Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers?

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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby Uccisore » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:03 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Jesus Christ. The very embodiment of religious philosophy. And yet we're not even certain that He actually existed.



Nobody else can make you certain. If evidence isn't the kind of thing that moves you, that's not anybody else's problem. Jesus obviously existed to those of us for whom facts and evidence are key.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby Uccisore » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:14 pm

iambiguous wrote:
However much overlap there might possibly be neither approach seems to have actually come up with a narrative [let alone a God] that everyone can agree on.


Well, take you for example. You're a stubborn sort who won't accept even basic premises no matter how obviously and clearly they are presented to you. Your ability to discuss and think about philosophy consists of repeating maybe 7 statements over and over again, and from what I can tell you aren't interested and capable of logical analysis.

Take Ecmandu for example. He's crazier than a shithouse rat and can't keep a train of thought for more than 2 sentences.

Take PK, take me, take any number of examples you like.

Given the kinds of people that are in the world, why would you expect us all to agree on anything, even exceedingly obvious things?


But what is it all ultimately in the service of if not an attempt to answer the question, "how ought one to live?" in order to attain immortality and salvation?


Not really. That's like saying all philosophy is 'ultimately' in the service to answer the question 'what is true'. There's such a thing as taking something to such a high level of abstraction that it loses all meaning. The religions and the philosophies they inspire are quite a bit different from each other and seek to answer very different questions from each other- that you can group them all up with one pat statement is more indicative of the classification abilities of language, not of the religions.

Are scholars more qualified to answer it?


There is no 'it'. You've created a vague abstraction so broad and insipid that it applies to every religion no matter how different they are. There's not going to be any answer to any question about this "It" you've created. You may as well ask "Who's better at stuff?"

And how are the particular answers that they come up with any less the embodiment [historically, culturally, experientially] of dasein and conflicting goods?


I don't give a shit. Dasein is a bunch of retarded nonsense, especially the way you present it. So take that as example; I think dasein is a bunch of retarded nonsense. You think it's so important that it's literally the only thing you talk about and you insist on turning every conversation about every subject into a conversation about dasein. Do you see how lumping our ideas in the same category of 'how ought one live' creates something so broad and anemic that nothing firm can be said about it? Of course you don't. You only ask questions, you don't answer them or take occasion to introspect.

Just out of curiosity, what do you suppose Donald Trump's religious philosophy is? "Show me the money" perhaps?


I think he's probably the "Vaguely Protestant Christian but I don't think about it much except on Christmas Eve and maybe Easter" sort that typifies American life at present.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby Kriswest » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:15 pm

pilgrim_tom wrote:
Kriswest wrote:What support? It was just a comment about the history of this type of discussion. If some wish to research for or against it , this is just an avenue.


oops! ... likewise ... I was just generalizing.

Been thinking about it some more though ... the paucity of physical evidence may be a blessing in disguise ... sort of unintentional consequences.

Substantial corroberating evidence would have chained the "story" to the visual facts. In the absence of substantive evidence the story was free to travel beyond the boundaries of fact ... into la la land.

Afterall, most people believe the essence of the story is a journey through la la land ... until this particular la la land ... the place/time/space becomes part of human consciousness.

Would not call it la la land as it is somewhat insulting and can take any decent conversation about opposing views to a break down. You do have a point though. I don't think many here would have heard of the discovery due to media lack and , heck I was a teen back then. I did a real quick search and was surprised at the amount of articles, I honestly thought I would find nothing. Here is just one article and piece of research


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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:00 pm

Uccisore wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
Jesus Christ. The very embodiment of religious philosophy. And yet we're not even certain that He actually existed.


Nobody else can make you certain. If evidence isn't the kind of thing that moves you, that's not anybody else's problem. Jesus obviously existed to those of us for whom facts and evidence are key.


Well, there are clearly those who have their doubts: http://www.alternet.org/belief/5-reason ... er-existed

And that's before we get to the part that differentiates the existence of an actual historical figure who thought of himself as Christ [or was thought of as Christ by others] and a demonstration that he was in fact the son of God [God on Earth?].

And that's before we get to all the other evidence presented by all the other folks that embrace the existence of their own [entirely different] God.

Or, in regards to the Moslems and Jews, vouch for the existence of God [the God of Moses and Abraham] but insist that Jesus Christ was...was what exactly?

And [of course] that's just here on earth.

