The Heinlein Heresies

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Dark Waters
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The Heinlein Heresies

Post by Dark Waters » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:52 am

A long time ago, when I still endeavoured to maintain some shred of the faith I was raised in {Christianity, specifically Roman Catholic}, I began a long and in depth study of the religion, the Church and the practices and policies endorsed thereby. What I found was enough to drive me out of Catholocism completely and eventually led to leaving that faith altogether as to a lesser or greater degree even the most liberal of the Protestant faiths echoed what I found troubling.

For a while I wandered cynical and without a particular faith, and I was alright with it. Then I started reading Heinlein alot and he quickly became my favourite auther for a number of reasons, one of which was his whole view of religion, which practically echoed the views I had settled into.

He makes many thoughtful arguements, especially against Fundamentalism, so I thought you would all enjoy a good read of some of his selected work on the subject garnered from a few of his books.
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Post by Dark Waters » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:53 am

Defining God



Theology is a study with no answers, because it has no subject matter. No subject matter? That’s right, no subject matter whatever – just colored water with artificial sweetening.

"Theo-" = God + “-logy” = word{s}, i.e. – any word ending with “-ology” means ‘talk about’, ‘discussion of’, ‘words concerning’ or ‘study of’ a subject named in the first part of the word, whether it is “hippology”, “astrology”, “proctology”, “eschatology”, scatology” or something else.

But to discuss any subject, it is first necessary to agree on what it is you are discussing. “Hippology” represents no problem, everyone has seen a horse. “Proctology” – everybody has seen an arsehole … or if you have been so carefully brought up that you’ve never seen one, go down to your city hall or other local government seat; you’ll find the places full of them. But the subject tagged by the spell-symbol “theology” is a horse of another color.

“God”, “god” or “gods” – Have you ever seen “God”? If so, where and when, how tall was She and what did she weigh? What was Her skin color? Did She have a belly button and, if so, why? Did She have breasts? For what purpose? How about organs of reproduction and of excretion – did She or didn’t She? {If you are thinking I am making fun of the idea of a God fashioned in Man’s image or vice versa – you have much to go on. But if you insist, the same could be asked of a male God – navel, nipples, genitalia, and rectum? Why?}

I will agree that the notion of an anthropomorphic God went out of fashion some time ago with most professional godsmen … but that still doesn’t get us any closer to defining the English spell-symbol “God”.

Let’s consult Fundamentalist preachers … because Episcopalians won’t even let God into His sanctuary unless He shines His shoes and trims that awful beard … and Unitarians won’t let Him in at all. So let’s listen to the Fundamentalists: “God is the Creator. He Created the World. The existence of the World proves it was created; therefore there is a Creator. That Creator we call ‘God’. Let us all bow down and worship Him, for He is Almighty and His works proclaim His might.”

. . . . . . . . . .

Will someone please page Dr. S. I. Hayakawa? Or, if he is unavailable, any student that received a B+ or better in Logic 101? I’m looking for someone able to discuss the fallacy of circular reasoning and also the concatenative process by which abstract words can be logically defined by building on concrete words. What is a “concrete” word? It is a spell-symbol used to tag something you can point to and thereby agree on, e.g. ‘cat’, ‘sailboat’, or ‘ice-skating’ – agree with such certainty that when you say ‘sailboat’ there is no chance whatever that I will think you mean a furry quadruped with retractile claws.

With the spell-symbol “God” there is no way to achieve such agreement because there is nothing to point to. Circular reasoning can’t get you out of this dilemma. Pointing to something {the Physical World} and asserting that it had to have a Creator and this Creator necessarily has such-and-such attributes proves nothing save that you have made certain assertions without proof. You have pointed to the physical World; you have asserted that this physical thing had to have a “Creator”. {Who told you that? What’s his mailing address? Who told him?} But to assert that something physical was created out of nothing – not even empty space – by a Thingamajig you can’t even point to is not to make a philosophical statement or any sort of statement, it is mere noise, amphigory, sound and fury signifying nothing.

Jesuits take 14 years to learn to talk that sort of nonsense, Southern Fundamentalist preachers learn to talk it in a much shorter time. Either way, it’s nonsense.
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Post by Dark Waters » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:55 am

The Revised Ten Commandments + The One Not Brought Down



The Ten Commandments are for lame-brains. The first five are solely for the benefit of the priests and powers-that-be; the second five are half-truths, neither complete nor adequate.

Revised edition:
#1 – Thou shalt pay public homage to the god favored by the majority without giggling or even smiling behind your hand.
#2 – Thou shalt not make any graven image of a sort that would annoy the powers-that-be or rival the official god.
#3 – Thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in vain or language which will offend the powers-that-be.
#4 – Go to Church on Sundays and Holy Days. Smile and be pleasant but not too smarmily a hypocrite. Don’t let children disrupt the sanctity of the day. Support the Church with deeds and money, but not too conspicuously.
#5 – Honor thy Father and thy Mother where anyone can see you. But once you leave home, live your own life. Don’t let them lead you around by the nose.
#6 – Thou shalt not commit murder, which means killing wrongfully. Other sorts of killing come in several flavors and each sort must be analyzed independently.
#7 – Thou shalt not get caught committing adultery. Don’t get pregnant or catch a Social Disease. Do not shame your spouse and family in public.
#8 – Thou shalt not steal because of pride in yourself. However, like killing, exceptions may come along and must be analyzed each time. i.e. Stealing to feed children or save a life.
#9 – Thou shalt not tell lies that can hurt other people, but also not tell the unvarnished Truth which may do as much damage.
#10 – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s possessions or spouse openly lest they get suspicious or angry.
#11 – Thou shalt not get caught.
I'm living in the Shadows and the Night,
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My Path shines by the Moon's fragile light,
It frees my Mind and keeps my Heart pure.

