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Labelling Atheism

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Essorant
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25 posted 01-29-2006 04:21 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Grinch

As long as there is a word and belief for something I believe there must be something for the word and belief.  The word and belief are evidences themselves.  They never weren't.  
Without something there, there would be no word or belief at all, therefore the word and belief are evidence.

Therefore I'm sure that everything and anything we refer to exists.  
However, whether we refer to it perfectly or in exactly the right order is another tale.
But this is where the argument of accuracy comes in.  How do we determine how accurate a belief or science or saying must be?  

To me as long as something is strong and helps life and lifeweal, then I really don't care that much about how accurate it is, let alone disbelieve in it.  Why should I?   In any case though, I will never believe it is based on something that doesn't exist.  

Grinch
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26 posted 01-29-2006 04:36 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Essorant,

“As long as there is a word and belief for something I believe there must be something for the word and belief.”

What about this word?

Nothing
Essorant
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27 posted 01-29-2006 05:52 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

When someone refers to "nothing" that is always in respect to something.  If you have "nothing" in your glass, that is because you have nothing of of the drink you expected, not because there is nothing there, or because what you wanted is nothing.  You have nothing of the drink you want, because its not currently in your glass---it is in the fridge  
Stephanos
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28 posted 01-29-2006 06:04 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
Dictionary.com includes both what you are expressing as Christian and what Local Rebel seems to be expressing:


Christian

1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.



Yes, only I think taking the founder on his own terms, the definition necessarily includes both.  It's "both/ and", not "either/ or".


Reb:
quote:
No Stephan, I wasn't implying that we're enemies -- I only wanted to point out that there is a clear difference in the Christian ethos (or is supposed to be).



Point taken.  But still, isn't it merely the extension of a principle which was already there?  One person says "love thyself", another "love thy friends", Jesus says "love thy enemy".  It's merely a restatement of the jurisdiction of the same principle.  In one sense, not an original ethos at all, just more widely applied.  That's why Jesus ultimately could have appeal to Gentiles as well as Jews.  Because "sin" is a universal concept, in that we've all broken the divine law, whatever cultural embodiment.  And what lies behind the various cultural embodiments, shows them to be variations on the same grand theme.  Jesus' uniqueness lies in his solution for our problem, moreso than his desciption of the problem.  But I do concede, that the camera lens of law was focused a little sharper and wider, illustrating even more, the need for his grace.  


quote:
Matthew 25 presents a complication to the simplicity of John 3:16.  I understand why my bringing it up is a hot button.



I don't resent the "bringing up" of Matthew 25 at all, nor any complexity that it presents us with.  I was protesting a claimed dichotomy between Matthew 25 & John 3:16 rather than what it is ... a challenging synthesis.  It really gets back to the mistake of pitting faith against works.  In the Christian context, faith is the root, works are the fruit.


More later ...


Stephen.
Local Rebel
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29 posted 01-29-2006 08:03 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

As for which came first ethics or religion I’m still convinced it was ethics – and by a long margin.



Well that's a very clear statement on which we both agree.  I never said anything different.  A standard of collective behaviour would have been a necessary precursor to langauge.  But I doubt there was a great gap between the development of langauge and the emergence of religion.  This is an area where there is no expert concurrence though.  

quote:

I was protesting a claimed dichotomy between Matthew 25 & John 3:16 rather than what it is ... a challenging synthesis.  It really gets back to the mistake of pitting faith against works.  In the Christian context, faith is the root, works are the fruit.



I'd say you misread me then Stephen.  My statement was directed to the matter of focus.  You would certainly agree that there are Christians who focus all their attention on John 3:16.

quote:

Point taken.  But still, isn't it merely the extension of a principle which was already there?  One person says "love thyself", another "love thy friends", Jesus says "love thy enemy".  It's merely a restatement of the jurisdiction of the same principle.  In one sense, not an original ethos at all, just more widely applied.  That's why Jesus ultimately could have appeal to Gentiles as well as Jews.



