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Thread: Who is this God guy, anyway?

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    Who is this God guy, anyway? 
    #1
    Bluelighter
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    I know, it's a sadly typical sort of spiritual question, but I'm feeling uninspired today.
    I'm not really interested in the generic answers. "Omnipotent, omniscient being who was the Creater of all." is fine and dandy and all, but what the hell does that mean? Lately the big debate seems to be, once again, switching back and forth between the loving God and the vengeful God, and everyone, since the beginning of time, has been busy putting words into this God guy's mouth.
    It's kind of silly, especially how much of it is pasting human motives and intentions on something that purportedly existed before we came around and presumably will exist after we've done our little dance. How can you do that to something that embodies everything that Is, and probably everything that Isn't? More to the point, how can we, who in general find it hard to concern ourselves with anything outside of our immediate experience, imagine to even guess at something that would truly know the concept of infinity?
    Ahem. But the point of this post was to find out some more in-depth thoughts about all of that. Now, I realize that people's thoughts on the matter often can't be articulated well, and those thoughts can often change unexpectedly, depending on unpredictable bolts of enlightenment (or lightnening). Nobody really has a solid idea, but if you've given it some thought, I'm curious what else might be out there.
    Mine's kinda convoluted and I got off work about 5 minutes ago (I've been working hard ), so I'll post it in a little bit. But I wanna see if there's any bites.
    Loupy
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    #2
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    (in my opinion)
    THERE
    IS
    NO
    GOD
    e-mail me if you have anymore questions
    Peace!
    ------------------
    i got a letter from the government the other day, i opened it read it, it said they were suckers, they wanted me for the army or whatever, imagine me giving a damn i said never
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    #3
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    When someone says 'there is no God' what does that MEAN?
    That there is no Judeo-Christian old geezer micromanaging your life?
    That there is nothing beyond what is detectable and quantifiable beyond science?
    That covers a LOT of ground there....
    ------------------
    "It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."
    -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    [This message has been edited by Kitsune K (edited 02 November 2000).]
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    #4
    Bluelighter
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    Keeping it bumped while I think...a rare process for me.
    Loupy, I like the way you expressed your question. Definately got me thinking more than my lazy ass was prepared for.
    Loves,
    -Amina
    ------------------
    "Like a bird on a wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free" - Leonard Cohen
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    I believe in God, but my belief isn't of the garden-variety Judeo-Christian kind, although nominally I am a Christian and I do believe in the Trinity.

    Up until about four years ago I was a skeptic. I suppose I fell into the agnostic camp-I wouldn't quite categorize my stance then as one of atheism. Though I was very critical of the Christian doctrines that I had been taught growing up (and to some extent I still am) at that time, I had not rejected them outright.

    I really can't pinpoint any specific event that "transformed" me into a believer. I guess it was a sense within myself that there was something greater than myself, some kind of life force that bound all organisms together in a very profound way.

    I began to read some works exploring spirituality in an attempt to divine my own spiritual self-sense (two books that I would highly recommend for self-exploration: "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse and "When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough" by Harold Kushner).

    One question had always troubled me in my search for meaning: If there is no "God" or "supreme being" (or whatever you want to denominate it) and humans are all essentially governed by the same "survival of the fittest" genetic stratagems as other lower organisms, then what explains acts of altruism and self-sacrifice? What, for instance, explains an individual's diving into icy water to save a complete stranger who is drowning, at the risk of his own death? There seems to be no satisfactory explanation for such behavior-certainly such "self-sacrifice" traits would not be favored from an evolutionary standpoint, and any potential reward would not justify the risk from a cost-benefit standpoint. The skeptic/atheist can very easily support the non-existence of God by pointing to various examples of man's inhumanity to man, but how does he explain those acts of self-sacrifice?

    Through my reading, introspection and yes, experiences in altered states, I have come to believe that God does exist. In my view, there exists a realm in which logic does not reign supreme-I call this the realm of "uber-logic."

    In this realm is where God exists, in my opinion. I freely acknowledge that I cannot offer any empirical evidence to support the existence of this realm-only my own subjective experiences, which are unfortunately often very difficult to articulate in a manner satisfactory to those skeptical of my beliefs. Belief in the existence of this realm requires a suspension of those principles so greatly prized by the empiricist-a "leap of faith" if you will, which ties in nicely with the Christian concept that faith is all that is required for entry into the kingdom of God (this statement in no way assumes that such a kingdom exists only after death).