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Post by Dark Waters » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:56 am

From The Notebooks of Lazarus Long



There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?



History does not record anywhere at any time a religion with a rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.



Of all the strange “crimes” that human beings have legislated out of nothing, “blasphemy” is the most amazing – with “obscenity” and “indecent exposure” fighting it out for second and third.



One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.



Men rarely, if ever, manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.



God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent – it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.



The most preposterous notion that H. Sapiens have ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of all Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest and least productive industry in all of history.

The second most preposterous is that copulation is inherently sinful.



“God split Himself into myriad parts that he might have friends.” This may not be true, but it sounds good – and is no sillier than any other theology.



The profession of Shaman, or Priest, has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies, it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from “On High” to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the Shaman is on the same moral level of any other con man. But it is lovely work if you can stomach it.

Any Shaman or Priest must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.



Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. {Hurting yourself isn’t sinful – just stupid.}
I'm living in the Shadows and the Night,
Wrapped in warm darkness, safe and sure.
My Path shines by the Moon's fragile light,
It frees my Mind and keeps my Heart pure.

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Post by Kystar » Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:06 am

Dark Waters wrote:From The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
History does not record anywhere at any time a religion with a rational basis.
Um, well, slight poke at this...just my POV...but back in the Ice Ages when Humans were beginning to record things in ways that people might be able to understand later, there was a widespread belief in the Earth as Mother...provider. If you look hard enough, you'll find what you need to survive...that was the motto. If you work together, you will accomplish more than if you work by yourself.

Frankly, that seems pretty rational to me...if you are open to the world around you, you will find all that you need there. If you honor (ie- don't squander) the earth's bounty, you will always be taken care of...always find what you need to live a rich, fulfilling life.

Not saying that they didn't gussy it up with stupid rituals and contradictory myths, but when you boil it down to its bones, it makes fairly rational sense.

Like I said, though, it's my pov.
You say "Witch" like it's a bad thing!

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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:53 pm

I will not debate the existence of a divine force. Either you believe, or don't, or don't know.

I think, mon ami, you might be opening a can of worms. I feel that the search for something greater than ourselves cannot be fully comprehended by someone who demands its mailing address :lol: I see the divine sort of like the brain: If the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be too simple.

Also is the search for consciousness/the mind. We feel it. We know we are alive and conscious. In no part of the brain have we found this thing called consciousness/the mind. We have poked and prodded every orifice and ripped new ones open searching for it, but it cannot be found, yet we have the experience of being conscious and having a mind.

Honestly I see this man's viewpoint as angry, hateful, offensive, and although making a good point in some areas, especially where the Fundies are concerned, I feel that he is coming from a very angry, very limited and half-blind place and sprouting such arguments it becomes clear that they reflect their limited origins.

I say this because he does not make fun of the limited viewpoint of Fundies only, but of all honest soul-searching for something of why we are here.
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Post by Arcanum Owl » Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:36 pm

No offense but this author seems as though he's yelling at the wind. "I can't see you therefore you can not exist." Most arguments about God/Goddess/Flying Spagetti Monster's existence tend to come off as somewhat rhetoric or based around proving another person/church/organisation wrong.

That being said there are numerous arguments out there, my favorite is the babel fish argument, its witty and rather humorous.

'Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
'"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
'"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
'"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
'Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys,...' Adams, Douglas (1979) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts. London, Pan McMillian. p.52.

At the end of the day does it really matter?
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Post by Dark Waters » Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:43 pm

Well you must remember the time that Heinlein grew up in. Back then the "Bible Belt" pretty much extended in one form or another from Canada to Mexico.

While he carefully tries to keep comments "general" by saying "theology" instead of "Christianity", make no mistake those are the ones he is targeting. The other big religions in the World then, as now, were Catholicism {same thing} and Judaism and Islam and they all are based off the religion of Abraham. Essentially different verses of the same song.

But even with the back handed slaps at christianity it can make you think about how we picture our faith as well. Does the eternal Goddess have a belly button, if so - why?

I view his comments more along the line of regardless of faith, we shouldn't put to much of ourselves into how we envision the Divine. Don't anthropomorphize that which isn't human. When we do that, when we try to define something that is beyond definition, we limit it and ourselves. It is there and either working in our lives or not as it chooses.

Also while our prayers and workings might influence the Universe, the Universe can get by fine without them and we cetainly don't command the Universe. At best we can simply make a suggestion. Other than that we should simply not worry so much about how what we do will affect us in the afterlife, but rather just do the best we can with our lives here and let our actions speak for us when it is time.
I'm living in the Shadows and the Night,
Wrapped in warm darkness, safe and sure.
My Path shines by the Moon's fragile light,
It frees my Mind and keeps my Heart pure.

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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:28 am

But even with the back handed slaps at christianity it can make you think about how we picture our faith as well. Does the eternal Goddess have a belly button, if so - why?
Good point! And yes I agree it makes you really think about our own faiths.

However, since I believe that I am God/Goddess, and you are God/Goddess (and I don't know about you but I have a belly button), I would venture to say that yes, God/Goddess has a belly button, in at least a few of its manifestations :lol: :P
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Post by Jescissa » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:13 am

CHL wrote:However, since I believe that I am God/Goddess, and you are God/Goddess (and I don't know about you but I have a belly button), I would venture to say that yes, God/Goddess has a belly button, in at least a few of its manifestations
While we're talking about Gods and bellybuttons...my Gods don't :P I figure that since they're eternal and have never been born and will never die they don't need one :P
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by Willow » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:00 pm

LOL, you go Arcnum Owl, I love Douglas Adams. I always keep my towel on me.

I just kind of laughed at this, I love htings that poke holes in religion, even my own.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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