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David, you are a jewel. I am grateful and privileged that we could share our beliefs and ideas so passionately. One thing for sure is that I really don't know if I am right - as I just noted in a comment to Danny. That is I am still wandering and don't feel lost. Am very suspicious of purism and absolute truths (something to do with my brother and me).

I couldn't agree more that: "But in the meantime, knowledge -- not just knowledge of one's own "beliefs," but literacy in more than one philosophical and religious system of thought -- knowledge, not belief -- is the best medicine." Beautifully put.

Thank you for "admiring" me. It is this tone and type of discussion that assures me that our little blogging "pod" is a safe haven for all of us to explore ourselves and learn about each other without hurting one another.


Blogging "pod" is a term Tom came up with recently as he listened to me chatting about my blogger buddies ...

Richard Lawrence Cohen

"Pod" is a great term. did Tom really invent it? Hats off to him, and let's spread it around, podmates.

David, your point is beautifully put as usual. I don't entirely agree with you about knowledge v. belief; I side with Wm. James in thinking that there may come a time when we have to leap toward faith -- not necessarily toward a specific doctrine or sect, but toward the experience of belief. I think looking for evidence of God's existence is a misguided effort, impossible for human beings at this stage of our evolution to complete. Thus holding the line for knowledge on this subject can be a dead end. But I sense that there's belief -- in the broad sense -- under what you say, anyway, or you wouldn't have undertaken this search. (And if there isn't such an underlying belief, that's your business -- I have nothing to proselytize for.)


Yes, truly - Tom invented it. He said it reminded him of all sorts of constellations of stars out in the universe - all these "pods" of bloggers. He's been in the "Communication" business for too long, eh? Yes - podmates - delightful!

... and ... I guess I am going to have to get hold of William James now. Any recommendations, fellows?


Richard: You're right, of course: knowledge is a weathervane pointing toward belief. (Question is: what is the wind behind it?!)

I feel that our difference is semantic and not philosophical. I am making leaps all the time, it's true: standing on a lily-pad of knowledge, looking for the next impossible leap. I have to believe -- or want to believe -- in order to make that leap.

And Tamar, if there is a God of our "pod," you're it. You're the "pod-goddess."


Okay - now I'm moved ... to ... tears of joy ...

How wonderful to be called a "pod-goddess."

I don't believe this has ever happened to me before.

Richard Lawrence Cohen

David: I agree!

Tamar: It may have happened in a previous incarnation -- so many things do! -- when you were the matriarch of a pod of dolphins. (Are you remembering yet?)

Wm. James' book THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE is the great classic in this field and contains autobiographical glimpses of him in the same way that THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS contains a veiled autobiography of Freud. But I'd suggest starting with a couple of his most influential and readable shorter papers: THE WILL TO BELIEVE and A PLURALISTIC UNIVERSE.


Dear Pod (and Poddess),

I was getting a cetacean vibe from the word from the get-go. A few posts ago David described teen-agers "echolocating" with their various IM'ing devices, and it feels much as if that's what we do too -- emit squeaks and whistles as we swim along on this journey, scanning the terrain for each other, keeping time, keeping in touch.


I see atheism a little differently. To me, religion is faith. Somehow, you find a way to have faith in a particular diety or system of beliefs. If you don't come to it by faith, I don't think it's religion.

I'm an atheist because I don't have faith in any of the religions I know about - not because I "believe" in atheism.

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