All invention is a process of building on prior ideas or technologies.  In the context of the times Jesus made a significant leap. It wouldn't have been in anyone's mind in the Jewish community to even be concerned with the Gentiles.  There was no notion that all men were brothers.  You don't give the man enough credit .  Unless you want to save that credit for Paul.
hush
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30 posted 01-30-2006 01:39 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Essorant-

'I think atheism inevitablly relies on theism.  Without theism and the belief in God what does Atheism have to negate and contradict?  To me it seems that negation and contradiction of theism is what makes it what it is to begin with.  Without theism, it has nothing to naysay.'

But let's say I was born to two scientist parents who taught me the big bang theory and the theory of evolution as a means for explaining existence. I never heard of God, I just accepted the scientific explanations. I would not believe in God, but I'm not trying to contradict God either- the thought simply never occured to me.

I'll admit it's not a likely scenario- but for that child, learning about the Judeo-Christian god or other deities would be similar to my learning about Greek/Roman mythology. If there's already an accepted worldview present, which doesn't include God, how is it necessary that atheism be "naysaying" the idea of God or religion?

I also don't think agnosticism is a wishy-washy form of atheism. If an atheist believes in a reality where no deity is present, and an agnostic believes either than it is impossible to know whether god exists or that they, personally, do not know if god exists- that is a completely different viewpoint. I have never seen adequate evidence that god exists- or does not exist- so I don't believe in god, but I don't disbelieve in god.

Maybe it's lazy or indecisive, but I like to think of it as open-minded. I don't know if aliens exist, if there is life after death, how the universe came to be, or whether or not fairies exist. I'm  actually comfortable with that... it's not necessarily an apathy issue, because I'm interested in religious ideas, to a point... but I don't  feel it necessary to exclaim "there is a God" or "there is no God." I guess I will (or won't) find out eventually, right?
Essorant
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31 posted 01-30-2006 02:34 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Good question Hush.

If one doesn't know  that God exists, then s/he can't deny that God exists.  It would mean that his or her belief is free of both atheism and theism because he/she doesn't have the knowledge of God either to agree or to disagree with.  

Every belief has its own science.  Not every belief though had or has or chooses the science of God.   But every expression that chooses to express denial of God, I believe does use the science of God, in order to deny that science.  There is nothing wrong with denial.  But to me the science is in something and that something must exist for that science and any belief that springs thereof.  The existance of the science and belief therefore to me already defeat the denial of the existance that those are in.  

Without the knowledge of something's existance, you can't deny its existance either.   Denying the existance of something truly betrays that one has knowledge of its existance in the first place.


Christopher
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32 posted 01-30-2006 11:36 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
Without the knowledge of something's existance, you can't deny its existance either.   Denying the existance of something truly betrays that one has knowledge of its existance in the first place.
So, Ess, if you tell me you believe in the Fyling Spaghetti Monster as the creator of all life and I tell you I deny its existence, that means I am accepting its existence? Or could it just mean that I think your belief is incorrect?
Essorant
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33 posted 01-31-2006 12:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Christopher,

You just chose to talk about it, therefore that betokens to me that you have knowledge of its existance.  If it didn't exist as at least something how could you possibly have a name for it and anything at all to say about it?      

Stephanos
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34 posted 01-31-2006 01:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
Who gets to define Christianity? Who gets to say, "You are, but you aren't?"


um ... Jesus?


I know you'll point out that I'm not Jesus.  But remember, we do have a body of propositional teaching left to us, by Jesus.  And judging what faith is (based on revealed truth), and judging someone, as to whether their faith is genuine or not, are two different things.


If someone says "I don't believe in anything supernatural",  by their own statement, they are denying the Christian Faith, insomuch as belief in God is central to what the Christian Faith is.  I'm not sitting at the bench.  I'm taking someone at their own words.    


Stephen.
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35 posted 01-31-2006 01:25 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

I think what Christopher means, is the distinction between mere imagination, and actuality.  

