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Old 02-12-2014, 02:12 PM
 
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Theists make themselves so miserable practicing their religion, that they are desperate for something better. Atheists are enjoying the here and now without a head full of irrational fears of a real bastard of a god that we're good with this life.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:58 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
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Fear of the unknown keeps us wanting more here in this life so as to avoid the inevitable. Fear of not existing anymore keeps us hoping for an eternal afterlife. I don't know exactly what I hope for but on a gut/hunch level I feel that this life is not all there is. Not in a biblical fantasy way but more just a continuation of our consciousness on some level. Like reincarnation for example, that would explain a lot as far as where we go after death. Maybe we get reincarnated and are just unaware of our previous existence or we are made aware through Deja vu. Maybe we're not paying enough attention to those incidents where we feel it's happened before but we know that can't possibly be........but maybe it can? Just some thoughts that I have on the subject.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by Northsouth View Post
Fear of the unknown keeps us wanting more here in this life so as to avoid the inevitable. Fear of not existing anymore keeps us hoping for an eternal afterlife. I don't know exactly what I hope for but on a gut/hunch level I feel that this life is not all there is.
I would actually prefer that this is it. The devil you know is better than the one you don't know (you can't assume that just because there's an afterlife you're magically happy 24/7). I'm pretty tired and would like to give it a rest. Besides, I like beginnings, middles and ends.

I will be quite annoyed if I wake up in some sort of Elysium and have to sort that all out, too. Particularly if it's eternal and inescapable. Think of all the frustrated suicides that would end up in such a place ;-)

As for never seeing my loved ones or other objections to oblivion ... folks, it's oblivion, you won't care, and if that's your destination, it's your loved one's destination too. You'll be no more upset about being dead than you were upset about not being born.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UsAll View Post
I've noted over the years that, amongst the theist population-at-large, there ARE some (even many) who are very bright, intelligent, and then those who are even very highly intelligent (even brilliant).
<snip>
And it makes one wonder "How can such intelligent, and even some rather brilliant, people allow themselves to have such a lack of intellectual rigor on these matters?"
<snip>
For they apparently instinctively KNOW that if they applied the same rigor to their thoughts that they do to all other realms of their day-to-day lives, their seeming certitude about their claims would very likely come apart and disintegrate.
The above verbiage of mine ISN'T promoting certitude about atheism; it is promoting skepticism and critical, evidence-based thinking and reason. THAT is the intellectually-honest approach to take about such matters.
You completely rule out personal experience as a valid source of information about reality. That may be understandable . . . if you have not had any experiences that you would attribute to the existence of God. Not everyone is so handicapped.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UsAll View Post
I've noted over the years that, amongst the theist population-at-large, there ARE some (even many) who are very bright, intelligent, and then those who are even very highly intelligent (even brilliant). And yet, when it comes to matters theological, they all-of-a-sudden revert to an almost child-like level of thinking (i.e., weak-to-nearly-nonexistent logic in their thinking on these matters, lack of an appreciation for sound reasoning and logic and for what constitutes true evidence, who the burden-of-proof is on, an inclination to lend belief to those ideas that don't or can't have any real evidential basis, thinking that "believing" something is the same as "epistemologically-knowing" something, et al). And it makes one wonder "How can such intelligent, and even some rather brilliant, people allow themselves to have such a lack of intellectual rigor on these matters?"

It just shows you how much they fear death (i.e., the actual state of being dead and then the process of becoming dead) and the probability that death may well entail permanent extinction of all that you are . . . i.e., that they are willing to live in an inner world of make-believe and then take it upon themselves to propagate this make-believe upon others and turn their belief system into a political/cultural/social movement (i.e., to try to get as many people as possible to align with their thinking). Why (other than the desire of some for power over others or some type of gain)? It is that it has the effect of getting them to feel affirmed in the presumed rightness of their thinking if they have as many people as possible in the world-at-large to mirror and actively embrace and promote their thinking alongside them.

And apparently they don't find their own thinking to be too convincing to themselves, for they constantly feel this drive or need to join together to sing songs, recite incantations, pray both alone and together, always engaging in scriptural studies (e.g., Bible studies), etc. etc. etc. . . . in short, to build a virtual protective "bubble" around themselves with the aim to continually reinforce their thinking and behavior so as to not fall away from it. For they apparently instinctively KNOW that if they applied the same rigor to their thoughts that they do to all other realms of their day-to-day lives, their seeming certitude about their claims would very likely come apart and disintegrate.