    In my own spiritual experience, I have found support for my belief in teleological arguments that point to the preposterously astronomical odds against the universe evolving in all of its complexity by sheer chance. Such arguments, in my opinion, point to the existence of something greater than us, possessing powers of gnosis far beyond the limits of human comprehension.
    I have also explored some of the more mystical components of spirituality (though not nearly as much as I would like). In my experience, I have noted a very mystical quality of the number "3"- the Trinity, id/ego/superego, fall from grace/redemption/resurrection, to cite a few examples. Though I have yet to explore them, I understand that the teachings of the Kabbalah delve into the mystical qualities of numbers.

    In my own personal view of God, I have come to believe that assigning traits/qualities to the concept of God, as many often do (omniscient, omnipotent, etc.), is really problematic because to humans those concepts carry with them the conundrums inherent in our human comprehension of such concepts, e.g., "If God really is omnipotent, could he make a rock so heavy that he couldn't lift it?" In my own view, God simply IS.

    More of my thoughts later. Good topic, loupy.
    [This message has been edited by glowbug (edited 02 November 2000).]
    Last edited by PsychoKitten; 07-01-2004 at 03:56.
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    #6
    Lightbulb
    The Herman Hesse Homepage.(loads a little slowly)
    A good overview of Hesse.

    [This message has been edited by Link Boy (edited 02 November 2000).]
    Removed Dead Links
    Last edited by PsychoKitten; 20-06-2003 at 05:38.
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    #7
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    Sam....to quote a statement from the the movie CONTACT.
    "What if science was created to prove that GOD never existed?"
    just wanted to share that to you.
    and oh..if you are willing to do some time regarding this topic, I recommend you to read writings of St. Thomas Aquinas' seven proofs of GODS existence (not sure about the title but if you can do some search on Yahoo..it will give you the websites)
    wes
    [This message has been edited by v8 (edited 02 November 2000).]
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    #8
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    Two Points:
    1)The fact that some humans will risk their lives to save others doesn't mean there is a God. Heroism is a learned behavior, and is never selfless.
    By contrast the fact that man is the only species depraved enough to prey on itself en masse, and destory it's habitat, does not mean there isn't a god.
    2)The universe was not created by chance.
    Assuming the big bang thoery is correct and all matter exploded out of a point, and will eventually be sucked back in and explode once more...Then everything possible will occur an infinite number of times.
    Even if that wern't so, abiogenesis, and evolution are not pure random chance.
    Anyway, if you're into Christian Mysticism check out http://www.ccel.org/m/molinos/guide/TOC.htm for "The Spiritual Guide" by Miguel de Molinos..
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    #9
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    ok, well, here goes my feeble attempt to explain my opinion....
    Humans are social creatures. we have to have interaction with each other not only to satisfy the need for others, but now it's gotten to the point where we must interact with each other to stay alive. i do'nt know one person who could go out into the mountains and fend for themselves without anything engineered by another person.
    Humans also never stop. We never quit thinking about the infinite possibilities of how things could be. I mean, seriously, we have an explanation for everything, but we stumped ourselves when it came to God because we know absolutely nothing definite about our past, everything we think is factual is really just speculation.
    That's why I really believe God to be a social creation. By this, I'm definitely not saying that he doesn't exist because my views can't facilitate the creation or destruction of someone beliefs. What i believe has no consequence on how someone else views God, therefore, if He/She (or whatever) is believed to be real, then He is real, right?
    But anyway, back to before. I think that we all need something to cling to. God is a simple solution. Something goes wrong, pray to God. Don't worry about death because there's Heaven. All you have to do is live your life right and you'll be fine. What a great idea.
    there is another post on this particular forum that deals with the fear of dying. before evaluating your beliefs on God you should think about your own fear of dying. It all relates to that. that's why the convention of God was created. it helps us deal with eventually dying.
    Now, all of this in check, i will say this. I believe in something, but not really God. I think that something happens to our spirits when we die, but i'm not sure what.
    i guess i'll find out someday though, huh?
    later
    brad
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    #10
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    That's why I really believe God to be a social creation. By this, I'm definitely not saying that he doesn't exist because my views can't facilitate the creation or destruction of someone beliefs. What i believe has no consequence on how someone else views God, therefore, if He/She (or whatever) is believed to be real, then He is real, right?
    Sociology teaches us that reality is a societal vreationm, so why not God?
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    #11
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    What, for instance, explains an individual's diving into icy water to save a complete stranger who is drowning, at the risk of his own death?
    Actually, this is also explained through "survival of the fittest". It's an example of "Costly Signalling". It is thoroughly explained in The Handicap Principle, A Missing Piece of Darwin's Puzzle.
    I have found support for my belief in teleological arguments that point to the preposterously astronomical odds against the universe evolving in all of its complexity by sheer chance.
    This is where we run into a problem. Why are people so quick to discount sheer chance? If you think about it, eventually you'll run into sheer chance as the reason for the existence of anything (including God). Assuming that we were created by something greater than ourselves (on purpose) would present a motive for our creation. What kind of motive is there to create a universe and organisms? Wouldn't having a motive suggest that this creator is a conscious being? And how could consciousness just BE (without evolving)?

