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Passions in Poetry

Why God?

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 11-22-2006 08:13 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Why must there be God?

Because we are afraid of death?


.
Stephanos
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1 posted 11-22-2006 09:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

If you chalk belief in God up to wish fulfillment, you must realize it works the other way too.

Why must there be atheism, because we fear divine judgement?


Also asking "Why God" already presumes atheism, because it seeks a temporal reason.  And so conversation in that context is not available for those who believe.


But is there common ground?  I think so.  Because even if "the fear of death" is not the only impetus for faith, faith may still describe why there are such fears and loves.  Why we all feel at heart level that death is somehow absurd, and that there is something sacred bound up in life.  You can have a suspicion which chalks all that up to invention, or you can begin to suspect that there might be a reason for the profundities within us.


Stephen.
hush
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2 posted 11-23-2006 03:59 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Because people like to have explanations. How was the world created? What happens after death?
Essorant
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3 posted 11-23-2006 06:35 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think existance needs to be justified.  
nakdthoughts
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4 posted 11-23-2006 07:55 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

I am not afraid of death...but of the process of dying...and being alone during it.
Even while believing in God...

M
Stephanos
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5 posted 11-23-2006 10:14 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Happy Thanksgiving all!


I'm thankful for you.


Stephen.
nakdthoughts
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6 posted 11-23-2006 11:20 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

Happy Thanksgiving Stephen

M
Denise
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7 posted 11-23-2006 11:48 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Me too! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Huan Yi
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.

nakdthoughts,

I think you’ve touched the truth.
Who is afraid of dying peacefully in their sleep?

.
Larry C
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9 posted 12-12-2006 06:59 AM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

Well God said death is our enemy and He sent His Son to destroy it. So now there is no reason to be afraid.
Christopher
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10 posted 12-12-2006 11:40 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
If you chalk belief in God up to wish fulfillment, you must realize it works the other way too.

Why must there be atheism, because we fear divine judgement?
Disagreeing with this justification, Stephen. Without the proposal of God, there can be no atheism. You don't question the absence of something without a contrast to bring that absence to light.
Stephanos
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11 posted 12-12-2006 02:23 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Christopher:
quote:
Disagreeing with this justification, Stephen. Without the proposal of God, there can be no atheism. You don't question the absence of something without a contrast to bring that absence to light.


But that's not the whole story.  Everyone has some evidence of God through creation and self knowledge.  Therefore belief in God is properly basic (even if it is mistaken about particulars or contains agnostic features).

The fact that the bulk of humanity has/ does believe in something beyond nature only tends to support this.  Therefore the position of detached neutrality is questionable from the start.  

So, wish-fulfillment comfortably fits into atheist psychology.  For even atheists have conscience, hope, and fear, to wrestle with.  One advantage of Christian theism is that a cogent framework is given which tells us why these things are so.  Even fear of death, in atheistic thinking, must be explained away, rather than explained.  


Stephen
  
Christopher
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12 posted 12-12-2006 03:53 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
Everyone has some evidence of God through creation and self knowledge.
Says you.

Seriously though, that's an assumption I'm not comfortable with. Creation can and has been readily explained without a creator. Unless you're defining any originating cause as "God." Self knowledge can and easily does (in my case at least) explain away the rationale of God. In my paradigm there is no need for an explanatory background figure that ties all the knots and cushions the fall from life to death. I am satisfied with the way the world is explained (in a general sense) without the presence of a deity. All the review I've done since cognizant enough to ponder the prospect has held no need for nor no belief in God.

A believer, such as yourself, might say that it is there and I just don't see it, much as a someone with their eyes closed can't see the colors of a painting despite how hard they try and need only open their eyes to see it in its full glory. To that, I will just smile. God isn't a painting, but an idea, an ideal. My eyes are open and I see it how I see it, with no evidence there to contradict it.
quote:
So, wish-fulfillment comfortably fits into atheist psychology.  For even atheists have conscience, hope, and fear, to wrestle with.  One advantage of Christian theism is that a cogent framework is given which tells us why these things are so.  Even fear of death, in atheistic thinking, must be explained away, rather than explained.
This seems another baseless assumption to me. Firstly, it assumes that all people fear death and need it explained. I don't think all people are afraid of death. I also think that to say that only for atheists is there a fear of death to be explained is not quite covering it in full. I believe that most God-fearing people fear death as well. Death is an alternate form of existence no matter what you believe and many people fear change - especially on such a grand scale. I also believe that of all those who fear death, a goodly portion of them aren't so much afraid of death as they are of dying and the accompanying [presumed] pain.

Just a few thoughts to add to the conversation. I think God is an explanation, a rationale developed for people who don't realize that their lives in and of themselves makes going through day to day worth it. There doesn't need to be an additional reason; existence is reason enough.
Stephanos
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13 posted 12-12-2006 08:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Says you.

Seriously though, that's an assumption I'm not comfortable with.


Seeing that you are fallen and sinful (as I) I didn't expect you to be "comfortable" with the idea of a holy and righteous judge and creator.      

