Beyond the Atheist / Theist dialectic

Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Beyond the Atheist / Theist dialectic

This is my hypothesis:

The atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable, as long as the word God represents different things to different people. We are currently operating in a semiotic sludge.

God is a 3 letter word: what does it represent? Answers below please...

 


Jeffrick
High Level DonorRational VIP!SuperfanGold Member
Jeffrick's picture
Posts: 2446
Joined: 2008-03-25
User is offlineOffline
Get yee to a Dictionary!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

                      The atheist/ theist dialectic is irresolvable....   No   I say NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Theists have a belief in a god;  what ever the deffinition of god might be; some theist somewhere in the world will believe it.  That is why they are called theists.

 

 

                      Atheist {it means " without belief" }  have no belief; I repeat NO BELIEF, in any god;  NO MATTER what yours nor anyones deffinition of god IS!!!!

 

 

                     What does god as a three letter word represent?   Immagination gone wild.   WE all know Osiris & Thor  & Loki are gods of myth and should be disreguarded,  atheists simply have one more god to disreguard then theists.

 

 

                                Jim

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:This is my

Optionsgeek wrote:

This is my hypothesis:

The atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable, as long as the word God represents different things to different people. We are currently operating in a semiotic sludge.

God is a 3 letter word: what does it represent? Answers below please...

 

Hello Optionsgeek !

Glad to see that you finally decided to take a step away from "that thread that must not be named" (LOL) and started a new one.

I found the last exchange of ideas to be very cool and hope to continue the discussion on here.

What does God represent ? Hmm, if you asked me for a definition of god, I would have to rip off Mathew Alper's answer in his book.

God is a word.

A word that many people attribute to a spiritual force or a spiritual being .

And where do words originate ? In the human mind.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


100percentAtheist
atheist
100percentAtheist's picture
Posts: 679
Joined: 2010-05-02
User is offlineOffline
 Definition of GOD (from

 Definition of GOD (from Webster dictionary)

 1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: asa : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universeb Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality3: a person or thing of supreme value4: a powerful ruler Which one are you talking about?Note that I do not understand the first two because they have no sense within logic and used definitions.  For example, "infinite Mind", what is it, some sort of garbage, or an airplane, or a planet, what??? Actually, I am arrived to the strong conviction that there is no observable way for any type of supernatural god (defs 1 or 2) to exist.   militant atheist if you like. 

 


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:This is my

Optionsgeek wrote:

This is my hypothesis:

The atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable, as long as the word God represents different things to different people. We are currently operating in a semiotic sludge.

God is a 3 letter word: what does it represent? Answers below please...

 

Here was a thread that was written by one of the older members of the RRS that you might find  interesting, Optionsgeek. Apparently, he does not post much on here anymore (which kinda sucks cause he is one sharp dude judging by his blog) but I thought that you might like reading this :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/quotgodquot_incoherent_term

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Thunderios
atheist
Posts: 261
Joined: 2010-12-26
User is offlineOffline
My personal definition of

My personal definition of God: "My Father in Heaven, who doomed us to hell, but in his love saved us too. He is Almighty, omniscient, Omnipresent, transcendent and exists"
Therefore, God exists.

</sarcasm>


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Harley

Thanks for this thread link! He seems like a very sharp dude indeed, and I loved his references to Luther, Augustine and Aquinas! I went to one of the threads he referred to and I found and it looked like a much more sophisticated version of 'The Thread that must not be named!' hahahahaa. It was here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/ontological_and_epistemological_blunders_tag

The responses there were very interesting too. Again, one of them was a more sophisticated and detailed version of the beloved Jean Chauvin, but I thought the last post hit the nail on the head - the atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable as long as we are trying to make an absolute assertion either for or against... (its no accident that Richard Dawkins Atheist bus campaign was: "There PROBABLY is no God, so stop worrying and just enjoy your life." A christian can only resort to subjectivity to make his absolute assertion, as can the atheist with his)

I was very interested in the websters dictionary definition, as posted by 100percentatheist:

100percentatheist wrote:

1: capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as

a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3: a person or thing of supreme value

4: a powerful ruler 

I completely agree with him that we need to reject 1 and 2, if only for the reason that it an absurd debate. 

I am interested in number 3.

So my question to you guys is:

What do you attach supreme value to? Why?

 

 

 

 


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: I am

Optionsgeek wrote:

 

I am interested in number 3.

So my question to you guys is:

What do you attach supreme value to? Why?

 

I guess that would depend on the meaning of supreme value. Just in my mind, it seems like the words supreme value, would be kinda subjective to the person who holds those beliefs.

Kinda like I heard someone mention on another thread that their morals were absolute for them, but did not expect them to apply to everyone.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I don't think in those

I don't think in those terms.

I value some things more than others, for various reasons.

I value having the freedom to make most of my own decisions, for one thing.

But 'supreme'? Dunno. Which probably means I do not have one such 'supreme' value, in any meaningful, conscious sense.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Optionsgeek wrote:

I am interested in number 3.

So my question to you guys is:

What do you attach supreme value to? Why?

I guess that would depend on the meaning of supreme value. Just in my mind, it seems like the words supreme value, would be kinda subjective to the person who holds those beliefs.

Kinda like I heard someone mention on another thread that their morals were absolute for them, but did not expect them to apply to everyone.

That would be my position - the idea of absolute morality is itself subjective to the individual who thinks morality 'must' be absolute.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Thanks for

Optionsgeek wrote:

Thanks for this thread link! He seems like a very sharp dude indeed, and I loved his references to Luther, Augustine and Aquinas! I went to one of the threads he referred to and I found and it looked like a much more sophisticated version of 'The Thread that must not be named!' hahahahaa. It was here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/ontological_and_epistemological_blunders_tag

The responses there were very interesting too. Again, one of them was a more sophisticated and detailed version of the beloved Jean Chauvin, but I thought the last post hit the nail on the head - the atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable as long as we are trying to make an absolute assertion either for or against... (its no accident that Richard Dawkins Atheist bus campaign was: "There PROBABLY is no God, so stop worrying and just enjoy your life." A christian can only resort to subjectivity to make his absolute assertion, as can the atheist with his)

 

That link did provide a whole lot of  answers to "that thread that can not be named" hehehe. Too bad that Jean probably won't read it.

I happened on todangst's blog quite by accident. I was looking at the different articles and happened to find a couple of his.

Sadly enough, the dates on his postings show that he hasn't been on here in quite some time.  Would love to hear some of his feedback.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


100percentAtheist
atheist
100percentAtheist's picture
Posts: 679
Joined: 2010-05-02
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:I am

Optionsgeek wrote:

I am interested in number 3.

So my question to you guys is:

What do you attach supreme value to? Why?

 

 

 

The first thought is that this person of supreme value is the President of the United States. 

The next thought is that without myself I will not be able to give any estimates, so the person of an ultimately supreme value is myself.

