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About Ryedo40

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    Philosophy, mythology (includes theology), humanities, atheism, computers
  1. I owned a HS10 and it was a nice little startup camera - especially with a DCR250 macro lens attached to the end for really close-up macro photography. The camera was on the small side and fun to use - although the viewfinder was terrible. Soon got the bug and jumped to DSLR - and the difference in quality was tremendous. If I was you I'd skip bridge cameras and similar and buy a cheap second-hand Canon or Nikon DSLR. That way you won't be wasting money. They're also easier to sell on if you lose interest or want to move to something better. My first DSLR was a Canon 550D which was great for the money. Good all-rounder and easy to use. Then moved to a 7D which is ideal for wildlife/bird photography(Selling my Canon 400mm L 5.6 lens if anyone is interested) There's a range of lenses available for both Canon and Nikon that are fairly cheap new and second-hand - especially telephoto zoom lenses. Telephoto lenses are quite versatile and are ideal to start-up with. Not bad for portrait and pet photography too.
  2. Real help in providing good medication works. Praying for others does nothing. Yes. Most vaccines cost little to produce. One of the obstacles that needs to be over-come in Africa is the fear and ignorance being spread against vaccinations. Just recently, Catholic Bishops in Africa have been scaremongering; claiming vaccines are unsafe; as well as claiming vaccines are being used to sterilise the population. Likewise, Muslims have been making similar claims - even murdering health workers. While your prayers and your god does nothing to prevent the problems in Africa, at least the West is trying to help. There are numerous Western organisations operating across Africa trying to alleviate and prevent the problems. Except when nurses and doctors are being murdered for providing vaccines.
  3. Doh.. I've really gotta stop being so sloppy
  4. The church no longer has the monopoly. Humanist organisations up and down the country have, for sometime, been performing weddings, naming ceremonies & funerals. They're a great alternative for those who aren't religious. In Scotland, more people are now opting for non-religious weddings than Church weddings. Secular alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. If the demise of the church is leaving a vacuum, it's not one I've noticed. The church has also hardly been a bastion of morality(quick look at history supports that.) Almost every social reform that many of us take for granted today has been opposed at sometime or another by the church - or the church has been responsible for the behaviour and attitudes than many of us would consider wrong today. Religions and their institutions are usually lagging behind in that department - and are often dragged kicking and screaming while society changes for the better. If by existential and philosophical questions, you mean the problems people have with facing their own death, etc, then there are secular organisations and counsellors that help. Having said that, religion has, and is responsible for much of the angst that many people suffer (indoctrinating them with absurd fears and profiting from selling the "cure".) Hardly moral. CampQuest was started in 2008 and is still going strong: https://www.facebook.com/campquestuk/timeline?ref=page_internal
  5. Yes, religious organisations, while everywhere and lacking appeal these days, are on their way out. And there aren't many similar alternatives, as yet, to the church. IMO, alternatives to the church - like the Sunday Assembly - aren't really necessary; they're only really going to appeal to a minority(mostly those who have been raised in and left a religious environment.) They're not going to appeal to the masses who haven't been raised religious and church going. Those masses simply aren't missing anything by not attending. Speaking for myself, I have far more interesting things to be doing on Sundays - or any other day for that matter. I suspect it's the same for a lot of others too. Personally I'd rather be sat at a RSPB wildlife reserve watching birds than attend a "school" assembly environment singing happy clappy songs. There are just so many secular alternatives these days, whether it's going to a car boot, playing sport, or attending some local charity or community event like Tramlines, the church and even the atheist & secular Sunday Assembly is always going to lose out. They're never going to appeal to the masses. I don't really understand where you are coming from here. I can't think of any organisation that has its roots in science solely concerning itself with just academic facts. Even the Dawkins foundation, which you knocked, works with a lot of organisations - and has helped found organisations like the Clergy Project & Openly Secular. Then there are charities like Foundation Beyond Belief too. They are all growing and networking and supporting all-sorts of projects and initiatives around the world - all for the betterment of education and welfare of people. They don't solely concern themselves with academics.
  6. Right. Broadly speaking, which you seemed to be doing before narrowing down to what a 16 yr old would enjoy, some of the above organisations encourage and often work with educational bodies to help make science more fun, understandable and accessible to the public (that includes school children.) You said you'd like to see a society that values scientific knowledge and reason - one that makes informed decisions based on good evidence, etc. And that's pretty much what those organisations strive for. CFI & the BHA, for instance, look to science instead of religion as the best way to discover and understand the world. And believe people can use empathy and compassion to make the world a better place for everyone. I don't quite get why you view those organisations as places for people with no friends (although I guess that's something that could be said of any organisation, mosque or church.) Are they fun? Depends what your idea of fun is, I guess (personally, I don't see what's fun about having to go to places like parliament and the UN to fight for peoples rights; and trying to stop the constant flow of woo undermining education, etc.) Would a 16 yr old find the above fun? Depends on the 16 yr old. But there are places like Camp Quest they may find interesting. http://www.camp-quest.org.uk/index.php
  7. There are quite a few organisations around the world that pretty much are doing the above: CFI (Center for Enquiry) BHA (British Humanist Association) NCSA (National Center for Science Education) Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science Secular Student Alliance Atheist Alliance International The National Secular Society The Skeptics Society And that's just a few that come to mind.
