More Than 20 Percent of Atheist Scientists Are 'Spiritual', Study Finds

Atheistextremist
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More Than 20 Percent of Atheist Scientists Are 'Spiritual', Study Finds

 

ScienceDaily (May 5, 2011) — More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University. Though the general public marries spirituality and religion, the study found that spirituality is a separate idea -- one that more closely aligns with scientific discovery -- for "spiritual atheist" scientists.


The research will be published in the June issue of Sociology of Religion.

Through in-depth interviews with 275 natural and social scientists at elite universities, the Rice researchers found that 72 of the scientists said they have a spirituality that is consistent with science, although they are not formally religious.

"Our results show that scientists hold religion and spirituality as being qualitatively different kinds of constructs," said Elaine Howard Ecklund, assistant professor of sociology at Rice and lead author of the study. "These spiritual atheist scientists are seeking a core sense of truth through spirituality -- one that is generated by and consistent with the work they do as scientists."

For example, these scientists see both science and spirituality as "meaning-making without faith" and as an individual quest for meaning that can never be final. According to the research, they find spirituality congruent with science and separate from religion, because of that quest; where spirituality is open to a scientific journey, religion requires buying into an absolute "absence of empirical evidence."

"There's spirituality among even the most secular scientists," Ecklund said. "Spirituality pervades both the religious and atheist thought. It's not an either/or. This challenges the idea that scientists, and other groups we typically deem as secular, are devoid of those big 'Why am I here?' questions. They too have these basic human questions and a desire to find meaning."

Ecklund co-authored the study with Elizabeth Long, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Rice. In their analysis of the 275 interviews, they discovered that the terms scientists most used to describe religion included "organized, communal, unified and collective." The set of terms used to describe spirituality include "individual, personal and personally constructed." All of the respondents who used collective or individual terms attributed the collective terms to religion and the individual terms to spirituality.

"While the data indicate that spirituality is mainly an individual pursuit for academic scientists, it is not individualistic in the classic sense of making them more focused on themselves," said Ecklund, director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice. "In their sense of things, being spiritual motivates them to provide help for others, and it redirects the ways in which they think about and do their work as scientists."

Ecklund and Long noted that the spiritual scientists saw boundaries between themselves and their nonspiritual colleagues because their spirituality facilitated engagement with the world around them. Such engagement, according to the spiritual scientists, generated a different approach to research and teaching: While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists' sense of spirituality provides nonnegotiable reasons for making sure that they help struggling students succeed.

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


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What about you lot?

 

Are there spiritual atheists here? I'd say I'm not a spiritual atheist. Sure, I wonder where I came from, but don't see that as needing some never ending spiritual quest that will give a nebulous answer. If we can know, our DNA may tell. Maybe not now but some day. Mmmmmm. I can't imagine being a seriously spiritual atheist. It's just neuroscience, dummy.

 

 

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


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I don't really see a proper

I don't really see a proper definition of spirituality in the text. Shermer states that a feeling of transcendence is something that gives meaning to life, something atheists have as well, but it sounds very spiritual.
Except for one time where I witnessed an unofficial telepathy experiment (with the result being that those two people actually were connected (I couldn't check whether they did it through normal means, in stead I trusted them, so it's not really valid Laughing out loud)) I am not really spiritual. I am very cognitive, so my emotions are barely around when I experience things, and I don't notice anything people would call spiritual.


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Atheistextremist wrote:Are

Atheistextremist wrote:

Are there spiritual atheists here? I'd say I'm not a spiritual atheist. Sure, I wonder where I came from, but don't see that as needing some never ending spiritual quest that will give a nebulous answer. If we can know, our DNA may tell. Maybe not now but some day. Mmmmmm. I can't imagine being a seriously spiritual atheist. It's just neuroscience, dummy.

Scientific spirituality might have a distinct form. It has to do with concrete knowledge and distinguishing what is true and what is false, dividing reality from unreality, even dividing things and people according to their properties. But among all division, the science still can be united, objective and non-competitive. Which is truly remarkable, in comparison to other areas of our culture.
Scientific spirituality also has to do with creative vision and insight. Practicing these and not rejecting hunches and dreams may lead to solution of stubborn problems. 

It is basically a counterpart of mystical worldview. Mystics see and feel the world as a whole, they basically start with God and then point at various things and say, "yeah, that is God too, God's such a great dude who includes everything, even these little bits which I have no idea what they are." 
A scientist divides and conquers intellectually, down to the deepest level where he sees the mysterious vacuum from which all particles arise. (bosons, at least) Which is a spiritual experience.

There are of course also vices of this personality type. They include harsh criticism, gathering knowledge regardless of its misuse, non-constructive rationalization, materialism (overestimating material values), isolation, justifying unethical means, distorted view of truth, ignorance and so on. 
 

 

Thunderios wrote:

I don't really see a proper definition of spirituality in the text. Shermer states that a feeling of transcendence is something that gives meaning to life, something atheists have as well, but it sounds very spiritual.
Except for one time where I witnessed an unofficial telepathy experiment (with the result being that those two people actually were connected (I couldn't check whether they did it through normal means, in stead I trusted them, so it's not really valid Laughing out loud)) I am not really spiritual. I am very cognitive, so my emotions are barely around when I experience things, and I don't notice anything people would call spiritual.

Well, I'm not very emotional either, much to my misfortune. I'd do and give a lot to be more emotional. Most of the day I spend as a cognitive being.
There are layers of consciousness and I can distinguish between them. Emotional people behave in a specific way. Emotionality is not the same thing as spirituality. Emotions are always subjectively meaningful. They are commonly provoked by other people, commonly shared and demanded. They could be described as shallow and broad, forming all the social network of people's relationships. Emotions are commonly used as a tool of manipulation or torture.

On the other side, spirituality is narrow, deep and high. Diffcult, if not impossible to convey to other people, but reaching into great depths of insight into things subconscious, good and bad, and great heights of transcendence, sudden solution or knowledge, intuitive receiving of information and other seemingly non-causal phenomena. It has no concrete form expressible in words, only general principles that underlie everything, material or cultural. In my opinion, spirituality is objective and spiritual people everywhere are like brothers and sisters, because they understand and tolerate each other's differences, unlike religious people. 

As for intellect, you know it well. Unlike emotions it is objective and unlike spirituality it is concrete. 

Hopefully I've brought you some insight into that.

 

 

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Luminon wrote: On the other

Luminon wrote:

 

On the other side, spirituality is narrow, deep and high. Diffcult, if not impossible to convey to other people, but reaching into great depths of insight into things subconscious, good and bad, and great heights of transcendence, sudden solution or knowledge, intuitive receiving of information and other seemingly non-causal phenomena. It has no concrete form expressible in words, only general principles that underlie everything, material or cultural. In my opinion, spirituality is objective and spiritual people everywhere are like brothers and sisters, because they understand and tolerate each other's differences, unlike religious people. 

As for intellect, you know it well. Unlike emotions it is objective and unlike spirituality it is concrete. 

 

 

I think that is a wonderful explanation of spirituality, and I hesitate to add to it. I'm not sure I can describe it as well as you!

I will add that though spirituality and emotionality are not the same thing, they are certainly connected. For example, a severe state of sadness could bring about a need for some kind of truth - a truth found through spiritual contemplation. Maybe realizing we are all connected in some way. That can lead to perhaps happier emotional states and a sense of urgency to help each other. Connected "like brothers and sisters," as you said.

In contrast to being very cognitive, I'm exceedingly emotional. Like you, Luminon, I wish it would be the other way sometimes. I do feel, though, that having that kind of intensity of emotion allows me to relate through experience to other people who might need spirituality in their lives.

To Atheistextremist, it's true that what explains our need for meaning and the emotional states that result from it are explained through neuroscience (though I don't claim to know exactly how it all works, so maybe I should get on that!). Maybe it would be beneficial to look at spirituality as a sort of coping mechanism. Some people require (or perhaps make up that they require) that kind of spiritual padding to feel connected, to help others, to be productive members of society. Others might feel content not investing their thoughts into that sort of thing and can function perfectly fine doing so. It all depends on what you view to be important - both ways are fulfilling psychological needs.

Unfortunately, this spiritual padding can grow rotten and spawn things like devotion to an outside controller, organized religion, and the resulting problems. It's important to realize what's real and unreal. Religious "truths", I believe, are unreal. Spirituality, though, as Luminon said, even being unable to be defined through language (perhaps "connectedness," for me), does seem real to me. Realizing that it is just science causing this spiritual need actually heightens my spiritual awareness because that means we are delving into our nature - what makes us "us." No BS - just our reasoning. To have that kind of understanding and to fully internalize it is almost mind-numbing.

Note that it doesn't require a god. In fact, as I'm typing it through, it gives me an even stronger sense of human connectedness to realize there is no god and that we, as a race of imperfect meatbags, are able to decide our fate independent from the Big Guy.

Lastly, what is important is that people who hold (or do not hold) spiritual beliefs do not force their views on others like religion is so famous for doing. The goal, in my opinion, is to further humanity and preserve our planet, not to bludgeon people unnecessarily with my personal beliefs (unless, of course, it's against something that's truly bad for humanity as a whole).

I hope that made some sort of sense.


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cojalen wrote:I think that

cojalen wrote:

I think that is a wonderful explanation of spirituality, and I hesitate to add to it. I'm not sure I can describe it as well as you!

Thanks, practice counts Smiling I usually write such things in "happy hour" of late evening, when I'm entirely different person than during the day. 

cojalen wrote:
 I will add that though spirituality and emotionality are not the same thing, they are certainly connected. For example, a severe state of sadness could bring about a need for some kind of truth - a truth found through spiritual contemplation. Maybe realizing we are all connected in some way. That can lead to perhaps happier emotional states and a sense of urgency to help each other. Connected "like brothers and sisters," as you said.
By all means, you're correct. You actually refer to the mystical path, from emotional aspiration to spiritual consciousness, which is impersonal. If religious people  understood that spirituality itself is totally impersonal, they would look at their divine superheroes with detachment. (and amusement) The point is, these two human functions are connected, this is why our ancestors could achieve some high degrees of enlightenment without education, in primitive surroundings. This is also why most of the old religions and practices don't require thinking. 

But today we need to approach spirituality through the intellect, not by sidestepping it, as our ancestors did. We have education, science, technologies, and so on. It's certainly possible. Only some people don't realize, how great task this is, to approach spirituality scientifically. No wonder, that scientists are getting no answers on whatever our spiritual ancestors were up to. Our ancestors were cheating. They walked the mystical path with their consciousness directly, without understanding what they're doing and without describing the path in objective terms. 
In comparison, the scientists hardly even started the path, they're still busy analyzing chemical composition of the gravel on path. So much for metaphor. But what about an example?

For example, scientists search for dark matter particles in emptiness and darkness, so they can detect them better. But from another point of view this is foolish, because the dark matter is most concentrated, most organized and interacting with our matter in complex living organisms, like people. Particularly in the cells of our nerve system. Which is about the last place where any scientist would search for it. For them, dark matter is something abstract out there in the universe, which avoids us and would never step down from its lofty heights and participate on our vital and conscious processes. I need them to open their creative minds to that possibility. 

cojalen wrote:
 In contrast to being very cognitive, I'm exceedingly emotional. Like you, Luminon, I wish it would be the other way sometimes. I do feel, though, that having that kind of intensity of emotion allows me to relate through experience to other people who might need spirituality in their lives.
This is wonderful. In my experience, emotions and particularly the intense ones are very diffcult to express. I think your situation is a simplier one, because it is frequent, most of people are emotional. The trick is always to be aware of the emotion you're having. Keep in mind the name or classification of that emotion as long as necessary, nothing more. If that works, please let me know Smiling

But I have a motivation. My mind was completely mistaken many times, but emotions were right. Like all the wisdom would retreat in there, to lure me. So theoretically, if I retrieve my emotions, reawaken my astral body (or realign some synapses in corpus callosum, as Atheistextremist would prefer to say) then I will become a balanced personality and probably a satisfying one.
 

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Can we get a link to the

Can we get a link to the original article?

And BTW, Elaine Ecklund is notorious for spinning her interpretations of her data to seem to support ideas that they don't really support. For example, not being clear on what 'spiritual' means when she asks scientists, and then portraying '20%' of scientists as somehow supporting the idea of spirituality, when really it shows that scientists are far less likely to be 'spiritual' than the general population.

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Luminon wrote:This is

 

 

Luminon wrote:

This is wonderful. In my experience, emotions and particularly the intense ones are very diffcult to express.

