Why all the fuss?

DadaMungo
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Why all the fuss?

One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

So why are we having these conversations? Does it really make a difference? On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion? As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

Regards,

Dada Mungo


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DadaMungo wrote:One

DadaMungo wrote:

One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

So why are we having these conversations? Does it really make a difference? On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion? As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

Regards,

Dada Mungo

I've never understood this line of reasoning. I won't be around when the universe goes cold. Neither will my children nor my grandchildren nor their great great great great great great great grandchildren. How can the fact that the universe will eventually go cold be at all relevant to me or any member of our species? If it isn't relevant to us then how can that effect any purpose we should concern ourselves with?  Purpose is what one finds important in their life. No other purpose can matter to a given person. 

This line of questioning assumes that the only type of purpose that we should find important is imposed purpose (I wouldn't call it 'higher' as I can't see why another entity's purpose should be higher than one's own), a purpose removed from the actual existence purpose is being considered by, but in reality I can't see why imposed purpose should be considered relevant to those it is imposed upon at all.

Let's say you have one million dollars in your hand. Is that one million dollars unimportant because the universe will eventually go cold or is it useful to you and others (if you are giving) in our present situation?

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Simple question:Why need a

Simple question:

Why need a "higher" purpose? Aren't the plebeian reasons for human existence sufficient for you?

It doesn't matter to you to be a benefit to yourself, those you care about and society as a whole if you don't have the Invisible Cloud Being?

There's enough purpose in life without having to manufacture a God to give you one.

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What gives a God a purpose?

What gives a God a purpose? Does it give purpose to itself? Does it receive its purpose from some power "higher" than it? I have concluded that either a) that God is purposeless, b) that God is not required for a "higher" purpose (meaning we receive that through some other means, e.g. karma, dharma, etc.), or c) that a "higher" purpose has no real meaning, and that subjective purpose is the only purpose that actually exists.


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DadaMungo wrote:If God

DadaMungo wrote:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

In other late-breaking news, 2 + 2 = 4.

DadaMungo wrote:

So why are we having these conversations?

Just because.
DadaMungo wrote:
Does it really make a difference?
No.
DadaMungo wrote:
On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

Why do you breathe?  Does it really make a difference?  You are more than welcome to refrain from conversations which make no difference, and you are more than welcome to refrain from breathing.

DadaMungo wrote:

It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

Everything loses in the end.  Thought you knew.

DadaMungo wrote:

But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion?

How so?  What is wrong with living just to live, rather than living for the amusement of an imaginary being?

DadaMungo wrote:
As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.'

Axiomatically false. 

DadaMungo wrote:
We all need one, but we're being duped...

I'm yet to understand why we need a purpose.  Explain if you would.

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DadaMungo wrote:One

DadaMungo wrote:

One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

Of course it doesn't make a difference.  You should murder and rape everyone you know.  Wont that make you feel good?  

NOT! (not to mention the prison time you'll have wasted in the only life you get)

 

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So why are we having these conversations?

If people exist that think without an invisible friend it doesn't make any difference what they do, then you should be thanking god that they're speaking up.

 

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Does it really make a difference?

No, just like 9-11 made no difference, neither does fighting for a world in which we embrace truth.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have a hard time believing that you actually believe the things you're asking us to respond to.  If you do in fact feel the way that it appears you do, I am blown away at your lack of critical thinking to analyze these issues.

 

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On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

Most atheists would hope that you overcome it, for the safety and well being of yourself and all of those around you.

 

Quote:
It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

Huh?  Evolution isn't a game in which someone wins and someone loses.  All species life on Earth dies at somepoint.  If you believe ina creator you believe that God is responsible for every death in the history of the planet, ultimately it's his plan, right?

 

Quote:

But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion? As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

One of my purposes is to help people like you overcome their delusions.  Is your purpose to delude yourself by asking very nonsensical questions of those people in an attempt to make yourself feel better about the delusions you hold?

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DadaMungo wrote:One

DadaMungo wrote:

One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

Who said that there is no "higher" purpose here? If a god exists then what purpose do we serve to it? The ultimate purpose of life is the survival of the species. It does not scare me to find a purpose in my life outside an irrational fear of hell. If god has a plan for my life, I would invite it over for a cold beer to tell me what it is.

DadaMungo wrote:

So why are we having these conversations? Does it really make a difference? On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

We are having this conversation because you asked the question. Apparently it makes you uncomfortable that your beliefs can be questioned. I would guess that you may just want us to STFU up and accept your view without question.

DadaMungo wrote:

It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

Why can't evolutionary psychology explain this? Evolution doesn't have an ultimate goal in mind. Evolution is just a scientific theory explaining the history of life. Evolution doesn't care if life is around in 10 trillion years.

DadaMungo wrote:

But aren't there alsoethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion? As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

Regards,

Dada Mungo

If you can prove god exists then I could buy into most of your arguement. I could also say that believing we have a higher purpose without knowing what it is sounds delusional.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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DadaMungo wrote:One

DadaMungo wrote:
One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose. On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do? On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

A conundrum I still don't understand is how does a god give us a higher or better purpose.  This supposed after life is meant to be perfection experienced.  Everything is meant to be great, amasing, wonderful, nothing bad at all.  Well, to me that just demeans this current life we are living.  It makes it petty, and pretty worthless.  Why bother trying to get anything out of this life if you're just going to get perfection in the next?  Why bother even living this life if the next is so much greater?

Personally, I'd prefer to live for this life thinking and knowing that it's the only one I have.  That way I'll actually strive to get out of it what I can in the short time period that I have.

DadaMungo wrote:
So why are we having these conversations? Does it really make a difference? On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

Actually, it does.  One person saying one thing to one other person doesn't.  Ten people saying one thing to ten other people has not much of an affect either.  Ten thousand people saying one thing to ten thousand others does though.  If we sit back and say nothing, we will get walked over.  If we stand up for ourselves collectively on the areas we agree on and make our voices heard, they will be heard and things will be done.  Sure we can't influence the entire universe, but this planet is all we need to work on as there's no known other life out there.

The purpose of our lives is to live them.  Continuation of the species.  That's the purpose of all lives sentient and non, right down to the microscopic germs that invade our bodies. 

DadaMungo wrote:
But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion? As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

Just don't confuse purpose with goals.  It's my purpose to live and reproduce, it's my goal to get out of life what I can and do the best for my society that I can.  One of the ways I'm doing this is by being a small part of a larger voice of reason and rationality.

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Here's my take on it, which

Here's my take on it, which will be somewhat different from the other responses so far:

DadaMungo wrote:
One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose.

Even if God exists, you can't know what the higher purpose is anyway, since you can't know the mind of God. The so-called 'higher purpose' is just another unknown.

Quote:
On a micro level, if there's no after-life then does it make a difference what I do?

Of course it does. You are assuming that if there's no 'higher purpose' there's no purpose at all. If you hurt someone, it matters to them what you did. If you have empathy for people (only psychopaths don't), then it will also matter to you when someone gets hurt.

Quote:
On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

It seems like you're saying "If my actions don't have any effect on the ultimate state of the universe, then they have no meaning at all." First, this is a pretty nihilistic outlook. Second, we know from physics that everything is interrelated and no action can occur without a reaction. Ultimately, your actions affect everything around you, and ultimately affect the whole universe already. You can't know exactly what effect that will be, but you're not omniscient so you shouldn't be worried about not knowing everything in the first place.

Think of it this way. When someone you know dies, the world goes on without them, but the world has already been affected by them, and so their life is not meaningless. It happened and it left its mark in the universe. Same with you. When you die, everyone who knows you will already have been affected by you, and so your 'spirit' lives on through them. Same thing with the human race. If we went extinct tomorrow, say by a meteor or something, we have already made an effect on the universe. We'll leave behind our buildings, art, etc. Even our radio waves will still be travelling through space. The Voyager spacecraft will be floating in the galaxy for millenia to come. We have already left an indelible print on the universe, and each day we live, we continue to leave our imprint.

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So why are we having these conversations?

Because of wonder. Wonder is an interesting word. First, it means our sense of wonder. When we look at the stars and the atoms and all the rest of the universe, we have a profound sense of wonder. And that causes us to ask questions about the universe, to wonder about it. The questions in your post are a perfect example. We like to feel wonder and we like to wonder about things. And thirdly, with the knowledge we gain from asking questions and seeking answers, we can create great wonders. Whether it be art and literature or science and technology, our wonder inspires us to create more wonders.

I wonder if maybe there might be other intelligent life somewhere out in the universe for us to meet. I wonder how we can tackle the problem of the environment here on Earth. I wonder what the future will be like. I want to create a better, more wonderful future than the one we seem to be heading towards.