  8. Liberal or not, that's always the case. All you can really do is encourage people to question and evaluate; to think critically and, to at least try to be intellectually honest. Efforts are being made to do that, but if people aren't interested in science or if they don't value scientific knowledge, the end result will be the same: they'll become happy - or unhappy - blinkered believers in any old woo woo(including pseudo-scientific nonsense.) Or they may be completely apathetic to that side of things and just be interested in football, gardening or whatever else floats their boat; not necessarily a problem. The biggest problem is the government, the media and educational authorities, entertaining and accommodating the woo woo; or having believers in woo woo in government, media, etc, using their position to give privilege and credence to woo woo and its pedlars.
  9. Yes, there are those who invest a great deal of time attempting to discover the truth about reality. They've made that their purpose in life. Their discoveries have been used to transform lives and shape the future of the world. I also doubt people are as black & white as "the truth is the end of all they seek." People are shades of grey - even if they do invest a lot of time in whatever they've made their main purpose in life. Partly agree, but are you sure they aren't basing their mission on "the truth" - or truth as they see it? Just a thought
  10. The brain is a drug factory anyway. Just seeing a vast open landscape can get the brain producing all-sorts of chemicals. That buzz, through fear/awe, can be quite addictive. That feeling of "oneness" with the universe may be just how some of us interpret that drug induced high. But there is no actual "oneness with the universe" or "higher plane." That's just woo-woo. The ability to think would give any species an advantage. Our species has specialised in it. Where we've physically lacked compared to other species, we've been successful using our wits. Without armour, the ability to run fast, or the ability to rip the head off a lion with our hands or jaws, we had to survive somehow. Over the generations, our intellect has compensated for what we lacked - and it's become increasingly refined. The use of language, the ability to co-ordinate/plan, control/manage, predict, identify, rationalise have all proved useful to our survival. But that same intellect gives rise to problems: blunder. Through misunderstanding and ignorance, we get things wrong. Our ancestors were especially prone to that given their lack of knowledge and understanding. Inventing gods was a mistake, but a useful one; it helped our ancestors build a model of reality and understand their place in it. Development of stories(religious mythology), even though those stories were wrong, gave comforting and satisfying answers to their problems and big questions. Today, thanks to science, we have a much better understanding of ourselves and the universe. Far greater than anything our ancestors could have imagined. That's why their gods are dropping like flies - and it's why their mythologies, while great for ridicule & entertainment, don't cut the mustard any more
  11. But would you use emotional blackmail and cut all ties with them for their decision? Here's a survey asking practising and former JWs whether the shunning practise destroys families. It found 76% of former JWs are being shunned by their families. 90% of those are shunned because they are no longer JWs. 76% justify shunning because it's their cult's policy. http://taze.co/2015/06/15/jehovahs-witnesses-shunning-family-survey/ The shunning practise destroys families. Where there's smoke, there's usually a fire. Those groups and individuals aren't spending their time exposing the problems within your cult without good reason. Many of those groups or individuals are victims of your cults practises and policies. Here's a video from a JW conference where a couple are applauded for shunning their child who left the faith. http://rutube.ru/video/bb1018e6aebbf0a3350b31a25781755f/?ref=logo Here's another. A student explaining how the JW cult isolates and destroys families. And how the cult has affected her and others. Stop pretending your cult doesn't damage families. It does. Websites usually cost money to run. They have to make their revenue somehow. They generally don't have the platform and wealth that JW organisations have where they put out expensive videos like this soliciting for money: http://rutube.ru/video/9cdbc434535c85bc047de629b9afb7d6/?ref=logo "A small donation from each of many of Jehovah’s people adds up to a large amount of dedicated funds that can be used powerfully by Jehovah’s organization. Yes, we can honor Jehovah with our valuable things, including the financial support of True Worship." Or costly animated propaganda videos like this encouraging children to give their money to the JW organisation: http://rutube.ru/video/a8e49828a5ef804ab8f4aae2559ea415/?ref=logo So, from the horses mouth, to Truly Worship Jehovah you must give the JW organisation your valuables. Hmmm... bet none of those websites you criticise put out comparative videos stating "to truly not worship Jehovah you must give me your money". Guessing quite a few of those running those sites don't wear expensive suits, too.
  12. 1) A strict separation of religion from government. Religion should be a personal matter - and government should play no part in promoting, funding, privileging or favouring one religion above another. e.g. just because MPs may like playing golf, doesn't mean everyone should be forced to play golf. Neither does it mean golfers and golfing institutions should be given tax breaks and special privileges in society while non-golf players are denied those same rights and privileges. Same for religion. 2) An end to faith schools and coerced/forced worship in schools. Schools should be secular and play no part in indoctrinating children with divisive and sectarian religious beliefs. 3) Ban hard-plastic-sealed packaging. Pain in the backside to get into.