Then, of course, the thought comes to a better definition of values.

The best that M-W.com gives is something like "something intrinsically valuable or desirable"... still pretty much selfish.

 


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
I've been meaning to ask

 

Options, what your take on god was. I sort of figured you'd have an epistemological position of some sort but I'm still not certain what that position might be.

Personally, I think the words 'supreme value' have no objective meaning. As some one else has said they are utterly subjective. There is no yardstick to measure them against. Are these values we can conceive of? What might their parameters be? What are the values of the universe that allow comparison? What relevance does raising them have? I feel like we're backing into a conceptual world so vague as to allow meaning to be applied in a completely arbitrary manner.

A problem I have that relates to essentially meaningless omni/supreme values is that they defer to arguments from complexity. In my view, at some initial point the intelligent theist must create a cognitive clothes hook on which to hang a central belief. Once this is achieved, and in this case it feels to be by defining god into existence (Credit Bob), the christian/theist can cheerfully go on to have a personal relationship with their deity, discounting all the other issues the establishment of such a relationship must throw up and ignoring the cult that lies behind it.

I'm probably sliding back into arguments from the thread that shall not be named but I can't help feeling we are still having an argument by question with you, Options. Where it is you are leading us remains as uncertain as your core position.

In any case, I attach supreme value to nothing. I don't know what supreme value is. To me a high personal value is placed on the things that are important to me but I am of no particular value myself - certainly worth no more than any other living organism and through over population, I'm probably worth less than most endangered animals alive. There is no hurt in acknowledging this.

There's an arrogance to use of human intellect to frame universal greatness. I guess we have to do this as part of our only process of conception but doing so we restrict such values to human values and we limit supremacy to the meagre breadth of the human imagination. Beyond these vagaries, the concept of god is lost to the prefrontal cortex and becomes a child of the limbic system. Considered laterally on a line that starts as a provable conception and moves towards the inexplicable, god, like the universe, becomes a feeling.

Ed: An admission we cannot define a metaphysical concept of 'supreme value' does not constitute an acceptance we cannot ultimately know anything about the reality of the universe. The correct position in my opinion, is to hold to the best proven model, bearing in mind its weaknesses, awaiting new evidence, mindful of human mental limitations - most tellingly, our propensity to play join the dots with the universe - turning constellations into rabbits, goats and fishes. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Atheistextremist

Hey,

I thought we should go back to my penultimate post in the TTTMNBN Smiling

options wrote:

 

Not at all! The creative impulse is the creative impulse - I don't think it is useful, for our purposes here, to label it divine. However, I do believe religious leaders are, at their best, like artists, using language, action and ritual to frame certain experiences and emotions, in the same way that a musician uses music, etc etc... And as with musicians, if they are good at it, and they strike the right chord, they can have a pretty devoted following.

Out of interest, and from the perspective of art, how do you respond to this iconic image (to the art of the act itself rather than to the art of the photographer)?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Quảng_Đức

Would love to hear your thoughts...

I got a response from blake, who saw the political genius here, but would be interested in what you and the others thought, perhaps also in light of to what we attach value...

 

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
I will copy my reply

I will copy my reply here:

 

Blake wrote:


Optionsgeek wrote:

Out of interest, and from the perspective of art, how do you respond to this iconic image (to the art of the act itself rather than to the art of the photographer)?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Quảng_Đức

Would love to hear your thoughts...


That's not art, that's bad-assery.  Political suicide: Pissing of Buddhist monks.

They knew that, and they were willing to burn themselves to death for the media to destroy their oppressors (and it worked):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diem_dead.jpg

Seriously, that guy was a grade-A Catholic fascist asshole (thanks to Kennedy for giving him political backing on account of his religion).

Where the Buddhists were brilliant, and where Muslim Jihadists are idiots, is where they used the power of the press and public support.  By hurting other people with their suicides, the Muslims lost it at the word go.  The differences in their theologies might account for this, although more likely the Buddhist monks were just more intelligent, better educated, and more bad-ass in general (I mean, seriously, how many Muslims could sit there and burn themselves alive?  Not many, I'd bet.  Pushing a button is easy.)  Palestine would be free by now if just a few Muslims had half of the intelligence and stones those monks had.

Anyway, that's pretty much all I have to say on that matter.

 

 

 On the questions above:

 

Optionsgeek wrote:

100percentatheist wrote:

1: capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as

a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3: a person or thing of supreme value

4: a powerful ruler 

I completely agree with him that we need to reject 1 and 2, if only for the reason that it an absurd debate. 

I am interested in number 3.

So my question to you guys is:

What do you attach supreme value to? Why?

 

 

In regards to a yes or no answer to the "god" question, the elements of the definition can be divided into obvious yeses and obvious nos.

1. No.  This is logically impossible.

2. Yes.  If only believed to have this- there are many cult leaders who are *believed* to have such power.  This indicates *many* gods.  I am believed to have supernatural powers by some people... and I hereby require worship.  Yay, I'm a god.  O.K., now I dismiss that requirement.  Asking a question with this definition is useless, because it is trivially true.

2. No.  If it must actually have it, or be a false god.  More than natural- supernatural- is logically impossible, because naturalism describes everything in the bounds of logic (whether we have scientifically proved it yet or not).  Even educated Wiccans will claim that magic is not supernatural, but part of nature, and functions on logical rules.

3. No.  If objectively supreme in value, because value is subjective.

3. Yes.  If subjectively supreme value is acceptable- this also indicates *many* gods.  To many people, they are the supreme person, indicating self-godhood.  This definition is useless in respect to the question because it is trivially true.

4. Yes.  There are many powerful rulers.  And without giving an extent of power, that applies to anybody who rules anything, more or less.  This definition is useless in respect to the question of god, as well, because it is trivially true.

 

I don't mean to spoil your fun, but when we ask the question "does god exist", we must not be asking about a definition that is trivially true (otherwise we wouldn't ask the question), and the only remaining options are logically impossible, and hence the answer is a resounding no.

 

However, we can deal with the question of, "what are the positive and negative qualities of the "god" meme?"

Or other such questions.

 

We should also, more crucially, address questions of "what is it for a quality to be good?"  "what is it for a quality to be bad?"  "What is good and bad when we define the qualities of any meme, a god or otherwise?"  "What are we looking for, and what do we need from this construction?"

 

These are more interesting and potentially fruitful conversations.  I think, only after that, can we really analyze the "god" meme in those terms.


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Interesting points, Blake.

 

It would be something if we could actually agree on any meaningful qualities of the idea of god.

However, I'm not sure Options really wants to go to there in terms of fleshing out his personal deity.

Which is fair enough.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake and AE

Hey guys, thanks for your input.

Blake, totally agree with your reasoning, accept for your postulation that the subjective is trivial. I would suggest otherwise. 

