Extreme Atheism - leads to a Proxy God by default.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Quantum Quack, Apr 18, 2019.

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  1. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    finally a sane voice in the wilderness!
    MY first thought when reading your post was that if he was a Christian under duress his theological work would have demonstrated that duress.
    Do you have any evidence to suggests that his theological work was written under duress?
    As any reformer knows, just like the overt hostility demonstrated on this board, heracy is a common call of those offended by being told that they may be mistaken and need to evolve towards a better position.

    The theological out put threatened charges of heracy not because he was an atheist in disguise but because he threatened those orthodox views of the time would be my contention.

    The current Pope Francis could have been charged with heracy due to his attempt to reform the Catholic diocese. Church politics being as they are in any large power driven bureaucracy.

    That said, IMHO Isaac Newton was no more an atheist than Pope Francis is. Both theists, both devoted to their worship, both passionate about their love of God and both wishing for nothing more than the reform of the Church they belong to for the benefit of the congregation, and people every where.

    If someone declared that your attempts at self determination were an illusion, that every effort you have made to your own benefit, that everything that identifies you including your love and passion was a fraud, an illusion how would you feel about your next post?
    Perhaps you would ask for evidence to support such a wild claim? ( there is none)
    Perhaps you would ask for the rational to be explained? ( circular self defeating logic )

    Perhaps you would find that any attempt to discuss it leads to shutting down of the complaint and arrogantly declaring a premise as "scientifically proven and logically valid" when no truth is evident and not even allowed under the very same rational. You see the rational leads to everything human ultimately is an illusion.

    Perhaps though, you will just join the band of orthodoxy and scream "heracy!" at me even though you sacrifice your commitment to self determination in the process, just to avoid reform to a better place.

    For over 3000 years this dispute has been going on, both in the Churches of the world and in the various scientific fields. Free will and self determination being incompatible with both extreme Orthodox religious views and the science of determinism ( cause and effect)
    Any reasonable solution to this 3000 year dilemma will yield the accusation of heracy...
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  3. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And this makes a difference in the hatred between religions of each others religion? Apostasy.
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  7. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Can you explain your post so that it makes it easier for the forum reader to understand?
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Exclusivity breeds contempt, no matter how it is expressed.
    The post #382 proposes, that this exclusivity has morphed not just in the realm of sp[iritual religions, but now seeks to dominate politically and establish an earthly "dominion".
  9. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Not sure that I've met many atheists who believe in the idea of determinism, as that typically leads to the idea of intelligent design. But, maybe one could believe that everything is pre-determined, and yet still random as to create a nihilistic view. Not that all atheists or even most, are by default nihilists. lol
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    • Inappropriate sexual comments directed at other forum members are a form of sexual harassment that will not be tolerated on sciforums. The excuse that it was "just a joke" won't fly.
    I don't think that it's historically accurate to depict Newton as feigning his interest in religion or his having somehow been forced into it. It was sincere and deeply rooted in who he was. One of the best recent studies of Newton's theological beliefs is Priest of Nature, The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton by Rob Iliffe (2017, Oxford University Press). Illife is professor of history at Oxford and General Editor of the Newton Project, which is attempting to put all of Newton's writings, most of them hitherto unpublished, online.

    The book:


    The Newton Project:


    From the book's introduction:

    In November 1679 the secretary of the Royal Society, Robert Hooke, wrote to Isaac Newton to ask his views on a number of recent scientific theories and discoveries... He [Newton] told Hooke that having spent the last few months in the country, he was completely unaware of what natural philosophers in London or anywhere else had been doing. His disillusionment with philosophy had been brewing for some time,, he said, and he added that he had been trying for many years to turn away from the natural sciences. Now, he continued, he wanted to concentrate on his "other studies"... Instead, he was going to concentrate on research that he enjoyed, or that was of benefit to others...

    ...In the century after Newton's death in 1727, information about his real religious opinions was slow to emerge. In Enlightenment Europe, both admirers and detractors became increasingly perplexed by the nature of these studies, and in particular by Newton's dedication to topics such as the meaning and historical identity of the apocalyptic Whore of Babylon. To explain away these interests, they claimed that he had only pursued them when he had moved to London in 1696 to take up the position of Warden of the Royal Mint, or after he had become senile, or even mad. However, Newton produced the monumental and highly original work that is the subject of this book before he left Cambridge in the mid-1690s. Indeed his deep Christian faith was the most important aspect of his life. His half-niece Catherine Conduitt, who lived with him for much of the London period, related that he often became upset when his acquaintances, in particular the classical scholar Richard Bentley and the astronomer Edmund Halley, spoke "ludicrously" about religion... and his successor as Lucasian professor, William Whiston, recalled that Newton often condemned the "wicked behavior" of modern courtiers, who had "laughed themselves out of religion". Even if he was not a puritan in doctrine, he had a stony-faced earnestness about religion that was widely known. He was no libertine, deist, or atheist, but according to the doctrines of his own church, he was a heretic.
    (pp. 4-5)

    Iliffe is of the opinion that Newton's theological writings form a coherent whole and that when read in their entirety, show Newton to have been one of the most original theological writers of the late 17th century.

    If that was true, then Newton could have continued his scientific interests throughout his life. He could have joined with those, who as he put it, "laughed themselves out of religion". The late 17th century was the time when Deism was spreading like wildfire among British intellectuals, and Newton could have joined it easily enough, even if he had to maintain the superficial appearance of orthodoxy.

    After all, he was privately extremely heterodox in his opposition to the trinity and the theology of the early church fathers, and had to keep that side of himself private. He nevertheless wrote extensively about it in unpublished treatises (nobody is sure who the intended audience was) and in private correspondence. He could have easily been a private Deist or free-thinker, had he wanted to be. There's no sign of it in his private writings.

    Is Bells the 'Whore of Babylon'??

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  11. Bells Staff Member

    I never said he feigned interest.

    I said there were no other options.

    There is a vast difference..

    Kind of obvious, don't you think?

    Newton was a theist, because that is all he would have known. There were no options. His analysis of religion, theology was hidden, out of fear he would be deemed a heretic. One did not question religion back then for obvious reasons.

    And risk position, hierarchy, family, etc? In that climate?

    He would have been crazy to have done so.

    Why would he? Why should he? He believed, because he was taught to believe. Why would he leave all that he had known all his life?

    Take a moment, Yazata, and ask yourself this..

    Do you really think that is appropriate?

    I mean I get it, you may think sexually harassing women online by inferring that I am an evil whore is funny. But it isn't funny in the slightest.
    cluelusshusbund and Write4U like this.
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Question; Do we believe in theism because of hero worship or from factual evidence?
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    A theist would state factual evidence, or what they have deemed to be factual.

    I believe that God can be omniscient (the creator of a pre-determined universe), but also allow for free will. Our choices being our own, but those choices don't affect the outcome that has already been predetermined. While this line of thinking might diminish the idea that we could have any culpability for the quality of our lives, it's just the opposite.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    How do you make choices that don't affect outcomes? The only logical way for that to occur is to say that most outcomes aren't predetermined and that only a few are predetermined and those are the only ones that God cares about.

    That's a rather tenuous argument don't you think?
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I should have elaborated, but maybe to put it another way - God's omniscience and our choices can coexist. I think that determinism (from a secular view) is sometimes erroneously viewed as ''nothing matters, because everything is predetermined, anyway,'' thus the nihilist view.

    When it comes to theology, a question that I've thought of recently is, does God's omniscience include possibility? God's ''all knowing'' power wouldn't change, yet one's choices change. If you're a theist, those two concepts can coexist, without confusion. Taking it a step further (from a theist's perspective) - a believer would wish to align him/her will with God's will. Although, that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions, I know.
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I think God's omnipotence (from a secular view) doesn't exist since God doesn't exist (from a secular view)

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    I don't think "nothing matters" is a good way to look at life no matter what your theistic/atheistic views are. I don't see many atheistic people dwelling on "determinism" though.

    It's a complicated concept anyway. I think the answer is that much is determined as in we aren't conscious of it but that's not in the sense of some predetermined plan. In realistic terms, our lives aren't determined, IMO.

    Most of the "determinism" just comes from DNA, your environment, and our unconscious actions. Our choices aren't actually unlimited and therefore that's where some determinism comes in.

    No one has determined when you will die but your lifestyle, DNA, etc has determined some of the factors.

    No one has determined that you will be/remain poor (generic you) but if you don't have a good education/wealthy family or live in the "right" countries...it's not hard to pick out which groups will remain largely poor.

    As far as a "God" being all knowing and all powerful, you can't really do much with those concepts without running into he knows that you will do bad things, get sick, be murdered but does nothing. That means that he knows all but doesn't care or if he can't do anything he isn't all powerful.

    Then you get into, is being murdered really a bad thing if "going to heaven" is your "reward".

    IMO, these are really nonsensical concepts (in addition to the nonsensical concept..."God").
  17. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Even with my some what limited reading of Sir Isaac Newton own words, one can easily see that he was well aware of alternatives to his position in the Church. Atheism and agnosticism were not that uncommon. Sure it was true that the Church had significant influence on academia but that doesn't mean that being aware of alternatives was forbidden.

    Poisoning the reader:

    To poison the reader into believing that he was somehow obliged to be a devout, devoted theologian, that he had no choice, suggest that an ulterior motive to such poisoning may be present.
    as the ulterior motive, it is any ones guess, for surely one as intelligent as Bells, can clearly see that he did indeed voluntarily, and enthusiastically stay with in the Church, knowing full well he could do other wise if he wished to.
    Any one with at least high school English level education could understand that he was a ethically conservative Christian who disagreed with some of the Churches views, a heretic, a reformer but all the same remained a devoted and devout theist his entire life with out any question regarding his lack of choices to be so.

    Why an intelligent person would think other wise without providing evidence to the contrary and expect to be believed is troubling....perhaps that person might believe that the reader is naive and stupid, that they will believe what they tell them regardless of the absurdity, a staggering call to their own "authority". Perhaps, poison is all they have to prop up a failing self esteem...

    Defaming and denigrating Sir Isaac Newton for petty reasons.

    But why defame and denigrate a man of incredible standing just to poison a fellow members standing?
    Why poison peoples opinion of what may be one of the greatest men in modern history just to attempt to strike some sort of hurt upon a fellow member of this forum? Surely this could be achieved with out dragging Isaac Newton through the mud of their "psychotic" contempt.

    It is obvious to any one who has bothered to read, as you have Yazata, that Issac Newton was an enthusiastic supporter, follower and contributor to theism in the 17th century.

    Not only was he a theist of high order he was an amazing natural scientist whose achievements form the foundation of just about all of science today.

    Yet some member denigrates his own science by believing Newton to not be intelligentsia simply for the bigoted reason that all theists are (your words go here)

    Such is the nature of extreme atheism I guess...

    Now to that fabulous mystery; the "Whore of Babylon".

    Christian eschatology ( end times prophecy ) includes a beast/an anti Christ ( atheist I presume) that they referred to as a whore or Idolatress, Essentially in short, the worshiper of idols meets her own apocalyptic demise at the hands of a seven headed, ten horned beast.

    Now of course the teaser that you played was exemplary in that Isaac Newton spent a great deal of time attempting to decipher these revelations so that a useful date could be established for the down fall to occur for the Whore of Babylon. ( the worshiper of idols such as money, gold, art etc or actually anything other than God himself) Perhaps the whore is indeed referring to an atheist worshiping money and other transient possessions.

    "So then the time times & half a time [sic] are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & an half, recconing twelve months to a year & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calender [sic] of the primitive year. And the days of short lived Beasts being put for the years of [long-]lived kingdoms the period of 1260 days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.C. 800, will end 2060. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner." ~Isaac Newton
    So he predicts the end times of the whore idol worshipers (Those that do not worship God alone) to be at the least 2060 or later, but certainly not before.

