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Re: [humanism-174] desperate theists

From: Cloudberry
Sent on: Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:22 AM
Hi to everyone,

I should have said before that I went to the Amazon link for the book Mark wrote about, and read some of the reviews. To my surprise, titles such as Dr. and Professor seemed to be flaunted, as if to say, "in your face, you stupid nontheists, we have intelligent educated people in our camp, too."

Anyhow, from my in basket this morning....

Below is a brief section of an article written by Bill Harris, founder of Centerpointe. If anyone wants the link to the whole article, let me know.


As the child?s view that the he has magical powers over the world diminishes, however, that power is transfered to others. The child may not be able to order the world around, but Daddy can, or God can. Gods or goddesses?or whatever the human equivalent might be to a child?are able to miraculously alter the patterns of nature in order to cater to the child?s wants.
This perspective (which, though still magical, is a developmental advance over the previous perspective) is often referred to as mythic. A magical element still exists, but at the mythic level the power to alter the world has been transfered to others. Previously, in the magical stages proper, the secret was to learn the right type of word-magic in order to directly alter the world. Now the focus shifts to knowing the right rituals or prayers that will make the gods and godesses intervene and alter the world for the child.
In the New Age movement we see a lot of this?in the various types of ?channeled beings,? for instance, and in what has been called ?putting it out to the universe,? which is really just a form of asking ?the gods? (or some similar powerful substitute) to give the beseeker what he or she want. In another post I discussed miracles attributed to Yogananda and other Eastern saints. These, too, are examples of this magical-mythic perspective, where ?great others? are accorded powers beyond that of normal mortals.
(And, by the way, when I use the word ?powers? in this situation, I mean magic powers, in which the laws of nature are supposedly suspended, as opposed to what I would consider to be non-magical powers (for instance, the ability to solve differential equations, or be incredibly persuasive, or intuitively diagnose a therapy client, or manage a large organization, or create a work of art, or create a spell-binding story, or flawlessly fly an airplane, or be a virtuoso musician?or even the power to access transcendent, enlightened states of awareness). These definitely are powers, but without involving what Piaget?or I?would consider ?magic? in the sense that the laws of nature are supposedly suspended.)
The miracles of Jesus would also fall into this category. From this mythic perspective, the laws of nature can be suspended by a powerful other. A confusion, in effect, still exists between physical and personal causality.

Cloudberry <[address removed]> wrote:
When scientists (doctors and Ph.D.s and professors) agree with religious ideology, suddenly they become trustworthy beacons of knowledge trotted out for the benefit of the crusade. When scientists take issue with claptrap, they are vilified. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any groundswell of nontheists on the order of even one of the 10,000 member mega-churches that now populate the U.S. landscape, and spread their memes through the old-school advertising tool of popularity. Look who else likes this product! Look how many people believe what we believe! This many people cannot be wrong. Oh, but they can and they are.   

Mark Tiborsky <[address removed]> wrote:
I know... but this still gravely disappoints me! I have ordered a lot of stuff from Amazon, and I've used their reviews for guidance at times... never before have I seen this sort of crap. Usually, when it comes to books on religion & politics, there are polarized reviews but at least they appear to be real.
The good news is, Sanjay's book isn't selling very well!

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