Forgive me for the lack of clarity, AE, in my posting, I have used you guys as a sounding board to clarify some of my thinking.

The reason I asked for comments on the photo of thich quang duc, is because I am, in an admittedly obscure way, trying to give weight to the function of the aesthetic, the subjective and the instinctive, in all of our lives. If you give no weight to the subjective and the aesthetic, then faith makes no sense at all - it is nonsense. I'm very interested for example, in your quoting of Max Planck as your tag line. I completely agree with it! I would only add, that poetry and imagination are central to my world, and maybe, dare I suggest, to yours too...

Sorry for the ramble. If you want more clarity, read Kierkegaard, nietzche, wittgenstein - a lot of this i have synthesised from what I have read of them. They all rejected mass christianity, but all, in different ways, saw the subjective power of the Gospel. 

To give you a bit more on my experience of christianity...

Well, I work closely with a christian ecumenical organisation, but the message that had so touched me (and before you get excited, imagine your favorite music, writer etc, and when you discovered them...) is for all intents and purposes, absent from the country I'm working in, which has embraced the unchecked calvinist-cum-dispensationalist-cum-lunacy of American Christianity hook line and sinker. I was in a state of major league cognitive dissonance, and came to this site to see if i really was the atheist that I thought I had become, but I can see that such a description is very inadequate. 

For the record, I do not believe that you can rationalize your way to God. I think that is where RCs and Calvinists both make their mistake, and I don't think it is any coincidence that both spiritualize the secular ("you need to do good works to make God happy" ) and secularize the spiritual (televangelism, churches turning into hypereffective and sometimes cynical marketing outfits). John Calvin really was a disaster for christianity. His theocentric faith (read emphasis on the sovereignty of God) led to puritanism, warped lutheran doctrine and turned it pietist, gave rise to dispensationalist views and from there, through the plymouth brethren, cyrus shofield and charles finney, brought large scale lunacy to mainstream christianity. 

This is of course, all total BS to someone who doesn't ascribe to the christian faith, and even bigger BS to someone who trivialises the subjective. To my understanding, the word preached is always an INTERNAL message, for believers, and should never be turned on atheists. It is to strengthen the body of christ, not to bludgeon outsiders. Apologies on behalf of all the lunatics who understood otherwise, both past and present. 

This is why blake i'm not so interested in the God meme - you are much better qualified to discuss sociology and ethics than I am, and being a christian has no bearing on my ability or lack thereof to discuss politics or ethics...

Peace

Options 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Blake,

Optionsgeek wrote:

Blake, totally agree with your reasoning, accept for your postulation that the subjective is trivial. I would suggest otherwise.

 

I did not say the subjective was trivial.  Please read my post more carefully.

If something is defined subjectively, the question of whether or not it exists for somebody is irrelevant because it is trivially true- inherent in the subjective is that somebody must think or feel that which qualifies.

 

Optionsgeek wrote:

I would only add, that poetry and imagination are central to my world, and maybe, dare I suggest, to yours too... [...] (and before you get excited, imagine your favorite music, writer etc, and when you discovered them...)[...]

 

Are you saying that Christianity has no greater inherent value than any great book, great music, or any other experience of the kind (even to say LSD, or other more exotic categories of experience)?

That is, where one person may enjoy a particular kind of music, another may enjoy the Jesus meme, and neither is inherently more valuable, but depends on the person?


Optionsgeek wrote:

This is why blake i'm not so interested in the God meme

 

I understand that you are interested in the meme of Christianity- that is, the overall aesthetic and culture bundled up into a body of information and experience. 

 

 

I've been trying to get somewhere in discussion with you for weeks, and I've answered your questions, but you keep dodging my questions- perhaps because before you were unsure of the answers- but I do have somewhere I'm going with this, and I can't explain it unless you answer the questions I'm asking (or at least explain why you aren't sure of the answers). 

Can we please start with the one I posed above?  If you can't answer it, or are unsure, please tell me why.

 

I'll repeat it:

 

Blake wrote:

Are you saying that Christianity has no greater inherent value than any great book, great music, or any other experience of the kind (even to say LSD, or other more exotic categories of experience)?

That is, where one person may enjoy a particular kind of music, another may enjoy the Jesus meme, and neither is inherently more valuable, but depends on the person?


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3945
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
How is this irresolvable? If

How is this irresolvable? If the term has multiple definitions, then you evaluate the claim for each definition. Asserting that it "represents different things to different people" is just red herring + rhetoric. First, we can discuss the term according to what it represents to you. Then, we'll discuss the term according to what it represents to me.

Furthermore, we define an atheist as someone that doesn't believe in God. If I don't even know the definition of the term, then clearly, I don't believe in it. Ergo, I'm an atheist. There, problem solved. If a theist wants me to believe in a God, first, they need to define God. If it exists, then strawberry cake, I believe in this "thing" that they call God. If it doesn't exist, then I obviously don't believe it. If they want to convince me, they need to provide evidence. It's just semantics; "God" is a three letter English word that you can attach to any noun.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3945
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Blake,

Optionsgeek wrote:
Blake, totally agree with your reasoning, accept for your postulation that the subjective is trivial.

He showed that some of those definitions of God were "trivially true." This is not the same.

That said, I'm still not sure what you mean when you talk about putting "weight" on the ascetic or regarding the subjective as "trivial." And, how do you translate this into a belief in God?

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
This is undoubtedly a powerful image

 

Optionsgeek wrote:

Out of interest, and from the perspective of art, how do you respond to this iconic image (to the art of the act itself rather than to the art of the photographer)?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Quảng_Đức

Would love to hear your thoughts...

I got a response from blake, who saw the political genius here, but would be interested in what you and the others thought, perhaps also in light of to what we attach value...

 

I'm surprised at the lack of reaction from the other monks who seem to be ignoring him and the protestors who don't feel compelled to roll him up in a blanket or get out the fire extinguishers.

You can see how this image galvanised the world and overturned the regime oppressing Buddhists. I'm a little worried that behind the power of this sacrifice lies your awareness of the sacrifice of the cross.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Hey,I

Optionsgeek wrote:

Hey,

I thought we should go back to my penultimate post in the TTTMNBN Smiling

options wrote:

Not at all! The creative impulse is the creative impulse - I don't think it is useful, for our purposes here, to label it divine. However, I do believe religious leaders are, at their best, like artists, using language, action and ritual to frame certain experiences and emotions, in the same way that a musician uses music, etc etc... And as with musicians, if they are good at it, and they strike the right chord, they can have a pretty devoted following.

Out of interest, and from the perspective of art, how do you respond to this iconic image (to the art of the act itself rather than to the art of the photographer)?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Quảng_Đức

Would love to hear your thoughts...

I got a response from blake, who saw the political genius here, but would be interested in what you and the others thought, perhaps also in light of to what we attach value...

It obviously attracted a lot of shocked attention, that someone was so concerned about the issues as to resort to such a symbolically powerful act.