I suspect that, even among religious scholars, there are conflicting accounts.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:11 pm

Uccisore wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
However much overlap there might possibly be neither approach seems to have actually come up with a narrative [let alone a God] that everyone can agree on.


Well, take you for example. You're a stubborn sort who won't accept even basic premises no matter how obviously and clearly they are presented to you. Your ability to discuss and think about philosophy consists of repeating maybe 7 statements over and over again, and from what I can tell you aren't interested and capable of logical analysis.


Okay, as succinctly as you are able, articulate a logical analysis that might persuade an atheist who is not like me -- one that you respect -- to believe in the existence of God.

What does that argument sound like?

Note to others: Really, how much closer does he get to producing a God, the God, his God by making me the argument here?

Uccisore wrote: Given the kinds of people that are in the world, why would you expect us all to agree on anything, even exceedingly obvious things?


No but there seems to be something "obvious" that [to me] you keep sweeping under the rug:

That with so much at stake -- sin on this side of the grave, immortality and salvation and Divine Justice on the other side -- mere mortals would need to be pretty damn clear regarding which God to worship and adore and how to please Him on this side of the grave.

Or, as I speculated on another thread:

Imagine hypothetically three Christian missionaries set out to save the souls of three different native tribes. The first one is successful. The folks in the first tribe accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior and are baptized in the faith. The second is not successful. The folks in the second tribe refuse to accept Christ as their personal savior and instead continue to embrace their own god...their own religion. The third missionary is not even able to find the tribe he was sent out to save.

Now, imagine one member of each tribe dying on the same day a week later. What will be the fate of their souls? Will the man from the first tribe ascend to Heaven having embraced the Christian faith? Will the man from the second tribe burn in Hell for having rejected the Christian faith? And what of the man from the third tribe---he will have died never having even been made aware of the Christian faith. Where does his soul end up?


How do you react to this? Or, sure, is this just not scholastic enough for you?

But what is it all ultimately in the service of if not an attempt to answer the question, "how ought one to live?" in order to attain immortality and salvation?


Uccisore wrote: Not really.


Well, I suspect that there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of true believers out there who might beg to differ. Religion and God [aside from the part about metaphysics and politics] is all about this very, very crucial relationship for mere mortals who, if the atheists are right, are likely to fall over into an abyss that is oblivion for all of eternity; and with no recourse [on this side of the grave] but to embrace one another subjective/subjunctive, historical/cultural rendition of "humanism".

Uccisore wrote: That's like saying all philosophy is 'ultimately' in the service to answer the question 'what is true'. There's such a thing as taking something to such a high level of abstraction that it loses all meaning.


You're accusing me of that! On the contrary, the whole point of creating this thread -- viewtopic.php?f=5&t=186929 -- is to explore the actual existential parameters that flesh and blood human beings become entangled in out in a particular world. So, it doesn't surprise me that you and your ilk avoid it like the plague.

Uccisore wrote: The religions and the philosophies they inspire are quite a bit different from each other and seek to answer very different questions from each other- that you can group them all up with one pat statement is more indicative of the classification abilities of language, not of the religions.


Indeed, the "scholars" no doubt love to approach, to explore and then to assess God and religion in these terms and on this level.

That way they more or less become Will Durant's "epistemologists"; and the world that we actually live one -- one bursting at the seams with liberals and conservatives at each other's throats -- is ever and always just sort of "out there" somewhere.

And how are the particular answers that they come up with any less the embodiment [historically, culturally, experientially] of dasein and conflicting goods?


Uccisore wrote:I don't give a shit. Dasein is a bunch of retarded nonsense, especially the way you present it. So take that as example; I think dasein is a bunch of retarded nonsense.


Okay, this is how I construe the meaning of dasein in a general analysis: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529

And, from the perspective of an atheist, this is how I situate that analysis out in a particular world pertaining to a particular value judgment:

1] I was raised in the belly of the working class beast. My family/community were very conservative. Abortion was a sin.
2] I was drafted into the Army and while on my "tour of duty" in Vietnam I happened upon politically radical folks who reconfigured my thinking about abortion. And God and lots of other things.
3] after I left the Army, I enrolled in college and became further involved in left wing politics. It was all the rage back then. I became a feminist. I married a feminist. I wholeheartedly embraced a woman's right to choose.
4] then came the calamity with Mary and John. I loved them both but their engagement was foundering on the rocks that was Mary's choice to abort their unborn baby.
5] back and forth we all went. I supported Mary but I could understand the points that John was making. I could understand the arguments being made on both sides. John was right from his side and Mary was right from hers.
6] I read William Barrett's Irrational Man and came upon his conjectures regarding "rival goods".
7] Then, over time, I abandoned an objectivist frame of mind that revolved around Marxism/feminism. Instead, I became more and more embedded in existentialism. And then as more years passed I became an advocate for moral nihilism.