    I noticed the Thomas Aquinas reference for proofs for God. Thomas Aquinas commonly used the "First Cause Argument" for the existence of God. Basically saying that something had to cause the universe so that cause MUST be God (God in the magic sense, not God in an accidental sense). But what Thomas failed to do is apply his own argument FOR God to God itself. So let's do that:

    The typical "there must have been a cause!" argument pretty much assumes that because we exist (complex organisms) that something more complex would have had to design us. We run up against a dead end when we get to God. To have designed the universe, God must be more complex than anything in the universe. To be so complex, God requires an even more complex designer. In other words, who created God?

    In this light you will see that the existence of a conscious being would HAVE to evolve out of something, something that was started by an accident that in turn started a chain reaction of events which led to the proper conditions for consciousness to evolve. And Glowbug is right in stating that it's highly unlikely for things to evolve out of sheer chance, but it's obviously not impossible. Take a look around the universe, as far as we can see there isn't an abundance of life supporting planets everywhere. In other words, we ARE that chance, that fraction of a possibility. In billions of years of universe "happenings" it was bound to happen. So it's highly probable that we are evolving into the closest thing to "God" that there could be. Either that or we're the creation of beings who had been evolving for eons before us.

    Or... you can go with the typical belief of millions... that we're the result of magic.

    -----------------
    "You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough." - Aldous Huxley
    "What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary." -Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989
    Last edited by PsychoKitten; 07-01-2004 at 03:57.
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    ill keep this short and simple so that i dont mess up any potential for recognition that it deserves. the reason for this is i didnt think of it myself, it just came to me in my one and only mescaline trip. the trip was most definitely the most cosmic trip/though/anything that i could have even imagined. what everything seemes to be based on though, even the dimensions, is circles. of course everything is one, but these circles are also one. i cant 'see' them being one, but i knew that they were. just like an earlier post said, trinity or 3 seems to be important. like beginning, middle end, but after the cirle ends, it is connected to the beginning of the next circle. it sound basic enough, but i was reading up on the string theory (check it out) on the internet about six months after my trip and it goes to show that i was definitely connected during my mesc trip. i just let it all pass through me and it was amazing. ive also tripped on shrooms and such where a reoccuring theme seems to be that everything is good, even things that seem to be bad--they still have a good base to them which eliminates any bad attributes it may have. another thing is neutralization. it doesnt exactly go together with the everything is good, or does it? but in a nutshell, i thought that everything is neutralized somehow in good ways. well just my .02
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    #13
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    Stasis, I am not familiar with the concept of "costly signalling"-can you provide a more comprehensive explanation?
    Solar, I am somewhat familiar with the "expansion/contraction" theory. The problem I have with that theory is that it seems to be in direct opposition to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy or heat death), which, to my understanding, states that in a closed system, all matter (energy, basically) seeks a state of maximum stability, or heat death (non-reactivity). Now, if the universe may be viewed as a closed system, the theory that you mention would seem to contravene the Second Law of Thermodynamics-the universe could not expand and contact an infinite number of times. I believe that Hawking is the foremost proponent of the "expansion/contraction" theory at this time-do you know if he has provided an explanation as to how the two may be reconciled? I would imagine that he has-I'm just not familiar with it.
    I would assume, though, that it has something to do with the contraction of the energy into a "re-energized" state as the atoms are compressed into an ever greater singular density. However, it seems to me that the reconciliation of the two would have to provide for a built-in "triggering" mechanism within the universe so that the contraction process would begin prior to reaching the end stages of heat death, and also would have to assume the perfect recapture of matter, which seems a bit farfetched to me. All of which, in my opinion, seem based upon just as much speculation as the existence of God.
    [This message has been edited by glowbug (edited 02 November 2000).]
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    #14
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    God can be many things. Many of us are used to the americanized version of god, which is in fact created by organized religion as a means to instill fear and control the population. Now that the presence of organized religion has dwindled in this country, who and what god really is is open for interpretation.