From a perspective of art, I don't instinctively think of 'art' when I see or think of such an act, so anything I might say about that would be 'contaminated' heavily by conscious, rational, thought processes, so I am not sure if it would be terribly relevant.

I can see some relation to 'performance art', I guess, but that I find an intuitively repugnant notion to apply to something which had far greater significance than 'mere' aesthetics.

I suppose some aesthetic judgment could have been involved in maximizing the visual impact of the event of people seeing it, even via media.

At least that act was a conscious positive action, requiring real personal commitment, not a mere passive submission to something being forcibly inflicted on one, along with many others being punished similarly at the same time, as in the Jesus story. And it was an unambiguous protest aimed at drawing attention to a situation of obvious oppression, very much within this world.

Aesthetically far more significant that the Crucifixion thing.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Hey

Blake, 

I'm sorry you felt like i haven't answered your questions. Seriously though, you are much much better equipped than I am to talk about politics and ethics. I was briefly interested in how the sanctification (if we accept that term) of human life may be best pitched by the puppet masters (assuming we agree that this 'sanctification of human life' heuristic is useful), and in that context i wondered if the invocation of a term - God - that our culture widely considers to represent the eternal, as well as the qualities of goodness and love (sorry for anyone out there who due to - 1.buggery by the padre 2.beating by the nuns 3.antics of JC and assorted lunatics - sees God in another light Smiling ), might be useful. However, I could see that you had given a great deal of serious thought to ethics and morality, and so I am happy to defer. Ethics and morality are certainly NOT the grounds of my faith... So I saw that discussion as a non sequitur...

So in the interests of directness:

blake wrote:

1 / Are you saying that Christianity has no greater inherent value than any great book, great music, or any other experience of the kind (even to say LSD, or other more exotic categories of experience)?

2 / That is, where one person may enjoy a particular kind of music, another may enjoy the Jesus meme, and neither is inherently more valuable, but depends on the person?

Ans:

1/ It probably looks like that from where you are standing, but not quite - I'm just trying to use metaphors to help build a bridge between your perspective and mine...

2/ Not quite.

This might seem obscure, but a couple of times AE has expressed concern that i am committing the fallacy of argument by question. However, I reject the idea that we as humans are able to understand absolute objective truth. So for all intents and purposes, we are reduced to pragmatism, and we are now surfing the waves of a chaotic universe, as skillfully as we can, given the means at our disposal.  In such a universe, questions are what remain, and they go on forever... 

The thought of all these questions makes me nauseous. This is the abyss. If one can't see it or can't feel it, they are not asking enough questions. Maybe that is a true blessing. Eat, shit, sleep, fuck, die. Maybe do a bit of comp sci / math / engineering too - they tend to have solutions. But life, questioning / reasoning / navigating.... no solutions - endless questions. Some people dislike philosophy - i can see why - no solutions... 

The jesus meme makes more and more sense as you go further and further into this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phoenix(Julia).gif

More on despair - Quote from Either / Or (kierkegaard):

wikipedia wrote:

 

…in our day, we see people who have despair in their hearts and yet have conquered doubt. This was especially striking to me when I looked at some of the German philosophers. Their minds are at ease; objective, logical thinking has been brought to rest in its corresponding objectivity, and yet, even though they divert themselves by objective thinking, they are in despair, for a person can divert himself in many ways, and there is scarcely any means of dulling and deadening as abstract thinking, for it is a matter of conducting oneself as impersonally as possible. … Despair is an expression of the total personality, doubt only of thought. Every life-view that has the condition outside itself is despair. ... the lowliest, least endowed person can despair ... When a person has truly chosen despair, he has truly chosen what despair chooses: himself in his eternal validity. Either/Or Vol II p. 212-213 Hong

 

 

Faith only makes sense in the abyss where the subjective DOMINATES.

Here, and only here, is where Eternity incarnate, murdered by us, makes sense. Imputed righteousness, the end of spirituality, the end of religion - BANG, God on a cross. Fuck me, it just blows me away every time. But of course - non subscribers won't understand - they may indeed think i'm playing rhetorical tricks and mind games. If only - this becomes very very real. But that gives me no right to judge you or be rude to you. This faith is personal, and absolute, but only if you understand. Otherwise, I might as well be talking klingon...

Butterbattle

I think from your perspective I would be an atheist. Even though I'm not. But it is a faith born in the abyss. See above... You probably wouldn't get many of me at a Billy graham rally Smiling 

Atheistextremist

Yeah - that is stones as blake put it! What passion. Balls to the ultimate wall...

Interested in the sacrifice thing - I've seen bob say something in the last thread about vicarious atonement - i guess that is your worry? I refer you back to last post on the RCs and Calvinists and their progeny - they get very hung up on penal substitution - again, blame theocentric understanding of scriptures... probably the faith you rejected? Bad God - good riddance...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Ethics and

Optionsgeek wrote:
Ethics and morality are certainly NOT the grounds of my faith... So I saw that discussion as a non sequitur...



Do you mean to say that you have no interest in being moral whatsoever, and you just follow your faith because it works to placate you with regards to existential dread?

Do you consider yourself 100% amoral - hedonist?  Are you willing to consider yourself, even, immoral?  Or is that something you would reject?


Optionsgeek wrote:


1/ It probably looks like that from where you are standing, but not quite - I'm just trying to use metaphors to help build a bridge between your perspective and mine...

2/ Not quite.



Come on now- that's not just obscure, but you're contradicting yourself here.


Is it fully objective then?  Is is somewhat objective?  Is it not objective at all?

It is fully subjective?  Is it somewhat subjective?  Is it not subjective at all?



You have frequently said that it is subjective and personal, and that the subjective is valuable-- and yet here you devalue all other forms of subjectivity in favor of Jesus, which is only to say that you believe that your religion is Objective- something you have rejected!


How does this differ from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Communism, Socialism, Post-modernism, Dada?



Optionsgeek wrote:


However, I reject the idea that we as humans are able to understand absolute objective truth.



Please stop insulting me.  If you think *you* can't understand it, fine.  Speak to your own limitations.  Don't speak for others- it's profoundly rude.  Particularly if you assert your inability to understand objective truth, you shouldn't be asserting the supposed objective truth that *I* can't understand it either.

I'm very tempted to give you a hearty "F*ck you" and end here.  That you probably don't understand how insulting what you say is, is why I'm inclined to forgive you this time.  If you say "we" again with regards to asserting the supposed objective truth that *I* can't understand objective truth, I may very well do just that.

I may understand objective truth just fine, and you don't know otherwise unless you understand an objective truth that asserts that I don't understand it.

Anyway, for the sake of discussion, lets pretend you didn't just pay me a profoundly rude insult, and instead said:


Hypothetically non-insulting Optionsgeek wrote:


However, I reject the idea that I am able to understand absolute objective truth.




