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Thread: God(s) are real...

  1. Top | #21
    Stephen T-B
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    One of the articles I wrote during my career as a journalist was about the Cottingley Fairies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottingley_Fairies) and how James Randi had identified some of the "fairy" images as being based on illustrations in Princess Mary's Gift Book (published 1914) of which I happen to have a copy - hence my interest.

    Our photographic department then tried to produce similar images as had been taken by Frances Griffiths on a borrowed camera, using cut-outs on wire and stuck into the ground.
    The results weren't very good, but it was suggested that Frances, an artistic 16-year old who worked for a greetings card print company, might have used an air spray gun (almost certainly a tool she'd have been familiar with) to paint the images on plates of glass which she'd have propped up close to the camera, and thanks to that camera's depth of focus, they'd have been as sharp as the figures in the background.

    My account of Randi's discovery and our experiments, with accompanying photos, was duly published, and to my astonishment provoked a furious reaction from several readers who insisted that Frances and Elsie had indeed seen fairies, and what right had I to question it?

    So...there are people - adults - who believe in fairies (or "nature spirits" as Theosophists refer to them).

    But unlike God/gods. fairies are not worshipped; they do not demand obedience and supplication and sacrifice. They are not the cause of wars, nor give do they give rise to punishment. They do not dominate people's thoughts and actions as God/gods can do. So while they are certainly the product of wishful thinking combined with the power of imagination (which may or may not be stimulated by stories and images) they are qualitatively different.

    We give to God/gods something which is uniquely theirs, and I suppose the reason why lies deep within our psyche.

  2. Top | #22
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    I think we have very different understandings for the word, 'reality'. Personally, I make a great distinction between 'reality' and 'mental concepts'. Really, really believing something does not make it reality even though, as a child, the distinction escaped me.
    Let me break it down in a way that I did for Emily:

    ... snip ...
    I understood what you meant. That is how I determined that we have very different understandings for the word, 'reality'. Maybe I should have been clearer with 'mental concepts'... it can include any internal mental phenomena produced by mental activity. I was certainly scared shitless of that closet lurking monster since I could make out his shape in the shadows and occasionally hear him. So the monster was "real" to me (but only to me so a 'mental concept') not reality in the real world.

    ETA:
    Maybe an example would help. Someone who "hears voices" is "hearing" something that is only generated in their mind. Assume they hear that 'voice from god' directing them to kill blasphemers. If they understand that it is only internal mental phenomena and not god, in "reality", directing them to jihad then they have my understanding of 'reality'.
    Last edited by skepticalbip; 02-27-2021 at 09:08 PM.

  3. Top | #23
    Stephen T-B
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    Thing is, fantasy and reality overlap for a considerable portion of humanity.

    In my parents' case (my father a clergyman, charismatic and healer), their fantasies were their reality.

    I used to think their wishful thinking was out of control.
    And so it was.

  4. Top | #24
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    Thing is, fantasy and reality overlap for a considerable portion of humanity.

    In my parents' case (my father a clergyman, charismatic and healer), their fantasies were their reality.

    I used to think their wishful thinking was out of control.
    And so it was.
    Indeed, I know several people who accept their fantasies as reality. It isn't rare or unusual and generally in the overwhelming percentage of cases not harmful. But generally psychologists would describe those cases where people mistake fantasy for reality as, 'loosing touch with reality'.

  5. Top | #25
    Stephen T-B
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    But try persuading them that their fantasies are not reality.
    That's the point: we all think we know where fantasy ends and reality begins - even those who think their fantasies are reality.
    For instance, my parents would have identified the Greek gods as mythological, and they did identify the Hindu deities as such.

    I have to ask myself: is there a blurring of the divide in my own mind. In other words, how much of what I think is real is what I imagine/desire to be real?

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    ...how much of what I think is real is what I imagine/desire to be real?
    And this question is the start of wisdom.

    The fact is that we need to doubt what we think is real. In fact I propose that we must know that it is not real but in some way merely what we imagine/desire.

    We must be aware that we are wrong. I am wrong. I try to be less wrong, and thus in constantly trying, have possibly achieved some skill in succeeding at it. I don't succeed often, even so.

    Still, doubt in "that which we know", and constantly test it.

    But trust in it until you figure out better.

  7. Top | #27
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    We call the inability to see the difference between reality and imagination a mental illness.

  8. Top | #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    We call the inability to see the difference between reality and imagination a mental illness.
    Then everyone's mentally ill to some extent. Arguably there's no way to construct this "reality" thing that you're talking about without imagining a lot about it.

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    We call the inability to see the difference between reality and imagination a mental illness.
    Then everyone's mentally ill to some extent. Arguably there's no way to construct this "reality" thing that you're talking about without imagining a lot about it.
    That would be thread for social science. What is 'perfect' mental health and does it really exist? I think psychology say we all have issues, a line is crossed when it becomes destructive to yourself or others.

    I expect if religion was in a small minority it might be labeled an illness in some ways. Hearing god and Jesus talking to you.

    It would be political and professional suicide to broach that in our society. By all accounts Biden is a firm Catholic.

  10. Top | #30
    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Google "latest fairy sightings". Follow the bouncing Google.
    Cheerful Charlie

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