Now, "as succinctly as you are able, articulate a logical analysis" that might persuade others that it is just "retarded nonsense".

Uccisore wrote: You think it's so important that it's literally the only thing you talk about and you insist on turning every conversation about every subject into a conversation about dasein.


That is because my interest in philosophy has now come down to this: "How ought one to live?"

And how would it not be fundamentally important here to explore the relationship between one's sense of identity, one's value judgments, and one's actual existential "becoming" as that pertains to historical, cultural and experiential contexts awash in contingency, chance and change.

And wealth and power.

Of course the objectivists/religionists always get around to reducing all of this down to one or another Ideology or Scripture. Or, re folks like James and Jacob, to one or another TOE.

Just out of curiosity, what do you suppose Donald Trump's religious philosophy is? "Show me the money" perhaps?


Uccisore wrote: I think he's probably the "Vaguely Protestant Christian but I don't think about it much except on Christmas Eve and maybe Easter" sort that typifies American life at present.


Yet here is a man whose policies will certainly impact the lives [for better or for much, much worse] of millions upon millions of actual flesh and blood human beings.

And that's all you find it necessary to consider here with respect to your own faith/belief in a God, the God?

Figures.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:27 am

"I don't think that Jesus existed"

"I don't think that there is a god."

"I'm not convinced."


Maybe those are your final answers. Why not? Why does there need to be anything else? Why does the answer have to be the same for everyone?
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby James S Saint » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:58 am

iambiguous wrote:Okay, as succinctly as you are able, articulate a logical analysis that might persuade an atheist who is not like me -- one that you respect -- to believe in the existence of God.

You wouldn't recognize it. And is your issue.
iambiguous wrote:That is because my interest in philosophy has now come down to this: "How ought one to live?"
.
.
Of course the objectivists/religionists always get around to reducing all of this down to one or another Ideology or Scripture. Or, re folks like James and Jacob, to one or another TOE.

In other words, we answer the very "it comes down to this" question, and you refuse to hear any such thing while relegating it all to derogatory insinuations simply because it does in fact answer your question.

It wouldn't matter who said what to you.

You are merely a disingenuous nihilist preacher.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:42 am

Imagine hypothetically three Christian missionaries set out to save the souls of three different native tribes. The first one is successful. The folks in the first tribe accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior and are baptized in the faith. The second is not successful. The folks in the second tribe refuse to accept Christ as their personal savior and instead continue to embrace their own god...their own religion. The third missionary is not even able to find the tribe he was sent out to save.

Now, imagine one member of each tribe dying on the same day a week later. What will be the fate of their souls? Will the man from the first tribe ascend to Heaven having embraced the Christian faith? Will the man from the second tribe burn in Hell for having rejected the Christian faith? And what of the man from the third tribe---he will have died never having even been made aware of the Christian faith. Where does his soul end up?
Must a Christian be able to answer these questions?

What if he says "I don't know"?

What if he says "I don't care"?

What if he says "It's up to God to decide"?
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:28 am

Would not call it la la land as it is somewhat insulting and can take any decent conversation about opposing views to a break down.


Kriswest ... I'm familiar with the popular and unpleasant connotation associated with the expression "la la land" ... that wasn't my intention.

Your comments triggered new thoughts ... I will try to be more explicit.

The expression "la la land" is often used to describe "one who lives in his/her own world" ... implying a disconnect from reality as the majority understands it.

IMO ... the expression "la la land" as defined above ... states a profound truth. At the end of the day each of us "lives in our own world" ... it's simply a question of degree.

Sure lots of "overlap" with other minds exist ... we refer to the more substantial/intense "overlap" instances as 'soul mate' ... 'true friend' ... 'my other half' and so on.

Less substantial/fragile 'overlap' exists with family/religious/political/class etc communities.