    God seems to be something created by man, not an actual living being. The laws supposedly created by god are really created by the church, which in turn is something created by humans. No one can ever know who god is, no matter what religion they follow, because chances are they were conditioned to believe that. Some of us choose to follow what we are taught, and some of us choose to break away from it.
    The church's version of god is a big contradiction. One minute he's all nice and loving, the next minute he sends you to an eternity of damnation and misery. Why would god do something like that if he loves you?
    What is god to me? God is me, and you. God is an embodiment of both good and evil, light and darkness. If god is everything, than god is satan, and satan is god. There are too many holes in this dogma, and too many unanswered questions for me to be able to follow it.
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    What if...
    We are all part of a united and infinite life-force that includes any and all things, real and imagined? What if by imagining things, we draw on this life force and create anew what was not there before? What if what we believe is true simply because we believe it and we have that power?
    If that were so, then we are each one of us a God, free to create good or evil as we choose. With millions of human beings believing that God does not exist, there if there is any power at all in belief, than he does.
    And what of those who don't? Because "God" indicates an infinite being, launguage cannot possibly describe it. Anything we could define with words would automatically become finite and bounded. (Kirkegaard) But in that case, we cannot prove that God exists, and we cannot prove that he doesn't exist. Believing in God requires faith, because he cannot be proven. Not believing in God requires just as much faith, because he also can't be disproven. So for those who do not believe, perhaps there is no God. Looked at this way, why would anyone choose to abandon a God when you can have one for the simple price of faith?
    What if there are no right and wrong answers, only what you choose to create? What if the only "purpose" of existance is to exist in the way that makes you happiest?
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    #16
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    What if...
    We are all part of a united and infinite life-force that includes any and all things, real and imagined? What if by imagining things, we draw on this life force and create anew what was not there before? What if what we believe is true simply because we believe it and we have that power?
    If that were so, then we are each one of us a God, free to create good or evil as we choose. With millions of human beings believing that God does not exist, there if there is any power at all in belief, than he does.
    And what of those who don't? Because "God" indicates an infinite being, launguage cannot possibly describe it. Anything we could define with words would automatically become finite and bounded. (Kirkegaard) But in that case, we cannot prove that God exists, and we cannot prove that he doesn't exist. Believing in God requires faith, because he cannot be proven. Not believing in God requires just as much faith, because he also can't be disproven. So for those who do not believe, perhaps there is no God. Looked at this way, why would anyone choose to abandon a God when you can have one for the simple price of faith?
    What if there are no right and wrong answers, only what you choose to create? What if the only "purpose" of existance is to exist in the way that makes you happiest?
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    It's kind of silly, especially how much of it is pasting human motives and intentions on something that purportedly existed before we came around and presumably will exist after we've done our little dance. How can you do that to something that embodies everything that Is, and probably everything that Isn't? More to the point, how can we, who in general find it hard to concern ourselves with anything outside of our immediate experience, imagine to even guess at something that would truly know the concept of infinity?
    Actually.... if you think about it, it's not silly at all. We have very little insight into the workings of creation, and while we may *know* that there's this amazingly powerful, omniprescent force creating, guiding, embodying everything... how do we even begin to understand ITs immenseness? How do we communicate the knowledge of IT to eachother, how do we break IT down into understandable terms? Easy... personify IT.
    Give IT a name, hell, give IT a gender even! Make it so that IT is something we can relate to, in some way, rather than just this unexplainable, explicable force. Carve IT down into a somewhat manageable, somewhat understandable entity. A name that we can celebrate, pray to, create myths and religions around.
    The concept of God may not do justice to the immense power of the creative force running the show, but it serves a purpose. It allows for us mere mortals to try and understand IT, to try to identify ourselves with IT.
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    #18
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    That Flower is fuckin' smart . . . for a girl.
    Fantastic post, my friend.