So, it's all about wonder. A lot of people think that you need to believe in God to have a sense of wonder. But this is false. Every human in existence has a sense of wonder, regardless of what they believe. It's something we all have in common, and it is possible that one day this realization could unite us to create an incredibly wonderful future. Read some books by Carl Sagan. You'll get my drift.

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Does it really make a difference? On either micro or macro level I'd have to say no. What's the atheist response to that?

Of course it makes a difference. How we behave has an impact on the universe. There's no denying that. Whether that behaviour leads to wonder or terror, is ultimately dependent on our choices.

Quote:
It's no good to say that religion or any sense of purpose is simply an evolutionary tool for the perpetuation of the species, because evolution loses in the end (see 2nd para above).

How can evolution lose? It's not a contest. Evolution is something that happens. It doesn't win or lose, it just happens.

I think you mean that ultimately we will cease to function, when the universe winds down and 'dies'. But we only know about this little tiny portion of the universe, and of that, we still know very little. The Unknown is still a huge thing. There is much more to learn and wonder about. Every new discovery we make teaches us something new and leads to even more amazing questions. How can we say for sure how life in the universe will ultimately end? Maybe there are multiple universes and we can somehow find a way to explore those as well. Maybe there's a way to somehow extend the life of our universe. Who knows? I certainly don't. But I do wonder about it. I'm not going to give up just because I don't know the answer! Wonder pushes me on. And thankfully, I don't need to believe in a god to wonder and feel a sense of wonder. In fact, that is a major reason why I *don't* believe in a god. Gods tend to kill wonder. They say, "Don't ask too many questions! There are some things you're not meant to know!" And I ask "Why?" and there are no good answers. "If you question me, I'll send you to a fiery hell." But then I ask "Why should I believe some character written in a book?" And the people who wrote the book don't have any good answers. If there's a real god, let him show himself to me. Until then, I'm going to explore this universe, the one universe I *do* know exists, not worry about some unsubstantiated threats from a book about some other imaginary universe of heaven and hell.

Quote:
But aren't there also ethical issues here (I appreciate the catch-22 here)? Isn't our creating a purpose for our existence (i.e. one that exludes God) a delusion?

No, it's a choice. Ethics are easy to figure out when you simply look at the real world. What works and what doesn't? We have society and laws and philosophies and all sorts of things. Some work better than others. Let's take the best and leave the rest. We can create a better world that way. But if we get stuck in the past, sticking to old paradigms that don't work anymore, then we will be stuck with ethics that don't work.

Quote:
As it says in the Matrix file (was it the second one?), 'Without purpose, there is no life/existence.' We all need one, but we're being duped...

See, that's why you have to develop critical thinking skills. The Matrix is fiction just like the Bible. Not everything it says in it is true. Take the best and leave the rest. What works and what doesn't? That's called pragmatism, and it's an unbeatable philosophy. How do I know it's unbeatable? Well, have you got any better ideas? If so, I'll take them, as they are supported by pragmatism. If not, then I'll leave them. Either way, I end up with the best ideas and leave the worse ideas behind, and that's just what pragmatism is. Either way I start with pragmatism and end with pragmatism. You can't do better than the best ideas. Thus, pragmatism is unbeatable.

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   We exist in the "NOW"

   We exist in the "NOW" .... help end needless suffering NOW ....


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Guess what?  We have to

Guess what?  We have to find our own meaning in this existence.  I admit it has sometimes been very hard for me, but when it comes right down to it, I am as god as it gets. Smiling  If I don't assign meaning to my life, no one will.

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  Right on Iruka Naminori,

  Right on Iruka Naminori, and so "god" is an artist too !

Keep helping your family .... lol


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DadaMungo wrote:One

DadaMungo wrote:

One conundrum that I really would enjoy some input on is:

If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose.

Regards,

Dada Mungo

So? Life never claimed to be fair. Consider you're lucky that you have consciousness in the first place.  In the lottery of existence you won (millions of sperm, chance of miscarriage, right place-right time, etc...)

 

But, no, that's not enough for you. It must MEAN something!  Suck it up and be a Man.

Know this:  one day you won't exist.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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  Yes Yes daedalus, .....

  Yes Yes daedalus, ..... but a side note

"My energy/matter will still exist" 

, ancient Buddha thought so ! Jesus too ! (the way I read it)

Makes me a bit proud of our human race !

If the aliens come I will point this out, Mercy on us ....

please


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I totally agree that the

I totally agree that the notion of universal doom is so far removed from our everyday existence that it is hard to see its relevance. However, I would say that it is not rational to discount it just for that reason.

I know it's a nihilistic view but that's how I see it at present. Unless there is something that trumps universal doom, then the doom wins. My purpose in making the original post was simply to get another viewpoint on it. I am not looking to defend my views or attack yours.

Okay, but there's been a lot of 'So what?' in the responses to my mail. Well, by my own argument, it doesn't matter what any of us think. Which makes me wonder why the atheist response is so strong. Why do you feel the need to wake anyone from their delusions?

I think it is remarkable that the human species actually does need purpose to exist. The replies to my post suggest that strongly. It seems that the atheist simply objects to thinking that there is anything greater/better/higher than anything he/she can come up with him/herself. But that doesn't change the fact that one still needs the purpose. Purpose drives everything that we do (no dumb remarks about breathing or other bodily functions, please). Why do we go to work? Why do we engage in these discussions? There is purpose behind it all.

My point is simply that this purpose is not enough to overcome the (albeit ultra-distant) fact that there is no purpose. So by that reasoning, it is somewhat delusional to have purpose.

As to the million-dollar-question. First off, I'd like to try that: do you happen to have a million dollars spare? =) Of course, I'd find ways to use it (because I have purpose), but yes, in the long run, it really makes no difference if I had it or not, or if I used it "wisely" or not.


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   DadaMungo, shit yeah,

   DadaMungo, shit yeah, say some more ..... don't abandon us friend ! The world needs you bad ......  ( a smiley on you )


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DadaMungo wrote:I totally

DadaMungo wrote:
I totally agree that the notion of universal doom is so far removed from our everyday existence that it is hard to see its relevance. However, I would say that it is not rational to discount it just for that reason.

Oh don't get me wrong. I don't discount the possibility of doom. I just don't think it's a done deal. The future is up for us to determine. It may be a 'heaven' it may be a 'hell'. But we'll never know if we give up now without trying.

Quote:
I know it's a nihilistic view but that's how I see it at present.

Have you ever considered that your belief in an afterlife might be colouring your vision in this way? Believing that you can escape this world and be transported to an eternal heaven without regard to what happens in *this* world will cause you to put more importance on heaven than on this world. After all, the Bible says this world will be destroyed in the end days. What's the point of saving the environment? What's the point of planning for the future of this Earth and this universe if God's going to toss it all in the trash anyway? You see, I can only be *certain* that I have this life and this universe to live it in. I can't be certain of heaven or hell or any other afterlife. That makes this life much more important to me. I don't want to waste it because it's probably the only one I'm going to get. This life and this world is very valuable to me. I want to make it the best I can humanly make it. That is why I reject nihilism. I'm a pragmatist and a wonderist. I know I can explore this universe, and I choose to do so, to experience and create as much wonder as I can.

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Unless there is something that trumps universal doom, then the doom wins.

You don't *know* that. Nobody could possibly know that. Are you god? Do you know how the universe will end? No, you don't. We can only speculate based on our best understanding and go forward with confidence that we will make as much of an effort we can to ensure the best possible future.

Quote:
My purpose in making the original post was simply to get another viewpoint on it. I am not looking to defend my views or attack yours.

You're under no obligation to defend your viewpoint from us. But consider this. Can you defend it for yourself? Can you ask yourself if you have done everything humanly possible to choose the best ideas and leave the rest? Have you explored all the options? Or maybe you've settled too quickly. Maybe you accepted the religion of your parents or community and haven't really checked out other options, like Buddhism or Hinduism or Taoism or rational atheism or pragmatism or wonderism or whatever.

Consider this: Out of all the religions/philosophies out there, how do you know yours is the right one? Surely you see that most of the people on this planet don't believe the same way you do. Some of them must be mistaken, right? Perhaps they've been deceived. But they don't think they've been deceived. Someone once said, it's easy to deceive people, and the easiest person to deceive is yourself. So don't defend your beliefs from us, but do everything you can to examine your own beliefs and test them for *yourself*, not for us. We would be happy to help you, if you choose to share with us. Or not. It's up to you.