While thinking about this it occured to me there must be a mathematical relationship underpinning this phenomenon.

The left side of the equation quantifies the degree/elasticity of the 'overlap' ... the right side of the equation quantifies the resulting energy/force/power.

The above equation is manifest in the well known axioms ... no two minds are alike ... two heads are better than one ... united we stand divided we fall ... divide and conquer ... he/she won the hearts and minds of the masses ... control the story/control the empire and so on.

The fact that we all live in our own world may also help explain the statement ... "It's better together though why is it so hard".

Efforts to control people's personal world ... their minds ... are self evident since time immemorial. The effort expended to maintain "unity" within the various religions is simply a kind way of promoting 'control'.

The good news is no attempt has ever been successful ... seems the diversity/complexity of 'individual minds' is the fuel that propels humanity forward.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:22 pm

Those individual minds must be lonely in their isolation.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:05 am

phyllo wrote:Those individual minds must be lonely in their isolation.


Just beneath the surface of what it means to be human ... unspeakable lonliness and isolation.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby surreptitious57 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:15 am

pilgrim tom wrote:
Just beneath the surface of what it means to be human ... unspeakable loneliness and isolation

Some human beings function better when alone and isolated and do not find it unspeakable at all
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:04 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
pilgrim tom wrote:
Just beneath the surface of what it means to be human ... unspeakable loneliness and isolation

Some human beings function better when alone and isolated and do not find it unspeakable at all


YES ... and thank God for that ... can't imagine what humanity would look like if all people only functioned well in the "crowd" :D
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby surreptitious57 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:33 am

pilgrim tom wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
pilgrim tom wrote:
Just beneath the surface of what it means to be human ... unspeakable loneliness and isolation

Some human beings function better when alone and isolated and do not find it unspeakable at all

YES ... and thank God for that ... can t imagine what humanity would look like if all people only functioned well in the crowd

I certainly do not function well in the crowd and so am grateful that I can be myself away from it where I function far better
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:10 am

surreptitious57 wrote:I certainly do not function well in the crowd and so am grateful that I can be myself away from it where I function far better


Your last comment reminds me of Thomas Kempis ... author of the book Imitation of Christ ... a book still in print 600 years later.

He spent all of his adult life in a monastery ... lived to the ripe old age of 91 ... probably an extraordinary life span for that era.

He said ... paraphrasing ... "Every time I go out into the world ... leave the monastery ... I come back more vexed than before I left."

Seems a few people are capable of functioning in both worlds ... in the 'crowd' ... and in 'isolation'.

Yet very few ... if any ... of these few enjoy both ... like you ... those who prefer isolation find functioning in the 'crowd' a real trial.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:10 pm

James S Saint wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Okay, as succinctly as you are able, articulate a logical analysis that might persuade an atheist who is not like me -- one that you respect -- to believe in the existence of God.

You wouldn't recognize it. And is your issue.


Note to Uccisore:

Is this as far as the theist/religionist/objectivist etc., need go? They give you their own answer. You don't accept it. Thus proving that you are incapable of recognizing the truth about God.

Also, cannot those who believe in yet another God, make the same claim of Christians?

iambiguous wrote:That is because my interest in philosophy has now come down to this: "How ought one to live?"
.
.
Of course the objectivists/religionists always get around to reducing all of this down to one or another Ideology or Scripture. Or, re folks like James and Jacob, to one or another TOE.


James S Saint wrote: In other words, we answer the very "it comes down to this" question, and you refuse to hear any such thing while relegating it all to derogatory insinuations simply because it does in fact answer your question.


It is a fact that you and folks like Jacob provide me with an answer. But what I am hearing is only that which you both profess to believe is true "in your head".

My point is both of you basically claim that what you believe is true in your head constitutes proof enough. You are unable to demonstrate [either to each other or to me] that it is the obligation of all rational/virtuous folks to believe the same.

In fact, both of you can't be correct, right? "Out in the world" of human interactions going all the way back [so far] to the Big Bang, it is either RM or VO.

And that's before we get to the thousands upon thousands of conflicting and contradictory assessments from all the other objectivists.

I then speculate that, in pointing this out to them, they will all still insist that their own objective font -- God, reason, ideology, TOE, nature etc. -- reflects the one true understanding of Existence and/or Human Reality.

James S Saint wrote: It wouldn't matter who said what to you.