 

This difficulty you describe finds its easiest path to expression through art, not through science.  The presumed art-science dichotomy was articulated in a famous 1959 lecture by C.P Snow called "The Two Cultures," in which he lamented the gulf of separation between the two domains.  It's an ancient dualism -- left/right-brain (the contemporary way of describing it), intuition vs. reason, emotion vs. intellect.  I suspect that as science continues its slow evolutionary cultural spread, religion will ultimately be replaced by a non-supernatural and scientific spiritualism.  (This, of course, is just what the religious conspiratorialists fear!).  Snow's acknowledgement of the gulf, which was a modern development and the result of industrial-age specialization and compartmentalization, is indication of a beginning to the re-blurring of those boundaries -- a re-merging of the two cultures, typical of 16th, 17th and 18th century philosophy which meant an amalgamation of the arts, sciences, and religion.  Only today, "spiritualism" is becoming non-religious, as the posted study indicates -- it is an awareness of the deep concordant feelings one gets when liberated from magic mythologies to explore reality anew, complete with its concrete truths and elusive mysteries.

I would call myself a spiritual atheist.  More often, when asked, I describe my beliefs as "Naturalism."  There is no supernatural, zero plausible evidence for it.  So if someone were to describe the concept of spirit as being an entirely natural phenomenon, I'd say fine with me.  The way to be spiritual, then, is through the rigorous evidence-based study and poetic appreciation of the natural world, called science.  I submit that religion, as it slowly (very slowly) adjusts its dogmas to accommodate the advancing knowledge of science, is already headed in the direction of de-supernaturalizing the God and spirit concept.  Of course that future is a long, long way off, and is hopefully helped along by the activism of present atheists on forums such as this.  

I can relate to the desire not to use a word like "spiritual," that is so culturally defined by its reference to the supernatural.  But, I would propose, that definition also is its leverage for use by atheists.  The best way, I believe, to challenge the belief systems underlying and associated with the word "spirituality" is to reclaim the word for atheism -- to challenge its ownership by religion, the institution that has squatted on it for millennia.   This will have a couple of effects -- it will infuriate believers and woo purveyors who assume exclusive rights to the concept, and also cause them to defend their definition of it, thus spawning a broad social discussion about its meaning. 

This would be good -- the best way to re-purpose that musty attic is to clean it out first.  Second, it will imply that the profound sense of meaning, the 'oceanic sense' of grandeur belonging to a cosmos without a god (to paraphrase Darwin), the cosmos we humans can appreciate and be deeply inspired by, is not exclusive to supernatural belief systems.  One can be a secular, non-theistic non-supernaturalistic atheist AND spiritual person.  Read poetic, not magical.  Claiming one's spiritualism to be profoundly real and yet completely free of any supernatural component, is a shot across the bow to religion and woo.  It says "you theists no longer own those deeply transformative human reactions to existence, they are real, not heavenly -- and you can no longer deride atheism for being a cynicism void of such capacities."  There are pitfalls, to be sure -- steering clear of New-Age mysticism that is non-theistic but tolerant of a supernatural dimension can be dicey. One must be careful about qualifying any use of the word "spirituality" by an emphasis on "non-supernatural" or "secular" in the same utterance.

The fact is, humans are capable by virtue of biology, not magic, of profound and deeply moving, transformative, experiences.  Of spirituality.  Of art, and poetry, wonder, a sense of mystery and awe.  None of which have anything in the slightest to do with woo.  It's neurological and innate, like falling in love.  Supernaturalists have claimed that capacity for long enough -- it's time we acknowledged it as part of the non-theistic view, because in fact that is where, through the natural evolution of our unique and wonderful species, it was forged. 

Recent efforts of my own to span the two cultures, from the perspective of an artist and curator, are indexed at http://www.williamsongallery.net/google, if any are interested.

 

 

 

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Here you go...

natural wrote:

Can we get a link to the original article?

And BTW, Elaine Ecklund is notorious for spinning her interpretations of her data to seem to support ideas that they don't really support. For example, not being clear on what 'spiritual' means when she asks scientists, and then portraying '20%' of scientists as somehow supporting the idea of spirituality, when really it shows that scientists are far less likely to be 'spiritual' than the general population.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505124039.htm

 

 

I agree - spirituality - what is that in truth? It must be a layer of feeling - a degree of emotional sensitivity and self awareness bound in the neurological processes of the human brain. 

 

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


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Wonderful comments roseweed.

Wonderful comments roseweed. I think the aesthetic is exampled in the way Carl Sagan sometime spoke. It does achieve a secular spirituality.  Einstein's use of god is an atheistic spirituality.  In my background of theology I saw the last century Christian theologians deal with ideas such as demythologizing and the Death of God movement. Poetics though is often mytho-poetical and apart from those like Joseph Campbell who attempt to keep the language as merely a metaphor for an experience new myths arise and call forth New Age, New Thought and further supernatural objectifying.  The word from which our philosophical and theological meaning of spirit originated is pneuma. It diachronically first meant breath, wind or air. The idea of the invisible and omnipresent may well have derived from this metaphorical posturing to one of literalizing and objectifying.  Perhaps neuroscience and the study of consciousness can wed the mental back to the physical world and allow the idea of spiritual to have an atheistic meaning  in a few generations. Unfortunately even though Sam Harris attempts as we do to point  out its secular validity its usage is seized upon by the inherent peresuppositions of  a worn out dualism and a desperate supernatural desire for transcendence.

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I consider myself spiritual

I consider myself spiritual in that my spirit is no longer crushed under the weight of religion. I used to think I had to save everyone's soul, meaning I had everyone's answer. That means I was always carrying an agenda and had to pretend ity was working for me at all times. Now being spiritual mean I an just one of 7 billion people and I only have my own answer. I reject those who are like I used to be because they think god speaks to them and they have my answer. I love mediating. I didn't do it that much as a christian. I was constantly praying because I had this all important, eternal significant job of saving souls essentially burdening them with the same anxiety I was saddled with. Being an atheist is so much better. I meditate to center myself and not get caught up in the pettiness of life. I don't need to fix anyone and focus on those things that are important to me and give my life meaning. Religion is the thing I put on. In spirituality I am the thing.

Religion Kills !!!

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ex-minister wrote:I consider

ex-minister wrote:

I consider myself spiritual in that my spirit is no longer crushed under the weight of religion. I used to think I had to save everyone's soul, meaning I had everyone's answer. That means I was always carrying an agenda and had to pretend ity was working for me at all times. Now being spiritual mean I an just one of 7 billion people and I only have my own answer. I reject those who are like I used to be because they think god speaks to them and they have my answer. I love mediating. I didn't do it that much as a christian. I was constantly praying because I had this all important, eternal significant job of saving souls essentially burdening them with the same anxiety I was saddled with. Being an atheist is so much better. I meditate to center myself and not get caught up in the pettiness of life. I don't need to fix anyone and focus on those things that are important to me and give my life meaning. Religion is the thing I put on. In spirituality I am the thing.

Yea. I am an ex-minister too.


 

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I have had numerous intense

I have had numerous intense experiences which could be characterized by the term 'spiritual', and it annoys me that religion claims ownership of the word.

It is indeed a fundamental human emotion/experience that can be triggered by any contemplation of some coming together of various perceptions and thoughts.

It is something that helped to generate and reinforce religious ideas in people whose 'explanations' for the world was framed in terms of supernatural agents.

IOW, rather than spirituality being a product of religious belief, it is the other way round...

A prominent broadcaster and commentator here in Australia, Phillip Adams, who is a very confirmed and long-time atheist, prefers to use the phrase "a sense of the numinous" to avoid the s-word with its baggage.

I was very annoyed, but suppressed my reaction in the circumstances, when a guy who was some sort of Theist expressed his sorrow for me that I could never experience the sort of wonderful feelings his faith brought to him.

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intense experiences

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have had numerous intense experiences which could be characterized by the term 'spiritual', and it annoys me that religion claims ownership of the word.

Hey Bob,

I would really like it if you gave some details regarding these experiences.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

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TGBaker wrote:  Yea. I am

TGBaker wrote:

 

 

Yea. I am an ex-minister too.

 

 

It is certainly a great place to be FROM. 

Which denomination? 

why did you leave? I found it quite hard to do and was filled with shame for years.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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ex-minister wrote:TGBaker

ex-minister wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

 

 

Yea. I am an ex-minister too.

 

 

It is certainly a great place to be FROM. 

Which denomination? 

why did you leave? I found it quite hard to do and was filled with shame for years.

I went to Atlanta Christian College which is a restoration church.  I started my second year Greek my freshman year so I got to do several independent studies such as the Gospels in Greek rather than the regular curriculum.  I settled on Markan priority and Q as the best explanations for the variations in the text. I threw out the doctrine of inspiration, canon and virgin birth during this period. 

By my senior area I dispensed with the historicity of the resurrection and the Pannenbergian underpinnings that I had sustain the doctrine with.  I was accepted into Princeton  and Vanderbuilt  but my ex-wife did not want to leave Atlanta. So I went to Emory.  During that time I did private studies with a professor of  Atlanta Christian who was effected by my writings on the resurrection etc.; I pointed out that the resurrection was just a ghost story for sure if there was no god. Thus the god  question became more central than the resurrection.

I found Emory to be as dogmatic as the fundamentalist college we were from. So we both left and went to Georgia State for philosophy. I studied metaphysics and the professor friend studied epistemology.  My ex-wife was a church organist. I caught her playing on more than one organ so to speak. So I left everything. I felt philosophy was as dogmatic as theology.  I was ministering at  a local church that had pullled out of a major church because of the typical types of disagreements. Divorced minister are not welcomed especially unorthodox ones. SO I became a social worker and a substance abuse counselor.  I studied physics and played with Eastern mysticism.  I was a panentheist for a while then became an atheist as I studied more physics and found Buddhism to be atheistic as well. I remarried had two boys. Divorced again. I remarried and have a 2 year old. 

I have a terminal disease of leukemia as of March 18th. So i try to post as much as i can to leave whatever I can of what i have learned or experienced whether I am right or mistaken since it all contributes to dialogue and therefore progress.  I have a 55% chance of recover with a transplant. I have responded well since March to chemo so i am waiting to the 20something year old donor gives me bone marrow on 7/28. My life in a nutshell. There ya go.

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ex-minister wrote:BobSpence1

ex-minister wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have had numerous intense experiences which could be characterized by the term 'spiritual', and it annoys me that religion claims ownership of the word.

Hey Bob,

I would really like it if you gave some details regarding these experiences.

The strongest experience I can remember was the culmination of thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head after a casual conversation with a moderate believer, while on holiday. In gathering my standard objections to religion, I was aware that some part of my mind still held some tinge of 'respect' for the ideas of God, etc, even though I could see no rationality in them.

This bothered me, and I concluded that the long exposure to conventional beliefs that pervaded society, even in Australia, had induced this into my feelings about religion. I think my mind was wrestling with these thoughts for days after, at a barely conscious level.

Then, in the taxi ride home from the airport, I was overcome by this intense feeling of 'resolution', of having finally worked through the process of purging any last shred of deference to those old doctrines from my consciousness. I felt clean, free...

I wonder how much the setting of the holiday on the Islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific influenced my mood, where I experienced some truly idyllic experiences, scuba diving in magnificently clear water, and experiencing some classic natural settings - waterfalls, beaches, even passing a volcanic island while relaxing on the deck of a catamaran sailing around the islands.

Other experiences have been in other classic natural places, such as looking up the length of Yosemite Valley in California, or watching elephants, lions, and other iconic wild-life in Africa.

In most of these situations, from time to time the realization of the whole experience, where I was, the wonder and beauty, etc, would just hit me, and I would have this tingling feeling all over, and just a mental 'Wow!".

Also on Vanuatu, just observing the open happiness of the local children, who would cheerfully wave to us and call out as we passed by their villages.

Another different magic moment was after I had received a copy of a CD with images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and I viewed for the first time those far field shots where they had pointed the telescope at an apparently empty part of the sky, and taken an exposure for a week or so. The profusion of distant galaxies that were revealed still brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it, and the implications.

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

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

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

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TGBaker wrote:ex-minister

TGBaker wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

 

 

Yea. I am an ex-minister too.

 

 

It is certainly a great place to be FROM. 

Which denomination? 

why did you leave? I found it quite hard to do and was filled with shame for years.

I went to Atlanta Christian College which is a restoration church.  I started my second year Greek my freshman year so I got to do several independent studies such as the Gospels in Greek rather than the regular curriculum.  I settled on Markan priority and Q as the best explanations for the variations in the text. I threw out the doctrine of inspiration, canon and virgin birth during this period. 

By my senior area I dispensed with the historicity of the resurrection and the Pannenbergian underpinnings that I had sustain the doctrine with.  I was accepted into Princeton  and Vanderbuilt  but my ex-wife did not want to leave Atlanta. So I went to Emory.  During that time I did private studies with a professor of  Atlanta Christian who was effected by my writings on the resurrection etc.; I pointed out that the resurrection was just a ghost story for sure if there was no god. Thus the god  question became more central than the resurrection.