Quote:
Okay, but there's been a lot of 'So what?' in the responses to my mail. Well, by my own argument, it doesn't matter what any of us think. Which makes me wonder why the atheist response is so strong. Why do you feel the need to wake anyone from their delusions?

Because the future is not written yet. We want the best possible future we can humanly achieve. We see how things are going now, and we are worried. We don't think it's going in a healthy direction. We want to do what we can to choose a better future.

Specifically, think about this. There is something all people share in common. Everyone you've ever known, everyone who has ever lived, has lived on this planet. It's the only one we've got for the forseeable future. If we screw up this planet enough, we could literally wipe ourselves out. And as technology gets more and more powerful, it's not just atom bombs anymore. It's germ warfare with genetic engineering. It's global warming and climate change. In the future it may be nanotech warfare. Technology is increasing at an exponential rate. But people don't seem to be getting much smarter and more responsible. That is the big danger. Some idiot releases his doomsday device to bring on the Rapture and we all pay the consequences.

Even if it's not so drastic as that, there are still important problems that religion and dogma interfere with, like medical advances, pointless warfare and genocides, etc.

Even things like interfering with freedom of speech and freedom of/from religion.

Really, there are a lot of things that suck in the world that we could improve if people would wake up to reality and stop neglecting this planet that we all share together. Theists and dogmatists affect us. We want it to stop and to build a better future. Simple as that.

Quote:
I think it is remarkable that the human species actually does need purpose to exist. The replies to my post suggest that strongly. It seems that the atheist simply objects to thinking that there is anything greater/better/higher than anything he/she can come up with him/herself. But that doesn't change the fact that one still needs the purpose. Purpose drives everything that we do (no dumb remarks about breathing or other bodily functions, please). Why do we go to work? Why do we engage in these discussions? There is purpose behind it all.

The real problem is when people pretend to know things that they don't really know, and then proceed to act irresponsibly based on that false belief. For example, you say there is purpose behind it all. Presumably you mean that there is *one* universal purpose behind it all. I've already shown you that such beliefs colour one's view of the world. It gets even worse when people start to claim that they *know* what that alleged purpose is.

Yes, humans need purpose. And we choose our own purposes already. Why do you need some additional *absolute* purpose? Do you fear not knowing? Don't approach the unknown with fear. Approach it with wonder. I don't know what the purpose is. I may wonder about it, though, and may seek to find out. All admirable things to do. But I don't pretend to know what is unknown, because to do so would be to deceive myself.

Quote:
My point is simply that this purpose is not enough to overcome the (albeit ultra-distant) fact that there is no purpose. So by that reasoning, it is somewhat delusional to have purpose.

No, again, you are making assumptions about things you don't really know. This is not a rational argument.

Quote:
As to the million-dollar-question. First off, I'd like to try that: do you happen to have a million dollars spare? =) Of course, I'd find ways to use it (because I have purpose), but yes, in the long run, it really makes no difference if I had it or not, or if I used it "wisely" or not.

If I had a million dollars, it would certainly make a difference to me. And it would also make a difference to all the people I affect when I spend the money. It would have an impact on my future and the future of many others. And how I choose to spend it could make that future better or worse, depending on the quality of my judgment. To say it would make no difference is just a nihilistic cop-out based on fear of the unknown. I choose wonder over fear.

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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:  Yes

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

  Yes Yes daedalus, ..... but a side note

"My energy/matter will still exist" 

, ancient Buddha thought so ! Jesus too ! (the way I read it)

Makes me a bit proud of our human race !

If the aliens come I will point this out, Mercy on us ....

please

Yes, our energy and matter will exist. As it did before we were born - dissolved back into the Cosmos as undifferentiated matter and energy. (Or, rather, differentiated into other collections of matter and energy).

We will be indistinguishable from dead worms, dead plants, or inanimate objects and forces.

I suppose one could create a nice story about that, but personally, I think it's a bit bland.

 

"Life is just a spark, caught in between eternal dark."

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
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DadaMungo wrote:Okay, but

DadaMungo wrote:

Okay, but there's been a lot of 'So what?' in the responses to my mail. Well, by my own argument, it doesn't matter what any of us think. Which makes me wonder why the atheist response is so strong. Why do you feel the need to wake anyone from their delusions?

Because I, and my children and all those I care about, have to live in this world with those delusional believers whose belief I find  to be inherently dangerous.

Quote:
I think it is remarkable that the human species actually does need purpose to exist. The replies to my post suggest that strongly. It seems that the atheist simply objects to thinking that there is anything greater/better/higher than anything he/she can come up with him/herself.

Don't start making incorrect interpretations of what you think atheists object to.  Its really irritating. The reason atheists are atheists is because we don't have a god belief.  Whether or not there is purpose you consider important, making up something  to believe in, in order to fulfill the role of purpose giver, is delusional.

Quote:
But that doesn't change the fact that one still needs the purpose. Purpose drives everything that we do (no dumb remarks about breathing or other bodily functions, please). Why do we go to work? Why do we engage in these discussions? There is purpose behind it all.

I've said there is purpose, but purpose is subjective. There is objective purpose in many things that go towards survival, the purpose being to survive and experience as long as possible .

Quote:
My point is simply that this purpose is not enough to overcome the (albeit ultra-distant) fact that there is no purpose. So by that reasoning, it is somewhat delusional to have purpose.

There is no requirement that there needs to be a purpose for purpose in order for there to be purpose. You are arbitrarily requiring that. With your arbitrary requirements there would need to be an infinite regress of purposes in order for purpose to exist unless you are going to make some first purpose argument (which may likely be coming from Craig or Plantinga any day now.) Surely you see how ridiculous this is.

What seems delusional to me is to state purpose can't exist unless you are eternal, or there is an infinite regress of purposes, which is basically the claim you are making.

Quote:
As to the million-dollar-question. First off, I'd like to try that: do you happen to have a million dollars spare? =) Of course, I'd find ways to use it (because I have purpose), but yes, in the long run, it really makes no difference if I had it or not, or if I used it "wisely" or not.

Whether or not it makes a difference "in the long run" is irrelevant. You obviously see the point of the analogy. If you have a purpose for the money in the present that is purpose. There is no requirement that such a purpose needs to last forever or be supported by other purposes, especially not past the point of your existing.

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DadaMungo wrote:Okay, but

DadaMungo wrote:

Okay, but there's been a lot of 'So what?' in the responses to my mail. Well, by my own argument, it doesn't matter what any of us think. Which makes me wonder why the atheist response is so strong. Why do you feel the need to wake anyone from their delusions?

People who hold such beliefs vote! And sometimes they get into groups and burn non-believers. Or they burn people and then say later that they were witches, or whatever. That's no way to live.

DadaMungo wrote:
So by that reasoning, it is somewhat delusional to have purpose.

Whoa - don't think anyone's saying that. It is delusional to believe that your purpose is specifically to serve a specific invisible entity. Having the purpose of bringing joy to the world or saving up to buy a car doesn't necessarily carry delusion with it.

DadaMungo wrote:
As to the million-dollar-question. Of course, I'd find ways to use it (because I have purpose), but yes, in the long run, it really makes no difference if I had it or not, or if I used it "wisely" or not.

Geologically, you're insignificant. Yes. 3,000 years from now, will any living thing probably care where you spent money? No. BUT to the many people in this brief, precious span of life we have, you face a grave decision of effecting their lives through help or harm. That's admittedly scary, but it's not delusional.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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DadaMungo wrote:I know it's

DadaMungo wrote:

I know it's a nihilistic view but that's how I see it at present. Unless there is something that trumps universal doom, then the doom wins. My purpose in making the original post was simply to get another viewpoint on it. I am not looking to defend my views or attack yours.

I think the nihilism viewpoint can have some positive influence. I have heard a few theists say that the book of revelations, for example, is a warning to mankind and not necessarily a look of what's to come. However, the problem with nihilism is that it most likely leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.

Mankind as a whole seems  obsessed with its own demise. A common thread of many religions has always been the fall of mankind. Today we have Peak Oil and Global Warming as modern examples of nihilism, but the Mayans and Babylonians seemed to be obsessed with these types of destruction prophecy too. It's as old as recorded history that we see ourselves as a plague in some ways.

DadaMungo wrote:

Okay, but there's been a lot of 'So what?' in the responses to my mail. Well, by my own argument, it doesn't matter what any of us think. Which makes me wonder why the atheist response is so strong. Why do you feel the need to wake anyone from their delusions?

If it doesn't matter what any of us think then why worry about an atheist's strong response? As far as the second question, 9/11 is a good example for a reason to break these delusions.