Of course the Spaghetti monster (you guys are making me hungry) may exist in fictional or imaginative form.  But as a real, living, breathing, monster, who eats people in one gulp, he doesn't exist.  Existing in one sense, is not necessarily existing in another.  


Can you not admit this distinction?


If that's what you mean by God "existing" you may not really believe in him, other than as a form of imaginative artistic fiction.  Taking the Bible on it's own terms, it claims a reality of God which is in quite a different sense, than imaginative fiction.  Not that it isn't just as dramatic, awe-inspiring, or fascinating, as any mythical fiction.  The poetic beauty is really what first attracted C.S. Lewis to the Christian Faith.  Then he found out that it was real in quite another sense, and he believed.  


Stephen.
Essorant
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36 posted 01-31-2006 10:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

I would argue that there is still no nonexistance in that equation.  Things don't become nonexistant because of how imaginatively we refer to them.  No matter how imaginatively or directly we refer to something we still refer to it.  Whether one refers to his head as a "head" or a "spinning top", the sun as the "sun" or "heaven's candle",  he is still referring to the same equally existant thing.  It is no different when one refers to God differently.  Whether one refers to God as "God" or as "The flying spaghetti monster", both are references to the same equally existant being, no matter how directly or imaginatively he refers to that being.

Stephanos
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37 posted 02-01-2006 02:13 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Okay, let's say that I invented "The flying Spaghetti monster" as a character in my book.  My 3 year old daughter begins to believe that this "flying Spaghetti monster" is going to fly through her window and gobble her up.  


I know that this monster exists in one sense.
But my daughter mistakenly believes that he exists in quite another sense.


How would YOU correct her, Essorant?  You would probably explain that the spaghetti monster in not "real", but only a fictitious character.  Of course, the character is "real" in the sense of imaginative fiction ... but that's not the point.  It doesn't extend beyond that fictitious form.  
You are still denying this distinction.  


When Christians say "God is real".  They mean that he is real in quite a different sense than "Huckleberry Finn is real".  Huckleberry Finn has no mind, no will of his own, beyond the one who writes about him, or the ones who think about him.  See the difference?  


From a Christian standpoint, God would not cease to exist even if everyone forgot about him.  This would only affect our fates in relation to him.  He holds an idependent self-existent life, as he created the universe before we ever existed.  If everyone forgot Huckleberry Finn, and all of Mark Twain's books were burned ... Huck would no longer exist.  


Those are unlikely if not impossible occurrances.  But I use them to illustrate the difference you are denying.


Stephen.
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38 posted 02-01-2006 07:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"I know that this monster exists in one sense.
But my daughter mistakenly believes that he exists in quite another sense.


How would YOU correct her, Essorant? "

I would tell her that it is not a living thing, but represents a living thing, in an imaginary way: just like drawing may represent a human in an imaginary way, if we draw him for example with cat-whiskers, and cat-ears.  It still represents a human, but confuses it on purpose with representing things we know about a cat too.


" It doesn't extend beyond that fictitious form.  
You are still denying this distinction. "

Most representations of living things, aren't living, Stephanos.  Why would I expect them to be?  They are representations.  Just like a painting.  The representation of God in the bible is not living either, in the sense of being words.  Someone needed a craft, a language, to represent him.  But they still represent a living being when they refer to God, and conditions in life when they refer to those.  So does Huckleberry finn refer to a human.  So does making anything about any living thing or anything about life, still a representation of life, however imaginary.  The main distinction is that: its a representation and imaginary. not that it doesn't represent real things.  But I wonder what we can refer to without some symbolic behavior and representating thing?  When we use words, they represent something for us.  When we use drawings they represent something for us.  Even when we point at something, there seems to be some symbolic behavior, that we know that we are pointing at something, and meaning something by that.    In order to express something at all, it seems we need to represent it with something.  