I found Emory to be as dogmatic as the fundamentalist college we were from. So we both left and went to Georgia State for philosophy. I studied metaphysics and the professor friend studied epistemology.  My ex-wife was a church organist. I caught her playing on more than one organ so to speak. So I left everything. I felt philosophy was as dogmatic as theology.  I was ministering at  a local church that had pullled out of a major church because of the typical types of disagreements. Divorced minister are not welcomed especially unorthodox ones. SO I became a social worker and a substance abuse counselor.  I studied physics and played with Eastern mysticism.  I was a panentheist for a while then became an atheist as I studied more physics and found Buddhism to be atheistic as well. I remarried had two boys. Divorced again. I remarried and have a 2 year old. 

I have a terminal disease of leukemia as of March 18th. So i try to post as much as i can to leave whatever I can of what i have learned or experienced whether I am right or mistaken since it all contributes to dialogue and therefore progress.  I have a 55% chance of recover with a transplant. I have responded well since March to chemo so i am waiting to the 20something year old donor gives me bone marrow on 7/28. My life in a nutshell. There ya go.

 

That is quite an interesting background. 

I wasted my time in fundie world of the Seventh-day Adventist. What you studied was of course of the devil. See it made you an atheist. HA!!  Well, the SDA's drove me also that way.  

I had NHL in 1999 and after 6 blasts of chemo and  thanks to the FSM (all hail) it is still in remission.  I have 2 family members who have battled with leukemia one who didn't make it and one who did. They both were in treatment in the early 80's.  The one who didn't had lived a hard life and abused himself.  The one who did was a child and has thrived. She has given birth to two healthy children in the past few years. 

Keep writing. Am enjoying it. May you live forever.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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BobSpence1 wrote:ex-minister

BobSpence1 wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have had numerous intense experiences which could be characterized by the term 'spiritual', and it annoys me that religion claims ownership of the word.

Hey Bob,

I would really like it if you gave some details regarding these experiences.

The strongest experience I can remember was the culmination of thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head after a casual conversation with a moderate believer, while on holiday. In gathering my standard objections to religion, I was aware that some part of my mind still held some tinge of 'respect' for the ideas of God, etc, even though I could see no rationality in them.

This bothered me, and I concluded that the long exposure to conventional beliefs that pervaded society, even in Australia, had induced this into my feelings about religion. I think my mind was wrestling with these thoughts for days after, at a barely conscious level.

Then, in the taxi ride home from the airport, I was overcome by this intense feeling of 'resolution', of having finally worked through the process of purging any last shred of deference to those old doctrines from my consciousness. I felt clean, free...

I wonder how much the setting of the holiday on the Islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific influenced my mood, where I experienced some truly idyllic experiences, scuba diving in magnificently clear water, and experiencing some classic natural settings - waterfalls, beaches, even passing a volcanic island while relaxing on the deck of a catamaran sailing around the islands.

Other experiences have been in other classic natural places, such as looking up the length of Yosemite Valley in California, or watching elephants, lions, and other iconic wild-life in Africa.

In most of these situations, from time to time the realization of the whole experience, where I was, the wonder and beauty, etc, would just hit me, and I would have this tingling feeling all over, and just a mental 'Wow!".

Also on Vanuatu, just observing the open happiness of the local children, who would cheerfully wave to us and call out as we passed by their villages.

Another different magic moment was after I had received a copy of a CD with images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and I viewed for the first time those far field shots where they had pointed the telescope at an apparently empty part of the sky, and taken an exposure for a week or so. The profusion of distant galaxies that were revealed still brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it, and the implications.

 

Thank you.

The world is mind-blowing when I finally saw it as it is and not with some imaginary petty overlord god who is pissed off all the time. In the past year since joining RRS I have had similar experiences just standing out in my yard at night. I live near the appalachian trail and it can get real quite and dark. I used to fear all the demons and spooking things. Fear of the dark, fear of death, fear of each other (Hitchens on why religions continue). But I could stand there without that. If Jesus cared he certainly could talk to me then - the still small voice noted by Ezekiel. But nothing. Non-existent things and imaginary things look the same. I gave up this silly primitive notion of this god and could take responsibility for who I am and accept me as I am. 

It is a wonderful transition.

And guess what? My morales didn't change one iota. I don't cheat on my wife or eat babies or have become homosexual. Proof yet again it is all BS. I feel I am more moral now because I don't have a stupid agenda to support and lie about and fret about this nebulous evil thing inside me.

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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ex-minister wrote:BobSpence1

ex-minister wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have had numerous intense experiences which could be characterized by the term 'spiritual', and it annoys me that religion claims ownership of the word.

Hey Bob,

I would really like it if you gave some details regarding these experiences.

The strongest experience I can remember was the culmination of thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head after a casual conversation with a moderate believer, while on holiday. In gathering my standard objections to religion, I was aware that some part of my mind still held some tinge of 'respect' for the ideas of God, etc, even though I could see no rationality in them.

This bothered me, and I concluded that the long exposure to conventional beliefs that pervaded society, even in Australia, had induced this into my feelings about religion. I think my mind was wrestling with these thoughts for days after, at a barely conscious level.

Then, in the taxi ride home from the airport, I was overcome by this intense feeling of 'resolution', of having finally worked through the process of purging any last shred of deference to those old doctrines from my consciousness. I felt clean, free...

I wonder how much the setting of the holiday on the Islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific influenced my mood, where I experienced some truly idyllic experiences, scuba diving in magnificently clear water, and experiencing some classic natural settings - waterfalls, beaches, even passing a volcanic island while relaxing on the deck of a catamaran sailing around the islands.

Other experiences have been in other classic natural places, such as looking up the length of Yosemite Valley in California, or watching elephants, lions, and other iconic wild-life in Africa.

In most of these situations, from time to time the realization of the whole experience, where I was, the wonder and beauty, etc, would just hit me, and I would have this tingling feeling all over, and just a mental 'Wow!".

Also on Vanuatu, just observing the open happiness of the local children, who would cheerfully wave to us and call out as we passed by their villages.

Another different magic moment was after I had received a copy of a CD with images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and I viewed for the first time those far field shots where they had pointed the telescope at an apparently empty part of the sky, and taken an exposure for a week or so. The profusion of distant galaxies that were revealed still brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it, and the implications.

 

Thank you.

The world is mind-blowing when I finally saw it as it is and not with some imaginary petty overlord god who is pissed off all the time. In the past year since joining RRS I have had similar experiences just standing out in my yard at night. I live near the appalachian trail and it can get real quite and dark. I used to fear all the demons and spooking things. Fear of the dark, fear of death, fear of each other (Hitchens on why religions continue). But I could stand there without that. If Jesus cared he certainly could talk to me then - the still small voice noted by Ezekiel. But nothing. Non-existent things and imaginary things look the same. I gave up this silly primitive notion of this god and could take responsibility for who I am and accept me as I am. 