Here you reject your ability to *understand* absolute truth, and later you assert that you understand Christianity in a way that is somehow absolute!  And with my last round of questions, you did the same in asserting that it was different from other subjective values.

You ostensibly reject use of logic, and then attempt to use deduction in relating Christianity to the nature of existential dread, and assert that it has any legitimacy whatsoever over anything else.

By asserting that Christianity is more important for everybody than the other forms of subjective meaning- arts, other religions, any form of spiritual wonder- you are asserting an objective truth in the matter.

If you just assert that Christianity is more meaningful and important to *YOU* and other Christians, though, then you must completely agree with my prior questions (which you answered negatively before).  To other people, other things can be meaningful in place of Christianity unless Christianity holds some objective truth- but you have rejected objectivity outright.  You have denied this very thing, which was the force of my question.



Do you wish to change your answer to my question to an affirmative?
Or are you now changing your views on that absolute objective truth?


This is an either-or.  It is not a false dichotomy.  Anything short of one of these is not a logical answer, and if you aren't going to use logic at least in discussion, there's no point in having a discussion at all because it can go nowhere and make no sense without using conversational logic.


1. Do you wish to change your answer to my question to an affirmative?
2. Or are you now changing your views on that absolute objective truth?
3. Or are you unwilling to have a rational discussion, meaning this conversation is over?



Hypothetically non-insulting Optionsgeek wrote:

So for all intents and purposes, I am reduced to pragmatism, and I am now surfing the waves of a chaotic universe, as skillfully as I can, given the means at my disposal.  In such a universe, questions are what remain, and they go on forever...



You aren't using all of the means at your disposal- you could cling to actual objective truth, like a life raft in an ocean of chaos, and from there reach dry land.  Indeed, I am in the raft itself; I have come to sea with you when you spoke, and I am offering you a hand.

You say you are incapable of comprehending it, but that is only because you do not allow yourself to.

There are simple solutions, which through thought and legitimate understanding of reality do grant answers-- the questions do not go on forever, you are just blinding yourself to the answers.


Optionsgeek wrote:

The thought of all these questions makes me nauseous.



It seems that the pragmatic purpose to your faith is to provide answers where you could find none- but this is unnecessary.  I have answers.  I can give them to you; I can lay them before you in perfect order.  You need only accept logic, and logic alone.

You deny that land exists because you have never seen it- adrift your whole life- though I have stood and from solid ground told you it does, and you call me a liar without considering the possibility when all you need do is look up.



Optionsgeek wrote:

Faith only makes sense in the abyss where the subjective DOMINATES.


Which is why faith doesn't make any sense unless you reject logic- which is the only action that will allow the absurd, the chaotic, the meaninglessness to dominate over all else.

Faith is only "viable" in the absence of logic, but this is a place where nothing and everything is simultaneously viable, so it is by no special virtue of faith that it possesses the quality in such a place; adherence to faith is the rejection of logic.  Faith is illogical.  You can not argue against logic using logic.

Your arguments for the value of faith are defeated by their own implicit premises.



Optionsgeek wrote:

Here, and only here, is where Eternity incarnate, murdered by us, makes sense. Imputed righteousness, the end of spirituality, the end of religion - BANG, God on a cross. Fuck me, it just blows me away every time. But of course - non subscribers won't understand - they may indeed think i'm playing rhetorical tricks and mind games. If only - this becomes very very real. But that gives me no right to judge you or be rude to you. This faith is personal, and absolute, but only if you understand. Otherwise, I might as well be talking klingon...



No, I understand perfectly well.  If you please, do stop telling me what I don't understand.

I see your induction very clearly, your circular reasoning in which you report to give genesis to the absolute from the subjective.

What you don't understand is that (even though your reasoning is rather poor- even if it was flawless) the reasoning you attempt to use presupposes logic anyway, and cuts off faith before it was ever viable- the moment you try to begin reasoning this kind of thing, you have already accepted the objective, and everything that hinges on faith from there on out becomes nonsensical.
 


As to your pragmatic desire for answers to these questions?  What I have been trying to tell you for weeks is that logic addresses these already.  Your existential dread?  Addressed- resolved- by logic.  The pragmatism of faith is superfluous once you've already accepted logic, and even you have effectively admitted that faith doesn't make any sense in that context to begin with.  

Not only superfluous, but nonsense- and because of the latter, indeed, it fails to answer your existential questions at all in any meaningful way.

Your faith, then, is not pragmatic, but counter-pragmatic; if you only understood that.  You are not clinging to a wooden cross to stay afloat in the sea, but dragging one of lead.

In the wake of logic faith is neither pragmatic nor true.  Why ascribe to it, save out of delusion or masochism? 

In truth, it does nothing for you- my only guess is that you fear that if you release it and look away for a moment, there won't be anything else, and when you look back you won't be able to find it again.

I am not trying to trick you here and leave you adrift in existential dread- there really is dry land.

As I have said, I have come to sea with you from dry land, bringing a raft of logic from which I offer my hand.  If you slap my hand away only to tell me that I am drowning too - while I breathe comfortably, contently- without even heretofore considering the possibility and looking up?  Well, then I am sorry, but I can not help you.


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
mmh

Blake, you do get very easily offended. I'm sorry, i'll try to step even more lightly on the eggshells going forward.

I will undoubtedly give cause for you to tell me to fuck off if I deny the validity of your polarisation of the relativism vs objectivism issue. So I won't.

However, you made a very bold claim, and I would like to pursue this:

I am not trying to convert you - you convert me. I challenge you to bring me to the place where the questions stop. Show me the dry land...


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3945
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:I think

Optionsgeek wrote:
I think from your perspective I would be an atheist. Even though I'm not.

Que?

Do you believe in any god/gods? You are a Christian, are you not?


 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Butter

 Absolutely.

I add absolutely nothing to Søren Kierkegaard on the subjective / objective dialogue, so maybe you guys will find this review interesting (taken from http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/kierkegaard.html):

"Søren Kierkegaard’s Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846) is an inquiry into the subjectivity of truth, and into the truth of subjectivity. Kierkegaard explains how objective truth may differ from subjective truth, and how objectivity differs from subjectivity. Kierhkegaard describes how objective truth may be an outer truth, and how subjective truth may be an inner truth. Kierkegaard distinguishes between speculative philosophy as a mode of reasoning which seeks objective truth, and religious faith as a mode of being which seeks subjective truth.

According to Kierkegaard, the objective thinker is interested in objective truth, while the subjective thinker is interested in subjective truth. Objective truth includes historical truth and philosophical truth. Subjective truth includes religious truth. The objective thinker is indifferent to the truth of subjectivity, while the subjective thinker finds an eternal happiness in subjectivity. For the subjective thinker, eternal happiness is an absolute good which is attained by faith. Faith is a passionate inwardness which affirms the truth of subjectivity.

For Kierkegaard, objective truth is characterized by outwardness, while subjective truth is characterized by inwardness. The objective thinker does not find an eternal happiness in subjective truth, and is disinterested in the truth of subjectivity. The objective thinker is interested in what defines existence, while the subjective thinker is interested in how existence is defined.

Reflection on the nature of existence may be objective or subjective. Truth may be reflected upon objectively or subjectively. Kierkegaard argues that the objective thinker finds truth by approximation, while the subjective thinker finds truth by appropriation. The objective thinker has a need to quantify certainty or probability, while the subjective thinker ultimately must accept uncertainty. According to Kierkegaard, faith cannot be attained by approximation, or by an effort to quantify deliberation into a higher degree of certainty. Faith can only be attained by an appropriation or acceptance of the condition of uncertainty. Thus, faith requires a leap from disbelief to belief. Faith is a state of objective uncertainty in which the individual affirms his or her own subjectivity.

According to Kierkegaard, faith is a subjective, personal, passionate interestedness in attaining eternal happiness, as found through appropriation. Faith is a category of decision-making in which an individual confronts an “either-or” situation, either accepting or rejecting subjectivity. Kierkegaard argues that the falsehood of objectivity may be revealed by a lack of need for personal commitment, and by a lack of need for decision-making, while the truth of subjectivity may be revealed by a need for personal commitment, and by a need for decision-making. The speculative thinker attempts to stand apart from his or her own existence, and attempts to view existence objectively. In contrast, the subjective thinker realizes that he or or she cannot stand apart from existence, and that the truth of his or her own existence is found in his or her own subjectivity.

Kierkegaard explains that truth is a paradox, in that it is objectively defined as subjectivity, and in that the outwardness of objectivity is also the inwardness of subjectivity. Truth may be objectively defined as a passionate inwardness, which may change in depth or intensity according to the experience of the subjective thinker. Inwardness is an ethical infinity in which the individual may find eternal happiness.

Although truth may be appropriated by faith, faith must be surrendered in order to be objective. Thus, Kierkegaard admits that truth may be defined from either an objective or subjective point of view. Kierkegaard does not deny that speculative thinking may be useful to explain matters about which it is not necessary to have faith. However, questions about matters of faith (or questions about whether to have faith) must be answered subjectively.

Kierkegaard argues that to know the truth of personal existence is to be aware of uncertainty. Truth is not an abstract set of relations, or an immutable state of being. Truth is found in the existence of the subjective thinker, and is more passionately appropriated as the subjective thinker progresses from the aesthetic to the ethical to the religious stages of existence. The subjective thinker is always in a state of becoming. The passion of the subjective thinker may be revealed by a deepening inwardness, and by a heightening of subjectivity. Being is a process of becoming, and is thus a state of uncertainty.

According to Kierkegaard, the objective point of view regarding the nature of truth is taken by speculative philosophy, while the subjective point of view regarding the nature of truth is taken by religious faith. Kierkegaard describes Hegel’s philosophy as representing a speculative mode of thinking. While Hegel describes truth as a continuous world-historical process, and as the becoming of an absolute reality, Kierkegaard describes truth as a leap of faith, and as the becoming of the individual’s subjectivity. While speculative thinking reflects on concrete things abstractly, subjective thinking reflects on abstract things concretely.

Kierkegaard admits that subjectivity becomes comical when it is misplaced; i.e. when subjectivity is misinterpreted as objectivity. The subjective thinker may become either comical or tragic when he or she tries to achieve an objective certainty (or the highest possible degree of probability) concerning an aspect of truth which can only be known by faith. The subjective thinker may become either comical or tragic when he or she tries to achieve an objective certainty by means of faith, which is defined by objective uncertainty. The subjective thinker may also become comical or tragic when he or she falsely pretends to be infinitely interested in attaining eternal happiness.

Kierkegaard defines three stages of existence: 1) the aesthetic, 2) the ethical, and 3) the religious. The aesthetic stage is a stage in which the individual is interested in pleasure and enjoyment The aesthetic stage is not characterized by the passionate engagement and personal commitment which are characteristic of the higher stages of existence. The ethical stage is a higher stage of personal commitment, and the religious stage is the highest stage of personal commitment. Inwardness includes the ethical, ethical-religious, and religious stages of existence.

Kierkegaard argues that the religious stage is the highest stage of subjectivity. The religious person understands that suffering is inherent to the religious experience. While the aesthete considers suffering to be something accidental, the religious person understands that suffering is an essential aspect of his or her own existence. This is the paradox of faith, that in the process of attaining eternal happiness, the subjective individual is able to understand the meaning of suffering. In the process of discovering subjective truth, the individual becomes more aware of his or her own objective uncertainty."



 


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: The

Optionsgeek wrote:

 The religious person understands that suffering is inherent to the religious experience. While the aesthete considers suffering to be something accidental, the religious person understands that suffering is an essential aspect of his or her own existence. This is the paradox of faith, that in the process of attaining eternal happiness, the subjective individual is able to understand the meaning of suffering. In the process of discovering subjective truth, the individual becomes more aware of his or her own objective uncertainty.

 

Let me pose this idea to you Options. For many years, I actually believed that all of my sufferings were somehow for a "greater good" and that faith in an "ultimate purpose" was essential.

When I first lost all of my faith ,due to many circumstances, there was an intense period of depression and hopelessness to contend with. During this time, I do not think that I was really an Atheist. At that time, I was merely a Theist that was extremely angry that religion and faith had seemingly abandoned me.I remember actually saying it aloud one morning, "What if god has abandoned me ?,".  There was no amount of faith that could make sense of my misery and I could no longer believe even if I had wanted to.

BUT, once I finally overcame faith, there was a long road before I could actually become comfortable with the notion that I was in control of my own life.That nothing in the sky cared if I suffered or not, that there was no such thing as karma to bring good deeds to me, that in essence, I was the one that was going to have to find my own purpose and meaning.

Today, I feel 100% liberated and so much more free. I do good because I want to. If I do something bad, I have no one to blame but myself and I have to go and make it right. Each day is a day that I can never get back and I see it as a day that I have to make it count. Each moment has to be lived to the fullest for me because I know that I will never get those moments again. I look at many things from a subjective standpoint. I am well aware of how much that perceptions, confirmation bias, social structure, friends, family and everything else affect the way I look at the world and the decisions that I make. I am also aware of certain learned traits of mine like impatience, that developed through growing up around impatient people. It is a difficult journey to try and see things clearly and even then, how can I truly know ? If I had been born in Japan, Iraq, Australia, or anywhere other than the tough New Jersey neighborhood that I came from, would I have some of the opinions I do today ? I don't think so.

My point is, I don't think I could have ever really taken a deep and introspective look at myself and the world, had I not ever jettisoned religious faith. Religious faith seemed to switch all of my pain and all of my surroundings to look forward to a "higher purpose' to ultimately solve my problems. No true self examination and thinking about other's ideas ever happened to me during my years of religion.

For me, when I truly through away faith. I was left with waaaayyyy too many questions that I HAD to answer. It was literally like being born again and seeing the world for the first time. I don't think I could have ever done that with a totally objective viewpoint. I see much importance in the subjective, but I do not see faith as a good virtue. Now granted, my take on faith is going to be biased after having most of my earlier life and early adulthood wrapped up in it.

Do you see that the absence of faith can be a good thing for some people like in my case Options ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
  

  


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Harley

Thanks for being such a decent bloke, and writing so candidly. 

In answer to your question - can the absence of faith be a good thing? I say, yes - because bad faith is worse than no faith. I have been reading a load of exit testimonies from christian missionaries and pastors in the last couple of years, and frankly, I am always shocked at the faith they are backing away from. I would love to say that the more aggressive atheists on this site are attacking a straw man, but sadly that is not true. Unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably, the Gospel gets mutilated by all and sundry. The world judges you on performance and works, and the Church starts to transpose that onto the christian faith and in the process makes itself a laughing stock, and puts crushing burdens on the faithful. 

You believed that God was in control of your life, and that he would look after you and that you would be protected from suffering, and that he had a 'special purpose' for you. My guess is that you were taught to view all of those promises through a worldly lense? Happens all the time, its called the theology of glory. i.e. Christians get blessed from God and therefore a/ behave better and b/ better things happen to them. This is mainstream christianity. It is horseshit.

Anyway, I am really happy that you found freedom to explore and question without condemnation, long may that last. 

Peace

Options

 

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:I am not

Optionsgeek wrote:

I am not trying to convert you - you convert me. I challenge you to bring me to the place where the questions stop. Show me the dry land...

So that I don't present a wall of text, I think this is best done with a series of thought experiments.

This is where we must begin:

 

There are two boxes.  Chance in this situation is not controlled by any being, but genuinely random.  You have absolute knowledge of the probability of a person being in the boxes as 0.00001% and 99.99999% respectively.  The moral axiom in play is that it is morally undesirable for any people or person to be destroyed.  One of the boxes will be destroyed, along with its contents.  The only interaction you can have with the situation is to choose which box will not be destroyed.  If you do not choose, a random box of the two will be selected.  Any person in the undestroyed box will be released unharmed following the experiment (and will not go on to destroy people, or otherwise complicate the experiment).  Your decision won't affect the experiment in any other way (participating or not does not encourage the experiment, or reward or punish the experimenters).

 

What, according to the situation and the moral axiom in play, is the most moral choice?

A. Choose the box with the 0.00001% chance of containing a person to be spared destruction.

B. Choose the box with the 99.99999% chance of containing a person to be spared destruction.

C. Do not choose, and allow a random box of the two to be spared, with the other destroyed.


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: You

Optionsgeek wrote:

 

You believed that God was in control of your life, and that he would look after you and that you would be protected from suffering, and that he had a 'special purpose' for you. My guess is that you were taught to view all of those promises through a worldly lense? Happens all the time, its called the theology of glory. i.e. Christians get blessed from God and therefore a/ behave better and b/ better things happen to them. This is mainstream christianity. It is horseshit. 

LOL, I do agree that it is horseshit.

Hmm partially true about the wordly lens yes. When there were no answers to the suffering, the answers seemed to always be rooted in the promise of "life everlasting".

As a matter of fact, denial of your own happiness, constant sacrifice and such were all a part of it.

But your ultimately right. The whole notion was that god was supposed to be in control and your purpose was special.

It was really a bad framework for me to base my life off of. Of course, being raised from birth in that environment lead me to believe that was the "only" way.

I realize that I will probably always have an emotional and personal bias towards religion and faith as a result of it. I have overcome alot of my intolerant attitudes that I held for awhile. (I think I harbored some major anger over the fact that I had felt like I wasted so much of my life in that sort of thinking).

But, once I understood the root causes of my biases, it went a long way towards alleviating that problem.

I think the core issue for most ills in the world is not to address what people are doing but why they are doing it.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

 B


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Harley

It is a terrible framework for ANYONE to base their life off. A christian living under the Law will inevitably be one of three things: naive (kids and maybe people who are less smart), repressed (white-knuckling it through life, punishing yourself for 'disobedience', desperately trying to become a better person), or hypocritical (put on the public face of goodness, but being a prick at home, or simply lying - in its worst case you have televangelists / Elmer Gantry types just hawking religious dogma). 

Most people I know living under the Law are in the repressed category, and it is a shitty place to be. Of course, the upside is that you feel like you are part of a tribe, that you feel superior to other people, that you feel special, that you feel you are becoming more 'holy' or a 'better person'. But eventually you crack. Because it is all bullshit, because the Law is powerless to effect life.

Quote:

I think the core issue for most ills in the world is not to address what people are doing but why they are doing it.

Amen brother. Judgement vs Love. Law vs Gospel. 

Good speaking with you Harley.

Peace

Options


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: B The

Optionsgeek wrote:

 B

 

The moral choice is what is most probable to result in the most moral outcome, according to the axiom at hand.  Assuming the premise of that moral axiom, logic is all that is needed to determine this.

Of course, one could say that moral axioms are somewhat relative.

 

Given all of the other things are the same, what if the axiom of morality in play was that it was most moral to destroy people?

 


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

Answer would be, A, the box with the 0.00000001% probability of containing a human.

And I agree that moral axioms are relative. Do read, if you have time, the kierkegaard summary. 

Please continue...

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Answer

Optionsgeek wrote:

Answer would be, A, the box with the 0.00000001% probability of containing a human.

And I agree that moral axioms are relative. Do read, if you have time, the kierkegaard summary. 

Please continue...

 

 

Rather than be able to answer based on the correct absolute knowledge that was presented, this guy- let's call him Joe- comes along and intercepts that absolute knowledge, and replaces it with incorrect knowledge.  In short, he swaps the numbers around on the boxes- changing your knowledge, but not changing reality (unknown to you).

Regardless of the moral axiom in play, is it true that where you would have chosen A, you now choose B, and where you would have chosen B, you now choose A?


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

 If I was unaware that the labels had been falsified, I would have made the same choices as before. If I was aware they had been falsified, I would choose the opposite.

Continue...


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: If I was

Optionsgeek wrote:

 If I was unaware that the labels had been falsified, I would have made the same choices as before. If I was aware they had been falsified, I would choose the opposite.

Continue...

You would be unaware.

 

Joe's behavior in this instance, regardless of the axiom, could be described as:

A. Helping out, by making you chose the more moral option where you would otherwise have chosen the less moral one

B. Sabotaging, by making you choose the less moral option where you would otherwise have chosen the more moral one

C. A wash, because the choice was the same either way- neither helpful nor harmful.


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

 B: it alines most closely with the axiom.