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    #19
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    Oh, Flower. Perfect, beautiful way to think of it.
    *hugs tight*
    ~*~ Ashke ~*~
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    Actually.... if you think about it, it's not silly at all. We have very little insight into the workings of creation, and while we may *know* that there's this amazingly powerful, omniprescent force creating, guiding, embodying everything... how do we even begin to understand ITs immenseness? How do we communicate the knowledge of IT to eachother, how do we break IT down into understandable terms?
    The teachings of Christ would illustrate those terms.
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    our desire to explain and answer all things have led us to personify god and give human characteristics to something which will never be able to be given a definitive forumalation for explanation which can be proved correct or incorrect. life will do anything it can to survive. every life form displays this is nature around us. human beings have the same desire to live. if the universe and all that exists in it can be explained as an energy or a force, a tangible, existing entity, wouldn't it have the same desire to continue its existence. maybe 'god' didn't create the earth and life on it for our glory or for his, but we were merely a product of its own evolutionary cycle of its own existence in what exists around us. chemical reactions will continue to occur if the correct building blocks are present. we may be building blocks which ensure the existence of something which is greater than what even we can imagine or begin to understand. it's a thought, anyway.
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    #22
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    it's a thought, anyway.
    ...and a damn good one at that.
    Nicely stated.
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    Ok these are just my beliefs mind you.
    God is infinity contained within nothingness.
    A mind for want of a better word that exists entirely without physical embodiement.
    God is not "energy" as we know energy and God is not concrete.
    God could not know godself, because God was all there was and wasn't. God had nothing to compare to. Sooo God thought a universe, and it exists in God's mind.
    We are all expressions of God, in an infinite number of ways having an infinite number of experiences because it is through this illusion of seperation and these experiences of pain and pleasure that God knows Godself.
    Imagine this, nothingness that is not even empty space (for empty space is in and of itself a "thing")
    That is what God is, there is neither space nor time, until God decided for there to be the illusion of it.
    There are many different levels of conciousness.
    There is the mundane level of conciousness, where all of this seems real.
    The sub-concious, where decisions are made that we are not even aware of.
    The unconcious which holds memories we don't even realize we have and uses these to influence our decisions.
    The super-conciousness or the soul, at this level of awareness we exist outside of space and time and pleasure and pain but we still retain our sense of individuality. This level of conciousness is where decisions about external events that happen to you are made.
    From there you have levels of conciousness where you no longer retain your entire sense of individuality.
    There is lover-conciousness where you and a lover are one.
    National conciousness, where you are at one with all in you nation
    Racial conciousness where you are at one with all in your race
    Global, human, sentient, life-form and on and on and on. An infinite number there..
    Finally we come to Supra-conciousness. This is ALL of it. One with everything that is and isn't
    Being infinity within nothingness.
    Ok, this is probably confusing and hard to understand so let me know what you guys think. Its a belief system that has worked very well for me in the past few years and it grows continually.
    Love,
    Pure
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    Evolution + non-existence of God = humans as selfish survival-of-the-fittest machines?
    NO!
    Because we are intelligent creatures, when our existence is not threatened, we are free to act in any way we please. I know many, many altruistic atheists.
    And even if it is the case that we are selfish by nature, we can overcome our nature.
    Define yourself, don't be defined.
    -Trancendance
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    Trance and Dance: the enlightened path to Trancendence.
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    #25
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    glowbug, the evolutionary importance of sacrifice rings loud and clear when you see a mother and her young.
    After thousands of years of evolution of genes and memes it is now a fairly ingrained aspect of our genetics and culture to value some acts of sacrifice.
    Also consider the excess wealth and free-time that most of us enjoy. When you are foraging for food the continuum of sacrifice is sparse. When you have a lot of free-time and wealth there are a lot more oportunities for sacrifice.
    Some people are so practiced at giving that a cold lake doesn't seem like that big of a plunge to take.
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