True. We can say anything if it is believed that what we say is confirmed merely because we believe that what we say is true "in our heads". But how do we demonstrate this to others who say something else is true.

Scientists have been successfully accomplishing this now for centuries pertaining to the "laws of nature".

And the ethicists?

James S Saint wrote: You are merely a disingenuous nihilist preacher.


Disingenuous: not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

I don't pretend I know less than all that one would need to know in order to fully explain things like this. I merely make a distinction between the world of either/or and the world of is/ought.

And I certainly don't preach nihilism. I merely note the extent to which a nihilistic frame of mind [in -- presumptuously -- a world sans God] precipitated this "in my head":

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

Then I go looking for the arguments of others that might succeed in yanking me up out of it.

And, indeed, wouldn't it then be all the more miraculous if, in turn, they succeeded in convincing me that oblivion is not to be my fate beyond the grave.

After all, as I keep reminding folks like you and Phyllo, this grim prognosis is not to be your fate, is it?

Or so [here and now] you both now believe in your heads.

You do, don't you, James?

Or perhaps not? What do you believe here and now that your fate will be after you are no longer a mere mortal?

[let's see if once again you will simply disappear from an exchange with me]
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

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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:32 pm

True. We can say anything if it is believed that what we say is confirmed merely because we believe that what we say is true "in our heads". But how do we demonstrate this to others who say something else is true.
You don't say what would constitute an adequate demonstration. Some "typical" atheists say that an adequate demonstration of God's existence is God popping up and doing a miracle for them. Anything short of that is not a demonstration. But God doesn't seem to like doing magic tricks on demand. :D So it seems that those atheists are out of luck.

How long can one or should one talk to such an atheist about the existence of God? Not long.
Scientists have been successfully accomplishing this now for centuries pertaining to the "laws of nature".

And the ethicists?
The thing is ... you don't accept anything as a valid measure of ethical conduct. If someone came along and rejected all measures of length (or time), then scientists would not be able to demonstrate the "laws of nature". Demonstrations require some agreed and accepted standards.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:41 pm

And, indeed, wouldn't it then be all the more miraculous if, in turn, they succeeded in convincing me that oblivion is not to be my fate beyond the grave.

After all, as I keep reminding folks like you and Phyllo, this grim prognosis is not to be your fate, is it?

Or so [here and now] you both now believe in your heads.
I don't care if oblivion is on the other side of the grave.

I live with the pragmatic attitude expressed by Marcus Aurelius:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:56 pm

phyllo wrote:
Imagine hypothetically three Christian missionaries set out to save the souls of three different native tribes. The first one is successful. The folks in the first tribe accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior and are baptized in the faith. The second is not successful. The folks in the second tribe refuse to accept Christ as their personal savior and instead continue to embrace their own god...their own religion. The third missionary is not even able to find the tribe he was sent out to save.

Now, imagine one member of each tribe dying on the same day a week later. What will be the fate of their souls? Will the man from the first tribe ascend to Heaven having embraced the Christian faith? Will the man from the second tribe burn in Hell for having rejected the Christian faith? And what of the man from the third tribe---he will have died never having even been made aware of the Christian faith. Where does his soul end up?
Must a Christian be able to answer these questions?

What if he says "I don't know"?


That's understandable. After all, all many religious folks profess is a faith in God. Then "for all practical purposes" they can always fall back on "God works in mysterious" ways; and then not concern themselves too much with things like this. Or with all things...theodical?

phyllo wrote: What if he says "I don't care"?


But how can a man or a woman not care about the fate of another's soul? How, after all, is the fate of another's soul not related eventually to the fate of your own?

Or you could be a member of one or another tribe. We know that historically each scenario has no doubt been played out.

And what of the fate of the souls of the members of the thrid tribe? If they die never even having know the existence of the Christian God how can they not be given a "get out of Hell free" pass from God?

And, if a member of the first tribe converts to Christianity, and then sins egregiously, is it not the responsibility of the missionary who "saved" him, if he ends up in Hell?

Sure, the true believer can simply not think about things like this. But that doesn't make the fate of the souls go away.

What do you think will be the fate of their souls? How about your own?

phyllo wrote: What if he says "It's up to God to decide"?