Seriously though, Christians often have pointed out the disconcerting truth that any denial of God is ultimately based upon an avoidance of his "prickly" nature against our fallen flesh.  That's not to say there's not a degree of honest doubt, or a transitional period of innocent agnosticism.  It just means that self deception is real.  And that atheism as a conclusion, as a final choice, is ultimately rebellion.


And no, (before this is brought forth)  that doesn't mean that Christians hate those who are atheists.


quote:
Creation can and has been readily explained without a creator.



But only with "faith-like" elements that make Christian theism appear reserved.  Proposing an orginating singularity (where the known laws of nature are dissolved) still falls within the realm of speculative "religion" and metaphysical assertion.


quote:
Self knowledge can and easily does (in my case at least) explain away the rationale of God. In my paradigm there is no need for an explanatory background figure that ties all the knots and cushions the fall from life to death.



Never felt once that death is absurd? ... that there's something wrong?  

Never felt once that life, love, and beauty might be more than mere byproducts of machination? ... or that they should somehow survive the great blackout that an atheistic cosmos would guarantee?  I believe such feelings are God-given, though they are delicate enough to be damaged by cynicism.

I do however, sympathize with those who would love to believe those things, but are afraid of being hurt or somehow disappointed ... too afraid that such cannot be true.  


quote:
Firstly, it assumes that all people fear death and need it explained.


Actually it takes into account that most communities throughout history have felt that it needs explaining ... and in the main, still do.


quote:
I also think that to say that only for atheists is there a fear of death to be explained is not quite covering it in full. I believe that most God-fearing people fear death as well. Death is an alternate form of existence no matter what you believe and many people fear change - especially on such a grand scale.



A mere "change" does not adequately explain the dread and numinous which surrounds death.  And the fact that the godly fear death sometimes as well, only underscores the fact that we are fallen... that there is a root to our fear.  There is the fear of unlimited pain, insignificance, and of being condemned for our evil thoughts and actions.  


The difference is, some may hope (through Christ) to overcome this fear ... to ultimately discover (or rediscover) that such fear is groundless because of divine promise.


What atheism can never explain, is the pathos surrounding death.  And that involves the dramatic desire for continuance, significance, reunion, and for love to endure.  Nor can it explain our devotion and sympathies with such, without reducing them to chemical psychology, and ultimately to an illusion imposed upon matter by who-knows-what.    


And what you euphemistically call an "alternate form of existence", is annihilation guaranteed by an atheistic universe ... that is, unless you want to invent a mock immortality (Eternal recurrence), like Nietzsche did, to somehow retain what he could not bear to lose, seeing that God was "dead" to him.


quote:
I think God is an explanation, a rationale developed for people who don't realize that their lives in and of themselves makes going through day to day worth it. There doesn't need to be an additional reason; existence is reason enough.



Not necessarily.  I only assert that our value is contigent upon something or someone else.  For you it is "existence".  But what when that ceases to be?  Though I don't believe in soulless annihilation, I think it tends to rob much of our value now.  "Don't worry, Be happy" is something we all resort to.  And I don't deny that the ability to do so is sometimes a gift.  But taken as an ultimate answer, it trivializes our humanity.


If you hold to the value, or think that it is guaranteed without God ... If you place your value in mere "existence", I would bid you to peruse the Existentialist philosophers for a while.  There is a reason that pessimism is the hallmark of their astute observations.  In diagnosing the problem, I commend them.  Unfortunately their solutions were made of the same stuff that they saw through.  


BTW,

Nice having an interchange with you Christopher ... It's not that often.  


later,

Stephen.
  


Stephanos
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14 posted 12-12-2006 10:44 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Christopher,

along these lines (especially the existential aspects of atheism and Christianity) here is an interesting audio lecture and article by William Lane Craig.  


I think you would find these interesting.


Audio and Video

Article


Stephen.
JesusChristPose
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Stephanos,

Seriously, how could anyone, who is not of faith, take with a grain of salt, an article that begins with The Absurdity of Life Without God, with a caption of "WAKE UP!."

Laughable.
Stephanos
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quote:
Seriously, how could anyone, who is not of faith, take with a grain of salt, an article that begins with The Absurdity of Life Without God, with a caption of "WAKE UP!."

Laughable.


I think many could, because they might be given to thoughtful consideration (even if they disagree) rather than resorting to insult and mockery.

Stephen.
JesusChristPose
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17 posted 12-12-2006 11:26 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

I think, no, I know, it is rather insulting for a person to write a book, or whatever it is, with such a mocking and insulting title towards those who believe a different way... Seriously, pretentious as all hell.  

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

Stephanos
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18 posted 12-12-2006 11:35 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

If you had more of an inclination to read the content rather then balk at the title, you'd see that it's not only Christians who have seen this, but a great many atheist thinkers as well.  


And hence, a case is to be made.  Sorry you feel insulted.  But existential statements and insults should not be confused.


Peace,

Stephen.
JesusChristPose
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"If you had more of an inclination to read the content rather then balk at the title, you'd see that it's not only Christians who have seen this, but a great many atheist thinkers as well."