"If everyone forgot Huckleberry Finn, and all of Mark Twain's books were burned ... Huck would no longer exist. "

Forgetting about something doesn't make it not exist either Stephanos.  It only refers to the same thing in a different way.  If we referred to a human in one way and called it "huckleberry finn" then we may refer to it in another way and call it something else.  Nothing ceases to exist, it just becomes something else, thro change, whatever it it had earlier takes a new shape, and it therefore still exists.  

I don't believe that God brought the universe into existance.   But that doesn't mean I don't believe he gave shape to it, just as humans give shape to it from a wordly standpoint and from as much as they may in their own might.  If we say God brought the universe into existance that would mean that things needed to "not exist" at some earlier time which make no sense to me.  But if God gave shape to things that already existed,  then everything was always existant, just in different shapes, further shaped by God and growing by Nature.  

To me everything always exists, just not always in the same shape.  If you are no longer in one shape, then you must be in another, always existing.  And the "previous" shape doesn't cease to exist either, but fully becomes the new shape too.

Christopher
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39 posted 02-01-2006 07:08 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

reminded me of this thread: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum8/HTML/000111.html
hush
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40 posted 02-02-2006 02:09 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

"I would tell her that it is not a living thing, but represents a living thing, in an imaginary way: just like drawing may represent a human in an imaginary way, if we draw him for example with cat-whiskers, and cat-ears.  It still represents a human, but confuses it on purpose with representing things we know about a cat too.'

Dude... a 3 y/o will NOT understand this. She's three years old! Not only that, I question the logic - a human with cat ears is NOT representative a living thing that is known to exist corporeally, and you know that. I think you are circumventing the issue of reality. Cats exist, humans exist, but cat-people do not exist unless on a broadway stage or some other work of the imagination.

A three year old SHOULD have an imagination, but it's important to reinforce reality vs. fantasy with children. You know... so they don't watch Peter Pan and all of a sudden decide to fly out the bedroom window?
Brad
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41 posted 02-02-2006 08:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Let's see, what can I address here:

1. If everything exists (including nothing and non-existence), then existence can no longer be used with any meaning. We have to bend over backwards to come up with a different word for what we meant before we discovered that the way we were using the word was wrong.

Why not call a spade a spade? Essorant is misleading the audience.

2. This reminds me of the use of 'selfish'. You can, of course, argue that any human action is selfish (Ross did it to Pheobe in Friends if I recall), but if you accept that argument, then you have to start saying things like a good kind of selfish and a bad kind of selfish.

Why not reject the definition and use the word the way we've always used it?

3. I liked LR's "agnostic Christian" but I understand Stephen's concerns. Still, and while I'm not sure if LR means Christian in this sense, the basic idea is similar to my use of aetheist. I live my life as an aetheist, but I have no clue when it comes to metaphysical questions.

I don't understand them.

We have three or four basic premises when it comes to metaphysics:

a. Consciousness created the universe. (God)

b. The universe has always existed in one state or another. (aetheism)

c. The universe is cyclical. (The eternal return).  

None of these answer the question people seem to want to know:

Why?

I'm pretty sure none of the above can answer that question. We choose to be satisfied by any particular answer and we shrug off the rest.

4. You can call aetheism a religion if you want to but I'm not sure why you would want to. Religion seems to make or want to make metaphysical answers the central component of people's lives. If there's any insight to aetheism, it's that metaphysical questions and answers don't matter that much to our day to day lives.

Why should they?

Christopher
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42 posted 02-02-2006 09:25 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

some valid points Brad - it's all good to explore the "deeper meaning" of something, but in everyday, "real life," we're wont to use the accepted form of a word/meaning.

[This message has been edited by Christopher (02-02-2006 10:02 PM).]

Ron
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43 posted 02-02-2006 10:32 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If there's any insight to aetheism, it's that metaphysical questions and answers don't matter that much to our day to day lives.

Isn't that potentially the problem, though?

I can only speak from personal experience, but the worst mistakes I've made in my day-to-day life, the mistakes that always cost me and others the greatest pain, could have been avoided had I the wisdom to look beyond the moment. Good decisions are easy to make in hindsight, when we're not blinded by the emotions of day-to-day life. Philosophy, religion, metaphysics, good literature, these are all attempts to find answers before we're faced with the really tough questions. Again, from my own experience, if you don't have something approaching an answer already in sight, the one you come up with in the heat of passion or anger or jealousy probably won't serve you very well. I know mine never have.

The questions we ask and try to answer aren't really about some grand destination. They're about the journey, and that's always composed of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It's our day-to-day life that is always most at risk.


Essorant
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44 posted 02-03-2006 01:49 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"I question the logic - a human with cat ears is NOT representative a living thing that is known to exist corporeally, and you know that. "


Hush,

If we go by that approach, then it seems we should no longer accept the word HUMAN as representing, referring, meaning a living thing either, especially if what we use to point to something "real", must match in appearance!   What human walks around as five letters and a sound?   A snake may look and sound like an S sometimes, but doesn't make it to SNAKE.    How do you say five cold letters HUMAN and the word's sound may betoken a living thing, but a drawing of a human, cannot anymore just because it includes two little cat ears and some catwhiskers?  Sounds a bit lopsided.  

"A three year old SHOULD have an imagination, but it's important to reinforce reality vs. fantasy with children. You know... so they don't watch Peter Pan and all of a sudden decide to fly out the bedroom window?"

I agree.  But what I don't agree with is forcing the paranoia on people that things that they refer to don't exist or aren't real.  People may understand the difference of manmade and living without being made to pretend that things that they see, hear, feel, know, remember, etc, aren't really real or existant or based on what's real and existant.  On one level I don't think it makes much difference.  For example "there's nothing in the cup" But on the level of treating a personal thing or belief as if it refer to "nothings" and "unrealities" it is disturbing.


icebox
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45 posted 02-03-2006 10:18 AM       View Profile for icebox   Email icebox   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for icebox


Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist?

He doesn’t believe in the existence of dogs.

hush
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46 posted 02-03-2006 01:41 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

'But what I don't agree with is forcing the paranoia on people that things that they refer to don't exist or aren't real.'

It's not paranoia. It's common sense. Spaghetti monsters don't exist on a plane of reality. They exist in the imagination. The imagination exists, but because you imagine something doesn't mean it can physically appear an be present to all of us. There is a difference.
Local Rebel
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47 posted 02-03-2006 06:29 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

the question Brad, is --

Is atheism the absence of belief or the belief of absence?

Most I know who profess a belief of absence label themselves as atheists.  Those who profess an absence of belief tend to adopt the label 'agnostic'.  

Belief of absence is, well... belief.  I think that's where those who want to define atheism as a religion want to hang their hat.
Brad
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48 posted 02-03-2006 07:43 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Philosophy, religion, metaphysics, good literature, these are all attempts to find answers before we're faced with the really tough questions. Again, from my own experience, if you don't have something approaching an answer already in sight, the one you come up with in the heat of passion or anger or jealousy probably won't serve you very well. I know mine never have.


But did any of your answers come from the first few lines of Genesis?

LR,

Does that distinction make a difference in your life?

The only reason to worry about that, I think, is when someone argues the superiority of one belief or another or the superiority of a lack of belief. At the level of metaphysics I'm talking about, you just can't do that except through assertion.

Why this world and not some other or no world?

Even if you go for an eternal return scenario, even if you go for a multiverse, you're still stuck with that question.
Stephanos
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49 posted 02-04-2006 12:41 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
This reminds me of the use of 'selfish'. You can, of course, argue that any human action is selfish (Ross did it to Pheobe in Friends if I recall), but if you accept that argument, then you have to start saying things like a good kind of selfish and a bad kind of selfish.

Why not reject the definition and use the word the way we've always used it?


I'm agreeing with you here.  That's always been the problem with egoism, all the way from Hume to Ayn Rand.  lt involves a much too arbitary shift of language, based on dubious philosophy, while sweeping under the rug the insights of the past which don't happen to fit the philosophy.


quote:
None of these answer the question people seem to want to know:

Why?

