So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  2. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I guess you can say I'm a bit of a paradox. I do believe in Christ as Savior of the world, yet I don't preclude the possibility of others getting into Heaven. In a way, when it comes to that I take the easy way out. It's not up to me to decide who gets in or not, that's up to God. I actually take comfort in that, as opposed to some I suppose. I'm glad I don't have to make that call. Way too much responsibility.

    For me, I've always believed God guided me to Catholicism. Perhaps it's because I like structure and order (which perhaps is why I can be a stickler about Star Trek continuity including with set design, it's kind of who I am I suppose). And one thing about the Catholic Church is it is very structured. I can go to any English speaking Church and participate at Mass as I would at home. And I suppose it sounds a bit superstitious I suppose, but I felt God's presence in the Catholic Church. I believe it's where He feels I belong. So I try my best to do what the Church teaches, and try to be a good Christian--though it's a struggle. It's another paradox I suppose...it's easy to do 'bad' things, be cruel, or just plain uncaring, yet it's more fulfilling to do 'good'. We feel good when we help someone else, even if it's something as simple as reaching for something on the top shelf when the other person is shorter. Or to give someone a helping hand. It's easier to walk away, but we feel more fulfilled when we don't.

    There's an old saying that says "the Christian must remember that they are likely the only copy of the Gospels the non-Christian has ever seen." How we live our life and treat others is the best way to promote the Gospels, or if we are bad, to turn people away from them.

    Well, in a way God would not make sense. I tried to reduce my belief in God to the simplest answer, that I believe some higher power had to 'start' the universe. However, that's a very imperfect explanation. As I said, to me God is omnipresent and omniscient. He was always there and will always be there. And since the universe is infinite, it too was always there and always will be in some form or another. The human mind can't really grasp infinity, and neither could we God. Not really. There's really no words I could use to adequately explain it.

    However imperfectly it sounds, to me it makes logical sense for God to exist. Or the reverse, it seems completely illogical that there would be no God to me. I have an easier time explaining why God exists than how he couldn't. In some ways I don't understand atheism. If there is no higher being, no God, then how does the universe exist? To me it's almost like trying to wrap my mind around infinity. To me, the very existence of the universe proves there must be a God.

    Now...when we start getting into individual faiths like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc., that's a different story. I can understand agnostics and deists more--it's not that they don't believe in God, they just don't believe in a particular faith tradition.

    Now, to be clear, I'm not making a value or moral judgment about atheists. Some probably live the teachings of Christ better than actual Christians, even if they don't believe in Christ. It's simply that I don't understand the concept of atheism.

    In a way what Major Kira said to Odo is true to some extent for any believer. If you have faith, no explanation is necessary, if you don't no explanation is possible. That doesn't mean I don't have doubts or questions. In fact Catholocism teaches us that can be a good thing. It has for me, when I've found some of the answers I am looking for it strengthens my faith. But at the end of the day I do believe, and no amount of explanation on my part can make someone else a believer. Ultimately that's a personal decision and that individual has to cross that bridge to faith on their own. That's the gift...and the cost of free will.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That just seems like circular reasoning to me. You assume that something must be created to exist, therefore its existence "proves" a creator. What if that assumption isn't true?

    We assume that things have to result from conscious intention because that's how we achieve things, but that's just projecting our own expectations onto the universe. Not everything requires a decision to happen. Nobody has to decide that a round rock will roll downhill and a square rock won't; the result is dictated by the physical nature and interaction of the objects, with no conscious design required. There is selection involved, but it's an anthropocentric error to assume that conscious choice is the only mechanism for selection. Circumstances select things too, by imposing rules and limits that operate automatically.


    That's mischaracterizing agnosticism. It literally means "not knowing." It means not assuming either the existence or nonexistence of God, but letting it remain an unanswered question.


