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Current Issue: Volume 23, No. 10. Week of March 27, 2005

Nietzsche's statement, God is dead

God Is Dead - NOT

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: March 27, 2005
Latest Update: March 29, 2005

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Topic of the Week:

God Is Dead - NOT

Now we're past imagining rabbits in red and blue and yellow and purple and green. Now we're into imagining God, about whom we all have beliefs and images and wonderings, but who transcends our ability to capture any essence for our rational and scientific examinatin. This is not a new social issue. We have fought and killed one another over the arrogant certainty that our imagining, belief, images, and wonderings were the "right" ones.

This wouldn't matter so much as a pressing social issue if we could manage to find the humility and wonder that most religions teach. Unfortunately I am reminded of the young man who once said out loud in class, in a moment of bewilderment, "I respect all religions. My parents taught me that I should respect other people's beliefs. But then they added, 'But our God is the 'right" God.' " I share the young man's bewilderment.

Atheists are convinced that religion is the source of all evil, since we kill each other over religion. Some of those who believe are convinced that Satan is the source of all evil. Interesting that we seem to be able to form a consensus on Satan as evil, and share that evil over all our beliefs, but we can't share any such consensus on God. I don't have the answers, kids. This is an independent study about discovering questions. What I do have is a terrible fear of the arrogance that comes with knowingness. We're still trying to eat that forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden. WE WANT TO KNOW. But the tree of knowledge story says we cannot and must not KNOW.

I want you to know about Nietzsche's God is dead statement, so that you will recognize that religion has been a present social issue for humankind for a very long time. We won't find "answers" this semester. I'm not sure there are any. Education is about discovering questions and learning to practice humility and openness in our knowledge. As near as any of us know the world really is flat and gravity is slithering over the edge. That doesn't mean we aren't human with a God or Gods who may exist, and that we mustn't have values by which to guide us in choosing humane ways of preserving the world as we know it.

NEWS, Announcements, and

Current Discussion Topics:

  • Learning Records for Spring 2005 Just started updating learning records from messages on transformdom. sorry for delay. This will take a while, but if you'll send me your messages numbers, it will help me get it up faster. Please be patient with me. I'm retired this semester. jeanne

  • Instructions page for joining transform_dom and transspan

    Famous People and Concepts We Should Have Heard Of, But Often Haven't.

      People

    • Karen Armstrong - Former nun. Writes extensively and with great insight on many religions. Many books. Good writing. Requires some background understanding.
    • Jonathan Lear - Psychiatrist - University of Chicago. The Arrogance of "knowingness." Suggests that we are often not always rational, but after the fact try to think up a rational explanation that fits our prior behavior. Uses the wolf man story from Freud to illustrate this.

      Concepts

    • mythos and logos - from Karen Armstrong's Battle for God. Mythos is the stories that we have inherited throughout the eons, sometimes in words, sometimes in remembered myths, sometimes through art (fertility goddesses and such.) Logos is sceintific knowledge with evidence that can be ascertained in a variety of ways, prefereably meeasured objectively, though all measurement is biasd by perspective. Karen Armstrong points out that we have treated mythos and logos as though one or the other is right. Not so. Both mythos and logos make up integral parts of our knowledge. Mythos puts the flesh of the story on the skeleton of the scientific facts of logos.

    • the golden age of the past or the golden future - from Karen Armstrong's Batttle for God. Armstrong describes fundamentalist religions as looking back to the golden age of the past, whereas non-fundamentalist religions are looking forward to modernism and the future. This explains the basic conflict between modernism and fundamentalism, where the fundamentalists are opposing the very change that modernists are seeking. These terms are important to Armstrong's discussion of religion, and relate strongly to religion as a present social issue.

    • forgiveness as opposed to retribution and punishment - another basic conflict between religious perscpectives in present social issues. Do we want to incarcerate those who committed the frauds of Enron or do we want to seek more creative approaches that might lead them to thank those same skills and use them for the benefit of the whole community. This, of course, leads to a re-examination of our whole correctional system in terms of its humanity and its usefulness to the rest of the humans in the community.

    Jeanne's Lectures for Spring 2005

    Visual Sociology:

    • Up soon. jeanne

    Academic Support

    Using Academic Language Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    and Careers

    • Resumes:

    • Letters of Recommendation:

      • Letters of Recommendation: How to get me to respond to your request. Many of you need letters. If you will follow this format, I can do them quickly and make them good.
      • Dog Letters If you do not give me adequate information, but do manage to get my attention, you may end up with a dog letter. That is a letter that says that you work well with people, that you are enthusiastic, that you persist at getting things done, and that everyone likes you. Of course, my dog gets along well with people, brings his ball to them, is enthusiastic, and persists at getting them to take his ball. Everyone likes my dog. That's a dog letter. It's so general it could be about my dog. jeanne

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

    Flying Dog is also a painting by Zhang Kai. Best I've every come across to illustrate our site with magic numbers and unicorns and whipped cream cats and now, flying dogs:

    Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in class that works out well, that inspires you, that helps in studying, whatever, take a few minutes to send us an e-mail. We'll post it where all of us can learn from it, including other teachers.

    You can also send an email to the Who to Take Site: