Debate between theists and atheists is futile

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by coolsoldier, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Your analogy falters, this person experiences a real effect of this unknown outside world. He need not rely on the testimony of others but is able to infer its existence by the observable changes it causes in his world. No such inference can be drawn towards the 'supernatural' world that supposedly exists beside or beyond our own. Study after study shows nothing at all.

    Absolutely incorrect. Scientific laws are based purely upon observable phenomena. They are based upon proof and proof alone.

    There is no reason to reject God as the source of natural laws but neither is there any reason to accept it.

    There are many testimonies that claim many things. If we are to accept the existence of God on no other grounds than personal testimony why do we not equally accept the testimony of other claims? What makes the monotheist right and the pantheist wrong?

    Existence does not depend upon observation, this much is true. However, the argument that some specific thing exists which cannot be observed either directly or by its effects is an extremely weak argument and on no firmer ground than claims of pixies and gnomes.

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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Soapbox and otherwise

    Atheism is a prescription for a symptom. But even when we do away with religion there are certain irrationalities that look religious save for the lack of a godhead that must necessarily be dealt with. Think of all the negative -isms that mark the boundaries of human conflicts. How many of these are actually rational positions? Racism? Sexism? Irrational egocentrism?° Ageism?°

    The thing is that because of religion's relationship to ignorance, it may actually be impossible to eliminate religion entirely. At least, not until every human being knows everything in the Universe. As long as life seems larger than any one person, there will be religion.

    In the meantime, I would go so far as to assert that the appearance of religions as self-reinforcement is a valid observation. While the Abramic religions provide too easy a target, well ... let's just work with it. Simply, these religions cannot keep up because of some silly and inflexible assertions about the nature of God. Knowledge is outpacing the religions' abilities to adapt. Religion will continue, the overt manifestation will continue to evolve; religious faith will become less significant especially as the focus of religion and the reasons people hold it change.

    But it's like that damn "dark room" comparison in this topic. Atheism, by that standard, is standing in a dark room claiming there is no cat there at all because one cannot see it while insisting on having no obligation to look. I do appreciate the people who look around for the cat, but let's not kid ourselves into pretending that most of Sciforums' atheists only want to find the cat for any better reason than to kick it around for not being smart enough.

    Atheism as a condition can avoid this. Atheism as a cause to proselytize is just a kick in the twat.

    Because humans are irrational. Who is the rash to tease the hacking, wheezing cough? Atheism only ducks the religion trap, and that's debatable according to the most visible manifestations of atheism. (And yes, that's the problem with squeaky wheels: they need repair.)

    Perhaps people can become so logical on a general sense that they don't need to rely on any deviations of psychology from good hard logic in order to find a sense of security.

    What is important to anybody? And why? Everybody's got their reasons, but juxtaposed against a fundamental argument that rejects an assertion for being unfounded and unsupportable, those reasons generally don't shine brightly under the lights of objective scrutiny.

    Disarming God is a simple idea. My holy book, for instance, is Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. Even at age four I had no need to believe that trees could talk like the one in the story. It was easy enough to get the point of the story without it. Now, if people choose to make some sort of formal code out of it, well ... it all depends on what that code works toward. Bearing in mind that people invent gods, and that people can only invest in gods what they themselves have to invest, changing the terms of what they invest is one of the highest priorities. Perhaps from such a plateau the elimination of theistic religion is possible, but I point on this occasion toward extraterrestrial theories (1, 2). People are already looking to new expressions of godhead.
    If I walk up to enough people and accuse them of being rapists, I'll eventually be right once or twice, or ten times or so.

    The minor assertion that composes the whole of atheism is small and reactionary. That doesn't mean it's not vitally necessary. But atheism doesn't exist without brains to dwell on such considerations, e.g. atheists. And atheists, despite their use of a small and reactionary idea to reject what other people hold as a large idea for reasons of irrationality, are still irrational people.

    Efforts to restrict atheism to its smallest possible implication--a small idea--are inherently myopic because they refuse the magnitude of what the idea compares to.

    Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten. Or so the saying goes. On the other hand, I would hope that atheists have better reasons than killing kittens to isolate themselves in dark rooms.
    Does it occur to you that one thing the "Christian atheists" did was to redefine the working paradigm representing God? And yet I don't see that process accounted for in the most part of the modern atheistic rejection of Abramic traditions. "God" has not always been the same. The human idea of the Universe ruled by God has not always been the same. The human idea of God will not always be the same.

    - Memes, like genes, vary in their fitness to survive in the environment of human intellect. Some reproduce like bunnies, but are very short-lived (fashions), while others are slow to reproduce, but hang around for eons (religions, perhaps?). Note that the fitness of the meme is not necessarily related to the fitness that it confers upon the human being who holds it. The most obvious example of this is the "Smoking is Cool" meme, which does very well for itself while killing off its hosts at a great rate. (Lee Borkman)

    (Borkman also notes that among the most irresistible memes are "I exist", "You exist", and "I am the center of the universe". see alt.memetics: "What is the most irresistible meme?")

    Unless the atheistic meme is as logical as the assertion itself, this meme might just condemn itself to occupying only three or four per cent of the minds on the planet. Of course, it depends also on which "version" of atheism one examines. Projections for "negative atheism" run as high as 20%,
    We can only hope for self-defeat ... I'm not sure they'll allow anyone else to defeat them.

    But this regression comes because of how small the atheistic assertion is. There is no God. Woo-hoo. That's it. There is no other rational aspect to it. There is no greater logic to it. "I can't see it, therefore it doesn't exist" is about what it comes down to. I have to admit that if I was comfortably ensconced in myth, I wouldn't come out of my shell for something so anemic, either.

    This is part of what all of those arguments I've gotten myself into about atheism have been about. After that basic, tiny assertion, that there is no God, there is nothing else to consider ideologically or personally. Atheists are just as irrational as other people, so their rationality stops in many cases where their bigotry against religions stops. In many other cases it doesn't make it even that far. Atheists cannot lead by example because the example is impossible.

    Logic and reason are good enough to fuel one's sentiment against religion, but unless many atheists around here want to do me the favor of eating a good many words, logic and reason stop there. The atheist has no obligation to logic and reason outside the tiny atheistic assertion.

    Of course a paranoid, superstitious person is going to recoil from that kind of disjointed, false appeal to reason and logic.
    And that rejection by the paranoid of the false is a major reason why I hold with the idea of disarming God.
    Which is what amuses me most about that dark room/black cat metaphor. Everybody takes their cues from mystics and metaphysicians. Why? They deal with the ultimate potential. They deal with theoretic purities. This allows an establishment of a baseline ideal against which reality can be compared and figured.

    The mystics openly disarm god; the metaphysicians allow for the translation of God into simple myth for philosophical reflection. By accident, they are among the best friends the cat-killers can hope for ....

    I know, I know, I know. I'm a little bit embittered about a few points we've covered before. It's actually not you, I promise. It's just something about the difference between "in theory" and "in reality".

    In reality, we have to figure out how much signal is going in which direction between the psyche that demands religion and the religion that exploits a psyche. And that's just not a pleasing prospect. I keep coming back to the piss-all reality that I'm probably committing myself to a 15-page post (12 pt, 2x-space) in order to connect as many dots as I need to in order to be remotely clear on such issues. Maybe more.


    ° Irrational egocentrism - We are all aware that we must regard ourselves primarily when the circumstances call for it, but aside from splitting that hair, need I clarify to any greater detail?

    ° Ageism - A tenuous word at best merely because it's utterly unaesthetic. Nonetheless, it does include such prejudices as senior citizens being worthless and children being stupid. I have all the respect in the world for Maggie Kuhn, but I recall one time when I was about 11 or 12 that the only reason my friend and I didn't beat this insane guy to death after he attacked us was that hew was freaking old and it just wouldn't have been fair to haul off and hit him back. And, frankly, let's be honest--the Gray Panthers are one of the reasons that everybody with a problem has an interest group begging time on Oprah or Maury or whatever. Nonetheless, watching Maggie chide Johnny Carson ... and watching Carson's response over time ... was priceless, and I thank them both.
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  5. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member


    So just how would atheism fit on this chart?

    How about –

    1. There’s a black cat?
    2. I can’t see a cat in here.
    3. I’ve felt every inch and every corner of this room and there is no black cat here. It probably moved out of your way as you were searching, idiot.
    4. Show me this black cat then.
    5. What’s a black cat?
    6. There’s no black cat in here.
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    And I repeat:
    The ellipsus represents the word "only", removed from that passage because it didn't seem to belong in the sentence it was in.
  8. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    "It's not that I condone fascism, or any isms for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good." Ferris Bueller

    From a certain perspective, I agree. However, I am prone to view atheism through my own approach which was a whittling away of contradictions and unnecessary assumptions in an attempt to discover the commonalities. While I acknowledge that despite this reduction I am left with certain unprovable assumptions and a scattering of inexplicable observations, my core assumptions are vastly reduced from the theological base I began with and are (as far as I can determine) irreducible. From such a standpoint I disagree with the scope of your conviction.

    Given that one must accept a certain base set of assumptions in order to develop any working philosophy, I find that the minimalist approach is best. And herein is my main objection to God as a concept at all. For no matter the definition the word is overloaded with assertions that are assumptions in themselves. The term has so much conceptual baggage that it becomes almost meaningless.

    Here I find that I applaud the mystical approach to God as defined by the tension that exists between opposites or contradictions. Or, as I found in "A History of God" (thank you BTW) "If we are to think positively of the One, there would be more truth in Silence." - Plotinus. As far as religion is concerned, I find this the only laudable approach. But again, I find the path problematic in that the terminology is terribly prone to literalist misinterpretation and tends to beget the very conceptualization that it is actually attempting to eliminate.

    The truth of the matter is the fable of the blind men investigating the elephant. Each man's hand touched the elephant, the mistake lies in naming what it is we think we perceive rather than simply describing our perception. I cannot refute an experience of God until you try to tell me what it is and what it means. This is science at its core; although I will agree that it is almost as prone to literalist misinterpretation as religion. This is the reason that theists sometimes confuse science with a religion.

    Attempts at conversion are always a kick in the twat. Instead: Confuse them, wreak havoc on their surety, destroy their convictions, make them rebuild and rebuild again until they construct something that cannot be knocked over. Sure it's violent. Beat me, bash me, assail my logic and beliefs because sooner or later life itself will do it (already has, actually) and when that happens I wish to be prepared. Sometimes people get mad at me here because I come off so cock-sure but that is exactly what I want.

    Security cannot be found or gifted, it must be earned through a trial of fire. Anything else is false. Anything else is the swaddling clothes of an infant. Whether through mysticism, philosophy, science, or religion if it comes easy it is false and won't protect you from shit.

    And we use a thresher to separate the wheat from the chaff; the wheat will fall through, the chaff will blow away. The reason they don't have a ready made philosophy to fill the gap is because they haven't figured it out for themselves. But this is often the point; Atheists don't have everything figured out but at least they generally aren't pretending that they have. Theists tend to abort any exploration towards finding solutions, the answer to them is simply, "God says". "Why is murder wrong?" "God says so." It's a bullshit answer, it means nothing. At least the atheist is open to the exploration. Until God starts whispering the answers into my ear everything else is hearsay so let's try actually exploring the issues.

    Science, properly understood, does the same. It just works from a different angle.

    I don't want to kill the cat. I just want people to stop telling me that the cat is black when they're looking in the dark or telling me I'm wrong when I say, "Well, it's not in this corner of the room." But no; they tell me the cat is black, its name is felix, it's everywhere, and is responsible for everything. Sorry, but no it's not.


    Don't worry, we'll take it bit by bit. It's easier to digest this way anyway.

  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Oh yeah ... theory and reality. Whoops. (Remembered after the fact)

  10. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Formally relational systems...

    I am one of those who so insist; limiting atheism forces one to identify the remainder positively. Not that this is necessarily easy but I find it important, for instance, to differentiate 'my standpoint' from atheism. Atheism, as far as I can be defined thusly, was part of the result, not the process itself.