    I don't like to call it "atheism," because I think it's reductive and negative to define people solely by what they don't believe. It's not just a void of belief, it's an affirmative belief in things other than religion. I call myself a secular humanist rather than an atheist. I do believe in the laws of nature. I believe that we come to understand the universe by observing and measuring it and finding out what it actually does, rather than just making stuff up and saying it's true. I believe that humans have control over our own destiny and give our own lives meaning rather than relying on some outside force, and I believe that humans are responsible for our own good and evil actions, rather than good and evil being external forces acting upon us.
     
  4. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    As I said, it's an imperfect explanation. To me, I'd have more difficulty explaining how their couldn't be a God than how their could be. But I can't empirically prove it by the usual 5 senses. It's just using my own deductive reasoning, somewhat in the same spirit as Descartes, it simply makes more sense for there to be God, than not God, at least for me.

    In fairness, though, atheists call themselves atheist usually. And in a way it is as you say, an affirmation of their non-belief in God. That too is a belief. Since I can't empirically prove the existence of God, neither can they disprove it. So it's still a belief, just the opposite of what I believe.

    Even before I found Catholicism, I always believed in God. I considered myself a deist. I believed that God existed but not much else. At that time it simply made more sense. Then later in life I found my faith.

    I suppose that's another paradox. I do have a certain belief in a destiny, but only because God, being an infinite and omnipotent being, already knows the choices we will make. But we don't know what God knows, and never will about our future (unless we build a time machine). And we have free will. We make our own choices, in Christianity God does not chose our path for us. So in that case it's not destiny at all.

    So in a very real sense, you are absolutely correct. It's all part of free will. And Christians have a responsibility to make the right choices. Religion and faith help guide us, but ultimately we have to make that call for ourselves. God does not make that choice for us.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, there are such people, and as I said, I think it's too negative to define yourself solely by what you're against. There are atheists who are just as fanatical and fundamentalist as many religious believers, dedicated to judging and condemning people who believe differently. It's because of such people that I don't care to use the label for myself. I don't think that's a good way to live, whether it's for or against religion. I think it's more important to be for something than just against something. And the way to be moral is to question, judge, and regulate one's own behavior and choices, not everyone else's.
     
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  6. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Well that's true enough. At the end of the day, we're all only human. Each capable of doing great good, or great evil.
     
  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Which is why I say (with apologies to Maya Angelou), "I am not an antiracist; I am trying to be an antiracist."
    (The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 7, Verses 1-3)

    **********
    Hebrews
    James
    First and Second Peter
    First, Second, and Third John
    Jude


    That put me even with yesterday's quota, well before bedtime last night, and gave me time for a few more short stories out of ADF's The Flavors of Other Worlds (incidentally, at least three of the short stories are set in ADF's Humanx Commonwealth milieu).

    Today's Lenten quota (as is my custom for Holy Saturday) consists entirely of The Revelation of St. John the Devine.
     
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm an atheist, and I feel pretty much the same way about religious people. To be clear, I have no problem with people believing anything they want, but I've always been raised and lived my life based around science, and I have not seen any true, verifiable scientific proof to make me believe that there is an anthropomorphic conscious entity controlling existence.
    But at the same time there are just to many coincidences, and weird connections that I have to wonder if there is some kind of a Force, or Fate, even some kind of quantum entanglement kind of shit going on under the surface of our world that we aren't aware of. But for me, whatever is going on, it's not something conscious the choosing to make this stuff happening, it's some kind of a force like gravity, or magnetism that is responsible.
    As for how the universe came into existence without a God, for me it's just a matter of the right things happening at the right time all on their own.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Or maybe it's just the tendency of the human mind to project patterns onto the things it perceives. I think that when we imagine some outside force or intention influencing the universe, we're seeing a reflection of our own minds building our perception of the universe. In a way, what we experience isn't objectively real, but a simulation constructed by our brains based on the sensory input we receive. That's why optical illusions and hallucinations happen. Our experience of the world is filtered through the model our brains build. And I think we see our own brains building that model and mistake it for an outside force shaping objective reality. As Will Decker said, "We all create God in our own image."
     
