on discussing god and religion

For intuitive and critical discussions, from spirituality to theological doctrines. Fair warning: because the subject matter is personal, moderation is strict.

Moderator: Dan~

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:50 pm

What’s New About The New Atheism?
Victor Stenger answers the question.

Heading Toward Theocracy

If religions restricted their activities to home, church, synagogue or mosque, atheists would have no legitimate complaints. The problem is, religion is everywhere. If any event triggered the New Atheist attitude it was 9/11. Some commentators have tried to explain this tragic event in terms of social causes, such as the perceived American oppression of Muslim nations. However, a reading of the final instructions Mohammed Atta gave to his team leaves little doubt that it was religion which motivated them as they flew those planes into those buildings.


On the other hand, come on, would not someone who genuinely believed in a God, the God, my God, not rationalize any and all behaviors in the name of God? Think about it: If what you do here and now is judged by God as the only way in which you can attain immortality and salvation there and then, would not attempts to water down the Scripture be deemed sacrilegious? And rightfully. After all, if others do not join you in worshipping and adoring the one true God [yours] are they not inherently a danger? Could they not, perhaps, corrupt your own youth by touting the false God? Or No God.

Either my religion does revolve around the real me [my soul] in sync with the right thing to do [the will of God], or I can never really be certain how to achieve immortality and salvation.

That assessment of religion has always seemed to be the most reasonable one to me. And, again, precisely because of all that is at stake here if you get it wrong. That's why based on my own experience with religious men and women over the years, many might have professed to have faith in God, but that's not really what they believed at all. It's not faith, it's certainty.

And, if believing that human existence is not just an essentially meaningless trek to oblivion, the closer you get to certainty, the more comforted and consoled that you are.

Thus...

While in recent times Christians have not produced numerically comparable atrocities, individual cases can be found where murders by Christians have been committed ‘under orders’ from God. More common are Christian attempts to force others to behave according to their beliefs; to set public policy based on faith rather reason; and to transform America into a theocracy.


That is clearly the aim of any number of evangelicals here. But I wouldn't call this faith. On the contrary, the attempts to politicize religion seems to revolve almost entirely around the absolute certainty that Jesus is coming back. And thus that God must exist.

Blind faith?

And while folks like Trump and his crony capitalist ilk will merely mold and manipulate them into sustaining their own "show me the money" rendition of nihilism, all that really matters in the end is the extent to which they can sustain it. Perhaps all the way to fascism itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby MagsJ » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:38 pm

iambiguous wrote:
MagsJ wrote:Image
Okay, to all those folks who are more inclined to spirituality than religion, same thing:

What prompts you to choose one set of behaviors "here and now" in order to attain what you believe or would like believe the fate of "I" is "there and then".

Morality and mortality.

You all know my own considerably grim take on them.

In the beginning was.. Dharma. Dharma is not bound to any one religion or sect..

I doubt we all ponder daily about our fate, but probably do about daily morality and living for longevity. That is my reply, to my interpretation, of your inquiry.

Haven’t you recently been called fatalistic, here, at ILP? I recently learned about a new term.. the term ‘OCD thoughts’ ..it’s more common than you’d think.. perhaps you think constant (OCD) thoughts, such as fatalism and deasin? I’m sure we all have our own..
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ


Nobilis Est Ira Leonis | Om Surya Devaay namah | Manus justa nardus
User avatar
MagsJ
The Londonist: a chic geek
 
Posts: 19922
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:59 pm
Location: London, NC1 … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …Suryaloka.. the sun

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:06 pm

What’s New About The New Atheism?
Victor Stenger answers the question.

The Folly of Faith

Faith is belief in the absence of empirical evidence, and often in the face of contrary evidence. The position of the New Atheists is that faith is the force behind both the malevolent deeds of extremist religious groups and the irrational acts of many political leaders. To act on the basis of faith can often be to act in conflict with reason. We New Atheists claim that to do so is immoral, and dangerous to society.


Again, in my view, it's not really faith we are dealing with in regard to most "God world" folks. Or, rather, in all my years of interacting with them [from both sides] it wasn't. It is all but rock solid belief that there is a God, the God. And that of necessity it was/is their own God.