Then he is back to demonstrating the actual existence of a God, the God, his God when confronted with complexities like this.
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

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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:11 pm

That's understandable. After all, all many religious folks profess is a faith in God. Then "for all practical purposes" they can always fall back on "God works in mysterious" ways; and then not concern themselves too much with things like this. Or with all things...theodical?
What does it have to do with faith???
There is a limit to human knowledge. What if you asked an atheist what happens to a soul after death and he answered "I don't know"? Would you attribute it to "faith" or that the "un-god works in mysterious ways"?
But how can a man or a woman not care about the fate of another's soul? How, after all, is the fate of another's soul not related eventually to the fate of your own?
Maybe it's simply an understanding and acceptance that there are things beyond your control. Or believing that each man/woman is seeking only his own salvation. Or believing that each man/woman has his own relationship with God.
Then he is back to demonstrating the actual existence of a God, the God, his God when confronted with complexities like this.
He doesn't need to demonstrate anything. If God exists, then God will take care of the soul in some way. If God doesn't exist, then the soul dissolves and there is nothing to take care of.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:06 pm

phyllo wrote:
True. We can say anything if it is believed that what we say is confirmed merely because we believe that what we say is true "in our heads". But how do we demonstrate this to others who say something else is true.


You don't say what would constitute an adequate demonstration. Some "typical" atheists say that an adequate demonstration of God's existence is God popping up and doing a miracle for them. Anything short of that is not a demonstration. But God doesn't seem to like doing magic tricks on demand. :D So it seems that those atheists are out of luck.


We think about this in different ways.

Most embrace one or another narrative/agenda pertaining to one or another God. They say that their own religion is the right one.

Furthermore the major religious denominations [on this planet] argue that God will judge our behaviors on this side of the grave. And that, if we pass muster, our reward is immortality, Salvation and Divine Justice.

Now, sure, we can define a "demonstration" of God's existence here with either more or less specificity.

But the bottom line [mine] is that there are still many different renditions of God out there with any number of conflicting scripts relating to any number of different human behaviors; and they all more or less insist [like those missionaries above] that you either get it right...or else.

How about you?

What "here and now" do you believe your own fate to be "beyond"? How is this related to your current belief in God? And what of those who reject your frame of mind -- the stuff that you claim to believe or know to be true "in your head"? What is to be their own fate?

Is there any way at all that you can take this out of your head? A way that you can demonstrate that your own moral and political values are in sync with the one true God?


Indeed, I've lost count of how many times that I have tried to pin religionists down on this.

Scientists have been successfully accomplishing this now for centuries pertaining to the "laws of nature".

And the ethicists?


phyllo wrote: The thing is ... you don't accept anything as a valid measure of ethical conduct.


On the contrary, I recognize that those on either side of any particular moral conflict of note can make reasonable arguments. Conflicting good, remember?

And then there is the argument of the sociopath. Or the argument of those nihilists who own and operate the global economy and predicate almost all transactions on a scripture that commences with "show me the money".

But most folks "resolve" this dilemma by positing one or another God. It's all settled. Behave as you should and you are rewarded, behave as you should not and you are punished.

I'm just trying to grasp the extent to which you think like this? Do you? And, if so, name a particular behavior out in a particular context out in this particular world.

Again, bringing it all down to earth. Existentially as it were.

phyllo wrote: If someone came along and rejected all measures of length (or time), then scientists would not be able to demonstrate the "laws of nature". Demonstrations require some agreed and accepted standards.


Many scientists recognize that the laws of nature are still embedded in David Hume's radical skepticism. Correlation [no matter how many times A begets B begets C] does not necessarily equate with cause and effect.

Sure, there are things about both time and space [space-time] that we may well be far, far, far from fully understanding.

The point though is this: is it either 1] one or the other re the immutable laws of nature or 2] is there a teleology behind it all? That which most call God.

And it is with God that [supposedly] the world of is/ought [on this side of the grave] is able to be reconfigured into a world of either/or on Judgement Day. You either get in or you don't.

All I do here is poke the religionists in the side and say "let's talk about it".

Only "out in the world" of actual human interactions rather than up in the stratosphere of intellectual contraptions.

Or as all of this pertains to the psychological defense mechanism that some construe "blind faith" to be.
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:28 pm

phyllo wrote:
And, indeed, wouldn't it then be all the more miraculous if, in turn, they succeeded in convincing me that oblivion is not to be my fate beyond the grave.

After all, as I keep reminding folks like you and Phyllo, this grim prognosis is not to be your fate, is it?