    When it comes right down to it, yes, but I think that the problem is intrinsic rather than deliberate. God is a label without an object. It takes a bit of work to develop the concept of God as a condition or abstract notion. Most people keep attempting to define the object or interpret other's definitions literally.

    And I've stayed away from that one as I don't find it particularly useful. The pertinent questions are where are we, how did we get here, and where are we going, not the infinitude of hypothetical alternatives.

    I was examining the method and the results rather than the internal priorities. The thing that I find most useful about mysticism is indeed its flexibility. However, I find that this is also a weakness as it sometimes becomes so flexible that it loses its utility and meaning. The other side of the problem is the potential for misunderstanding such an abstract system literally.

    Agreed, which is why I generally make the effort to respond respectfully. But there are times when one needs to apply a good shock to the system. I find that the flat denial that so often attends the atheist perspective is precisely what much of society needs and deserves. Taking the longer view I agree with you that some compromise must be reached but first we need to get out of the rut.

    Frankly, personally, I find this supremely efficient. However it can be painful.

    That's just what I don't understand. How often do we read about the positive changes in perspective, about how precious and vibrant life becomes after a near miss with mortality? Why should such a realization lead to depression, desperation, and ennui? I don't see how denial of the fact of death helps us in any way. Certainly I do not look forward to my dissolution but knowing that it is inevitable only energizes me to action and appreciation of the now. How many sit and suffer, longing for an afterlife that may not be? This to me is the real travesty.

    I agree. This is why I offer alternative considerations rather than simple denials.

    True, it is equally disingenuous but at least it's obvious and is not pretending to be an answer.

    Generally, I find that atheists do indeed dig down a little deeper although I will grant you that there are those who fly off with a doctrinal response just as quickly as any theist and with just as little honest contemplation.

    One does not need to keep up on the cutting edge of every discipline, this would be impossible. But what we lack, almost completely, is a grounding in the philosophy and methods of science. Hell, I'm waiting to see one given below the college level and a basic understanding is critical in today's culture. Attending a class on the philosophy and methods of Science for an hour or two every Sunday would suffice I think.

    You have a basic understanding of the topic which is enough to make good use of the tools the experts have made available. Without this understanding an authoring program would be as useless to you as a cell-phone to a monkey. This is all that is required, and is being sorely neglected, with science.

    Absolute objectivity is impossible so that cannot be the goal. The question is whether it's objective and flexible enough to provide us with a useful tool. Too ridged and the tool will snap off in our hand, wounding or killing many in the process. Too flexible and we have nothing to work with. We need something flexible but not unpredictable or unwieldy. A tall order indeed.

    And so, like you, I labor to bring some of that potential to light and it seems to me that the number of people involved in this effort is growing. I am constantly delighted to see a new post, article, or book that brings a broader understanding. What is needed is more publicity, more in your face media that breaks down our presumptions, more people willing to stand up and publicly question mainstream doctrine and dogma. We need more people to help push this damn thing out of the rut it's in.

  11. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member

    Re: Disarming God

    "The theistic reaction seems to be either a regression towards inane fundamentalism which will eventually be self-defeating (I'm ever the optimist) or a broadening and generalization of the concept of God, which is the beginning of the disarmament we are looking for."

    You can only disarm, make impotent a Graven Image, an Illusion of Reality, the Reality of a False God, the Illusion of a named, defined, God.

    You can not disarm the Single True Nature of the Universe, the Reality of First Cause, the Law, the Word that governs the Freedom of Motion, Singularity.

    Narrow the concept, the mental image, definition, of God not broaden it.

    Fundamentalists summit to, prostrate themselves before, Worship, a False God, an en-Graven Image of the Reality of God, a Named God; Fundamentalism is Idolatry.

    The God of the Fundamentalist is a mistaken image, Identity, a False Name of the Reality of the Single True Nature of the Universe, the Word of God, God’s Law, God’s Will, the Reality of First Cause, Freedom the Nature of Singularity.

    The understanding of Myth is lost is Space-Time.

    To speak in the Spirit, the Nature, of a No Name God is to speak of the Truth of Reality without the intent to deceive, to act, to speak in all honesty, simply speaking the Truth for Truths sake.