DadaMungo wrote:

I think it is remarkable that the human species actually does need purpose to exist. 

I don't think you need a purpose to exist, a purpose helps you live and there is a big difference between mere existence and living.

DadaMungo wrote:

It seems that the atheist simply objects to thinking that there is anything greater/better/higher than anything he/she can come up with him/herself.

Without some supreme being making me aware of my higher purpose I have to default to come up with my own. If my higher purpose involves serving and worshipping a superior being then it sounds like it needs us more than we it. Again it is helpful to define exactly what god is and what its purpose for us is.

DadaMungo wrote:

But that doesn't change the fact that one still needs the purpose. Purpose drives everything that we do (no dumb remarks about breathing or other bodily functions, please). Why do we go to work? Why do we engage in these discussions? There is purpose behind it all.

Maybe we are in The Matrix and that's what we are supposed to do.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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LosingStreak06 wrote:b) that

LosingStreak06 wrote:
b) that God is not required for a "higher" purpose (meaning we receive that through some other means, e.g. karma, dharma, etc.)

This statement implies a pre-conceived definition of God, i.e. that isn't the 'some other means'. How do you define God, then? This sounds like a straw man argument - define a God whose existence is easy to "disprove". Okay, I'll admit that most religionists hand you the argument on a plate - their views of God are so embedded in fairyland as to beggar belief (yes, pot calling kettle black, as far as you're concerned).

Well, it would be an interesting discussion (at least to me) to consider the definition of God. From the various posts here, it is clear that there are some varied personal definitions, and may I add, not very informed views, either. But I can understand why you (speaking collectively) wouldn't take the time to get to know your "enemy" better. However, if you are genuinely concerned about saving mankind from the God delusion, I would suggest you understand the delusion better first. And now, please forgive my ignorance, but is there a "standard" definition of what God is that atheists do not believe in? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I'll take a risk asking it, nonetheless. Certainly, the God I believe in does not fit well with the ones you describe. The whole "everywhere and yet nowhere" spin is just a pile of proverbial to mess with peoples' heads. Amen, brother!

 


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:shit

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
shit yeah, say some more ..... don't abandon us friend ! The world needs you bad ......  ( a smiley on you )

Is this for real? Inside joke? What's your point?


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Sapient wrote:Sorry for the

Sapient wrote:
Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have a hard time believing that you actually believe the things you're asking us to respond to.

I have not made any declaration of my beliefs other than that I do believe in God. My purpose in posting to this forum was to throw some ideas out there and see what came back. I am grateful to you guys for the responses you give - it has been hard for me to find people (in the flesh at least) who actually care enough to discuss these matters. I appreciate the critical review, honestly.

Sapient wrote:
Most atheists would hope that you overcome it, for the safety and well being of yourself and all of those around you.

I just have to ask: I am somewhat perturbed by the occasional words that slip into your (collective) responses: safety, dangerous, etc. I have a sneaky suspicion that this is a reflection of American culture, where, I understand, religion is gaining strength (thanks in part to good ol' George Dubya) and his hosts of Arabic enemies. Is that so? I'm writing from Finland, so I can assure you that Europe is in religious decline, and secularism is the new opiate of the masses. Maybe you want to think about emigrating? I mean, seriously, what do you see are the real dangers in today's (western) society?

Sapient wrote:
If you do in fact feel the way that it appears you do, I am blown away at your lack of critical thinking to analyze these issues.

Well, sorry to trouble you so. I'm sure you'll get over it. I'll say that I didn't express myself as well I would have liked, but I also won't pretend that my thinking is bulletproof - that's why I'm here, to refine and hone my thinking. May I also add, that I see gaping holes in much of the "reasoning" given in response to my comments, so it's a fairly level playing field. So please let's not get too self-righteous.

Sapient wrote:
One of my purposes is to help people like you overcome their delusions.  Is your purpose to delude yourself by asking very nonsensical questions of those people in an attempt to make yourself feel better about the delusions you hold?

In all sincerity, I don't think you really are that interested in helping other people. Forgive me if I am wrong, but your tone conveys to me the impression that your interests are more centred in yourself than in others. Hey, join the club! It doesn't seem to make a difference if we're theist or atheist - the same human behavioral trends manifest themselves. But I'll gladly take what I can, and offer what I can share if there are any takers.

Peace, brother!


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The fundamental problem with

The fundamental problem with the idea of ultimate purpose is that no one can know what this ultimate purpose is, and so no one can know if they are fulfilling it or not. Anyone who claims to know what the purpose is, or claims to know that they are fulfilling it, is frankly lying and/or deceiving themselves. Such hubris and arrogance leads to great harm to everyone.

So, DadaMungo, what is this ultimate purpose you think exists and how do you know what it is?

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DadaMungo

DadaMungo wrote:

LosingStreak06 wrote:
b) that God is not required for a "higher" purpose (meaning we receive that through some other means, e.g. karma, dharma, etc.)

This statement implies a pre-conceived definition of God, i.e. that isn't the 'some other means'. How do you define God, then? This sounds like a straw man argument - define a God whose existence is easy to "disprove". Okay, I'll admit that most religionists hand you the argument on a plate - their views of God are so embedded in fairyland as to beggar belief (yes, pot calling kettle black, as far as you're concerned).

I beg your pardon, but was that entire thing directed at me? You seem to be under the impression that I am an atheist. I don't seek to disprove any god, but rather the idea that purpose can only come from them.

Quote:
Well, it would be an interesting discussion (at least to me) to consider the definition of God. From the various posts here, it is clear that there are some varied personal definitions, and may I add, not very informed views, either. But I can understand why you (speaking collectively) wouldn't take the time to get to know your "enemy" better. However, if you are genuinely concerned about saving mankind from the God delusion, I would suggest you understand the delusion better first.

I'm very familiar with my own delusions, thanks.

Quote:
And now, please forgive my ignorance, but is there a "standard" definition of what God is that atheists do not believe in? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I'll take a risk asking it, nonetheless. Certainly, the God I believe in does not fit well with the ones you describe.

Atheists do not believe in all gods. This would include yours, mine, and anyone else's.

 

Quote:
The whole "everywhere and yet nowhere" spin is just a pile of proverbial to mess with peoples' heads. Amen, brother!

 

Good to know.


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Cali_Atheist2 wrote:The

Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
The ultimate purpose of life is the survival of the species.

And how do you know that? I'm told that no-one can know for certain what the purpose is (if such exists).

Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
Apparently it makes you uncomfortable that your beliefs can be questioned. I would guess that you may just want us to STFU up and accept your view without question.

So....Kill 'em with Kindness, wasn't it?

Where do you draw these conclusions? Where have I evinced even the least degree of discomfort? I would say your tones betray your discomfort. I would suspect that you hold the so-called deluded in contempt for their views. If so, I would think this particular forum is not for you. At least, please try to lose the attitude before commenting further: I really don't want to waste my time with these diatribes.

Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
Evolution doesn't have an ultimate goal in mind. Evolution is just a scientific theory explaining the history of life. Evolution doesn't care if life is around in 10 trillion years.

I understand that. Really - I get the concept. But do you not find it ironic that (at least in layman forums) evolution is almost invariably talked about in terms of purpose? For example, one would typically read/hear that giraffes evolved long necks to reach the leaves at the top of the trees, thus giving them an advantage over species that couldn't reach them. It's conveyed as if they made a conscious choice to grow their necks longer. I find the pattern most distasteful, but it does back up my point (not in my original posting) that mankind needs purpose, even to the point of talking about a totally purposeless process in that manner. Profound!

Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
I could also say that believing we have a higher purpose without knowing what it is sounds delusional.

What's so delusional about this? We all operate on this principle. For example, why does one attend a job interview? One does not know if one will get the position, but one believes there's a chance of success, so it's worth trying. This is the essence of faith. I would suspect the use of this term will bother some of you, but we all live by faith. It's just a question of what we have faith in. It is said that Thomas Edison made 1000 attempts at making the light-bulb before hitting on the right solution. Would you say he was deluded?

So it's really a question of probabilities. Are the odds good enough that it's worth believing? Personally, I think it's worth it, but I'll leave my reasons for that for another day.


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DadaMungo wrote:Well, it

DadaMungo wrote:
Well, it would be an interesting discussion (at least to me) to consider the definition of God. From the various posts here, it is clear that there are some varied personal definitions, and may I add, not very informed views, either. But I can understand why you (speaking collectively) wouldn't take the time to get to know your "enemy" better.

Excuse me, but that's a very disingenuous comment. You were the one who said he didn't wish to defend his views. I have already made an invitation to investigate your views and you haven't responded. It's not that we haven't 'taken the time' to get to know your views, it's that you haven't been forthcoming with them. I'm sorry, but it's not possible to read your mind and know what your personal definition of god is. We are forced to work with generalities. If you want specific comment on your god, you should offer your view up. Otherwise, don't complain that we can't read your mind.

Quote:
However, if you are genuinely concerned about saving mankind from the God delusion, I would suggest you understand the delusion better first.

I'm quite sure we understand the various proposed definitions of god better than you. We've seen too many to count, and none of them stand up to scrutiny. If you've got a unique version, bring it on.

Quote:
And now, please forgive my ignorance, but is there a "standard" definition of what God is that atheists do not believe in? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I'll take a risk asking it, nonetheless.

Propose your definition and we'll say whether we believe in it. For example, if you say 'god is love', then of course we believe in love, but we just don't see why you would use the word 'god' when you already have the word 'love'.

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DadaMungo wrote:May I also

DadaMungo wrote:
May I also add, that I see gaping holes in much of the "reasoning" given in response to my comments, so it's a fairly level playing field. So please let's not get too self-righteous.

It is totally disingenuous to claim that we are self-righteous right after you make a claim without backing it up. You claim you are using us to refine your arguments, and yet you do not return the favour by pointing out these 'gaping holes' for us to learn from. Where are these holes you speak of?

Quote:
It doesn't seem to make a difference if we're theist or atheist - the same human behavioral trends manifest themselves.

Strictly speaking, this site is not about theism per se. It is about rationality. There are irrational atheists as well. But in terms of worldwide irrationality, theism definitely tops the list. That's why it's our primary (but not only) focus.

 

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thingy wrote:This supposed

thingy wrote:
This supposed after life is meant to be perfection experienced.  Everything is meant to be great, amasing, wonderful, nothing bad at all.  Well, to me that just demeans this current life we are living.  It makes it petty, and pretty worthless.  Why bother trying to get anything out of this life if you're just going to get perfection in the next?  Why bother even living this life if the next is so much greater?

If I read you correctly, then your argument is based upon an incorrect notion of the relationship between this life and the next, as understood by most(?) Christians. If what you state actually held, then I would be in total agreement with you.

My beliefs are such that the afterlife is very much "conditioned" according to what we make of this life. This gives to me a meaning and drive in this life that I don't see could come to the same degree from any other standpoint. I mean, I contend that simply coming to terms with the meaninglessness of life cannot inject the same sense of fulfillment of life as does a belief that every thought, word and act matters.

Please don't jump to the conclusion that I'm talking about "you're all going to burn in hell, you pagans!" kind of consequences, because I'm not, and we don't have to get into that right now.

thingy wrote:
One person saying one thing to one other person doesn't.  Ten people saying one thing to ten other people has not much of an affect either.  Ten thousand people saying one thing to ten thousand others does though.

Is there a magic number that determines how many people are needed to make a difference? This argument seems illogical to me. Mapping this with some other response to my original post, we arrive at a contradiction. It was stated that my hurting someone would make a difference to that someone. So the number of one already makes a difference. It doesn't take ten thousand people hurting ten thousand other people for it to be not a nice thing to do. Perhaps it would depend on the context. Would ten thousand people make a difference to the whole global population? Well, sometimes it only takes one!

thingy wrote:
The purpose of our lives is to live them.  Continuation of the species.

Again with the 'here is the purpose' rhetoric, when you (collective) disclaim others' purposes, simply because they are not founded in science, and especially when you (collective) say that evolution has no purpose! Let's strive for consistency (but I forgive you! )

Have you considered that evolution might actually be a tool to achieve some higher purpose? A tree being cut down cannot know how the carpenter will shape it to make a table. All it knows is the blade of the saw going back and forth. I present this only as a hypothesis.


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  well DadaMungo , I was

  well DadaMungo , I was agreeing that the "god definitions" are so varied. The only type of definition that works for me is as to say god is what ALL exists. All = ONE.

The hard details of god are best found in the science books. Philosophy is helpful too. Religious and Bible books are mostly emotional pleading. 

Language is messy ..... Ask a kid if they believe in god ..... a yes or no , says almost nothing  ..... 


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First off, thanks for being

First off, thanks for being the first to take a more conciliatory tone! Kudos to you, mi amigo!

natural wrote:
Even if God exists, you can't know what the higher purpose is anyway, since you can't know the mind of God. The so-called 'higher purpose' is just another unknown.

But how do you know that? Isn't that a self-defeating argument? Only God (being, by definition, omniscient) could know that. Has He revealed it to you?

natural wrote:
You are assuming that if there's no 'higher purpose' there's no purpose at all. If you hurt someone, it matters to them what you did. If you have empathy for people (only psychopaths don't), then it will also matter to you when someone gets hurt.

Oh, I won't argue with that - in our micro level lives, lots of things have purpose. My argument was that they all resolve to zero in the face of the ultimate purposelessness. Billions of years from now, does it matter whom I hurt? (trick question: the answer is 'yes', because I'll still be burning in hell for it! ).

I applaud those of you who have come to terms with the supposed meaninglessness of life. That takes no small amount of courage. And I understand why you see religion as being a sedative for the masses who still live in fear. But I cannot fathom how you can get to that point and be content there. If you haven't already, I suggest you read the book 'Confessions' by Leo Tolstoy. You'll get what I mean then. Also appreciate, that true religion (as I understand it) also takes great courage. Religion as a sedative is destructive, and I would gladly stand by your side to defeat it. But do not be deceived into thinking that there is no more to it than that.

natural wrote:
How can evolution lose? It's not a contest. Evolution is something that happens. It doesn't win or lose, it just happens.

Oh, I know that. You are perhaps taking me too literally. Evolution as a process drives for the perpetuation of the species, of course not by intent, but simply by virtue of the fact that the fittest (read most adaptive) survive: it's a convenient outcome, don't you think? I simply meant that evolution will not be able to get around the "fact"* that eventually the core ingredients for life (light and warmth) will run out, and so no life will be able to continue. Evolution as a process will cease, is all I meant.

* Some here have questioned this notion. I simply borrow the current thought from amongst the scientific community - okay, I don't read the latest journals, so I could be wrong. But AFAIK, it's the "best" conclusion we have right now.

natural wrote:
I'm not going to give up just because I don't know the answer! Wonder pushes me on. And thankfully, I don't need to believe in a god to wonder and feel a sense of wonder. In fact, that is a major reason why I *don't* believe in a god. Gods tend to kill wonder. They say, "Don't ask too many questions! There are some things you're not meant to know!" And I ask "Why?" and there are no good answers. "If you question me, I'll send you to a fiery hell."

I'll honestly say that I am appalled and filled with pity that you have been left with that impression of God. I do not believe in such a being. I am wholeheartedly with you on the drive of wonder. To me, God is evident in that wonder. Okay, that's a liitle irrelevant, but it counters your line that God kills wonder. Well, the god you describe does, but let us take comfort that neither of us believe in such a being! If you have literally received such horrid responses from so-called religionists then I can fully understand your view. But those stupid lines only reflect the small-mindedness and fear of those puny pedlars of delusion. Don't paint us all with the same brush, please!

natural wrote:
If there's a real god, let him show himself to me. Until then, I'm going to explore this universe, the one universe I *do* know exists, not worry about some unsubstantiated threats from a book about some other imaginary universe of heaven and hell.

Well, no real arguments there, except that maybe God doesn't work that way, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy (that God won't be ringing your doorbell any time soon). But, if you're not that bothered about it, knock yourself out and have fun! One might suggest that the wonder and beauty of existence prompts some to believe that some Power has organised things to be this way. Personally, as an qualified and experienced computer scientist, that's exactly the kind of system that I would build: tending towards the simple and self-maintaining (i.e. low/zero maintenance). Okay, I don't pretend that these are convincing arguments by any stretch, but, by the same token, I don't see the converse being arguments for the non-existence of God, either.

Following on from this, I must say that I find many atheist arguments to be of the straw-man variety. Your statement above being a case in point (sort of). It's very easy to poke holes in fairy-tale portrayals of something we (at best) know so little about, and misunderstand so much. As I have said in another post (above), I would recommend taking the time to understand even the best of what religions have to offer and, if you still feel the need, dispute that. But it's not very profitable for any concerned to tear holes in the worst of the religious world (trust me, guys, many of us religious types feel the same way about it, too).

Okay, perhaps I should apologise for the slight deviation from a purely rational debate there, but, of course, there's more to our existence that just rationality. Just food for thought, and stretching the old grey stuff - not looking to score any points here.

natural wrote:
Ethics are easy to figure out when you simply look at the real world. What works and what doesn't?

