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Depression in Beasils May. 25th, 2012 @ 03:58 am
I'm you're at all familiar with my life, you know that I have a huge depression problem. I can't shut up about it! It's hard to be happy when you've set yourself up for failure. One way I attempt to feel better is by communicating with others and sharing my feelings and problems. Here are a few effective ways in which they might actually help me to feel better:
  • Genuine compliments.
  • Even better, spending time with me.
  • Showing me that I am special to them.
  • Going out of their way to do something nice for me.
I don't expect all of these, and I understand that it's difficult to search for a compliment to give me, but this is what cheers me up. Here are a few things that do not help me feel better at all (although they may not hurt, either):
  • Reminding me of people who have it worse than myself.
  • Telling me that people prefer the company of those who are happy.
  • Telling me that being depressed is selfish and unproductive, or anything like that.
Why are these unhelpful for solving someone's loneliness or depression? Because they're kind of insensitive and don't actually offer a reason to feel better? Well, yeah, but mostly because they are rational solutions to emotional problems. Logic and emotion are not friends; they are dealt with by different parts of the brain. You can think up rational arguments to support your emotions, and you can be emotionally attached to your thoughts, but they do not actually complement one another.

That's why you can't reason somebody out of being depressed, that I know of. When I thought of this, I realized that it sounded pretty familiar. What else can't you reason somebody out of? Religion, of course, at least most of the time. This is because religion has a very strong emotional appeal. Most people don't believe in their religions because they'd been convinced by evidence, they continue to believe because of the strong attachment they have to it. Faith is believing simply because it feels right, and so debunking faith logically, which is the easiest thing in the world to do, is futile. So, is it worth the effort to ever argue with someone's religion? I think so. Attachment to one's religion varies widely, and is growing weaker with each generation. Declaring religion to be superstition lets people know that there are alternatives to a supernatural worldview, even if it doesn't convince them on the spot.

How does this parallel with depression? Well, knowing that there are things to be happy about in the world is a necessary step in eventually achieving that happiness, even if knowing it doesn't immediately make you feel better. I don't know what I'm talking about. It's late goodnight.
Mood: chipperchipper

Minds Can Not Function Without Time Dec. 21st, 2011 @ 05:24 am
I listened to a debate on the existence of God recently that really left me wanting, as they often do. In this debate between Christian theologian William Lane Craig and atheist philosophy journal editor Stephen Law, Law seems stuck on the problem of suffering and morality in the universe and posits that using his opponent's own logic, God could be good or evil. The debate was on the existence of God, though, not the nature of God. I was frustrated when Dr. Craig went on from the cosmological argument to try and defend his own personal god, bringing up the nature of God and even the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So much irrelevance in this debate, and so many ignored points; this is why I feel compulsively obligated to put down my own amateur thoughts.

Craig begins the debate by talking for minutes about how the concept of infinity is logically absurd (I'm not sure if this is strategic for a Christian to do, as infinity and eternity are pretty important in his own specific theism). He does this because he assumes that atheists believe that the universe is eternal and thus did not need creating. I suppose some atheists believe this, but I think that it is a common belief that the universe had a beginning and will have an end. His attack on the concept of infinity didn't convince me, anyway. It sounded like contrived crap, although I suppose "pure logic" often does.

So, the universe can not be eternal because the concept of eternity is absurd, unless it's applied to God, because he is "transcendent", and therefore impervious to Craig's own logic. In fact, since God is so transcendent, it's probably more accurate to use the pronoun "it", but I use "he" because that's the common Christian pronoun, and because it avoids confusion. Let's ignore that the standards Craig has for "the universe" can just as well be applied to "God" no matter how transcendent and therefore above the rules he is.

The universe therefore must have had a beginning and a cause, according to Dr. Craig. Since he doesn't believe that it could have caused itself, it must have had a transcendental cause, that is, something outside of it caused it to be. Since material, space, and time are part of the universe, whatever created it must be outside of both space and time, and must be immaterial. Dr. Craig says that there are only two possible candidates: an abstract object or force or a disembodied mind or consciousness. So, essentially, the cause is either sentient or non-sentient. He dismisses the option that an abstract object created the universe unintentionally because, you know, abstract objects can't create things, only abstract minds can create things out of nothing, silly.