I'm pretty sure none of the above can answer that question. We choose to be satisfied by any particular answer and we shrug off the rest.



But why are you a priori, ruling out communication of a consciousness that created the universe?  And if you say you're not, what about your demands about what shape that communication should take?  If the communication is not exhaustive, leaving some mystery ("the rest"), are you left unsatisfied merely because it is not exhaustive?  The question just interests me, since you seem to be saying, "if I can't understand as God, I'll not believe in God".  But from a scriptural point of view, this was the problem with sin from the beginning ... a desire, a need for a knowledge which puts God in dock, and we ourselves on the bench.  "Eve, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God".  


quote:
If there's any insight to aetheism, it's that metaphysical questions and answers don't matter that much to our day to day lives.

Why should they?



That's not exactly so.  An awareness of "God" (even if and when particular expressions of it have been faulty), has been basic to humanity for a very long time.  Paganism itself attests to it.  The persistence of such a belief, despite the scientific age, attests to it.  Therefore it's much easier to view atheism as a kind of metaphysical realization of it's own.  Many other atheist thinkers have expressed it in such terms.  Consider Nietzsche when he wrote:

"...we philosophers and 'free spirits' feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn by the report that the 'old God is dead'; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment, and expectation.  At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright; our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps never before did such an 'open sea' exist." (from "The Joyful Wisdom").

And many other thinkers have expressed the same kind of thought, even if less animated that Fred's description.


The same goes for the assertion that metaphysical insights (whether positive or negative), do not matter when it comes to day to day living.  Not all atheists have shared your view.  I thought that Aldous Huxley was being very transparent when he wrote the following:

"I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political."(from "Ends and Means")

So at least some atheists ... probably more than some, have seen this essentially negative metaphyscial assertion, as something which can positively be acted upon.  In that sense, if it is not a 'religion' per se, it is at least a religious type of belief, a kind of metanarrative which may give a more comfortable latitude, to determine one's own ethical choices, without the bothersome questions of sin or righteousness.


Admittedly, Nietzsche and Huxley aren't much like your description of atheism.  But even you Brad, do not stop at a personal agnosticism, in most of your posts, though I see you try to hold that tone.  Your assertion that metaphysical claims are ultimately irrelevant to life, is itself a metaphysical assertion that you obviously feel frees people from some kind of misconception, or illusion, about reality.  It doesn't matter that you are not overtly passionate about spreading that kind of knowledge, you nonetheless hold a stoic consistency about it, and offer plenty of reasoning toward that end.  You repudiate anyone saying any world-view is "superior" to another, but basically imply that those like Ron, myself, Jim, are believing in something that is meaningless and irrelevant to daily life.  I'm not insulted at that, as much as I am interested in the fact that you tend to camoflage the fact, that what you are doing is claiming to know a metaphysical, universal, truth, albeit a naturalistic one.  I would tend to say you are mistaken in your assertion, rather that chiding you from doing what is more compatible with my world-view ... namely saying, "I'm right about this, and this is why I think so."              


Ron:
quote:
Good decisions are easy to make in hindsight, when we're not blinded by the emotions of day-to-day life. Philosophy, religion, metaphysics, good literature, these are all attempts to find answers before we're faced with the really tough questions.


Ron, I really agree with you.  But three out of the four you mentioned, aren't necessarily religious in any sense, yet they still attempt to "find answers" beyond the short-term.  Brad is essentially asking, if this tendency can be found in a naturalistic schema, why is the Christian faith necessary, or better?  Why accept anything beyond space-time, to find such answers?  (I'm of course putting questions in Brad's mouth, but I'm interested in how you would answer this).  I'll reserve my answer for later.


Essorant:
quote:
But what I don't agree with is forcing the paranoia on people that things that they refer to don't exist or aren't real.



I think Hush has got you there Ess ... I would call someone who believes in a 'Spaghetti Monster' paranoid, not the person who insists that it isn't real.  The last time I heard someone seriously saying something like that, they were in 4-point restraints.  


Stephen
 
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