Now, I'm sure in times of travail, doubts crept in for some. And I've known a few who, like me, pulled out of it completely. But must were way beyond faith. Especially when they are willing to divide the world up [politically] between the righteous and infidels.

And that's where the danger lies. In objectivism linked to God linked to an authoritarian political agenda. Up to and including the theocrats. And, up to a point, even to those secularists who treat one or another ideology or humanism as the equivalent of religion.

On the other hand, the argument goes, are not the New Atheists more or less in the same boat? Only their own understanding of God and religion is allowed to prevail in any particular discussion. Here, there, everywhere.

Here the New Atheists find themselves in conflict with many other atheists who prefer to accommodate religion and not challenge beliefs, even when those beliefs conflict with well-established science. However, the New Atheists say we should challenge the irrational thinking behind religious beliefs, including that of moderates, which can only help justify the more extreme activities, as well as motivate less extreme, but still dangerous, behavior.


Sure, go ahead, challenge it. But the bottom line never goes away: moral nihilism and oblivion. Or, yeah, my own bottom line anyway. Ever and always the atheists [old and new] are stuck there. They somehow have to convince the faithful and the true believers to abandon all hope of immortality and salvation. And to abandon all attempts to propound a moral agenda that can never be more than one or another hopelessly tangled/problematic rendition of "moderation, negotiation and compromise".

Unless, of course, as with folks like Sam Harris, you actually attempt to connect the dots between morality and science. And how is that not for all practical purposes pretty much the same thing? Okay, you won't go to Heaven for doing the right thing "down here", but at least science is there to tell you what all rational and virtuous folks are obligated to choose in regards to, say, abortion?

Some of those favoring the accommodation of religion see this as a strategy to maintain support for science and, in particular, for evolution. While New Atheists support these goals, and have no intention of banning religion from the public square, we think that fighting against all forms of unreason is more important in the long run. Public support for science is strong and hardly likely to erode because of a few loud-mouthed atheists.


Clearly, taking into account the actual social, political and economic "situation" in which suggestions like this might be pertinent, the arguments that I raise don't go away.

Or, perhaps, not so clearly at all? Well, all I can do here is to hear out those who see it all differently. And hope that those who still have faith in or firmly believe in God are willing to explore how that impacts the behaviors that they do choose in regard to conflicting goods "out in the world".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:15 pm

MagsJ wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
MagsJ wrote:Image
Okay, to all those folks who are more inclined to spirituality than religion, same thing:

What prompts you to choose one set of behaviors "here and now" in order to attain what you believe or would like believe the fate of "I" is "there and then".

Morality and mortality.

You all know my own considerably grim take on them.

In the beginning was.. Dharma. Dharma is not bound to any one religion or sect..

I doubt we all ponder daily about our fate, but probably do about daily morality and living for longevity. That is my reply, to my interpretation, of your inquiry.

Haven’t you recently been called fatalistic, here, at ILP? I recently learned about a new term.. the term ‘OCD thoughts’ ..it’s more common than you’d think.. perhaps you think constant (OCD) thoughts, such as fatalism and deasin? I’m sure we all have our own..


As I noted previously, whether in regard to an actual religious denomination or to any other "spiritual" path, the aim of this thread is to explore the manner in which those who espouse either connect the dots existentially between the behaviors they choose on this side of the grave and what they believe the fate of "I" will be on the other side of it.

Dharma: (in Indian religion) the eternal and inherent nature of reality, regarded in Hinduism as a cosmic law underlying right behavior and social order.

(in Buddhism) the nature of reality regarded as a universal truth taught by the Buddha; the teaching of Buddhism.

an aspect of truth or reality.


How do you understand Dharma and how is it pertinent to the behaviors that you choose insofar as you understand the relationship between morality here and now and immortality there and then.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:45 pm

What’s New About The New Atheism?
Victor Stenger answers the question.