The above verbiage of mine ISN'T promoting certitude about atheism; it is promoting skepticism and critical, evidence-based thinking and reason. THAT is the intellectually-honest approach to take about such matters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
You completely rule out personal experience as a valid source of information about reality. That may be understandable . . . if you have not had any experiences that you would attribute to the existence of God. Not everyone is so handicapped.

It is not accurate to claim it to be a "handicap" on my part. I have, in fact, had a variety of experiences in life which I originally attributed to being spoken to by or experiencing the existence of "God/god" (which even brought me to "belief" or "faith" in the first place) but later came to deem that it was more intellectually honest to see them as the result of mental self-suggestion or being shaped by the thinking of others in the culture-at-large or wishful thinking or need on my part (e.g., a need for guidance, a need to feel connected to something higher than myself, a need or perceived need for forgiveness and/or self-forgiveness for real or perceived wrongdoings in life, a desire to find love and acceptance from people who always talked about "love" and "God's love for us" and how "God loves you", et al.). It is not in any way verifiable or validatable (or, for that matter, disprovable) that one's self-described "personal experiences" are, in fact, an experience of or with some so-called supreme creator being or beings. The fact that it is even called a "personal experience" indicates or suggests that it is something that was only experienced by that particular individual (i.e., that no one else can experience what the other individual says or feels that he or she "personally" experienced and hence it is reasonable to call such alleged or purported "experiences" as "subjective perceptions or interpretations"). I don't "rule it out", as you put it, but just remain skeptical (i.e., skeptical yet with an open mind). For if YOUR personal experiences are to be taken at face value as valid and true (as a Christian of whatever stripe), then so should the personal experiences of a proclaimed Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, Zoroastrian, ultra-Orthodox Jew, Islamist, Wiccan, Satanist, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. . . . ad infinitum. Yet I doubt that you personally, MysticPhD, are a proclaimed ecumenalist who believes and proclaims that ALL religions and religious claims are true at the same time. But yet how could you validly deny anyone else's proclaimed "personal experiences"? What makes your "personal experiences" any more valid than theirs? or vice versa?

You see, our common-sense conceptions and sensibilities of reality and of how the universe or the cosmos works is not always correct or at least not wholly correct . . . for nature (i.e., the natural order) doesn't always operate the way we perceive or think it does (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes we are partly right and partly wrong at the same time). In the end, this reality regarding the unpredictable or unreliable accuracy of our common-sense conceptions and sensiblities is what drives the enterprise of science to rest on the so-called "scientific method" (which, at its foundation, rests on the premises as spelled out by the branch of philosophical inquiry called "epistemology") . And, despite what some would claim or insist, the assertion that there IS, in fact, a supreme creator being of whatever type or nature that created all that is and that has dominion and rule over the workings of the entirety of existence (i.e., the cosmos) IS, in fact, a scientific proposition and is therefore subject to the scientific method of inquiry, investigation, testing, and then either validation or invalidation. Some would say "Oh no, these are 'spiritual' matters that are not the province of science" or similar statements. But the very nature of what the "God hypothesis" states, in fact, makes it a scientific proposition . . . for it tries to define how the universe or cosmos came into being, how it functions, it describes cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., prayer, for instance), and so on. The "God hypothesis" IS, at its very core, a scientific proposition. So therefore, what are called "personal experiences" need to be considered in light of epistemological tenets and criteria (not just simply relegating them to "Well, if I personally 'believe it' and 'feel it in my heart', then it IS true" or "Well, it is true for ME"). That is not good enough for all the rest of us. If one wants to make claims that they expect ALL OF US to embrace and to alter our lives, our thinking, and directions accordingly, then it must be experienceable and discernable AS "truth" by ALL of us. In other words, the experience can't just be "personal" (subjective) but rather "objective" (i.e., common to or perceivable by all, or understandable to & graspable by all, or able to be unambiguously agreed upon by all). Otherwise, said "personal experiences" can't validly be deemed as more than personal "belief" or "faith" . . . which is what religionists themselves do call it anyway. Note that they (or at least the more reasonable ones) don't call it outright "knowledge" but themselves use the terms "belief" or "faith". That, in & of itself (i.e., being called "belief" or "faith") doesn't necessarily mean that the particular claim(s) is or are absolutely not true or are utterly incorrect but just that there is no way to verify or validate or test such claims.