It is a wonderful transition.

And guess what? My morales didn't change one iota. I don't cheat on my wife or eat babies or have become homosexual. Proof yet again it is all BS. I feel I am more moral now because I don't have a stupid agenda to support and lie about and fret about this nebulous evil thing inside me.

 

The idea of Buddhism as an atheistic religion is to obtain that state of consciousness on a permanent basis or at least the understanding assessable as you need it. It reveals all other facets of life to be mental consructs whether gods or after life etc.;  No need for a soul. Through the primitive anthropology unlike western religions Buddhism has observations that can translate into scientific studies of consciousness and mind.  It is through Hegel and Heidigger that some of these observations have been presented as phenomenological tools for consciousness and neuroscience studies.  Western first person language flounders  compared to its third person reporting. With the careful filtering and methodical analysis of Buddhist writings there are some promising syntax and semantics that may give us a contemporary secular understanding of spirituality.  When one sees why Buddhism is atheistic it becomes a historical field of demythologizing human psychology and paleontology.  Buddhism sees any construct of a god as a symbol of a mental experience or process that can be analysed as a state of consciousness.  The god may simply be a symbol of ones unresolved anger or fear for example. The study of components of consciousness there is a seeing consciousness, a feeling consciousness, hearing.... is not being understood in neuro-science as modules or specialized areas of the brain that nontheless have global flexibility. 

To see consciousness as processor of functions is to see that it is an effect of a function itself. This in turn opens up the possibility of defining a secular spirituality as a high state or nexus of these multiple modules or functions intergrated into a profound experience.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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Wasn't that

BobSpence1 wrote:

 

I viewed for the first time those far field shots where they had pointed the telescope at an apparently empty part of the sky, and taken an exposure for a week or so. The profusion of distant galaxies that were revealed still brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it, and the implications.

 

when they imaged the emptiest one degree? Totally agree with these sentiments. Hubble is humbling teacher. It's a shame to have point out that my mother got the DVD of Hubble at church and spent weeks going on about the amazingness of god evidenced in the universe. I find it deeply disturbing when the greatest discoveries of the scientific process are claimed to glorify his precious name. 

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


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You'd have to think

TGBaker wrote:

To see consciousness as processor of functions is to see that it is an effect of a function itself. This in turn opens up the possibility of defining a secular spirituality as a high state or nexus of these multiple modules or functions intergrated into a profound experience.

 

what you describe here is exactly the awe-full experience religious people would have - they simply label it differently? 

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

To see consciousness as processor of functions is to see that it is an effect of a function itself. This in turn opens up the possibility of defining a secular spirituality as a high state or nexus of these multiple modules or functions intergrated into a profound experience.

 

what you describe here is exactly the awe-full experience religious people would have - they simply label it differently? 

Yep IT is the mystical experience when intense enough. So many qualia accessed at one time  cause a lot of emotional dumping. Peopel see every leaf in a tree as the green becomes so rich that it seems as fresh paint. And the tree itself is so defined that it has a glass like quality.  A visionary gleam.

 

 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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There are a few things that

There are a few things that tend to get me sitting in awe and deep thought. Not sure I'd call it spiritual or anything, but it's not like I'm necessarily against using that description. 

To think of the 4.5 billion odd years of history this planet has, of all the uncountable life it has seen, and to see the results of all that birth and death being the world today. It's pretty incredible.

The chance that I or anyone else here would be born and live to grow up and to appreciate it is so infinitely small, and yet it happened anyway.

To think of the vastness of the universe, and all the possibilities I can concieve of.

For religion, and a few other subjects, I've had a few momentary flashes of incredibly deep insight that were almost like I could feel synapses merging in my head, but they were momentary, mind altering moments. None of them inspired the same kind of vastness or deep thought on more than one occasion.

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TGBaker wrote:Wonderful

TGBaker wrote:

Wonderful comments roseweed. I think the aesthetic is exampled in the way Carl Sagan sometime spoke. It does achieve a secular spirituality.  Einstein's use of god is an atheistic spirituality. 

Oh? I always thought it was the parable he found the most useful: through Abrahamic relgion, he could speak a language almost everyone in the audience of his time could understand.

In a more secular Present Day, it isn't anywhere near as necessary, which is why we get the pseudoscientific "mysticism" of Grand Design instead.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Vastet wrote:There are a

Vastet wrote:

There are a few things that tend to get me sitting in awe and deep thought. Not sure I'd call it spiritual or anything, but it's not like I'm necessarily against using that description. 

To think of the 4.5 billion odd years of history this planet has, of all the uncountable life it has seen, and to see the results of all that birth and death being the world today. It's pretty incredible.

The chance that I or anyone else here would be born and live to grow up and to appreciate it is so infinitely small, and yet it happened anyway.

To think of the vastness of the universe, and all the possibilities I can concieve of.

For religion, and a few other subjects, I've had a few momentary flashes of incredibly deep insight that were almost like I could feel synapses merging in my head, but they were momentary, mind altering moments. None of them inspired the same kind of vastness or deep thought on more than one occasion.

To me it looks like everyone here had less or more spiritual experiences based on intellectual insight or sudden intellectual rising above oppressive religional emotions. All right. So did anyone have a different kind of spiritual experience? Let's say, a spontaneous one, without a plenty of Hubble's beautiful pics and religion on retreat? What was it like?

For example, it is diffcult for me to be surprised by the universe's multi-dimensional awesomeness, because I pretty much went ahead of the wildest theories. In all empirical observation and logical derivation, of course. And yet, I keep having a plenty of downright mystical experiences. Only they are very abstract and very spontaneous. And sometimes they last for a long time.

With the sudden flashes of deep insight, it is diffcult to study what is going on in the brain. They're gone in a moment, you can't just knock on laboratory door and say, "I'm having a deep spiritual experience right now, would you give me a fMRI?" Don't want to boast, but there are days or weeks when I wake up in the morning and feel love, just love towards myself, everything, and nothing in particular. I feel bliss, without anybody blessing me. And surprisingly, I feel it in the heart area, as a radiating vortex of energy. I need a reason to like people, but there is a part of me that needs no reason to love them. 

And yet, I do not think that this is an emotion. It does not behave like emotion. It is like sun, which shines on the good and bad alike. It is a state of consciousness, which overrides all cultural and evolutionary conditioning. I believe that the science of psychology will remain a "soft" science, (or worse) until it really discovers what I am trying do describe. Until recently the science of psychology was an equivalent of confession booth, bloodletting and leeches and still is for the most part. 