    Now does that sound like a person who was forced by circumstances to be in the Church?

    Excessive sensitivity to criticism?

    But of course Bells, being as sensitive to criticism, as she is considered the rather cryptic aside by Yazata as an offensive comment and a personal insult. Proved by her post:
    Not even talking the time to google "The whore of Babylon"
    Complaining of imaginary sexual harassment and not understanding the play on her profound ignorance and hyper sensitivity to abuse, abuse that she feels only she can dish out perhaps.

    Perhaps Bells could expand her understanding of the word Whore to include "prostitution of the soul" for idols and relieve her chagrin.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Strawman after strawman after strawman. Seriously, if you think you're debating about anything that has been said in these forums then you need help. Yes, the notion of a non-trivial freedom is held by some to be illusory, but beyond that you're just ignorant of what their position is. You have jumped to conclusions that aren't there in what has been argued. You have merely looked to stoke fear and ignorance to support your position.

    So here's an idea: rather than create threads in an attempt to spread your fear and ignorance, why not try and discuss things with those whose philosophy you don't comprehend? A novel idea for you quite possibly, when all you want to do is shine a spotlight on your own ignorance, but who knows, it may actually do you some good.
    So stop playing the victim. Stop being dishonest. Stop arguing strawmen, arguing from fear and personal incredulity etc.

    I get it, you don't like the view you think these people hold. But do you honestly think it an excuse for the way you have acted in this thread?
    The rest is just seeking victimhood, ignorance, and more strawmen.

    So here's another idea: if all you're going to do is tell them what you think their position is, complain about what you think their position is, complain about how unfairly you think they've treated you, then just for a moment stop, put the pen down, and ask yourself if you're actually being constructive. Ask yourself: do you really understand their position? If you think you do then why do they think you don't? What are they seeing that you don't, or vice versa? If they say something that you don't understand, that doesn't make them wrong, and you thinking you're making sense or putting forward a coherent argument doesn't make you right. And vice versa. The chances are that you don't understand their position as well as you think you do. And this goes for almost any view one has about someone else's position.

    So get over yourself.
    Behave honestly and decently.
    And actually try and discuss the issue for a change.
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Ahh but I am, it is you who is not...
    500 + words of nothing
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    There are many atheists who hold the universe to be deterministic, or at least probabilistically so, which, the argument goes, grants the same lack of non-trivial freedom as a strictly deterministic universe. But why do you think it typically leads to the idea of ID? What does the mechanism by which our universe operates have to do with who, what, or why the universe was created, such that one's view of the former leads typically to a certain view of the latter?
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    One line of argument that allows God to be Omniscient and thus everything predetermined yet still allow free will is that God's omniscience is not causal. I.e. His knowing something doesn't cause it to happen. This is a different type of predetermination to that arrived at through causal determinism, which means that if you know the starting conditions of a deterministic system, and the laws that govern the system, you can know all future states of the system. God's omniscience, not being causal, can be said to hold whether out universe is deterministic or not, whether there is non-trivial freedom within our choices or not.
  22. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    From my understanding the issue is resolved by Grace.
    You may recall the old saying :"By the grace of God go I".
    That God has all ability to control as he see's fit and it is by his grace that he allows us our freedom to think for ourselves.
    This means that God could fully determine human activity if he chooses to but by his grace restrains himself from doing so, because of his love for the autonomy of his creation.

    Another way to look at it is to consider astrology ( occult)
    An experienced western astrologist will say something along the lines like this:

    The fate spelled out in the stars do not force you to follow them, it is merely a path that you can choose to align yourself with. It is the knowledge that I give you that allows you to have that choice sometimes and sometimes not depending on your own self development.
    Such is aligning with God's plan so to speak..as per your own choice to find it and do so...
    Btw I am an atheist but I have always wondered similar questions and sort out answers over time.
    wegs likes this.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I believe this is addressed by David Bohm as "Wholeness and the Implicate order", which proposes that before something becomes reality it is already mathematically "anticipated" by existing potentials. This would of course imply a purely deterministic chronology.
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