a litmus test.

theTwelve
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a litmus test.

 

"Over my head, I hear music in the air; 
	over my head, I hear music in the air; 
	over my head, I hear music in the air; 
	there must be a God somewhere"

This is a stanza from an African American slave spiritual. I had told someone else 
here that our typical atheist would have a hard to understanding it. And the 
reason for this difficulty is not because they are atheist, but rather the questions
that go behind this sort of song, are foreign to their own limited lives.
So what does it mean for the slave to hear music over his head? And why does he 
infer from hearing music, that there must be a God? How do the two correlate?


 

 


nigelTheBold
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theTwelve wrote: And the

theTwelve wrote:
And the reason for this difficulty is not because they are atheist, but rather the questions that go behind this sort of song, are foreign to their own limited lives.

Ah, yes. Us pitiful atheists and our limited lives! If only we could embrace things unshown, contemplate the unknowable, accept the unprovable! Yes. Our lives are so limited, I feel as a bitter dry desert, empty and gritty and lifeless.

The song seems to symbolize hope embodied in god. As a slave hymn, it provided meaning and redemption through faith in god, as god "owned" the slaveholders just as the slaveholders "owned" the slaves. The music is god's promise of freedom, the knowledge that they would be equal to their masters before god.

Of course, later it simply became a jazz standard.

I could, of course, be completely off-base. Not because I'm an atheist; but because I'm nobody's slave. Well, except my cat's. But that hardly counts.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


ProzacDeathWish
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What does it matter what

What does it matter what we godless atheists of the modern era think about such things. ?  What's more relevant was what was going on in the minds of the Christian land owners of the antebellum South who kept these fellow Christian as slaves ?

    ( ps,  can you say "back stabber" ? )

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


theTwelve
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ProzacDeathWish wrote:What

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

What does it matter what we godless atheists of the modern era think about such things. ?  What's more relevant was what was going on in the minds of the Christian land owners of the antebellum South who kept these fellow Christian as slaves ?

That question is more relevant to you, this question is more relevant to me. So when you can answer it, you let me know.


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theTwelve

theTwelve wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

What does it matter what we godless atheists of the modern era think about such things. ?  What's more relevant was what was going on in the minds of the Christian land owners of the antebellum South who kept these fellow Christian as slaves ?

That question is more relevant to you, this question is more relevant to me. So when you can answer it, you let me know.

 

    Hey, nice come back, you really put me in my place.   Still doesn't answer how Christians who supposedly used God's moral standards could rationalize owning slaves...much less Christian slaves.

 

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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theTwelve

theTwelve wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

What does it matter what we godless atheists of the modern era think about such things. ?  What's more relevant was what was going on in the minds of the Christian land owners of the antebellum South who kept these fellow Christian as slaves ?

That question is more relevant to you, this question is more relevant to me. So when you can answer it, you let me know.

Your question has been answered (all I could add is that I agree with Nigel's answer). Your turn.

Of course, if the slaves had learned to read, the one book their masters would have allowed them is the Bible. It would have told them that they, as good slaves, needed to serve their masters without question and not do anything sinful like escaping and finding freedom.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


theTwelve
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ProzacDeathWish wrote:Hey,

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Hey, nice come back, you really put me in my place.   Still doesn't answer how Christians who supposedly used God's moral standards could rationalize owning slaves...much less Christian slaves.

If that question is relevant for you, than start another thread about it, it's unrelated to the question I started this thread on, and that's that. It's silly to come into a thread someone else started and pretty much claim, "I don't want to answer your question, so I'm going to come in here and ask another unrelated question instead". 

 

 


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nigelTheBold wrote:The song

nigelTheBold wrote:

The song seems to symbolize hope embodied in god. As a slave hymn, it provided meaning and redemption through faith in god, as god "owned" the slaveholders just as the slaveholders "owned" the slaves. The music is god's promise of freedom, the knowledge that they would be equal to their masters before god. 

Notice my questions asked you to break down the song, rather than giving just a general interpretation of the whole thing. "Music in air" symbolizes hope, and in the appearance of Hope, the slaves claim there must be God. They claim Hope as evidence for God. What is the relationship between Hope and belief in God?

The final stanza of the song goes: 

#When I think of Jesus.

I hear music in the air.

there must be a God somewhere. #

How does their notion of music in the air, relate to their reflection on Jesus. What did they see similar in it. Why is Jesus also a picture of hope?

 

 

 

 

 


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theTwelve wrote:nigelTheBold

theTwelve wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

The song seems to symbolize hope embodied in god. As a slave hymn, it provided meaning and redemption through faith in god, as god "owned" the slaveholders just as the slaveholders "owned" the slaves. The music is god's promise of freedom, the knowledge that they would be equal to their masters before god. 

