If theism stands and falls with theists ...

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by wynn, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Yazata

    Yazata Valued Senior Member

    If God really exists, then who cares what the others think? Your goal should be to have your own relationship directly with God.

    If God doesn't exist, then who cares what the others think? The object of their belief is an illusion and you don't need to follow them there.
  2. Jan Ardena

    Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Forget my original point, I was mistaken.

  3. James R

    James R Just this guy, you know?

    So tell me what the problem is with the term "deist", exactly.
  4. wynn

    wynn ˙

    How do you know that your conclusions follow?
  5. Yazata

    Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It just seems kind of self-evident.

    If God exists, then God would be so transcendentally important that my relationships with all the human theists around me and whatever their opinions happen to be of me would shrink to utter insignificance. The one truly important thing to me would be perfecting my relationship with God.

    And if God doesn't exist, then all the theists around me would seemingly be believers in an illusion. While I'd want to remain on good terms with them, simply for human social reasons, I wouldn't feel any need to embrace their illusions.

    So it seems to work out the same way, whether God exists or not.

    I suppose that an exception might be if I was a theist who believed in God's existence, and if I also believed both that the other theists enjoyed some kind of favor from God that I lacked, and that they had something important to teach me about how to get right with God.
  6. wynn

    wynn ˙

    It's that as a human, one has a need to avoid solipsism.

    I think one practically runs into the problem of solipsism also when one tries to take on the discourse and practice of a community that one does not belong to.

    For example, if someone who has never gone to Harvard, likely will never be accepted into Harvard, nor has any plans of going to Harvard, but nevertheless makes a point of wearing clothes and accessoires with the Harvard logo, that looks awkward.

    Theists are an exclusive and elitist group - so why wouldn't the same principles that apply for other exclusive and elitist groups apply for them also and anyone who were to try to assimilate theist discourse and practices?

    If one hasn't been born or otherwise accepted into a theistic group, then how could one possibly meaningfully and with proper justification take up their discourse and practices?
  7. wynn

    wynn ˙

    For all practical intents and purposes, a deist behaves as if there is no God, given that the desit believes that God does not interact with the Universe and living beings in it.

    Behaving as if there is no God is atheism.
  8. Rav


    Wrong. You can't move a person who believes in a god but behaves as if there isn't one into the atheist category because they don't fit into it. You'd have to redefine atheism in order to make that work, and you're lacking the necessary degree and scope of influence to do it.

    The best you could do with such a deist is to place them into the apatheist category, which is inhabited by atheists and theists alike (in spite of your incorrect assessment of what does and doesn't constitute theism).

    Further, and perhaps most importantly, being a deist doesn't preclude the worship of a god. Some of them are very spiritual people who believe in the importance (and utility) of affirmative prayer. So your contention that deists necessarily behave as if there is no god is just another example of your considerable (and surprising) ignorance concerning such matters.
  9. Jan Ardena

    Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member


    Theists are not an exclusive or elitist group.
    They're not even a group.
    Either explain why you believe otherwise, or give up this nonsensical notion.

    What does a ''theist'' practice?

  10. wynn

    wynn ˙

    They consider themselves "theists." That makes them a group, a category.

    And since not everyone can or does belong into this group, in fact, the criteria to be accepted among theists are quite high, it is adequate to say that theists are an exclusive group, an elite.

    Why do you think it is nonsensical?
    Are you, as a theist, not choosy about whom you associate with and how?

    Theistic practices, such as praying to God, chanting God's names, offering food first to God before eating the food ...
  11. wynn

    wynn ˙

    Only from some atheist perspective.

    Still on your power trip, eh?

    You just refuse to acknowledge that things look differently from different perspectives, and that there is no such thing as a "view from nowhere" - a view that would be objective.
  12. Balerion

    Balerion Banned

    How do you expect to learn anything if you react with hostility each time one of your views is challenged? Clearly you are wrong about this, so what's with the "I'm going down with the ship" attitude?

    For someone supposedly seeking enlightenment, you sure seem to think you already know it all.
  13. Rav


    I don't refuse to acknowledge that at all. But if those involved in a discussion agree to stick with the well established definitions of the relevant terminology, the existence of different perspectives need not render effective communication impossible. What you are doing (which is allowing your personal perspective to redefine those well established terms), does.
  14. James R

    James R Just this guy, you know?


    I have little argument with that.

    No. Believing there is no god is atheism. Believing there is a god is, in this instance, deism.
  15. wynn

    wynn ˙

    Belief and behavior are inseparable.
  16. wynn

    wynn ˙

    Talking about yourself again.

    You're just, again, trying to politely tell me that I am not entitled to present the views I am presenting.

    "Effective communication" essentially depends on how much each party is willing to accept the ideas of the other party.
    If they refuse, communication breaks down.
    Unlike you, I accept that, and don't have a metacommunicative go at you when you don't accept my view. But you are not like that.
  17. Rav


    You are most certainly entitled to your views, and you are most certainly entitled to present them. But whenever you try to do something as absurd as place people with a belief in a god into the atheist category, you're going to encounter what you're encountering now.

    I can respect ideas. But I don't respect the act of bastardizing well established terminology, nor should I. If you don't like the response you're getting, then stop it. If you can manage to do that, we can get back to exploring ideas.
  18. Yazata

    Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't understand how the issue of solipsism arises here.

    Is the problem that you're addressing the problem of... loneliness? The fact that a religious free-lancer, somebody who follows his or her unique path, may very well find that he or she is walking that path alone?

    I still don't understand. Who would be trying to do that, and why?

    As far as I can see, the only entrance requirement for being accepted as a theist is expressing some kind of belief in a theistic sort of God. I'd probably go a little farther and say that in order to really be a theist, one would have to truly believe in the existence of the theistic God (as opposed to simply talking that way).

    Whether or not somebody is a theist is simply a function of whether he or she believes in the existence of a theistic sort of 'God'. That's not really the same issue as whether or not that person has formally joined a particular church organization such as Roman Catholicism. It's possible to be a theist without being a Catholic, and even without being a member of any formal religious denomination. There are millions of people who fit that description.
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  19. wynn

    wynn ˙

    Like I said:
    Belief and behavior are inseparable.
    This is my point. And from it follows that someone who claims to "believe in God" but acts as if there would be no God, doesn't really believe in God, or is confused, lying, or we are talking from the perspective that strong atheism deserves supremacy.

    If we'd be talking about geometry, you'd have a point.
    There's a reason why "soft sciences" are called "soft," and it's because their terminologies are under constant scrutiny and redefinition.

    Or would you like to argue that belief and behavior have nothing to do with eachother? And that a person can believe P, and yet act as if not-P, and still be considered consistent?
  20. wynn

    wynn ˙

    Not simply loneliness, but flat-out solipsism.
    More below.

    In the case of theism, someone who feels a need to believe in God or do something in their relation to God, but who doesn't belong to any theistic community.

    It's not that uncommon to feel a "spiritual longing" yet not be a member of a religious community.

    Some books on the topic, as examples:
    The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path
    Making Peace With God: A Practical Guide

    It's not clear how one can believe in the existence of God without being a member of a theistic religious organization.

    It seems to be blatant solipsism to be a stand-alone DIY theist.

    It's not clear how this is possible?
    You will need to explain how there can be one without the other.

    I'm sure many people seem to fit that description. But if you look at what they actually believe and practice, how consistent are they, how philosophical refined are their beliefs about God? They seem to have a very general belief in God and also a very general practice.

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