Attacking the New Atheism

To give a taste of the typical criticism of the New Atheists by professed atheists, let us consider the views of atheist philosopher Ron Aronson from his book Living Without God (2008). Aronson is critical of the New Atheists for not providing secularists with an alternative to God to believe in: they only provide a denial of God, and nothing to compare with what he calls the ‘coherence’ of religious belief:

“Our religious friends affirm their belief in the coherence of the universe and the world, their deep sense of belonging to it and to a human community, their refusal to be stymied by the limits of knowledge, their confidence in dealing with life’s mysteries and uncertainties, their willingness to take complete responsibility for the small things while leaving forces beyond themselves in charge of the large ones, their security in knowing right from wrong, and perhaps above all, their sense of hope about the future… Even if we would reject these beliefs as unfounded and irrational, we have to be struck by their force. And envy their coherence… Besides disbelief, what do we have to offer? What should we tell our children and grandchildren as we see them swept up in a pervasively religious environment?” (p.17)


In a word: Huh?

Or, rather, the word that pops into my own head in reacting to "critiques" of this sort.

Think about it...

Does this or does this not sum up succinctly -- for most, compellingly -- why religion is still embraced by the preponderance of human beings around the globe. This is precisely the mindset that a leap of faith can provide members of the flock.

And one reason that atheists -- old or new -- often fail to break it down is precisely because there is no secular alternative to God. None, in any event, that comes even close to providing the same measure of comfort and consolation.

Not only that but historically there have been any number of secular alternatives that have revolved around such things as survival of the fittest, political ideology, scientism, nihilism and the like. And, ironically enough, these folks have often succeeded in bringing about only greater human pain and suffering.

And then the part about oblivion to boot.

Nope. From my frame of mind the only possible way to construe "the best of all possible worlds" sans God is in one or another political manifestation of moderation, negotiation and compromise. And look at all the turmoil that ever and always brings with it.

Not to mention the fractured and fragmented personalities like mine.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby MagsJ » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:21 pm

iambiguous wrote:As I noted previously, whether in regard to an actual religious denomination or to any other "spiritual" path, the aim of this thread is to explore the manner in which those who espouse either connect the dots existentially between the behaviors they choose on this side of the grave and what they believe the fate of "I" will be on the other side of it.
Dharma: (in Indian religion) the eternal and inherent nature of reality, regarded in Hinduism as a cosmic law underlying right behavior and social order.

But of course Dharma sprang from other, previous, geo-political concepts, all of which precede indigenous Indic religions.. religions having adopted Them. Chicken/egg / politics/religion dichotomy, solved.. for India anyway.

(in Buddhism) the nature of reality regarded as a universal truth taught by the Buddha; the teaching of Buddhism.

an aspect of truth or reality.

How do you understand Dharma and how is it pertinent to the behaviors that you choose insofar as you understand the relationship between morality here and now and immortality there and then.

I simply, absorb.. do.. and be, within the moral boundaries I set myself, which are derived from the expectations I have of myself.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ


Nobilis Est Ira Leonis | Om Surya Devaay namah | Manus justa nardus
User avatar
MagsJ
The Londonist: a chic geek
 
Posts: 19922
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:59 pm
Location: London, NC1 … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …Suryaloka.. the sun

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:21 pm

What’s New About The New Atheism?
Victor Stenger answers the question.

The New Atheists do indeed reject religious beliefs as irrational – but we’re certainly not going to dream up other irrational beliefs to take their place! And just because a belief is coherent doesn’t mean it’s desirable. Maybe it’s coherent to kill for your religious beliefs – but it’s still murder.


Again, as soon as you take words of this sort out into the world of human interactions, the very meaning of the word coherent itself when made applicable to the behaviors we choose becomes increasingly more problematic. Believe in a particular God in a particular way and almost anything can be rationalized as intelligent, rational, sound.

Same with any number of secular beliefs. Interpret a political ideology or an assessment of nature to mean [and only to mean] either this or that and everyone becomes fair game: sexism, heterosexism racism, ethnocentrism.

All one needs here is the font.

Only religion could suppose an unjustified certainty to be an improvement on ignorance. The existential questions caused by death, loss, suffering and inhumanity are not answered by the great religions – unless you think “It’s a mystery” is an answer.