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Kapkao wrote:TGBaker

Kapkao wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

Wonderful comments roseweed. I think the aesthetic is exampled in the way Carl Sagan sometime spoke. It does achieve a secular spirituality.  Einstein's use of god is an atheistic spirituality. 

Oh? I always thought it was the parable he found the most useful: through Abrahamic relgion, he could speak a language almost everyone in the audience of his time could understand.

In a more secular Present Day, it isn't anywhere near as necessary, which is why we get the pseudoscientific "mysticism" of Grand Design instead.

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.  I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954) I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

Spinoza believed god existed only philosophically...as an abstraction.

WiKI: Spinozism is the monist philosophical system of Baruch Spinoza which defines "God" as a singular self-subsistent substance, and both matter and thought as attributes of such. Spinoza claimed that the third kind of knowledge, intuition, is the highest kind attainable.

It seems what thery really refer to is the unified field.

 

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Honestly, I have trouble

Honestly, I have trouble differentiating "spiritual" from "awed" without resorting to the surpernatural.  I've felt awed plenty of times, but I've never found the need to use the word spiritual to express any of my experiences.  I've always found that other words sufficed.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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Zaq wrote:Honestly, I have

Zaq wrote:

Honestly, I have trouble differentiating "spiritual" from "awed" without resorting to the surpernatural.  I've felt awed plenty of times, but I've never found the need to use the word spiritual to express any of my experiences.  I've always found that other words sufficed.

When we say do you have that team or school spirit we are probably catching a lot of what we unconsciously feel. ...attitude!!!


 

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Zaq wrote:Honestly, I have

Zaq wrote:

Honestly, I have trouble differentiating "spiritual" from "awed" without resorting to the surpernatural.  I've felt awed plenty of times, but I've never found the need to use the word spiritual to express any of my experiences.  I've always found that other words sufficed. 

 

Awe is the feeling of a philosopher,
and philosophy starts with awe.
 - Socrates

In reality, there are many levels or states of expanded consciousness, which we may experience mostly according to our personal style. Local people are the scientific and philosophic types. The mind-expanding awe of realizing surprising facts and magnificent cosmic vistas, that's their style. But other types of people may primarily have other experiences - like a feeling of universal love, absolute power or purpose, or a transcendent artistic inspiration. It's hard to say if it is supernatural, probably it depends on the nature of consciousness itself.

So spirituality is not any particular state of being, it is developing the quality of your consciousness or developing that which helps this progress. In the most essential sense, spirituality is all that is truly innovative and progressive, which directly or indirectly develops human condition.

This is important, because according to this definition, things like shamanism, animism or organized religions are not spiritual, because they're outdated forms which bring nothing new to the modern humanity. They may be still relevant for primitive peoples, but only as their form of nursery school.

 

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Luminon wrote:Awe is the

Luminon wrote:

Awe is the feeling of a philosopher,
and philosophy starts with awe.
 - Socrates

Hi Luminon, I went looking for that quote, since I was surprised that you had Socrates quoted as saying 'awe' is the beginning of philosophy. There are indeed rare occasions (in Google, anyway) where you can sort of get a half-quote or paraphrase with the word 'awe', but the original version from Plato's Theætetus:

Quote:
I see, my dear Theaetetus, that Theodorus had a true insight into your nature when he said that you were a philosopher, for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. He was not a bad genealogist who said that Iris (the messenger of heaven) is the child of Thaumas (wonder).

The Greek word used by Socrates is 'thaumazein' which is wonder, not awe. See the genealogy of Iris.

Curious where you got that quote from. I couldn't find an exact match in Google.

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natural wrote:Luminon

natural wrote:

Luminon wrote:

Awe is the feeling of a philosopher,
and philosophy starts with awe.
 - Socrates

Hi Luminon, I went looking for that quote, since I was surprised that you had Socrates quoted as saying 'awe' is the beginning of philosophy. There are indeed rare occasions (in Google, anyway) where you can sort of get a half-quote or paraphrase with the word 'awe', but the original version from Plato's Theætetus:

Quote:
I see, my dear Theaetetus, that Theodorus had a true insight into your nature when he said that you were a philosopher, for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. He was not a bad genealogist who said that Iris (the messenger of heaven) is the child of Thaumas (wonder).

The Greek word used by Socrates is 'thaumazein' which is wonder, not awe. See the genealogy of Iris.

Curious where you got that quote from. I couldn't find an exact match in Google.

I've got it from this book, not english version, so I sort of translated it back. But I don't know where the author got it originally. 

 

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Luminon wrote:natural

Luminon wrote:

natural wrote:

Luminon wrote:

Awe is the feeling of a philosopher,
and philosophy starts with awe.
 - Socrates

Hi Luminon, I went looking for that quote, since I was surprised that you had Socrates quoted as saying 'awe' is the beginning of philosophy. There are indeed rare occasions (in Google, anyway) where you can sort of get a half-quote or paraphrase with the word 'awe', but the original version from Plato's Theætetus:

Quote:
I see, my dear Theaetetus, that Theodorus had a true insight into your nature when he said that you were a philosopher, for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. He was not a bad genealogist who said that Iris (the messenger of heaven) is the child of Thaumas (wonder).

The Greek word used by Socrates is 'thaumazein' which is wonder, not awe. See the genealogy of Iris.

Curious where you got that quote from. I couldn't find an exact match in Google.

I've got it from this book, not english version, so I sort of translated it back. But I don't know where the author got it originally. 

 

Thaumazo is translated more often as  "amazed" as than as "wonder" or "marvel"  from the Greek New Testament :

Definition
  1. to wonder, wonder at, marvel
  2. to be wondered at, to be had in admiration
 
 NAS Word Usage - Total: 43
am amazed 1, amazed 15, amazement 1, astonished 3, being amazed 1, flattering 1, marvel 4, marveled 5, marveling 2, surprised 2, wonder 2, wondered 4, wondering 2
 
NAS Verse Count
Matthew 7
Mark 4
Luke 13
John 6
Acts 5
Galatians 1
2 Thessalonians 1
1 John 1
Jude 1
Revelation 4


Total 43
Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." These files are public domain.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/thaumazo.html

The Greek thaumazo appears in the Koine  to represent being filled with awe in the sense of wonder as opposed to being filled with awe in the sense of fear (phobos ; phobeo and its verbals).