    To speak in the Spirit, the Nature, of a Name of God, is to speak of the Truth of Reality with intent to deceive, Duplicity, Guilefulness; simply put anyone that speaks of, in, the Name of a God that has form, shape, definition, that speaks of a Material, Physical, God is a Liar.

    God is hidden secret, Nameless; simply meaning that God is not a Material Physical Reality, God is not readily apparent to the senses.

    The only God that is relative to the Five senses would be a Physical, Material World of Reality is, a Graven Image.

    The Problem is that Man has a sense of, an intuitive sense of something that is more important than the Material.

    Man has an intuitive sense of Single True Nature of the Universe, a Reality that is not Readily apparent, known only by the effect that is has upon the Hearts and Minds of Man, a persons Mortal and Immortal Soul, BE-ing.

    I am!

    I am who?

    I am I, an Atheist that believes in, a hidden, secret, unseen, in a No Name, God.

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  12. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member


    Are there any Wayne translators available?
  13. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member


    Have you never heard it said that the purpose of Science is to find the Single True Nature of the Universe?
  14. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Re: Re: Disarming God

    Indeed this is what we were discussing.

    Neither can you define it. Definitions are limitations. "Single", "true", "nature", "reality", "first", "cause", "law", "governs'", "freedom", "motion", you attempt to limit that which is without limit. You seek to 'express knowledge' of that which is ineffable and unknowable. All you are expressing is yourself. You talk about those things that are in your mind and not a word of it pertains to the unutterable.

    Loose your images, they are the false idols you speak of.

    Your expressions are just as mistaken as those you reject.

    To speak about god is to utter falsehood.

    Are you suggesting that god is not present in the material and physical?

    There is no need to step beyond apparent reality, one needs only realize that what one perceives is not the whole but only a particular perspective of a small part of the whole.

    Then you are not an atheist.

  15. ConsequentAtheist Registered Senior Member

    Re: Formally relational systems...

    i.e., a 'consequent atheism'

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  16. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member

    Re: Re: Re: Disarming God

  17. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Disarming God

    /In the original revelation, God’s Name is No Name, God is Nameless, can not be spoken of.

    Do you think that somehow renders "the revelation" relevant?
  18. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Disarming God

    Um, no. That would have nothing whatsoever to do with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Unless you are proposing that God is a subatomic particle.

    The reality that is readily apparent is not the whole story.

    Primarily science is a method for knowing and does not have any goals. But even so, taking into account such things as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the fact that we are bound to three dimensions this may not be possible.

    No, science is wholly dependent upon observable phenomena.

    Because Herbert wrote it that way.

    Which revelation was that?

  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Something, something, Burt Ward ... er, I mean, Raithere ... late but not forgotten

    As such, atheism is a result that is, by nature--it is, after all, an idea--ignorant of its effects. Atheists, however, need not maintain that particular lack of information.

    It comes down, I suppose, to those intangible, irreducible standards. For me, it's hard to call anything irreducible, though such a comment may be unnecessary as I'm sure you know what I mean; we're always learning, our opinion of the irreducible changes occasionally for better or worse.

    But questions of why are never far from my mind, and far be it for me to demand the biographical why of anybody. But still, there is the aspect of why which does not regard "from what circumstance," and asks instead, "toward what end?"

    So here I'll drag out Thelema for another appearance: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    People often mistake this, as you well know, for a holy pronouncement when in reality it is intended as an enlightened observation. Lysander Spooner, in Vices Are Not Crimes notes that one cannot give to any institution what they do not have to give. Whether God or government, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. People can only invest in their rulers those ideas and needs which they have in the first place. And governments provide an interesting backdrop. People come together in collective associations for a number of reasons, but humanity is a socially dependent species. Do what we will? So we come together for our own benefit. Now if we look around our own society, "Do what I will?" A rape and murder spree? Hardly. One has a difficult time establishing the actual benefit. I suppose one is welcome to destroy themselves according to Thelema, and that's why the Rede come down from Gardnerian witchcraft looks ever-so-slightly different: An thou harm none, do what thou will.