  13. Probably both. What is Christian? Ask Christians around the world and you'll get different answers. Their values vastly differ - from the benign and tolerant to the oppressive, intolerant, controlling and bigoted. And most seem to justify their varied views - progressive, liberal or conservative - Biblically/theologically. But all, no matter how different, view themselves as Christian. Not all agree with the many religious institutions representing Christianity too. And for a lot of Christians, the institutionalised Church isn't the true Church at all. The true Church is the people who are "called to God"(Hitler also wanted the volk(people) to be the Church). Hitler's religious views were not at all obscure. He often stated he was a Catholic and Christian, and made clear his beliefs and intentions. His art was usually religiously themed - even painting Mary with a white, blonde haired blue-eyed Jesus - and, even in his private conversations, was adamant that Jesus must have been Aryan. “Christ was an Aryan. But Paul used his teachings to mobilize the underworld and organize a proto-bolshevism. With its breakdown, the beautiful clarity of the ancient world was lost.” - Table-Talk "Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church." - Hitler, 1936 To get a grasp of Hitler and the Nazi regime, you have to take into account the climate decades before. Not only was there mass paranoia across Europe where Christians believed the Bolshevists were plotting to cause the collapse Christian civilisation, but there was all the misery and poverty caused because of WW1. Christians were looking for a scape-goat, someone to blame for all the problems occurring in society. Their fingers pointed towards their traditional scape-goat, the Jew. Hitler lived in and was influenced by that environment. Hitler blamed Jews and liberal/progressive Christians for corrupting Christianity, thereby corrupting its civilisation and values. He saw it all as part of the Bolshevist plot. As I pointed out above, Christianity isn't a uniform religion and Hitler identified that as one of its weaknesses. This is partly why he wanted a uniform Christianity: one that was firm in it convictions, especially against the Jew, and one that could withstand scrutiny, criticism and other philosophies in the modern world. His views on racial-mixing and blood sin didn't originate from any pagan belief(he was quite anti the pagan movement in Germany). Racial-mixing and blood sin, especially back then, had long been concerns held by Christians and Hitler was no different. But most of his views concerning race, and the "degeneration" caused by racial mixing, as well as the Aryan Jesus, are traced back to the Catholic Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain - also a Christian and friend of Hitler. He was consistent throughout expressing his beliefs in God. Most of his associates, including those who influenced him, were also Christian. It doesn't ring true to say Hitler wasn't a Christian himself. At most I'd say he wasn't your typical mainstream Christian that we'd recognise - although, today, he'd probably find himself at home in some areas of the US.
  14. I never stated his childhood exposure to Christianity was the basis of his actions. His hatred for the Jew stemmed from his Christian culture(anti-Semitism/Judaism was rife in Europe) and the influence of his Christian associates. Hitler also stated how his disdain for the Jew came about in Mein Kampf: The Nazis were hardly anti-Christian(that's pretty much a modern myth). They, themselves, mostly identified as Christian. Hitler did criticise Christianity though - and he also criticised the corrupt Church and fighting between the multiple denominations. Hitler's views on Christianity were nuanced and complex, but he considered himself a Christian. His plans were to replace many of the current variants of Christianity with their own uniform variant of Christianity - one that was purified of its "corrupt" Jewish roots. Hitler believed Jesus was Aryan and that Paul, being a Jew, corrupted Jesus' original message: corrupting Christianity. When Hitler criticises Christianity, he's not criticising his own. When the claim is made that Hitler planned to destroy Christianity, it's omitting the fact that he planned to replace it with a new, although far removed, variant of it. There is no evidence whatsoever that Hitler was an atheist. And there's certainly no evidence to suggest he became an atheist towards the end of his life. Not once did he have anything positive to say about atheism - and heavily criticised it. Even in the much disputed Table-talk, he states: He also claims Jesus was an Aryan in Table-talk. Throughout his life and political career, he stated his beliefs in God and stressed the importance of God belief. This is nothing to do with placing a shadow over Christianity. It's about pointing out the facts. And the fact is the Nazi racial ideology was rooted in theology & religion. And the justification for their actions - including the use of eugenics - stemmed from that. Yes. According to Nazi Racial ideology, the Aryans were created in God's perfect image. Jews, and other races, were blamed for corrupting the pure Adamite line(Nazis believed Adam and Eve were the origin of the white race). And the corruption led to their expulsion from paradise[Eden]. Using eugenics and other means, they attempted to purify and maintain the Aryan race to prevent further degeneration. The justification for the Nazi regime's actions against the Jew didn't come from Darwinism(another myth), but from the theological and religious premises they held. It's clearly nonsense to suggest religion had nothing to do with WW2.
  15. Religion always seems to get a free pass when it comes to discrimination. I think it was the same orthodox sect that recently placed signs on streets telling women which side they could walk on. In Israel and the US they've been telling women to sit at the back of buses too. And recently they've been disrupting flights by refusing to sit next to women on planes. Crazy world ain't it.
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