physiological life, and decide for yourselves.

But don't dispair, not all is lost. There are other more rational and reasonable Jewish philosophies.

jewish philosopher said...

DJ, of course if there is no afterlife Judaism is false. And if the Sun really does revolve around the earth then all modern cosmology is false. So? What proof would you want that there is life after death? How about if we could turn off the body, wait a few minutes, turn it back on and then ask the person "Were you still concious while you body was dead?" Well, that's been done thousands of time in recent years, with interesting results which strongly confirm Judaism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience

Anonymous said...

If the belief in afterlife is so essential to Judaism, is there anything in the Torah that talks about it? Is there a shred of talk about the after life in the written Torah?

It is interesting that the most fundamental concept in Judaism is not even mentioned - not even in passing - in the Torah.

After life shmafter life.

DrJ said...

Ah, now we're on my turf. Certainly I can not prove that there is NO afterlife. But NDE's. while not detracting from the strong subjective experience of those who it happens to, don't prove anything.

The reason is that they do not happen when there is documented BRAIN DEATH. When you say "turn off the body" usually you are referring to cardiac arrest, while there is some remaining brain function.

The definition of brain death is not perfect and there have been mistakes. But as people don't wake up from complete brain death, we can't have any NDE's in these cases. That is the real test for deciding if consciousness resides outside the brain. (Don't bring an anecdotal example, as in science that doesn't prove something.)

A mental experiment: Where is the soul during delirium, sleep, or anesthesia? During anesthesia most people experience nothing-- the time just passes. you were awake, them out, then awake again with no awareness of the passage of time. Where was the soul? What about when you're drunk? Is the soul drunk, too?

Most scientists think that NDEs are hallucinations resulting from altered brain states. Its clear that the seat of consciousness is in the brain.

jewish philosopher said...

You may want to think of your soul as being like the Internet and your brain as being like your computer. When you turn off your computer, did the Internet disappear? But where is it?

Most scientists are atheists who will believe that any proof of God is an illusion. The world is full of proofs of God, but an atheist just convinces himself that it's all imaginary.

Getting back to addictions: According to an atheist, it should have been much more logical for Mr Sixx to have awakened from his coma and decided "maybe there is an Evolution". After that, rather than go to rehab where his mind was filled with all sorts of primitive nonsense about a sky daddy, he should have gone to a good university and studied Science. This should be a far more effective a cure for addiction. But why doesn't that work? No addict has ever recovered like that. Why?

Anonymous said...

JP, like Hudini, you just attempted to extricate yourself from the topic at hand. The issue, as I am following the thread, was whether there is an after life, whether NDE's are indicative of an after life, and whether there is any shred of evidence about the after life in the Torah.

You admitted that the idea of a world to come is central to Judaism.

Stay with the topic. Where in the Torah do you get this idea? Where in science do you get this?

Anonymous said...

Again, Mr. Sixx woke up from his coma thinking that Jesus is the true God. What does that prove to you?

jewish philosopher said...

"Where in the Torah do you get this idea?"

The mishnah says: Rabbi Yaakov said, this world is like an entrance chamber before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the entrance chamber so that you may enter the banquet hall.

http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter4-21.html

"Where in science do you get this?"

Our perception of consciousness, free will and also near death experiences.

"Mr. Sixx woke up from his coma thinking that Jesus is the true God."

Wrong.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080603141853AAVplOX

Anonymous said...

This is a record of a near death experience that occured duirng a period when there was no EEG activity.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds%27_NDE

DrJ said...

She was not brain dead. She was in a hypothermic state, like people who drown in icy water, who can survive longer then usual.

Furthermore, if you believe her testimony as "proof" of life after death, do you also accepts all of the testimonies of those who have seen Jesus?

jewish philosopher said...

The point is that from the perspective of an atheist a human should have nor more self consciousness, free will or out of body experiences than a refrigerator, but obviously we do. But I guess like everything else, it's all just an illusion. I think atheists would have plenty of success as defense attorneys - "The witness testified my client shot the victim. Well, that's an illusion. People deluded themselves all the time." That's a killer argument.

Anyway, I think what happens in near death experiences is that people interpret based on their own life backgrounds.

Soulless Atheist #1 said...

JP,

You keep referring to all these "proofs" of god's existence, but can you elucidate even one? Please tell us one proof, or link to one proof so we can see for ourselves.

In fact, there is no proof of god, only belief in god. You have never seen god, heard god or felt god, you merely see what you call "evidence" of god.

Anonymous said...

Dr. J:

There was no evident brain function, yet she had an out of body experience, so it can happen.

jewish philosopher said...

Soulless:

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

onionsoupmix said...

I can't even believe you arre having this conversation. People have immeasurable power to convince themselves of incredible bullshit. It's been proven so many times.
http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/sciam.htm

jewish philosopher said...

That's exactly what I'm fighting against.

Anonymous said...

Does it not strike you as odd that a concept as central to Judaism as "a world to come" has to wait for rabbis to write about 2000 years after the Torah was written?