    Toward what end does one do what they will? Do they create their own enemies to fight against? Or do they seek reconciliation and progress? Can they take that progress individually, or must it come amid a larger evolution of the collective? Shall we end up huddling at our terminals in tiny flats with many guns behind doors locked and barred because we have done what we will until chaos engulfed us? Can we protect ourselves, as such, by giving ourselves less to protect against? Let's talk to the Unabomber about progress ....

    All of which goes to offer an anemic explanation the attitude problem I can't seem to shake in this topic. It's like the title: Of course it's futile, because this is what people choose.

    And I look to the atheists to bridge the gap because, frankly, atheists are allegedly what?!


    Religion is allegedly a what?!

    Neurosis; psychosis, memetic social disease; ideological cancer ....

    Physicians! Heal thy selves, so that you may heal also the sick.

    You can tell the poor, superstitious boy, "Yes, I'm going to chase the demons away," and give him the damn shot, or you can stand around arguing all day about there being no demons until his brain burns away.

    And there's a measure of sympathy there, too. I know it hurts for many atheists, banging their heads against the theistic wall. It doesn't have to be this way. But by and large, if religion is a sickness, then the healthy folks either have to quarantine altogether--a losing proposition, as "normal" is statistically analogous to "sick"--or work to heal the sick. This is not like a cold or the flu; even in the first world, one cannot necessarily fight this sickness on their own.

    I suppose I should invite you to look around, Raithere. I know you're in there trying, but I'm just not seeing you as common, or your brand as holding a comfortable market share.
    And here again is where I wish to put a burden to atheists. Always exempt here are the natural atheists who simply have never been infected by the merest hint of the religious idea, and truly they are a rare breed. But what if futuristic anthropologists, discovering a civilization on a planet somewhere, simply landed and shouted, "You're wrong!" The religious are bound by certain limitations to certain interpretive methods; while there is a certain amount of individual diversity, we can fairly say that all Christians have certain common traits whereas the same problematic limitation does not have to bind atheists. Does one despise the people in the cave? Does one attempt to rescue and free them? Can one convince them that the reality they come to, emerging from the cave, is really reality?

    These are the issues I see limiting the atheistic contribution to the debate. While I don't regard theism as yet being hopeless in this situation, I tend to look at inherited religion as a cruelty, and those who suffer that brand of indoctrination as victims. Perhaps atheists don't generally share this idea, but I do think it is part of the result of ....
    The hypothetical alternatives are useful against limiting one's possible answers to the pertinent questions. One of the unfortunate realities pertaining to the topic title, at least, is that many atheists are nearly superstitious in their limitations of perspective concerning the pertinent questions. You can spot these as the most viciously cruel and condemning indictments against religions in history, which seem to forget that they are, in fact, regarding in some cases medieval mass superstition. Look how easily pop culture convinces people in modern America that Britney Spears or N'Sync or Creed are the best of musical creation. I think many atheists forget this and similar realities when examining history, just as partisans tend to demonize the history of their political opponents without consideration of the reality of the humans who lived those histories. It's just that it gets too easy to compress and conform the historical and developmental issues to match existing prejudices. It's easy enough to see when it's religious folks doing this, but I've found it equally difficult--but not impossible--to explain to atheists when the subjectivity of the method and its result don't have to do with the focus of the anti-identification--e.g. God. It is as if the absence of God forgives the same faulty processes.
    Fair enough, but the method and results change. One of the things about mysticism is that it maintains human dynamism within the religious paradigm.
    I treat that flexibility as I treat poetry. Mystical ideas either work or they don't. When they don't they either disappear or change. When they do, they must keep up with reality or else suddenly they don't.
    Depends specifically on the foundation of the idea itself and the condition of the individual examining the idea. Kind of like responsible gun owners. In theory, accidents should never happen. Likewise, it is irresponsibility in the seeker which leads to that loss of utility and meaning. The problem remains human-level.
    Somewhere in Armstrong is mention of one of the Arabic mystics ... I'm thinking al-Ghazzali:
    Hmm .. might seem elitist? Actually, the only elitist thing about it is the idea of "higher" knowledge. I don't claim higher knowledge, for instance, when I make jokes about being an anti-prophet. I just look at factors differently from other people. I can't say that "awareness that the Creator alone exists or has being," is necessarily "higher" knowledge. But despite the Western tendency to anthropomorphize "the Creator"--and it's not just Westerners, but since we're ... oh, you know--the idea suffices. When I hear a religious or mystical person speak of awareness that the Creator alone exists or have being, it translates (for me) to support ideas I've floated around here like the Universe being a single event, and we are not so much individual beings as we are part of an ongoing single process. There are no multiple events in this Universe, only the one event of the Universe, and everything else we identify is merely a component. Yes, a murder or suicide or cancer death or whatever seems significant to the surviving family, but this "event" is no more independent than ... that spark right there coming off Krypton after it exploded. Whatever the Creator is--Universe, Big Bang, whatever, as it needs not be aware or alive or anything else, it simply has to be--it is the only real thing in reality. Horsepucky ideas of higher knowledge aside, I agree that mystical thought is something which is limited among people, whether by genes or social conditioning I do not know (though I tend toward the latter more directly and the former only in the fact genes are that important; there's no "mysticism" gene, but inasmuch as genetics affects perception, accommodation, and assimilation of information, yeah, genetics has an effect).