That is how I have come to see so-called "personal experiences" . . . even my own collection of "personal experiences" from years past. I can't show and demonstrate them (to the satisfaction of all my other fellow humans) to be any better than mental self-suggestion or subjective perception or interpretation of real or imagined "events" or wish fulfillment (like a self-fulfilling prophecy) or my trying to fulfill or address my personal emotional need(s) by filling it in with "belief" or "faith".

Last edited by UsAll; 02-20-2014 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:08 AM
 
40,276 posts, read 26,858,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
You completely rule out personal experience as a valid source of information about reality. That may be understandable . . . if you have not had any experiences that you would attribute to the existence of God. Not everyone is so handicapped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UsAll View Post
Yet I doubt that you personally, MysticPhD, are a proclaimed ecumenalist who believes and proclaims that ALL religions and religious claims are true at the same time. But yet how could you validly deny anyone else's proclaimed "personal experiences"? What makes your "personal experiences" any more valid than theirs? or vice versa?
It is clear that you are NOT familiar with my views or you would not make this mistake. The existence of God IS an ecumenical view because it is the only thing that IS verifiable by science. The myriad beliefs ABOUT God are on equal footing and each individual determines which makes the most sense to them. My extensive investigation of the "spiritual fossil record" and my personal experience of the loving and accepting consciousness at the core of our reality . . . led me to select Christ as the exemplar. YMMV. The questionable specifics of Christian religious dogma are not part of my view.
Quote:
And, despite what some would claim or insist, the assertion that there IS, in fact, a supreme creator being of whatever type or nature that created all that is and that has dominion and rule over the workings of the entirety of existence (i.e., the cosmos) IS, in fact, a scientific proposition and is therefore subject to the scientific method of inquiry, investigation, testing, and then either validation or invalidation. Some would say "Oh no, these are 'spiritual' matters that are not the province of science" or similar statements. But the very nature of what the "God hypothesis" states, in fact, makes it a scientific proposition . . . for it tries to define how the universe or cosmos came into being, how it functions, it describes cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., prayer, for instance), and so on. The "God hypothesis" IS, at its very core, a scientific proposition. So therefore, what are called "personal experiences" need to be considered in light of epistemological tenets and criteria (not just simply relegating them to "Well, if I personally 'believe it' and 'feel it in my heart', then it IS true" or "Well, it is true for ME"). That is not good enough for all the rest of us. If one wants to make claims that they expect ALL OF US to embrace and to alter our lives, our thinking, and directions accordingly, then it must be experienceable and discernable AS "truth" by ALL of us. In other words, the experience can't just be "personal" (subjective) but rather "objective" (i.e., common to or perceivable by all, or understandable to & graspable by all, or able to be unambiguously agreed upon by all). Otherwise, said "personal experiences" can't validly be deemed as more than personal "belief" or "faith" . . . which is what religionists themselves do call it anyway. Note that they (or at least the more reasonable ones) don't call it outright "knowledge" but themselves use the terms "belief" or "faith". That, in & of itself (i.e., being called "belief" or "faith") doesn't necessarily mean that the particular claim(s) is or are absolutely not true or are utterly incorrect but just that there is no way to verify or validate or test such claims.
That is how I have come to see so-called "personal experiences" . . . even my own collection of "personal experiences" from years past. I can't show and demonstrate them (to the satisfaction of all my other fellow humans) to be any better than mental self-suggestion or subjective perception or interpretation of real or imagined "events" or wish fulfillment (like a self-fulfilling prophecy) or my trying to fulfill or address my personal emotional need(s) by filling it in with "belief" or "faith".
You rival my own verbosity, UsAll . . . but we are in agreement that the EXISTENCE of God is an empirical question. But the beliefs ABOUT God remain beliefs. As is typical . . . you erroneously conflate them into a single issue. If we are honest . . . the euphemisms of "nature" and "natural" just reflect the preference of atheists not to acknowledge as God the true status of the reality that engulfs us. Changing its label and proclaiming our ignorance about it ("we don't know" what it IS, why it is or how it came to be but it is responsible for all that exists including us) does NOT diminish its "godly" empirical status relative to us puny humans. So the existence issue is resolved affirmatively, IMO. The specifics of beliefs ABOUT it are not . . . but personal experience cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. They are very relevant to each individual.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
the EXISTENCE of God is an empirical question.
Then stop trying to pretend it is a linguistic one. The only reason you have offered here - ever - that a god exists is basically you take all of everything and _simply call it "god".