Notice my questions asked you to break down the song, rather than giving just a general interpretation of the whole thing. "Music in air" symbolizes hope, and in the appearance of Hope, the slaves claim there must be God. They claim Hope as evidence for God. What is the relationship between Hope and belief in God?

The final stanza of the song goes: 

#When I think of Jesus.

I hear music in the air.

there must be a God somewhere. #

How does their notion of music in the air, relate to their reflection on Jesus. What did they see similar in it. Why is Jesus also a picture of hope?

 

 

 

 

 

Because the only picture of Jesus they had is the one their masters gave them. Jesus was a picture of hope (for their masters). If they read the Bible they'd have seen that Jesus wanted them there and had no desire for them to be free.

Freedom would be a sin for them like knowledge was deemed sinful in the Garden of Eden.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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  Dear theTwelve I'm so

  Dear theTwelve I'm so sorry that I upset the delicate balance of your experiment.   I now relinquish my prior statements and allow you to resume total control of this thread....carry on !

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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theTwelve wrote:How does

theTwelve wrote:

How does their notion of music in the air, relate to their reflection on Jesus. What did they see similar in it. Why is Jesus also a picture of hope?

I know what you asked. I believe the general answer contains the specific.

However, to make it explicit: "Music in the air" is insubstantial, and is contained both within and without. Hope is also like that: it is contained within, but exists outside. The fact that the music and hope both exist outside means that god must exist to embody them both.

Note the flaw in this: hope does not exist outside oneself. Music that you play in your head also does not exist outside oneself. The projection of these internalized ideals to the outside world is a logical flaw.

 

[EDIT addendum] Substitute "Jesus" for "god" to answer the question posed above. Jesus was the redeemer, but is really nothing more than a face for god, a specific identifiable symbol for an otherwise-anonymous god.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:Note the

nigelTheBold wrote:

Note the flaw in this: hope does not exist outside oneself. Music that you play in your head also does not exist outside oneself. The projection of these internalized ideals to the outside world is a logical flaw.

I don't think you know what logical flaws here are. Hope is something felt, but it requires a belief in order for it to be felt. None of us can say we feel hope, unless we have reasons external to it, that makes it possible to be felt. Sort of like how we can't feel love, unless we have something external to that feeling to attach it to. Sort of like if I were to say, I'm hopeful I'm going to do well on the test, this feeling has to be attached to external reasons in order for it to felt, such as a long night of studying. 

It's not an internalized ideal, but rather an internalize feeling, a feeling that's only possible by reasons external to it. 

If the slaves were atheist. Would they have likely had a similar sense of hope as well?  

 

 

 


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jcgadfly wrote:TBecause the

jcgadfly wrote:
TBecause the only picture of Jesus they had is the one their masters gave them. 

If I drew a painting that was intended for somebody, and you stole it, but it eventually got into the hands of the person it was intended for, whose painting is it?

 

 


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theTwelve wrote:jcgadfly

theTwelve wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
TBecause the only picture of Jesus they had is the one their masters gave them. 

If I drew a painting that was intended for somebody, and you stole it, but it eventually got into the hands of the person it was intended for, whose painting is it?

Please note, that if this was a picture of Mohammad, you would have already been, beheaded

What Would Kharn Do?


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theTwelve wrote:I don't

theTwelve wrote:

I don't think you know what logical flaws here are. Hope is something felt, but it requires a belief in order for it to be felt. None of us can say we feel hope, unless we have reasons external to it, that makes it possible to be felt. Sort of like how we can't feel love, unless we have something external to that feeling to attach it to. Sort of like if I were to say, I'm hopeful I'm going to do well on the test, this feeling has to be attached to external reasons in order for it to felt, such as a long night of studying. 

It's not an internalized ideal, but rather an internalize feeling, a feeling that's only possible by reasons external to it. 

If the slaves were atheist. Would they have likely had a similar sense of hope as well?  

That is a category error. My wife is not love, though I love her very much. That which provokes hope is not itself hope. That is the flaw.

The assumption that god exists gave them hope. That does not mean god actually exists. Hope does not require an external thing on which to pin hope; often, our own self-delusion is sufficient.

All that said, do I get a cookie for understanding the song?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


theTwelve
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negilthebold wrote:That is a

negilthebold wrote:

That is a category error. My wife is not love, though I love her very much. That which provokes hope is not itself hope. That is the flaw.

No, your wife is not love, and I never claimed otherwise, but rather you wife is external notion that gives rise to that feeling of love. But notice even here, is not that you love your wife, in the legal sense that she's your wife. You probably loved her for the reasons even before she was your wife, and will probably love her still, even after she's gone. You'd love her even if she was disfigured and lost all her physical beauty, or if she laid comatose. Though your love requires something external to be felt, this is not the material quality of your wife. The external qualities of your wife you love don't exist in the material sense that your wife does, they exist even  long after her material qualities are gone. 