On the other hand -- and for all practical purposes -- that is at least an answer. And it is one more than the atheists [old or new] have. They also have other "answers": the Devil, free will, human evil. The point being to have an answer. In other words, when the alternative is an essentially meaningless existence, senseless suffering and oblivion.

We New Atheists also disagree with Aronson’s implication that holding to a set of irrational beliefs can be healthy. The religious have a double burden of guilt and grief when they lose a loved one, for example. At least an atheist doesn’t wonder why God did this to her, what sin she must have committed to deserve such punishment. Religion offers no comfort if you live in constant fear of God’s disapproval.


This however is [to me] just another "world of words" in a philosophy magazine. Actual religionists across time historically and across the globe culturally, are able to construct and then reconstruct all manner of complex rationalizations able to make their actual lived sense of reality far more sophisticated. Given, among other things, the very different lives they have to work from.

Still, the true believer is able to convince herself that whatever God's purpose might be in taking a loved one from her, the loved one is now with God as, in time, she will be too. And given how easy it can be for mere mortals to rationalize their behaviors, the fear of God for many is anything but “constant”. For some, you confess your sins, are forgiven, and go about the business of rationalizing more behaviors still. Between treks to the church on the Sabbath.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby MagsJ » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:45 pm

iambiguous wrote:
MagsJ wrote:In the beginning was.. Dharma. Dharma is not bound to any one religion or sect..

I doubt we all ponder daily about our fate, but probably do about daily morality and living for longevity. That is my reply, to my interpretation, of your inquiry.

Haven’t you recently been called fatalistic, here, at ILP? I recently learned about a new term.. the term ‘OCD thoughts’ ..it’s more common than you’d think.. perhaps you think constant (OCD) thoughts, such as fatalism and deasin? I’m sure we all have our own..
As I noted previously, whether in regard to an actual religious denomination or to any other "spiritual" path, the aim of this thread is to explore the manner in which those who espouse either connect the dots existentially between the behaviors they choose on this side of the grave and what they believe the fate of "I" will be on the other side of it.

The behaviours I choose in life, are not based on my thoughts of the resulting consequences in my demise.. why do you ponder on the resultant aspect so?

Even at the height of my allergy-induced illness, the only time such thoughts ever crossed my mind was when my health would dip dangerously low to the point of forcing my mind to ‘go there’ ..but otherwise I didn’t and don’t, so why does yours constantly do?

Dharma: (in Indian religion) the eternal and inherent nature of reality, regarded in Hinduism as a cosmic law underlying right behavior and social order.

(in Buddhism) the nature of reality regarded as a universal truth taught by the Buddha; the teaching of Buddhism.

an aspect of truth or reality.


How do you understand Dharma and how is it pertinent to the behaviors that you choose insofar as you understand the relationship between morality here and now and immortality there and then.

I don’t practice my Dharma with an end result in mind.. I guess I do have Ṛta (/ˈrɪtə/; Sanskrit ऋत ṛta "order, rule; truth") in mind, and simply hope for the best. :lol:

this is an interesting read, but you may have come across it before.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ


Nobilis Est Ira Leonis | Om Surya Devaay namah | Manus justa nardus
User avatar
MagsJ
The Londonist: a chic geek
 
Posts: 19922
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:59 pm
Location: London, NC1 … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …Suryaloka.. the sun

Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 pm

MagsJ wrote:The behaviours I choose in life, are not based on my thoughts of the resulting consequences in my demise.. why do you ponder on the resultant aspect so?


Well, as I have noted time and again, I created this thread because my own fractured and fragmented "self" is unable to move much beyond human identity as the embodiment of "I" reflecting political prejudices rooted in dasein as an existential contraption. Why? Because I speculate further that in a No God world, human existence appears to me to be but an essentially meaningless trek from the cradle to the grave. Ending in oblivion.

On the other hand, those who choose God and/or religion as a font onto/into which they can anchor "I", think about these things very differently.

So, this thread was created in order for them to note just how differently they think about them.

If, however, connecting the dots existentially between morality here and now and immortality there and then is of little or no interest to you, I'd suggest you not participate in the discussions here. Because that is invariably what I will tug the exchanges back to.

Dharma then.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 36114
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Previous

Return to Religion and Spirituality



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users