If only it was that simple. Abortion? Gay-rights? (Okay, I am not looking for a debate on these issues, so please don't start one) From which viewpoint do you define 'what works'? From an evolutionary view, I would venture that homosexuality doesn't work, but that doesn't help us resolve the ethical questions around gay marriages, does it? (IMHO, there are actually no ethical questions there).

natural wrote:
If so, I'll take them, as they are supported by pragmatism.

That sounds like the kind of stance that many of you (collective) object to in religionists. 'I'll accept any new idea as long as it doesn't challenge my currently-held notion of what is right'. That way lies doom and destruction. I'm not challenging your pragmatic view (I have no problem with that, though I think I see a weakness), only the possible limitation in your reasoning. But perhaps I misconstrued your words?

Again, thanks for the conciliatory tone! It makes it so much easier to discuss the topics without the emotional investment. More of the same!!!


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Rationalism gives purpose

DadaMungo wrote:

thingy wrote:
This supposed after life is meant to be perfection experienced.  Everything is meant to be great, amasing, wonderful, nothing bad at all.  Well, to me that just demeans this current life we are living.  It makes it petty, and pretty worthless.  Why bother trying to get anything out of this life if you're just going to get perfection in the next?  Why bother even living this life if the next is so much greater?

If I read you correctly, then your argument is based upon an incorrect notion of the relationship between this life and the next, as understood by most(?) Christians. If what you state actually held, then I would be in total agreement with you.

My beliefs are such that the afterlife is very much "conditioned" according to what we make of this life. This gives to me a meaning and drive in this life that I don't see could come to the same degree from any other standpoint. I mean, I contend that simply coming to terms with the meaninglessness of life cannot inject the same sense of fulfillment of life as does a belief that every thought, word and act matters.

 

Sounds very much like karma to me.

I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you from whence I draw meaning.

Humanity.

I look around me, and I see the beauty of vileness and joy and distress of other people. Now, I myself am in the fortunate position of being well-fed, well-employed in a job I enjoy that pays well, married to an amazing woman I've been with for sixteen years, and pretty much just happy with life. So I ask myself, what keeps some other people from enjoying life as much as I?

That helps drive me. That helps determine my actions, my morals.

See, I believe we are all in this together. I also believe that we do things that are worth preserving, and enjoying-- paintings, and opera, and music, and sex, and good books, and rousing speeches, and good food, and the love we feel for various people. I know I am never as happy as when I feel that good warm emotion of love. And I like to have that emotion.

I know that sounds trite, but it's true.

Anyway, the whole "continuation of the species" argument is actually a pretty good one. Most species that have ever existed died out long ago. Most of the species of mammals and birds on earth today will be extinct in a few tens of thousands of years. So, chances are, our species won't have to worry about the heat-death of the universe, because we'll be gone.

That thought makes me sad. The thought that Renoir will be forgotten, that Gaiman will no longer be read, the thought that the future won't have their equivalent of Gus or Eels or Bach or the Gourds or Husker Du-- that distinct probability makes me infinitely sad.

My purpose is simple: to help us survive long enough to get into space. Once we settle other planets, even those in our solar system, we stand a much better chance of survival. The thought that many of those people to come later will see things of which I can only dream-- that makes me infinitely happy.

This, to me, is a much better purpose than trying to make a potential God happy. If I can't make Him happy simply by pursuing my own purpose, then [edited for politeness].

Of course, you have to find your own idea of what makes a noble purpose. That's just one more burden of being on our own in the universe.

DadaMungo wrote:

thingy wrote:
The purpose of our lives is to live them.  Continuation of the species.

Again with the 'here is the purpose' rhetoric, when you (collective) disclaim others' purposes, simply because they are not founded in science, and especially when you (collective) say that evolution has no purpose! Let's strive for consistency (but I forgive you! )

Have you considered that evolution might actually be a tool to achieve some higher purpose? A tree being cut down cannot know how the carpenter will shape it to make a table. All it knows is the blade of the saw going back and forth. I present this only as a hypothesis.

It isn't whether or not your purpose is founded in science. It's that it's founded in reality, or at least in rationality. Some people feel their purpose in life is to turn international transport into human-guided missiles. Others feel it is their purpose to shoot abortion doctors. Still others think it is their calling to drag a homosexual behind a pickup truck at high speeds until there's nothing left but a few hamburger-encased bones. Still others believe it is up to them to convince a bunch of otherwise-intelligent adults to commit suicide so they can all hitch a ride in a passing UFO.

There are rational purposes, and there are... less rational purposes. At some point, a line must be drawn between what makes an acceptable purpose, and what makes a senseless or even dangerous purpose. For many of us who attempt to follow a rational life, rationalism is the defining line.

As far as evolution, and its purpose: evolution has no destination. It has no purpose, as it is merely a process. However, there is a role for information (as encoded in the genotypes and selected for by the phenotypes). That role is survival through propagation. This isn't a purpose, per se, but it does give each individual a purpose, which is survival of the genotypes of the species.

As I'm a packrat, I believe we should help as many different species survive as possible, and to make that survival pleasant for as many as possible. Even for us humans.

"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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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:well

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
well DadaMungo, I was agreeing that the "god definitions" are so varied

Thanks for taking the time to clear up the confusion!

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
The hard details of god are best found in the science books. Philosophy is helpful too. Religious and Bible books are mostly emotional pleading.

On that last one, I would have to strongly disagree with you. And not in an emotional-defensive-knee-jerk-don't-say-anything-bad-about-my-Jesus kind of way, either. I wish I had the means to formulate into words what profound meaning is contained in that book, as I see it and have experienced it. To be honest, I suspect I'd be casting my pearls before swine, if you'll pardon the expression, so I won't even try, at least not now.

As for the God = All existence, very New Age! Smiling I dig it!


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Purposelessness?

DadaMungo wrote:

First off, thanks for being the first to take a more conciliatory tone! Kudos to you, mi amigo!

natural wrote:
Even if God exists, you can't know what the higher purpose is anyway, since you can't know the mind of God. The so-called 'higher purpose' is just another unknown.

But how do you know that? Isn't that a self-defeating argument? Only God (being, by definition, omniscient) could know that. Has He revealed it to you?

Has He revealed it to you?

DadaMungo wrote:

natural wrote:
You are assuming that if there's no 'higher purpose' there's no purpose at all. If you hurt someone, it matters to them what you did. If you have empathy for people (only psychopaths don't), then it will also matter to you when someone gets hurt.

Oh, I won't argue with that - in our micro level lives, lots of things have purpose. My argument was that they all resolve to zero in the face of the ultimate purposelessness. Billions of years from now, does it matter whom I hurt? (trick question: the answer is 'yes', because I'll still be burning in hell for it! ).

That's not so tricky. If the only thing that keeps you from hurting people is a supposed punishment to come at a later date, then your only purpose is to keep from being punished. This is hardly a noble purpose.

DadaMungo wrote:

I applaud those of you who have come to terms with the supposed meaninglessness of life. That takes no small amount of courage. And I understand why you see religion as being a sedative for the masses who still live in fear. But I cannot fathom how you can get to that point and be content there. If you haven't already, I suggest you read the book 'Confessions' by Leo Tolstoy. You'll get what I mean then. Also appreciate, that true religion (as I understand it) also takes great courage. Religion as a sedative is destructive, and I would gladly stand by your side to defeat it. But do not be deceived into thinking that there is no more to it than that.

This is interesting. Pretty much every single Christian I know feels they are the True Christian, and others are not. Why is that?

As far as the "meaninglessness of life," why do you suppose life is meaningless? Just because it will all come crashing down some day?

I have a job. It is a good job. I enjoy it. I write software that moves data over a satellite. I feel I am doing good, because this helps people communicate in parts of the world without infrastructure. It's a satisfying job. I will not have it forever, though. At some point, I'll either get another job, or I'll retire, or something similar.

Why do I keep this job if it won't mean anything in the long run?

Because it isn't meaningless. It has the meaning I bring to it, and that meaning doesn't take courage. It merely takes satisfaction that I am doing good. That when I die, I will have left the world a better place, on the whole. I don't do this just for me. I do it for my daughter, and my neices and nephews, and for the sons and daughters of the people in the parts of the world served by the satellite for which I write code.

I do this because I feel sure we can be greater than we are today.

Do not suppose that you have found the Answer. You may have found an answer that satisfies your needs, but to imagine it is a universal Answer is the biggest delusion of all. If you draw satisfaction from your purpose, and your purpose is not evil (evil: hurting someone else for your own gain), then go for it. Just don't assume that your purpose will suit anyone else at all.

I certainly don't pretend my purpose will suit you. It's tailored for my own life, and though it's a suit that might fit others, it will never look as good on them as it does on me. Partly because I'm so amazingly handsome; but also because it's my purpose.

"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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Everyone remember this is

Everyone remember this is the Kill 'Em With Kindness Forum. Let's try to make sure our posts stray within the rules of the forum.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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   well DadaMungo. the

   well DadaMungo. the simple Jesus wisdom I find xlint. In fact I AM an atheist for Jesus/buddha philosophy. Jesus was an atheist the way it reads for me. Jesus rocks the bible sucks .....  Jesus said I / we / ALL is god .... the bible does more to hide this message than reveal it. The gnostic books are telling ..... Lots of atheists are Jesus and Buddha fans. 

Religion means dogma to me. Christians are Paulines, to generalize. Jesus best philosophy would not approve of xain dogma .....   


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DadaMungo wrote:natural

DadaMungo wrote:
natural wrote:
Even if God exists, you can't know what the higher purpose is anyway, since you can't know the mind of God. The so-called 'higher purpose' is just another unknown.

But how do you know that? Isn't that a self-defeating argument? Only God (being, by definition, omniscient) could know that. Has He revealed it to you?

Thank you for proving my point. Only God could know that. If he even exists, which is unknown. You can't know the mind of god because to do so would mean you are omniscient, i.e. you are god.

natural wrote:
You are assuming that if there's no 'higher purpose' there's no purpose at all. If you hurt someone, it matters to them what you did. If you have empathy for people (only psychopaths don't), then it will also matter to you when someone gets hurt.

Oh, I won't argue with that - in our micro level lives, lots of things have purpose. My argument was that they all resolve to zero in the face of the ultimate purposelessness. Billions of years from now, does it matter whom I hurt?

I guess you're way behind on reading the posts. I already pointed out that you don't know that there's ultimate purposelessness. You haven't answered my question why you think such ultimate purpose is even necessary. And you also didn't respond to my point that everything we do has an effect on the universe. Why do you elevate this unknown purpose above our known purposes? I proposed it is your fear of the unknown that causes you to reach for a conclusion when you can't justify it.

I'll skim the rest of your post. If it appears you haven't read the whole thread yet, I'll wait for your answers to my questions.

Quote:
If you have literally received such horrid responses from so-called religionists then I can fully understand your view. But those stupid lines only reflect the small-mindedness and fear of those puny pedlars of delusion. Don't paint us all with the same brush, please!

If you defend the notion of believing things on religious faith, then I'm afraid you'll be implicated in the crimes of the faithful. Not as a direct offender, but as one who is complicit.

Quote:
One might suggest that the wonder and beauty of existence prompts some to believe that some Power has organised things to be this way.

And this would be an unwarranted conclusion that could only be supported by faith.

Quote:
I don't see the converse being arguments for the non-existence of God, either.

I don't argue for the non-existence of god. I argue for the irrationality of believing in anything on insufficient evidence.

Quote:
Following on from this, I must say that I find many atheist arguments to be of the straw-man variety. Your statement above being a case in point (sort of). It's very easy to poke holes in fairy-tale portrayals of something we (at best) know so little about, and misunderstand so much. As I have said in another post (above), I would recommend taking the time to understand even the best of what religions have to offer and, if you still feel the need, dispute that. But it's not very profitable for any concerned to tear holes in the worst of the religious world (trust me, guys, many of us religious types feel the same way about it, too).

You're ignoring the crucial fact that literally BILLIONS of people believe in the fairy-tale version of god. And they act on their beliefs. If such belief were rare, you would be right. But it's not rare, so you're not right.

Quote:
Okay, perhaps I should apologise for the slight deviation from a purely rational debate there, but, of course, there's more to our existence that just rationality. Just food for thought, and stretching the old grey stuff - not looking to score any points here.

I'm not claiming any such thing that rationality is all there is. My philosophy is wonderism, not rationalism. Rational thinking is a necessary tool to use for deciding healthy public action, however.

Quote:
natural wrote:
Ethics are easy to figure out when you simply look at the real world. What works and what doesn't?

If only it was that simple. Abortion?

The only objections are religious (soul) and those based on suffering (second trimester brain development). Real world says ... soul doesn't come into it.

Quote:
Gay-rights?

Only objections are religious/dogmatic.

Quote:
From which viewpoint do you define 'what works'?

From the viewpoint of what produces the desired outcomes. Wonder is the guiding principle for me. Hitler did not produce a wonderful outcome. The mission to the moon did.

Quote:
From an evolutionary view, I would venture that homosexuality doesn't work

You would argue wrong. The evidence shows that homosexuality is common in nature among social species. Women who have several sons have a higher chance of producing homosexual males than women with fewer sons. There is clearly some genetic selection for homosexuality. It appears to provide a balancing function of some sort.

Quote:
natural wrote:
If so, I'll take them, as they are supported by pragmatism.

That sounds like the kind of stance that many of you (collective) object to in religionists. 'I'll accept any new idea as long as it doesn't challenge my currently-held notion of what is right'.

You are mischaracterizing what I said. I said if you have a *better* idea, then I'll accept it. Not just any old idea that doesn't contradict my preconceptions. If your better idea contradicts a worse idea that I hold, then I'll drop the worse idea and take the better one. But the trick is you need to be able to demonstrate that it is in fact a better idea and not just some dogma.

 

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Vessel wrote:Everyone

Vessel wrote:

Everyone remember this is the Kill 'Em With Kindness Forum. Let's try to make sure our posts stray within the rules of the forum.

The big red letters in the side bar are missing.

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  New Age ? well whatever.

  New Age ? well whatever. Crazy words!  NO Hocus Pocus. All is one. Some new age folks are so voodo regarding "consciousness". I trust Science for the answers about this "AWE" we feel.  


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DadaMungo

DadaMungo wrote:

Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
The ultimate purpose of life is the survival of the species.

And how do you know that? I'm told that no-one can know for certain what the purpose is (if such exists).

How do you define a higher purpose anyways? This question is almost meaningless without a point of reference. I was just stating the overall purpose of life is the survival of the species. Do bees serve a purpose independent of their own survival? For example, were they created to serve a higher purpose to pollinate plants or is their pollination just an anomoly that nature filled?

I don't know what the higher purpose is and I never truly claimed to. I just stated a biological purpose for individuals within a species is their survival. This is just as good of an answer as any, unless you know specifically you have another higher purpose. As no one has informed me of mine, I will stick to my answer. In that end, I donate time and money to the community because it makes me feel good and serves the purpose of our ultimate survival.

 

DadaMungo wrote:
Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
Apparently it makes you uncomfortable that your beliefs can be questioned. I would guess that you may just want us to STFU up and accept your view without question.

So....Kill 'em with Kindness, wasn't it?

Where do you draw these conclusions? Where have I evinced even the least degree of discomfort? I would say your tones betray your discomfort. I would suspect that you hold the so-called deluded in contempt for their views. If so, I would think this particular forum is not for you. At least, please try to lose the attitude before commenting further: I really don't want to waste my time with these diatribes.

I apologize for any perceived disrespect, however you must understand that as atheists in our country we are a small minority. I thought you said you were from Finland, so you may not be able to appreciate the types of theists we run across here. 

This is a purely defensive reaction and I apologize. What I read into your post was, "If someone wants to believe a pleasant lie, let them believe it and don't make people question their beliefs." I think I possiblly misread what you were saying, however I hear things similiar to this all the time. For example, I don't believe most people have a problem with evolution because it may be a false teaching. The church views the theory of evolution as an enemy however, evolution is totally compatible with a creator, just not any certain creator. In defense against evolution, some religious institutions have created their own brand of "science". IF someone claims everything was created in 6 literal days, am I not allowed to ask for evidence to support the claim? In other words, how dare you have the gall to ask. I have the answers right here in my book. Objectivably, which is the most arrogant?

DadaMungo wrote:
Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
Evolution doesn't have an ultimate goal in mind. Evolution is just a scientific theory explaining the history of life. Evolution doesn't care if life is around in 10 trillion years.

I understand that. Really - I get the concept. But do you not find it ironic that (at least in layman forums) evolution is almost invariably talked about in terms of purpose? For example, one would typically read/hear that giraffes evolved long necks to reach the leaves at the top of the trees, thus giving them an advantage over species that couldn't reach them. It's conveyed as if they made a conscious choice to grow their necks longer. I find the pattern most distasteful, but it does back up my point (not in my original posting) that mankind needs purpose, even to the point of talking about a totally purposeless process in that manner. Profound!

I still don't see how evolutionary processes and higher purposes are related. I may be biased, but I am thinking that by higher purpose you mean something like, "Why am I here?" 

DadaMungo wrote:
Cali_Atheist2 wrote:
I could also say that believing we have a higher purpose without knowing what it is sounds delusional.

What's so delusional about this? We all operate on this principle. For example, why does one attend a job interview? One does not know if one will get the position, but one believes there's a chance of success, so it's worth trying. This is the essence of faith. I would suspect the use of this term will bother some of you, but we all live by faith. It's just a question of what we have faith in. It is said that Thomas Edison made 1000 attempts at making the light-bulb before hitting on the right solution. Would you say he was deluded?

So it's really a question of probabilities. Are the odds good enough that it's worth believing? Personally, I think it's worth it, but I'll leave my reasons for that for another day.

Maybe delusional is a poor choice of words, but god doesn't tell me what my higher purpose is every morning. Going to a job interview as an example of faith is almost stretching it. It takes more faith to sit at home and and wait for the phone to ring with an offer.

Theists can't understand why people don't believe and atheists don't understand why people do. When I was a christian I was guilty of the same thing. I couldn't understand why they couldn't see god all around them. It was so frustrating so I know where you are coming from. I do not know what faith you are, but I have to assume christian.

Are the odds good enough to believe, what is worth believing? Again it seems that you are asking a philosophical question, "why am I here?" If I am here there must be a purpose, but maybe there is no purpose? You may feel like you know the higher purpose and maybe you do, but because I don't know my higher purpose you'll have to excuse my ignorance. I have to create my own.

Do atheists have faith, yes we and do I'll be the first to admit it. I just can't compare faith in science or mankind and faith in a creator. Religions teach absolute truth whereas science teaches the truth as when know it today. I don't have to have faith in the laws of thermodynamics because these are proven. Do I have to have faith that science is correct on the theory of evolution. Sure, I have to have faith in people smarter than I am. In the end is it important if they are right or wrong?

[mod edit: fixed quotes] 

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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DadaMungo wrote:Well, it

DadaMungo wrote:

Well, it would be an interesting discussion (at least to me) to consider the definition of God. From the various posts here, it is clear that there are some varied personal definitions, and may I add, not very informed views, either.

Are you claiming to be informed on the issue of God's definition? Are you a Prophet?

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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DadaMungo wrote:If God

DadaMungo wrote:
If God doesn't exist, then there is no "higher" purpose.

This could be considered a statement of epiphany. The safety net of "higher purpose" is very comforting and drives a deep desire to cling to the eternity that it promises.

Look at the statement from another angle and perhaps it will begin to make sense: There is no higher purpose, so then god doesn't exist. 

DadaMungo wrote:
On a macro level, the universe is going to go go 'Phutt!' and fizzle into dark, empty, cold nothingness, so our existence as a species is trumped, evolution or not.

We are all going to go 'Phutt!' eventually. It is our own vanity that invents an object of eternity and documents methods by which we can attach to the object and share its eternity.

What is 'trumped' is the living time that believers devote to asserting the existence of the object despite their own mantra of not needing to assert it because of faith. 

DadaMungo wrote:
So why are we having these conversations? Does it really make a difference?

What makes a difference is that even though the conversations we are having are irrelevant to the big picture, they are but yet very relevant to the excruciatingly small corner of the picture we find ourselves conversing within.

We can either enjoy being part of the picture, or create an object that painted the picture and hope that object will one day take us out of the picture so we can look upon it as a whole.

But, what picture will we then be in?

And will we hope to be taken out of that picture too?

Try not to be daunted by the task of asserting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best actor that ever lived, you have to ignore a lot less facts than you do to assert that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!


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This is a test post. Please

This is a test post. Please ignore.


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daedalus wrote:Are you

daedalus wrote:
Are you claiming to be informed on the issue of God's definition? Are you a Prophet?

By no means! Smiling I was simply suggesting that it would be interesting (to me) for philosophical debate to define the nature of God. I can understand if some here would consider that completely irrelevant. I only mention it because some of the comments made here indicate to me a perception of a God-being that is very easy to dismiss. I'm happy to let the matter drop.


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Brango wrote:Look at the

Brango wrote:
Look at the statement from another angle and perhaps it will begin to make sense: There is no higher purpose, so then god doesn't exist.

I don't follow. Logically, there could still be a God without our having any purpose appointed.

Brango wrote:
What is 'trumped' is the living time that believers devote to asserting the existence of the object despite their own mantra of not needing to assert it because of faith.

That's not what faith is. It's not a 'get out of jail free' card. Faith begets action. Otherwise, it is mere wishful thinking.


Brango
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DadaMungo wrote:I don't

DadaMungo wrote:
I don't follow. Logically, there could still be a God without our having any purpose appointed.

Oh, I agree there could still be a god, however if there was no purpose appointed to us, then there is little point to religion, or even hope of eternity. Such a god would care but a jot about our meagre viral infestation of an insignificant little blue dot in an insignificant little solar system, galaxy etc... 

DadaMungo wrote:
That's not what faith is. It's not a 'get out of jail free' card.

I agree. Without reliable verification of deistic existence, faith is more like a discount coupon with the name of a selected deity instead of an expiry date.

DadaMungo wrote:
Faith begets action. Otherwise, it is mere wishful thinking.

Well, I really can't disagree on the 'wishful thinking' front...

 

Try not to be daunted by the task of asserting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best actor that ever lived, you have to ignore a lot less facts than you do to assert that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!


Maytacera
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Why do you need a "higher"

Why do you need a "higher" purpose?

 

I think this may be the main problem with Christians...living a good life is just not enough for them, they have to get something after they die to feel that there life has meaning.

Doesn't it make more sense to live your life assuming that there is nothing waiting for you and actually get something out of it, instead of worrying about some afterlife that may not exist?

 


DadaMungo
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Maytacera wrote:Doesn't it

Maytacera wrote:
Doesn't it make more sense to live your life assuming that there is nothing waiting for you and actually get something out of it, instead of worrying about some afterlife that may not exist?

In answer to that, let me restate something I already posted in this thread.

myself wrote:
My beliefs are such that the afterlife is very much "conditioned" according to what we make of this life. This gives to me a meaning and drive in this life that I don't see could come to the same degree from any other standpoint. I mean, I contend that simply coming to terms with the meaninglessness of life cannot inject the same sense of fulfillment of life as does a belief that every thought, word and act matters.

I've been chewing on this thread quite a bit throughout the last day (so again, my thanks to you guys for the stimulation!) I'd like to ask if you could state categorically what it is you object to in theists. What is it that gets your goat about them? I mean, we all live with delusion to some degree or another, so why does theirs bother you? Is it simply the threat that you perceive they pose to your (and all humankind's) security and future?

Another question I'd like to throw in (just out of curiosity) is: if the significant majority of the human race seems to "need" delusion, how would that be explained in evolutionary terms? Could it be that we "need" the security blanket of delusion to help us sleep at night? Could it be that if the whole earth became atheist that we would find other delusions to hold to? Could it be impossible for humankind to live without the need for religion, in whatever form?

And one more: why has evolution brought us to the point that we can actually start asking the question 'why?' What does that benefit us? Why are we so self-conscious?

One final word: I have stated a few times here that I find that your observations of religion (esp. Christianity) seem to radically depart (to the negative) from what I understand and believe Christianity to be. If these are based upon your actual experiences, then okay, but if they are not, then I would seriously like to help you get a more insightful view so that you positions would not be founded on unsound bias. By this, I am not trying to reclaim lost souls. I just think that, in the interests of true inspection and examination, you should be doing so without the bias that you seem to manifest. I have no problem if you do not care to do so, but I just wanted to make the offer.

In many ways, one could consider your atheism as a religion. It seems to stir up the same emotions and defensive reactions in you that you so abhor in religionists. And, you use your views to guide your choices. As I think I mentioned earlier, the issue isn't so much about what you believe, but what you do with it. I admire your comments about living good lives and seeking to better our world - you are not alone in that.


fluffz
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There are countless of

There are countless of things that are purposeless  -

Why so many planets?, why so many galaxies?, why do whales exist?, why does poison ivy exist?, porcupines, ant eaters, grass, salt, ceramics - I could go on and on.

I think it's almost selfish to think that you must have a higher purpose just because you've evolved in a way that allows you to think about purpose.

On the larger scale scale - yes, I believe that human life is purposeless.

On a personal scale - as far as I'm concerned, this life may very well be the last/only thing I experience; it inspires me to live them fully and get as much pleasure and joy from them.

And if we're on the subject, what's the purpose of God?