Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Survey and Nature of Existence

Wow. Busy last couple of days. Did a random emergency roadtrip for a friend so now I have to recover all my lost sleep. I'm also very controlling, basically an only child, a little OCD, and so I rarely let anyone else drive my car for me ... my own fault but bllaaaaaaa tired.

Anyways. For those randomly finding my blog through certain searches - our generation, of about 16-30 year olds, is over 25% secular. And is growing. Well, secular/non-believing numbers are growing across the board. I think it goes people over 65, then 30-40, then 18-25, then teens, with 40-60 or so being the smallest growing region. At some point I may link sites and surveys, but for now take my word or simply put some damn work into it and look it up! Also, Mormons have a hard time understanding atheism and have an even harder time approaching it so, no, there are not many books dealing with atheism in Mormonism. For those trying to find those books. I read a book on faith, Holding Fast I believe, and that was the closest I came to a book dealing with atheism ... and it really didn't help me much. Back then I was really trying to believe so I speak from experience.

Also, talking about surveys, I took this one which atheists ''won.'' Got 31 out of 32 so I'm pretty dang smart, yeah? I linked the survey questions to the atheist group of Utah valley and most of us got above a 24. A couple did get 100%. I got one of the Jewish questions wrong ... mean it dealt with the Judaic faith not that it was-nevermind. I also did guess on 2 others, but since I since I thought my answers were the right ones and was right I guess I wanting guessing as much as I thought, lol. Overall, in our group, we averaged like 29-30 out of a dozen. We agreed that the survey itself was skewed for post-mormon atheists to do well. I think this is fair to say.

That's all on that. There was a big to-do about the survey a while back. It was geared towards Americans so it mainly talked about Christianity, with an oversampling of Mormonism questions, and only a couple atheistic questions. Very general overall though.

So, this little post is my plug for The Nature of Existence. I watched this with my gf a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty good, not great, but definitely worth a watch. If you like seeing crazy people in Religulous then you will enjoy this one. I have interviews with Nygard about his film on Irreligiosophy and Point of Inquiry. Maybe Freethought Radio as well, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. He seems very agnostic and pretty atheist so it is tilted towards atheism, accounting for a third of the interviews probably, but my gf and I felt the video was pretty objective as well. From him we get some jokes, but overall he treats people and their beliefs with a lot of kindness, whereas most hard punches are thrown by other people on the show. I enjoyed seeing how even the douche preacher, Jed, showed a soft side here and there, where he says no matter what race we're all God's family, or his comments on love. I use him as an example, for those who haven't seen it, cause he is absurd in how he gets in people's faces on college campuses and tells people they are going to hell, because he literally believes in what he teaches, but he also seems to literally care about the people he's talking to. Dangerous yes, though he seems like a person who disdains violence, but I thought the film did good with showing several sides to the people involved.

In the end the film doesn't get too deep, I mean, Nygard had 100s of hours of footage to use and put it all into 90 minutes which felt about right. A lot is just speculation on the interviewees parts, but it is enjoyable. He has people like Richard Dawkins, Irvin Kerschner, Carl Sagan's wife (forgot her name, lol), an interesting guy named Aha, and even Orson Scott Card. Plus many others like his neighbor, a pre-teen atheist girl. It skips around a lot but generally it follows a path with the types of questions being asked. If you like seeing interesting people, like wrestlers for Jesus, then you will love this film.

Theology and philosophy, as I said, are, however, not that deep. If you've read plenty of books, looked at world religions, and asked lots of questions then you won't receive too much new information. I still have the Mormon mindset of going into something and trying to apply it to my life, so for this film I did gain some personal insights and gems. I tend to think happiness is pretty vital in life, and for some of the people in the film they seem to just be trying to find happiness.

Overall, I recommend it to people who think they might like it. If you're not interested then visit the site and watch a couple videos. If you like those then you will like the film. Happy huntings.


  1. Why did you help your friend? What would you have thought about yourself if you refused to help? (i.e. my career/sleep comes 1st so deal with it yourself buddy)? What would others have thought of you if you had refused to help for purley selfish reasons?

    I had a Near Death Experience in which I was fully concious and completely aware despite being 'dead' so I know the answer to this question. I also know beyond dispite that there is life after death, though I cannot 'prove' it to anyone if asked.

    I'm not surprised younger people are not believing in God. Religion is inadequate and science is in vogue (my opinion).

    We have turned our back on Love. We are becoming more selfish and self-serving. The corporate global takeover is hardly a model of spirituality in action. We do not have any Ghandi's, or Martin Luther King's anymore. We need someone to step up. Obama is trying, but there is a big well oiled machine working against him.

    We need to look inside, not outside to find the truth. Like when you did when your friend was in need. Not helping was probably unthinkable to you. You put love 1st and stayed true to yourself and honored God by doing so. Felt good didn't it?

    Take care.

  2. Overall, thank you Anon. I can accept a compliment of you thinking I honor your specific God so long as you acknowledge that I don't believe in it. In a phrase, I hope your theology includes the idea that even nonbelievers can do good things.

    I obviously am very skeptical of 'near death experiences,' and with limited information I wouldn't try to demolish yours, but if given more I probably would. However, I am still open to the idea and have a book (about near death experiences) a friend referenced to me on my wishlist that I will get some day. I also am skeptical as to how near death experiences support the existence of God, let alone a specific God.

    But please don't get me wrong, if you come back and read this, I love that you commented on my blog and put your opinion on here. I enjoy bouncing opinions back and forth, and I hope you don't take offense.

  3. No offense taken what-so-ever. You offered a very thoughtful and respectful response.
    I am not surprised at all that people, atheists or believers alike do good things because what I believe in is the core goodness in all people and putting friends 1st is an example of that.

    Re: my experience, I do not like to elaborate too much on it because it is a difficult subject to talk openly about. However, I have found extreme inner peace and have lost all fear of death. Unless you personally experience it, it is difficult to understand because there are few points of reference on this 'plane' which I can refer to in such a way that people will understand in a meaningful way.

    I am glad I contributed to your blog because you have proven yourself to be a quality person who handled your response in a very respectful way.

    Take care j-dog.

  4. Currently Anonymous Agnostic/AtheistMarch 30, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    The reason why I am also skeptical of proving God's existence through near death experiences: they are NEAR death experiences.