Which leads us to this:

Quote:
"The assumption that god exists gave them hope. That does not mean god actually exists. Hope does not require an external thing on which to pin hope"

The Hope of Slaves, is not a belief in the material existence of God, the Hope is based on some immaterial quality of his, the ability of making the impossible possible. The impossibility of gaining their freedom, can in fact become a reality. Like the ancient Hebrews who won their freedom from Pharaoh, that they could also win their freedom by preserving hope. The civil rights movement was based on a similar belief in the words of Rev. king "a way out of noway".

Quote:
Substitute "Jesus" for "god" to answer the question posed above. Jesus was the redeemer, but is really nothing more than a face for god, a specific identifiable symbol for an otherwise-anonymous god.

Well, let's not forget that Jesus was also the redeemed. That's the paradox of Christianity, that the ultimately relatable human being, is also God. That the only image of God is human flesh. There is no anonymous God here, to ask the Christian what is God, elicits the response he is fully Jesus Christ, that his meaning is what it is to be fully human. As Wim Wender's poet recites: "Tell me muse of the storyteller who was thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and him reveal everyman."

Why in thinking of Jesus, do they see God there? Because he suffered, and died, was stricken and humiliated, as the ultimate fate of his people under the hands of oppressors, and yet overcome in the vivid hope of his people, hope so real to them as touching wounded flesh. 

Quote:
All that said, do I get a cookie for understanding the song?

Yes, you get a cookie.

 

 

 

 

 


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theTwelve wrote:No, your

theTwelve wrote:

No, your wife is not love, and I never claimed otherwise, but rather you wife is external notion that gives rise to that feeling of love.

I apologize. I misunderstood.

Quote:

But notice even here, is not that you love your wife, in the legal sense that she's your wife. You probably loved her for the reasons even before she was your wife, and will probably love her still, even after she's gone. You'd love her even if she was disfigured and lost all her physical beauty, or if she laid comatose. Though your love requires something external to be felt, this is not the material quality of your wife. The external qualities of your wife you love don't exist in the material sense that your wife does, they exist even  long after her material qualities are gone. 

My love requires an internal notion, that of the qualities I love about my wife. She may or may not actually possess those qualities. What matters is my internal model, how I think of her, not how she actually is. Those "external" qualities are really internal qualities, and if she were gone, I would love the ideal model I carry around in my head.

Quote:

Which leads us to this:

Quote:
"The assumption that god exists gave them hope. That does not mean god actually exists. Hope does not require an external thing on which to pin hope"

The Hope of Slaves, is not a belief in the material existence of God, the Hope is based on some immaterial quality of his, the ability of making the impossible possible. The impossibility of gaining their freedom, can in fact become a reality. Like the ancient Hebrews who won their freedom from Pharaoh, that they could also win their freedom by preserving hope. The civil rights movement was based on a similar belief in the words of Rev. king "a way out of noway".

I'm not sure exactly what you are saying here. Are you claiming that the slaves had a better life for placing their hope in the immaterial quality of a nonexistent god? Or are you saying that their hope was evidence of god's existence?

The first is "belief in belief." The latter is solipsism.

Quote:

Quote:
Substitute "Jesus" for "god" to answer the question posed above. Jesus was the redeemer, but is really nothing more than a face for god, a specific identifiable symbol for an otherwise-anonymous god.

Well, let's not forget that Jesus was also the redeemed. That's the paradox of Christianity, that the ultimately relatable human being, is also God. That the only image of God is human flesh. There is no anonymous God here, to ask the Christian what is God, elicits the response he is fully Jesus Christ, that his meaning is what it is to be fully human. As Wim Wender's poet recites: "Tell me muse of the storyteller who was thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and him reveal everyman."

Why in thinking of Jesus, do they see God there? Because he suffered, and died, was stricken and humiliated, as the ultimate fate of his people under the hands of oppressors, and yet overcome in the vivid hope of his people, hope so real to them as touching wounded flesh. 

Again I apologize, this time for being less than clear. The god of Abraham was anonymous. There was no face associated with YHWH, no identifiable symbol of humanity. He was truly anonymous. With the advent of Christianity, Jesus became the human face of god, something that made god more accessible to people.

And kudos for the Wim Wenders reference.

Quote:

Quote:
All that said, do I get a cookie for understanding the song?

Yes, you get a cookie.

Hurrah!

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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theTwelve wrote:jcgadfly

theTwelve wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
TBecause the only picture of Jesus they had is the one their masters gave them. 

If I drew a painting that was intended for somebody, and you stole it, but it eventually got into the hands of the person it was intended for, whose painting is it?

 

 

Don't kid yourself.

The Bible's picture of Jesus condoned slavery. Freedom was only for the people that could afford it.

Much like now.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Hallucination is not

Hallucination is not evidence of a god.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.