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: B: it

Optionsgeek wrote:

 B: it alines most closely with the axiom.

Please note that the deception sabotages the morality irrespective of which axiom is used.

 

Now, instead of switching them, Joe passes on the false information that they are 0% and 100% respectively, instead of 0.00001% and 99.99999% respectively.

 
Joe's behavior in this instance, regardless of the axiom, could be described as:

A. Helping out, by making you chose the more moral option where you would otherwise have chosen the less moral one

B. Sabotaging, by making you choose the less moral option where you would otherwise have chosen the more moral one

C. A wash, because the choice was the same either way- neither helpful nor harmful.

 


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

Mmmh, I guess it doesn't impact my decision making here... So he is neither helping out or sabotaging. C?

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:Mmmh, I

Optionsgeek wrote:

Mmmh, I guess it doesn't impact my decision making here... So he is neither helping out or sabotaging. C?

 

Is there any false information that could be given that would actually cause you (a careful and logical agent) to make a more moral choice, rather than just breaking even, with respect to answering any situation with regards to any moral axiom?


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

 I prefer the term optimal choice rather than moral, but yes, certain falsification of information could increase the likelihood of me making a decision that will lead to a more optimal outcome vis a vis the moral axiom we are working under.


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: I prefer

Optionsgeek wrote:


 I prefer the term optimal choice rather than moral, but yes, certain falsification of information could increase the likelihood of me making a decision that will lead to a more optimal outcome vis a vis the moral axiom we are working under.




In what situations is this the case that the false information is certainly or statistically better?  In which is it certainly or statistically the same?  In which is is certainly or statistically worse?


A. When we have sufficient information to formulate a logical answer vs. When the false information is random.

B. When we have some but insufficient information vs. when the false information is random.

C. When we have no information vs. when the false information is random.

D. When we have sufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has access to the same sufficient information that we do and is operating under the same moral axiom.

E. When we have sufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has insufficient information, acting under the same moral axiom.

F. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information is tailored by an intelligence that has access to sufficient information and is operating under the same moral axiom.

G. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has insufficient but slightly more information than we do, acting under the same axiom.

H. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has the same insufficient information than we do, acting under the same axiom.

I. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has even less information than we do, acting under the same axiom.


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

certainly better: F (I am blind, he is the 2 eyed king)

statistically better: G (in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king, and I am blind and he has 1 eye)

the same: C (we are both blind), D (we are both 2 eyed kings), H (we are both 1 eyed kings)

statistically worse: B, I  (I have one eye, he is blind)

certainly worse: A (I have 2 eyes and he is blind) 

 

I hope I'm reading it right - Please go on...


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1970
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:This is my

Optionsgeek wrote:

This is my hypothesis:

The atheist / theist dialectic is irresolvable,...

False. But that would be convenient excuse for theists...

The onus is on the one making the claim, to thoroughly define the theory of what it is they're proposing.

Optionsgeek wrote:
...as long as the word God represents different things to different people.

Moving the goalposts with minutiae only serves to obfuscate the basic premise of the theory, and prevent the proper demonstration of the viability of the theory.

Optionsgeek wrote:
We are currently operating in a semiotic sludge.

Intelligent and rational people do not have problems with simple equations. The theory of a purported 'god' is not a new concept. There have been many purported to have existed throughout history.

Optionsgeek wrote:
God is a 3 letter word: what does it represent? Answers below please...

The generic 'god' theory that is the most prevalent, and pertinent to us, is the theory of a single, transcendental, eternal, anthropomorphic (male) figure, purported to have singlehandedly materialized the entire universe, and all that it constitutes.

That's what they keep tellin' us...

 

.

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Gauche
atheist
Gauche's picture
Posts: 1565
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
 I may have misunderstood

 I may have misunderstood the question, but it seems the false information will never be better. It doesn't matter if Joe has sufficient information. If you defer to Joe's false information about the boxes then the person in the box will be killed (or escape if you wanted them to be killed). Even if you had no information you still could have guessed correctly. 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote:certainly

Optionsgeek wrote:

certainly better: F (I am blind, he is the 2 eyed king)

statistically better: G (in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king, and I am blind and he has 1 eye)

the same: C (we are both blind), D (we are both 2 eyed kings), H (we are both 1 eyed kings)

statistically worse: B, I  (I have one eye, he is blind)

certainly worse: A (I have 2 eyes and he is blind) 

 

I hope I'm reading it right - Please go on...

 



E is also statistically worse (you missed that one, but I think you get the point).


However, you are wrong on every one that you said "certainly"- not in quality, but in degree.

None are certainly better or worse.  Though astronomically unlikely, with insufficient information my guesses may all turn out to be correct.

There is only one case where it is certain, and that is where they are certainly the same, that both have sufficient information- D.



There is, in all of this, no case where the false information can be certainly better, because even lacking complete information there's always the chance that we guess right.



Lacking any case where false information would certainly be better, this is why probability is king; we are obligated (in accordance with adherence to a moral axiom)  to go with what's most likely to be better.

It's the same reason you chose the box with the 99.99999% chance of containing a person to be spared destruction rather than the box with the 0.00001% chance.

This is essential, and I'll bring this back up in a few minutes after we cover the other possibilities.




Now, what if this intelligence doesn't share our moral axiom, and -in fact- is acting upon a moral axiom incompatible with our own?  Are any of these certainly or statistically better?  Certainly or statistically the same?  Certainly or statistically worse?





J. When we have sufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has access to the same sufficient information that we do and is operating under an incompatible moral axiom.

K. When we have sufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has insufficient information, acting under an incompatible moral axiom.

L. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information is tailored by an intelligence that has access to sufficient information and is operating under an incompatible moral axiom.

M. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has insufficient but slightly more information than we do, acting under an incompatible axiom.

N. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has the same insufficient information than we do, acting under an incompatible axiom.

O. When we have insufficient information vs. the false information tailored by an intelligence that has even less information than we do, acting under an incompatible axiom.



 


Optionsgeek
Theist
Posts: 67
Joined: 2010-12-14
User is offlineOffline
Blake

 J = statistically much worse

K = statistically worse

L = statistically the worst

M = statistically worse

N = statistically worse

O = statistically least worst but still worse. 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Optionsgeek wrote: J =

Optionsgeek wrote:

 J = statistically much worse

K = statistically worse

L = statistically the worst

M = statistically worse

N = statistically worse

O = statistically least worst but still worse. 

 

J is certainly worse, not just statistically worse, and as such the difference is more severe even than L.

We would have been certainly right (having all the information) as compared with being certainly wrong (the intelligence with an incompatible moral axiom having all of the information and feeding false information to us to reach to goal of that incompatible axiom).

 

Do you see why this is?

Sorry if this is a little slow, but I don't want to continue until I make sure you've followed and are in agreement with all of the points up until now.