    The potential for misunderstanding is inherent in human diversity.
    I do not deny that.
    I know the feeling. But the presumption to judge such a necessity is as severe as the presumption of God when you get right down to the result; that the process is different is incidental.
    I'll leave you to your criteria, though my own observations of the world indicate that in general, the method is supremely inefficient:

    - That atheism possesses a known 3 - 4% of the American culture, and by similar extrapolation as estimates of homosexuality as much as 20% total whispers insinuations against the efficiency of the general atheistic communication. But this is not an indictment in itself.
    - That so many people with so many identifications and so many opinions employ such a method, why do we not see the results? Is the supreme efficacy of one cause balancing out another? (As such, I would expect more open conversions back and forth here at Sciforums. I think the score is just about tied between atheists and theists, though I stopped paying attention a while ago. Suffice to say, I would expect more, regardless of who was "winning" according to the score.)
    - I do think the shock approach, both at Sciforums and in the American culture at least, has lost its value. People just get annoyed these days. It never occurs to most that you're just frustrated and you might have a point. Oh, no. Heavens, the rough approach means you're something terrible. It's hard for me to deny certain people are anti-Christian bigots, but who the hell cares? But we see around here at Sciforums at least that an affirming idea which does not take lives is just as evil as a condemning idea that does take lives since the affirming idea opposes and therefore does not tolerate the condemning idea.
    - I don't see what the approach really accomplishes. Heck, in my own shock approach, I've been known to lay down a record of what someone said and ask them what the hell they were thinking. Apparently reality is so flexible that they never wrote the words that I picked out of their post in order to ask them why they wrote it.

    Suffice to say I still question the efficiency. Of course, there are aspects that you're accounting for that I'm probably missing.
    Is the travesty to be eradicated or healed? That's a vital question to me, because it is the essential difference between the surgeon's knife and a dagger in the heart.
    To back it up a couple of posts ... this I understand, but I do think that many atheists who don't have it all figured out are, in fact, pretending they have. It may not be a lack of ideas, but a lack of the ability to communicate those ideas. How important is the idea, then? Obviously, not very, or else they would learn to communicate it. If God whispered the answers in your ear, how would you or any atheist--or anybody--know?
    Small comfort ....