Be simply relabeling in this fashion you do little more that define your "god" into existence.

You are at least write in this snip of your post. God either exists or it does not. Aside from calling everything "god" to feed your love of the word/label - is there anything on which to base a belief in a god of any type?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
But the beliefs ABOUT God remain beliefs. As is typical . . . you erroneously conflate them into a single issue.
They are. The belief a god exists - especially the god of Christianity to which you personally subscribe - is a belief about god. Existence is an attribute of that god. It is you - erroneously - that tries to divide them into two issues in order to try and get away with your linguistic redefinition of the playing field.

The only one changing labels here is you - not the atheists.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Christinerica View Post
What's makes some one want an eternal existence? Is it greed?

It seems the height of evil to use up resources for an eternity. If I was besmirched with the idea of a satan, I would think that satan was the one to invent a desire for life forever.
If life in Eternity with God was the same as life on this tragic planet under Satan's rule, then no, I wouldn't want to live forever. The evils of this world will not exist in God's Eternal Kingdom.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by OP
What's makes some one want an eternal existence? Is it greed?
Who says it's greedy?

I think reincarnation is more appealing anyway than an eternal existence. There is only so much you can do with this body and this life, but the idea that you can try several different things. "What if I had done this instead" is a lingering question on people's mind.


In Time gives a good overview of what it'd be like if everyone was immortal (in a dystopian society, of course).

Quote:
Tenaciously struggling to avoid death is an integral part of passing on ones genetic legacy, such competition being the basis of evolution. While technically, death is not necessarily a hindrance to that - so long as one secures the next generation all safe and sound before dying, that is - the impulse to live, Live, LIVE is not so nuanced. It is simply there, always, because those organisms that had such an overpowering drive were more likely to live to pass on their genes and their tendencies to strive always to survive.
Exactly. As an atheist, you guys have heard of the fittest surviving. Wanting to be the fittest of all eventually means not having to worry about survival anymore. The alpha isn't the one that competes the most for resources, that's the beta. The alpha is already top dog.

Imagine it as a chain tied to your body (they do call it the "mortal coil" after all), that every day some monster eats at you a little at a time, until they get to your end of the chain. What if you could simply unhook your chain? It isn't that you're pulling the resources more than your share. You've got it backwards. When you're immortal, you don't need to use resources. Why would you need to eat if you don't die without it? You're off the chain, bro!
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:07 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
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[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I would actually prefer that this is it. The devil you know is better than the one you don't know (you can't assume that just because there's an afterlife you're magically happy 24/7). I'm pretty tired and would like to give it a rest. Besides, I like beginnings, middles and ends.
Ah Mordant, you've been dealt a pretty bad hand so I'll let that slide as far as the devil reference, I like to assume that our higher plain of existence will be superior to this life in every imaginable way possible. Ok, that part might be wishful thinking but I do really feel like this isn't it.

Quote:
I will be quite annoyed if I wake up in some sort of Elysium and have to sort that all out, too. Particularly if it's eternal and inescapable. Think of all the frustrated suicides that would end up in such a place ;-)
LOL you're not the only one who would be annoyed, that's not exactly what I had in mind either. Maybe we get to choose if we want to continue on eternally or not? Alright, more wishful thinking but here's that gut thing again......I just don't "feel" it's anything like this existence. I've been toying around with the idea of reincarnation as a possibility to my quandary, it's something I would have scoffed at when I was a Christian that's for sure. You know how they say, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, maybe in the next life it will be the other way around......a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

Quote:
As for never seeing my loved ones or other objections to oblivion ... folks, it's oblivion, you won't care, and if that's your destination, it's your loved one's destination too. You'll be no more upset about being dead than you were upset about not being born.
That's true as far as what we actually know, it could quite possibly be the end but I just don't think so. Death could be like birth, just a portal into another existence for all we know. Maybe if this life had been better for you, you would have a different outlook on living on after death in some form or fashion. One thing is for certain, we will all find out eventually and if this really is it we won't know the difference anyhow.
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