Or so [here and now] you both now believe in your heads.
I don't care if oblivion is on the other side of the grave.


On the other hand, as you get closer and closer and closer to it, you may well come to change your mind. I sure wish that I could.

Indeed, as with most things of this sorts, it is embedded more in existence itself rather than in any particular way in which any particular mind can concoct a "defense mechanism" to keep it all more...at a distance.

phyllo wrote: I live with the pragmatic attitude expressed by Marcus Aurelius:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”


I wonder how he fared on Judgment Day? You know, if he had one.

On the other hand, if there be a God, it all comes down [necessarily] to that which He insists is "just". And that takes us right back to all the different Gods out there that are worshipped and adored prescribing and proscribing conflicting [even contradictory] renditions of all this as it pertains to different behaviors.

For example, being homosexual. Is that "just"? Are there homosexuals in Heaven?

Oh, and how about Liberals? :wink:
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

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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:01 pm

On the other hand, as you get closer and closer and closer to it, you may well come to change your mind. I sure wish that I could.

Indeed, as with most things of this sorts, it is embedded more in existence itself rather than in any particular way in which any particular mind can concoct a "defense mechanism" to keep it all more...at a distance.
That's funny. One would think that it falls into your categories of identity, value judgements and intellectual contraptions. Yet, you suddenly "embed it in existence itself". :P
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby phyllo » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:08 pm

On the contrary, I recognize that those on either side of any particular moral conflict of note can make reasonable arguments. Conflicting good, remember?
If every measure is equally 'reasonable' then there are no better measures, no good measures and bad measures ... basically no standard of measurement.

Hell, you can't even say that pressing the button and destroying the entire world is wrong. :confusion-shrug:
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Re: Fair to say that atheists might be the biggest believers

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:13 pm

phyllo wrote:
That's understandable. After all, all many religious folks profess is a faith in God. Then "for all practical purposes" they can always fall back on "God works in mysterious" ways; and then not concern themselves too much with things like this. Or with all things...theodical?
What does it have to do with faith???


Well, it is one thing to say that you have faith in God, and another thing altogether to insist that God does in fact exist. Faith [to me] implies doubt.

And, over the years as a political activist, I bumped into any number of very, very intelligent men and women [whom I had great respect for] who professed a faith in one or another God.

As, at one point in my life, I had a great faith in too.

phyllo wrote: There is a limit to human knowledge. What if you asked an atheist what happens to a soul after death and he answered "I don't know"? Would you attribute it to "faith" or that the "un-god works in mysterious ways"?


If there is a limit to human knowledge, it can only be as a result of the God who created us. Right?

An atheist would say "I don't know" because, in the absence of a belief in God, she has no capacity to know.

And, sure, the atheist is no less faced with her own ignorance regarding this. She too can [ultimately] only have faith in No God.

But, it's not really the same though, is it? For instance, for all practical purposes.

Unless "in your head" you make them the same.

But how can a man or a woman not care about the fate of another's soul? How, after all, is the fate of another's soul not related eventually to the fate of your own?


phyllo wrote: Maybe it's simply an understanding and acceptance that there are things beyond your control. Or believing that each man/woman is seeking only his own salvation. Or believing that each man/woman has his own relationship with God.


But if one of the things that is beyond your control is knowing which God to worship in order to embrace a set of behaviors that will gain you access to immortality and salvation, how is that too not but another indication of a less than Almighty God?

Like the song says...

You'd have managed better
If you'd had it planned
Now why'd you choose such a backward time
And such a strange land?
If you'd come today
You could have reached the whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication


But don't get him wrong.

Come on, just in terms of common sense, is that really the doing of an entity said [by most] to be "all knowing and all powerful", "loving, just and merciful"?


Then he is back to demonstrating the actual existence of a God, the God, his God when confronted with complexities like this.

phyllo wrote: He doesn't need to demonstrate anything. If God exists, then God will take care of the soul in some way. If God doesn't exist, then the soul dissolves and there is nothing to take care of.


Of course there are literally millions upon millions of religionists out there who will insist that you could not possibly have gotten the one true God more wrong. Oh, there's a soul all right, but yours is clearly in need of "saving".

But I'll let you take that part up with them yourself.

Or are you one of those "cafeteria" type religionists? An ecumenical? You get to pick and choose any and all behaviors that you can personally square with the God that exist "in your head".
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

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