The New American Standard translates as awestruck. Matthew 9:8

But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

English:

verb (used without object)

1. to think or speculate curiously: to wonder about the origin of the solar system. 2. to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often followed by at ): He wondered at her composure in such a crisis. 3. to doubt: I wonder if she'll really get here.      

 

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Wonderist
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TGBaker wrote:Thaumazo is

TGBaker wrote:
Thaumazo is translated more often as  "amazed" as than as "wonder" or "marvel"  from the Greek New Testament :

This is a specific form of the word, 'thaumazein', which in the context of Socrates/Plato/Aristotle is most often translated as wonder, not mere amazement.

Two ideas support this: 1) The word 'thauma' is a noun meaning 'a wonder'. I can't think of a noun version of 'amaze'. 2) Socrates directly refers to the Greek god Thaumas, which is universally translated as the god of wonder.

Here's a quote from the infallible wikipedia on Theætetus:

Quote:
Socrates dictates a complete textbook of logical fallacies to the bewildered Theaetetus. When Socrates tells the child that he (Socrates) will later be smaller without losing an inch because Theaetetus will have grown relative to him, the child complains of dizziness (155c). In an often quoted line, Socrates says with delight that "wonder (thaumazein) belongs to the philosopher". He admonishes the boy to be patient and bear with his questions, so that his hidden beliefs may be yanked out into the bright light of day.

(Edit: Forgot to include this quote from wp on Wonder: )

Quote:
Concerning the special importance of wonder (thaumazein in Ancient Greek) to philosophy see Plato Theaetetus 155D and Aristotle Metaphysics I.ii.982b11-24.

Here's a fairly relevant discussion that keeps popping up in my Google searches: http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=185

In regards to philosophy, I find nearly every reference to the specific form 'thaumazein' translating to 'wonder', specifically, the sense of wonder, rather than the verb 'to wonder'. The places I usually find 'amaze' or 'admire' are usually Biblical concordances and the like, which doesn't surprise me because religious experiences are more about shock and awe rather than puzzlement and curiosity.

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TGBaker
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natural wrote:TGBaker

natural wrote:

TGBaker wrote:
Thaumazo is translated more often as  "amazed" as than as "wonder" or "marvel"  from the Greek New Testament :

This is a specific form of the word, 'thaumazein', which in the context of Socrates/Plato/Aristotle is most often translated as wonder, not mere amazement.

Two ideas support this: 1) The word 'thauma' is a noun meaning 'a wonder'. I can't think of a noun version of 'amaze'. 2) Socrates directly refers to the Greek god Thaumas, which is universally translated as the god of wonder.

Here's a quote from the infallible wikipedia on Theætetus:

Quote:
Socrates dictates a complete textbook of logical fallacies to the bewildered Theaetetus. When Socrates tells the child that he (Socrates) will later be smaller without losing an inch because Theaetetus will have grown relative to him, the child complains of dizziness (155c). In an often quoted line, Socrates says with delight that "wonder (thaumazein) belongs to the philosopher". He admonishes the boy to be patient and bear with his questions, so that his hidden beliefs may be yanked out into the bright light of day.

(Edit: Forgot to include this quote from wp on Wonder: )

Quote:
Concerning the special importance of wonder (thaumazein in Ancient Greek) to philosophy see Plato Theaetetus 155D and Aristotle Metaphysics I.ii.982b11-24.

Here's a fairly relevant discussion that keeps popping up in my Google searches: http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=185

In regards to philosophy, I find nearly every reference to the specific form 'thaumazein' translating to 'wonder', specifically, the sense of wonder, rather than the verb 'to wonder'. The places I usually find 'amaze' or 'admire' are usually Biblical concordances and the like, which doesn't surprise me because religious experiences are more about shock and awe rather than puzzlement and curiosity.

The specific usage that you are quoting  θαυμάζειν is a present infinitive of the verb θαυμάζω ( to be wondering ).   It is hard to say exactly how varied the translation could read without the whole text because the infinitive is effected by use with a preposition. Assuming the 'that' is simply an addition for clarity in the translation. If so it would literally read "To be wondering ( or in amazement)" belongs to the philosopher.  The verb does not carry the concept of contemplation. It carries obviously the idea being surprised whether one looks a PS. Xenophon, Philo, Strabo or who have you. The fact that the infinitive instead of the noun is used is to convey the idea of a state. A better translation perhaps to distinguish the noun from the infinitive would be to translate it 'wonderment" or "amazement."  I would agree with you that the idea of wonder in the sense of amazement  is probably a good translation. However "awe' is used when the context shows the degree of wondering to be a captivating thing or to do with religious or revelatory moments beyond wonder or amazement. I do not know of a word of that period that captures such apart from constructs with other words. And as I said the other type of awe has tpo do with fear.  Or  English usage is sorta captured below.  I think even astonishment captures the text you mention in this post. I do mention that the Koine that i am more familiar with is more common and has period related slang.  But in the context of which Iris is mentioned 'awe' might actually be appropriate. So things are always a bit hazy in exegesis compounded by the hermeneutic. I would not be too hard therefore on Luminon especially as he used a translation to help himself in the process of discussion.  Below we can see how English has multiple ways of attempting to convey the same thought (click on any):

 

qualité du caractère (fr)[Classe...]

(revere; respect), (reverence; awe; obeisance; respect; regard)[Thème]

reverence; awe; obeisance; respect; regard[ClasseHyper.]

awe (n.)

amazement; astonishment; surprise; wonder; wonderment; admirationθαυμασμός[ClasseHyper.]

amazement, astonishment, wonderέκπληξη, απορία, θαυμασμός, κατάπληξη - affright, cow, fright, frighten, give a start, scare, scare away, scare off, startle, strike fear/terror $iµetc$/iµ into, strike terror intoεμπνέω φόβο, ξαφνιάζω κπ., σκιάζω, τρομάζω, τρομάζω κπ., τρομοκρατώ, φοβίζω[Hyper.]

amaze, astonish, astound, overtake, stun, stupefy, surpriseαφήνω άναυδο, αφήνω κπ. άναυδο, εκπλήσσω, καταπλήσσω, μένω εμβρόντητος[Nominalisation]

marvel, wonderθαυμάζω - aweδέος, θαυμασμός[Dérivé]

admiration, amazement, astonishment, surprise, wonder, wondermentθαυμασμός[Hyper.]

aweεμπνέω δέος[Dérivé]

awe (n.)

 P.S. Thanks for the link.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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Luminon
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TGBaker wrote: P.S. Thanks

TGBaker wrote:

 P.S. Thanks for the link.

You're welcome, mr. grammar Spartan Smiling