This which seems clearly logical to Dr. Craig seems even more absurd than the existence of eternity to me. Through what device does a disembodied mind not only think, but create time and matter? This is where theists have to throw in the towel and admit that we don't know how God did it, because he's transcendental. Well, then why do we logically jump to that conclusion if we have no way to even hypothetically explain how the process could be done? This is evidence that we're creating logic to prove what we want to be true (the existence of God), rather than following the logic to whatever its conclusion may be.

More absurd than the concept of infinity is the affirmation that a mind can function outside of time. Minds as we know them require neurons which shoot impulses and release chemicals. These impulses can not happen without time. Thoughts can not happen without these impulses. Thoughts can not be conjured without a physical (biological, perhaps mechanical or electronic) machine.

So, an abstract mind that didn't need to evolve, but simply is in a timeless void; a consciousness which can create both thoughts and, on a whim, universes, is illogical. Perhaps God does alternatively exist in some transcendental time-space continuum. Perhaps he is aliens who created our universe for fun or research, or perhaps we exist in his dreams. Those are possible, but they are completely unchristian (and thus against Dr. Craig's beliefs), and they would only raise the question of what created those space-time continuums. Those are topics that go beyond a mere debate on the existence of God.

From there, Dr. Craig goes on to morality and the resurrection. These are technically irrelevant to the topic in general, but they were still part of the debate. Craig and Law both agree that morality is objective. I disagree with both of them. Since morals are not facts, it is nonsensical to call them "objective" in a naturalistic universe. Just because the golden rule is agreed upon by the majority of human cultures does not make it objective. To be objective, the logic behind an ethical stance would need to be "x is wrong because x is wrong". Many black-and-white thinkers use this logic, but the reality is that there are reasons behind every bit of morality. Usually the logic is "x is wrong because x is harmful to another." Humans tend not to want to do harm to other humans because they exist as a society and their large brains can figure that if something harmful is alright to do to others, it would also be alright for others to do it to themselves. People do not want to live in a chaotic society, and that's why systems of laws are created. People do immoral things when they think that they could never be punished, and that the tables could never be turned. This is why corruption is so common in positions of power, and why so few people are vegetarians. Some people are vegetarians, and some people are good even when there are no consequences for being evil, and even when God isn't watching, which suggests that altruism, cooperation, and an avoidance of hypocrisy are built in to many humans, likely the side-effects of having a large brain and being part of a societal species. Perhaps more altruism comes from expanding what the human considers part of its "tribe", and more selfishness comes from interpreting their tribe as being much smaller (sometimes just themselves).

Craig's last argument is that the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be taken on more than just faith. There are three events that he points to, and yet all of them reference the Bible itself. Don't you know that you can't prove that Harry Potter was a real, historical wizard and that he rose from the dead after being killed by the Dark Lord by referencing the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? There is no empty tomb. Why would anyone try to explain away the empty tomb if it exists only in the Bible?

This is the end of Dr. Craig's case for God, and another of my cases against gods. Blogspot blog-owner Stephen Law completely disappoints.
Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

Sep. 1st, 2011 @ 12:58 am
This journal is masturbatory pseudo-intellectual crap.

I am Merely Moderate! Dec. 13th, 2009 @ 03:53 am
DisorderYour Score
Major Depression:Moderate
Dysthymia:Slight-Moderate
Bipolar Disorder:Slight
Cyclothymia:Moderate
Seasonal Affective Disorder:Moderate
Postpartum Depression:N/A
Take the Depression Test
Mood: anxiousanxious

More Tags Nov. 15th, 2009 @ 11:31 pm
I have created a brand new tag just for Mormonism! There are more entries on the topic than I had thought.

mormonism
Entry focuses on the LDS church.

Read more...Collapse )
Mood: goodgood

No Tealdeer For You Yet Oct. 16th, 2009 @ 03:10 pm
I haven't posted in a long while. I have to be in the right mood with sufficient inspiration before I can jot down a screed. Recently, I've been more inspired to draw horribly. I've also been busy with a "social" life. I think it counts as a social life. Anyway, there's no wall of text yet, but here's a tealdeer for you, anyway:

Mood: calmcalm
Tags:

Dante's Inferno Test Aug. 16th, 2009 @ 11:12 pm
Am I really as violent as I am gluttonous?