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  10. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    For me I've been able to live by both, science and my faith. I've reasoned out for myself the existence of God, so I suppose that's where I disagree with atheists. To me, it makes perfect sense for their to be a God. Yet I also disagree with some who identify with Christianity who disagree with science when it comes to things like evolution. I suppose they feel threatened by it. I never did. I simply believe evolution and the Big Bang are simply the methods God used to create the universe and life in the universe. God gave us free will, and in many ways, science is the way we exercise our free will. Though I do believe in the occasional unexplained miracle as well. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself quite the skeptic, but like we saw the Prophets do to the Dominion Fleet in the wormhole on DS9, I do believe God similarly exercises the occasional supernatural miracle as well.

    But that's obviously not something I can prove empirically and there's probably no way I could ever convince a non-believer. Part of faith is just that, sometimes accepting something on faith. And sometimes a logical explanation becomes apparent...and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes even when it doesn't there still might be a scientific explanation that we simply don't understand yet. But I also believe in a 3rd category--situations that cannot be explained because they really are divine in nature. Don't get me wrong, I don't "blindly" accept everything on faith. But sometimes the unexplained "miracle" happens in the past or present that I come to accept on faith. My belief in the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ for instance. I can't prove that by the scientific method, yet I do believe--I wouldn't be a Catholic obviously if I didn't. But again, that's my faith and there just is no way to prove it to a non-believer's satisfaction.

    But I'm ok with that. I can only explain what I believe in and demonstrate my faith in how I live my own life. I don't want to force others to believe what I believe. That has been a mistake many religions over the centuries have made. Forcing people to 'believe' which really isn't believing anyway. The truest believers are those that come to believe of their own free will, which is what God wants of us anyway. As a Catholic I believe Christ will always be there for anyone who chooses to be a Christian. All you have to do is knock.
     
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  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's all a pretty reasonable approach.
    I can see looking things that way, but I think there are somethings that aren't that simple to explain away. That there's got to be more going on than just what we see on the surface. I've seen to many weird coincidences or one in a million situations to think it's all just in our brains.
     
  12. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    The Revelation of St. John the Divine.

    Which is of course as weird as anything the average science fiction, horror, or fantasy writer could come up with.

    Many years ago, at St. Paul's Episcopal, while I was in Sacramento, CA, for part of my Spring vacation, I was "volunteered" for a cold reading. From Revelation. Thankfully, Episcopalians aren't especially obsessed with eschatology.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course. There are a ton of things we don't have the answers to yet. But the thing to do in that situation is to accept that we don't know and wait until we have data, not make something up and convince ourselves it's true. We can formulate hypotheses, but a hypothesis is something to be challenged and tested and only accepted as valid if it can't be disproven and all other possibilities are ruled out.
     
  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sure, and if something comes along in this regard I am more than to change my approach to fit.
     
  15. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I found a used Star Trek TNG book I bought recently and never read Star Trek TNG Genesis force by John Vornholt.
     
  16. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    After that picard trailer today, I've had the urge to re-read the Q Continuum trilogy by greg cox lol.
     
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  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I can live with this. :)
     
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  18. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I'm now around 130 pages or so into The Dark Veil. Far enough to have caught the "Macha Hernandez" reference (how appropriate that I found it on Easter.)
     
  19. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I liked that Q actually found a being in "O" that actually tested his limits. As careless as Q could be with mortals, there were things even Q wouldn't do (like the Tkon Empire scene...I liked that Q had a "WTF" moment).

    And I liked his explanation for the Galactic Barrier....that it wasn't a natural phenomena. I figure that gives a good explanation as to why some ships/beings can traverse it without harm, since the goal was to keep "O" out, that perhaps it prevented some from traversing it as a side effect, but not others.
     
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  20. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Just finished The Dark Veil, and made a number of comments in the review thread.

    Having decided to read C. S. Lewis's entire Chronicles of Narnia canon over the course of Eastertide, I have just begun The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As per my plan, I'm reading in order of publication the first time, but will almost certainly read them in order of internal chronology for future re-readings, much the same as I've done for Tolkien's Middle Earth canon, and (more-or-less) with Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth canon.