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    If I go a million light years out, and you go two million light years out, did either one of us reach the end of the Universe? I find atheism is generally more practical in certain aspects, seeking reality instead of relying on illusion. But compared to the mere idea of the absolute, the difference is almost inapplicable.
    Agreed, but ....
    While I agree that I would like to see a certain foundation laid--whether one's opinion moves them to say, "much earlier", or "as a mandatory cornerstone", or even "at all"--I do think that this will prove, especially as we move into practical applications of that information, more difficult than most are prepared to imagine. Why not make kids bilingual from the start? Teach them English and machine code.
    I say the same about psychology, anthropology, and the philosophy of history. Not necessarily about Sunday, though ... I'm a fan of a 4/3 week instead of a 5/2.
    True. Try teaching Emma's maternal grandparents to use a computer. Judgment Day will occur before that happens. And yes, they're insanely religious, but they're also old and old-fashioned and incapable of thinking of certain basic concepts about a computer. A friend of mine, a Mac tech, while really high one night, said, "But that's the thing. How long did it take you to pick up two separate platforms on a Mac?" I looked at him and said, "But I knew the old OS from high school, and the new one is that easy." Then he hit the pipe, looked at the screen thoughtfully, and said, "Tell me, do you answer phones for the nationwide OSX tech support office?" I said, "No." He nodded. "Then trust me," he said. When I emailed him about a small problem once, he posted the email around the office, smirking. People envied that easy of a tech issue, even though there was no immediate solution to offer. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not flexing my prowess here. Operating a mouse-driven GUI and being able to tell someone what my computer's doing to annoy me don't seem all that impressive.

    So yes, it's a sad state when people tell me this paltry sum is sufficient or daresay deviant toward the positive. The new generation, though, born amid a sea of information, adapts. They shouldn't smirk, though. I'd love to put any one of the snot-nosed comedians in a room with a Royal or an Underwood and say, "Type your humor there." When I was at the University of Oregon, honors students out of the local public schools were coming to me to write their papers for them. The younger generation may be taking in and organizing more information, and more useful information, but in addition to the philosophy of science, something people seem to lack more and more of these days is the ability to communicate. Sadly, it has a strange amount to do with issues pertaining to conformity. (If I have to endure another episode of Whoopi's current TV series ....)

    (Insert sarcastic netspeak here for example; yes, that's how removed I'm getting from the culture around me; I can barely write netspeak.)

    Maybe we should stop teaching vocations in high schools and start teaching people how to think soundly.

    Ah, what ever happened to the idea of "well-rounded" education?
    A tall order calls for a tall glass. Drink up, dreamers, we're running dry.
    I'll drink to that.

    In the meantime ... I'm compelled to comment somehow about the discussion with Wayne, but ... yeah. It's an unfamiliar layer of accretions I see in that. I want to tell you to draw a loop from the end of one of his sentences to come around to the beginning, though I beg your pardon if God only knows what good that would do.

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  20. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Disarming God

  21. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Disarming God

    Sure Do. The Fact that a Named God is a Graven Image and those that worship, he, she or it are Idolaters is very relavant.
  22. wayne_92587 Registered Senior Member

    Re: Something, something, Burt Ward ... er, I mean, Raithere ... late but not forgotten

    Do as you will shall be the Whole of the Law.

    Freedom is the Law, the whole of the Law, the Single true nature if the Universe.

    Free will, to act without cause.

    Your examples of Rape and Murder are not acts of Free will.

    It is do as you will, not do as you want, as you are compelled to do, as you need to do.

    Acting out a compulsive desire is not an act of Free Will.

    In order to be Free, you must be Free even from Self.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Wayne ... practical ramifications

    Wayne, while I have an appreciation for the dreaminess with which you seem to toss off this or that idea, there are some practical considerations.
    Insofar as the idea is practical, yes, a rapist or a murderer chooses to rape or murder.

    However, you do point out an essential consideration of Thelema.
    This is why Thelema is dangerous. Most Thelemic people I meet are very arrogant and don't realize the implications of the Law. To the other, the last time I was anywhere near the OTO, they dealt with Harm none, do what thou will. True, it's a corruption of the Law, but it's an important one to remind the earthsick and selfbound.

    I won't go so far as to say you're missing the point, but you're taking it so far to the metaphysical that the Law ceases to have any constructive practical effect. It will be a while before people choose to debate the Freedom of the Law as the Single True Nature of the Universe. But even in such a context, Will and Self are far too important to be separated and escaped. Of course, this is what Eastern thinkers find limiting about Thelema and its implications: where some would erase the Self, Thelema would bring Union to the Self and the Will. The Self serves the Will, and the Will kneels before the Self; together they become one. And then you can take it up with the Buddhists or the Sufis.

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