First off, as a free thinker, whom couldn't care less about what any religous forum thinks, why should I have any inclination to read the content of something that has such an insulting title? Also, it doesn't surprise me that non-christians have read this, because people are generally, a curious lot.
  
"And hence, a case is to be made.

No case to be made there.

"Sorry you feel insulted.  But existential statements and insults should not be confused."

Now, I don't know your train of thought, but if I were an athiest or agnostic, I SHOULD feel insulted just by the title. I could play an analogy and reverse the situation in order for you to understand my point, but won't.

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

Stephanos
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20 posted 12-13-2006 12:12 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Also, it doesn't surprise me that non-christians have read this, because people are generally, a curious lot.

Just to clarify:


What I meant was that non-Christian thinkers have "seen" the existential dilemmas described in Craig's article ... and that he makes reference to them, at least in the audio version.

Therefore a case is to be made, since the "absurdity" has not been exclusively seen by Christian thinkers.


I was not referring to how many non-Christians read his article.


Stephen.
Ron
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quote:
I think, no, I know, it is rather insulting for a person to write a book, or whatever it is, with such a mocking and insulting title towards those who believe a different way... Seriously, pretentious as all hell.

Unnecessary swearing aside, I fail to see why one declaration of conviction is any more insulting than another declaration of conviction. Theirs? Yours? What's the difference between the two? When you declare something, JCP, with absolute knowledge, that is obviously and completely contrary "towards those who believe a different way," you are committing the very sin you decry.

Indeed, the only difference is that they probably don't intend any insult. And you very clearly do.

I've grown tired of seeing threads derailed over and over and over with virtually nothing of substance being added. We just wasted half a dozen staccato posts only to learn that you are insulted because someone has the audacity to believe something you don't.

I think I'm going to give myself an early Christmas present and make this the last thread you get to ruin in 2006. Write me after the first of the year, JCP, and we can talk about what might or might not happen in 2007.

And Stephen? Frankly, if you haven't learned by now to completely ignore known trolls, you probably deserve every ounce of the frustration you're feeling right now. You should perhaps read up on co-dependency and enablers?


Stephanos
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22 posted 12-13-2006 10:49 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
And Stephen? Frankly, if you haven't learned by now to completely ignore known trolls, you probably deserve every ounce of the frustration you're feeling right now. You should perhaps read up on co-dependency and enablers?



alas, you're right.  Silence was probably the best response, that I left unchosen.  My apologies.  

Anyway,

I hope the thread can continue along more civil lines?


Stephen.
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Back to the original topic ...

I think the evidences have been thoroughly hashed out in this and other threads, so I won't reiterate them here.  Rather, I will appeal to the existential.

quote:
Why must there be God?

Because we are afraid of death?


I would tweak the first question by asserting that God's existence is, in no way, contingent upon our internal states.  He either isn't there, is there and is silent, or is there and isn't silent.

In my life, I have been encouraged to aspire to a life of faith in and knowledge of God not out of fear of death, but by my acknowledgement of my fear of living.  Some might criticize me for not giving myself enough credit for the small accomplishments I've achieved toward the end of making the lives of very vulnerable people better, and taking significant risks in order to achieve that end.  Without my firm believe in the providence of a benevolent God who blesses with great success the efforts ... even the audacious efforts ... of someone who by most standards is insignificant ... , I am not certain whether I would have even attempted to do some of the things I have done.

Does this make me a weak person?  I'm willing to enter a guilty plea to that indictment.  I would rather be a weak person who has achieved great things as a result of my weakness (i.e., my reliance on a higher Power to lend me strength and hope to support my efforts), than be a strong person who weighed the odds and made the rational decision not to take those risks.

In my view, such weakness is a better virtue to strive toward than the aspirations of power.  Why?  Because it enables me to keep the focus off of me, and place it squarely on the shoulders of others.

Jim
Brad
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Stephen,

Great article and I'm not offended in the least by the title. C'mon, we've got Dennet's "Breaking the Spell" and Dawkins's "The God Delusion" to deal with. Do they offend you?

I hope I can find the time because I really would like to address a lot of what's in there.

I'm not sure what I should say on JCP's line here. I guess I'm confused. 'Free thinker', of course, is a euphemism for aetheist or agnostic (Susan Jakoby has a book with that title. Guess what it's about. ). To claim to be a free thinker and not an agnostic or aetheist is to ignore the history of the term (Is this necessarily a bad thing? I don't know.)

Chris,

I fear death. I fear dying in my sleep. It has nothing to do with what happens to me, it has to do with what happens to my family after I'm gone. At least for men, I suspect something like real fear really only begins after you have children (My point being simply that if you look at it from that point of view, and not metaphysically, you'll agree with me. )

Jim,

I don't buy it for a second. You would still do what you do with or without God. The question is would you still be Jim without that faith?

Why God?

Why not?

I don't think I can answer that. But if we look at the question seriously without being flippant it's worth talking about.  At the same time, it would be interesting to discuss why God is in fact the default position for most people in the world.

I don't believe that you can pin it down to one answer. Or rather the search for one answer inevitably leads one to God, but that doesn't make Him exist anymore than the shift to the Copernican system flushed Him out of existence.
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