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Extreme
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
Mood: okayokay
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Help, Internet Addiction Aug. 10th, 2009 @ 01:51 pm
I spend a great deal of time on the internet, and it's possible that it's a negative thing and that I am addicted. All I need to do is compare my life before the internet with my life now: Before the internet, I had no real-life friends, I hated physical activity, and I lived in a world of imagination. Now, I have one or two real life friends I've made on the internet and I still hate physical activity. For some people, the internet is a detrimental thing that interferes with their life. For others, especially those with social disabilities, it's a way to interact with a world that they wouldn't otherwise interact with anyway. I actually have more opportunity to make real-life friends online than I ever would without the internet, and I have more friends online than I ever expected to have as a child, even though people have this bizarre idea that you can't be a person's real friend unless you've been in their physical presence. The notion that you can't be a person's real lover unless you've actually touched them has some merit, but I don't understand the same reasoning for friendship.

I might be addicted to the internet, but at least my addiction isn't interfering with things like children, real-life friends, soul mate, or a demanding job. I think that the internet is a very important outlet and resource in my life, and I probably wouldn't have a much less sedentary or asocial lifestyle without it. Yes, I'm making typical addict excuses.
Mood: dorkydorky

Why People Believe Differently From Us Aug. 4th, 2009 @ 01:07 pm
It's hard to tell, but most of us narrow it down to a few common reasons. If there's one thing it's difficult to feel empathic about, it's why people believe what they do when it's so different. There's generally just tolerance (hopefully) rather than understanding. I know, I have trouble, too. Since it is difficult to understand, our biases will lead us to arrogant assumptions.

Why people believe differently from us when we know we have the Ultimate Truth:

1. They're just stupid. Since my beliefs are the only ones with a logical foundation and evidence, there's no way to describe dissenters other than "stupid", "moronic", and/or "idiotic".

This is the easiest, laziest excuse to use when you encounter someone whose beliefs and opinions differ from your own. It's taken for granted that most everyone is stupid (except for yourself), but realize that it's not necessarily true (for everyone who dissents). Also, if you use the other's stupidity to dismiss them in debate, you're committing the ad hominem fallacy. If you're feeling more charitable, you can go with:

2. The poor souls are ignorant. They must not have access to the resources I have, and haven't had the experiences I've had that prove that my beliefs are true and opinions are sound. More likely, though, they have access to resources but refuse to utilize them out of stubbornness or laziness.

It's true, most people don't read things that they don't agree with. A proud liberal is unlikely to buy a book written by a far-right conservative, because s/he knows that it's full of crap; s/he's heard all the arguments before, probably. The hypocrisy lies in telling people that they're being stubborn because they refuse to read a book that argues for your position, and then when asked if you'd read a book arguing for their position, you respond. "Why would I? I already know it's all flapdoodle."

3. Most likely, though, the evidence and logic I've provided has penetrated your mind, but you refuse to acknowledge it because it threatens your sinful lifestyle, existential security blanket, and/or most importantly, your pride. I mean, who likes being proven wrong?

Possibly even more condescending than implying that someone is stupid or ignorant is assuming that they're just too stubborn to abandon their own beliefs in favor of the Truth because it requires more discipline or a subduing of their pride. Does this happen? Sure, but not nearly as often as people would like it to. The "sinful lifestyle" is especially asinine. Why would even a stubborn, lazy sinner risk eternal torment for temporary pleasures unless they really do think you're full of it?

4. While many people are genuinely unsure or confused about their beliefs or opinions, most are just as secure in theirs as I am with mine. There may just be differences in peoples' minds that incline them to believe in one thing and avoid another.

This is probably the best, but probably most uncommon assumption to make. It doesn't mean that debate is useless and never changes any minds. So many people are just impossible to convince, but not everyone has a mind set in stone; many are more open and plastic. Debate is a healthy thing that keeps ideas flowing, but #4 is important for understanding others, avoiding arrogance and condescension, and possibly even keeping our own minds open to new ideas.
Mood: okayokay

What Jesus Would Also Say in Modern Times Aug. 2nd, 2009 @ 12:09 pm
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."

He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"

For God commanded, saying,  'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" -- then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites!

(Matthew 15:1-7)

Do you think that Jesus would approve of people updating the meaning of Biblical verses and discarding others to keep the Bible up to date with the modern era? You'd better watch your back during the second coming, or start killing your children.
Mood: hornyhorny
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