God takes the time to come to Mount Sinai only to forget to write about the most central theme in Judaism?

Forget God, forget Moses, Aaron and Joshua - Listen instead to Rabbi Yaakov and his talk about a world to come?

OK, folks: Give up your life as you know it because Rabbi Yaakov thinks there is a life after death!!!

jewish philosopher said...

"Does it not strike you as odd that a concept as central to Judaism as "a world to come" has to wait for rabbis to write about 2000 years after the Torah was written?"

No. Plenty of concepts are first recorded in the Talmud, for example that "an eye for an eye" is not literal but means paying compensation.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of concepts are first introduced in the Talmud. But you are comfortable with the notion that the most central belief in Judaism should be introduced by a book written by rabbis thousands of years after Sinai?

jewish philosopher said...

What makes it central? I think Christians make a big deal about "Jesus saving us from hell", but that's a different religion. Central to Judaism is loving God and obeying Him.

Antignos of Socho received [the transmission] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Do not be as servants who serve the Master to receive reward. Rather, be as servants who serve the Master not to receive reward.

http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter1-3.html

Anonymous said...

A few comments ago, you made the point that: "of course if there is no afterlife Judaism is false. And if the Sun really does revolve around the earth then all modern cosmology is false. So?"

So if there is no "after-life" then Judaism is false. I'd say this then makes "after-life" pretty central, wouldn't you?

jewish philosopher said...

If anything in the Bible or the Talmudic interpretation of it is false then Judaism is.

Anonymous said...

>Antignos of Socho received [the transmission] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Do not be as servants who serve the Master to receive reward. Rather, be as servants who serve the Master not to receive reward.<

In essence you're asked to become a automiton devoid of all personal motivation. Ugh, what a revolting thought to be consigned to deliver an unquestioning mind to an invisible authority.
Hey, didn't I see the same thing in the Wizard of Oz ?

jewish philosopher said...

May I ask, are perhaps a person lacking in self discipline? Would the term "bum" be an appropriate description of you? I'm just asking.

Anonymous said...

I'm very disciplined. I live within my means, provide extremely well for my family, and donate prodgiously to worthwhile charities. I pay my taxes and havn't transgressed any of my nation's, states's or local laws.
OTOH, your illogical conclusions are motivated solely to equate discipline with mindless sycophancy to invisible spirits.
Fortunately, we, the more rational, have abandoned those puerile prerogatives in favor of scientific discipline.
May I suggest you sample some tasty kitniot this Pesach. You'll find it liberating to abandon your dimwitted discipline.

jewish philosopher said...

"I'm very disciplined."

So then there's no problem. If God said it, do it.

"your illogical conclusions are motivated solely to equate discipline with mindless sycophancy to invisible spirits."

And if you were a soldier given an order, I suppose you'd tell your officer "your illogical orders are motivated solely to equate discipline with mindless sycophancy to a commander in chief whom I've never seen." That's called "failure to obey order" and is a crime.

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/punitivearticles/a/mcm92.htm

Anonymous said...

More falacious non-sequitors.
The commanding officer should be discernable to respond to queries through a chain of command. Each commander has a name and place of residence. They can be directly questioned on the efficacy of their instruction and can also be fired or removed from command.
The same cannot be said of god. If his instructions are deemed idiotic or pernicious, he cannot be confronted because he offers no direct answer and has no physical address where he may be served with articles of impeachement.
You would have to be insane to embrace your invisible commander. The more I peruse your inane logic, the more I can verily say that your road to insanity is only a few steps away.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheists constantly insist "I refuse to do anything unless I can see who is commanding me and I understand why the command is necessary."

I am pointing out that no business or army functions like that. Why must religion?

Anonymous said...

Your mind is still wracked by a wicked hangover from the elixir of mindless fundamentalism.

EVERY business or army functions like that !

jewish philosopher said...

Name one. In any business or army making conditions like that will get you fired, discharged or imprisoned.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Army.
Accountability for incompetent or illicit commands are paramount in our armed forces
No officer or enlisted man would ever be asked to obey orders from anyone who has no designated rank, serial number or exact location and address in the chain of command.
God has no address where he may be served with official documents of reprimand nor can he be indicted or incarcerated for crimes. He is by your definition infallible.
That is why god must never be obeyed.
Your logic is lame and were you to employ similar strategy in an elementary college logic course, you would earn an F.

jewish philosopher said...

"Accountability for incompetent or illicit commands are paramount in our armed forces"

Any source for that? And what about President Bush? I can't imagine anyone more incompetent and I haven't heard about him being held accountable for anything yet.

http://www.prosecutionofbush.com/

I guess all those guys and girls in uniform in Iraq should have no problem catching the next flight home. When the police come to arrest them, they can call you for the never before heard "my commander was incompetent" defense.

"He is by your definition infallible."

Which is why you have to listen to Him.

Miss D. said...

Right. But did you like the book? I loved it.

jewish philosopher said...

It was interesting.