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Do atheists ever post on religious forums?
Posted: 15 September 2013 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I see that today is the scheduled publication date for Dworkin’s book. http://www.amazon.com/Religion-without-God-Ronald-Dworkin/dp/0674726820/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379304309&sr=1-1&keywords=dworkin+religion+without+god

The view of religion that I am suggesting is essentially the one Einstein proposed. Of course, the idea doesn’t have merit just because Einstein proposed it. Read what the great man wrote on the subject and follow the logic. Not only does it make perfect sense, it cuts deeper to the core of religion than the more superficial definitions to which we have become accustomed. In virtually every other field, we would applaud that. Why not here?

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 15 September 2013 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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For those who are interested: there is a website completely dedicated to Einstein’s views on religion:

http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/

Many articles, excerpts of interviews, letters, etc.

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“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 16 September 2013 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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PLaClair - 15 September 2013 09:11 PM

The view of religion that I am suggesting is essentially the one Einstein proposed. Read what the great man wrote on the subject and follow the logic. Not only does it make perfect sense, it cuts deeper to the core of religion than the more superficial definitions to which we have become accustomed.

Einstein’s views on god are almost as difficult to grasp as his theory of relativity.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Lausten - 16 September 2013 05:56 AM

Einstein’s views on god are almost as difficult to grasp as his theory of relativity.

But at least one needs no deep insight in mathematics to understand them… tongue rolleye

But…eh… Don’t you think you exaggerate a little? The website I mentioned above is quite informative.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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And of course the shape and nature of reality isn’t an easy or a simple concept. In fact, no one knows quite what it is. So I don’t mind that Einstein’s writings on the subject, taken as a whole, are hard to pin down. My concepts of God are somewhat simpler than Einstein’s but then so am I.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Einstein’s views on god are almost as difficult to grasp as his theory of relativity.

I don’t know Lausten, I’m no genius (understatement) but I found his views on religion clearly stated and understandable. I wonder how he would be classified on the latest atheist scale and how his views might be altered if he was living in this time period and witnessed the scientific advancements and insights since his death.  It appears from his statements concerning atheists (it sounds as if he’s aiming his comments at antitheists) they are missing out on the wonder and mystery of life. Also, from what I’ve read of Sagan’s views on religious philosophy they both appear to be the same page. I do find it ironic that the very people who created the OT spawned the future scientists who separated religious Belief from emperical fact.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 16 September 2013 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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And of course the shape and nature of reality isn’t an easy or a simple concept. In fact, no one knows quite what it is. So I don’t mind that Einstein’s writings on the subject, taken as a whole, are hard to pin down. My concepts of God are somewhat simpler than Einstein’s but then so am I.

Just outa curiosity PlaClair, and I meant to ask you this earlier, you mentioned that you are religious and have a concept of god. Could you elaborate? Would you also consider yourself an agnostic?


Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I will concede to the consensus here on Einstein, which is not clarified, but less hyperbolic than my statement. I admit to being less well versed than some, I’m only aware of few common quotes, not the extensive material linked. My time for reading is reduced at the moment, but I can always find time for snarky comments.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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we need to add the following to the title of every page of this forum…......center for inquiry - separation of church and state…....

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Posted: 16 September 2013 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 16 September 2013 07:08 AM

And of course the shape and nature of reality isn’t an easy or a simple concept. In fact, no one knows quite what it is. So I don’t mind that Einstein’s writings on the subject, taken as a whole, are hard to pin down. My concepts of God are somewhat simpler than Einstein’s but then so am I.

Just outa curiosity PlaClair, and I meant to ask you this earlier, you mentioned that you are religious and have a concept of god. Could you elaborate? Would you also consider yourself an agnostic?

Cap’t Jack

Sure. Here’s LaClair-on-religion in a nutshell. I grew up a Roman Catholic and took it very seriously. Though I discarded theism at the age of 21, I appreciated that my parents were good people who were deeply committed to doing the right thing: life wasn’t just about me, it was also about others, whose lives were as meaningful and as important to them as mine is to me. In addition, I never lost that deep curiosity-about-everything that children have naturally; so I understand what Einstein is saying about that even though I’m no scientist. When we look carefully at the history of religion, we see that it began with people asking questions to understand their circumstances. “What was thunder and why did it happen,” for example. Having no good answer, they made up a story, as homo sapiens is inclined to do. Many secularists make the mistake of treating religion only as the answers to the questions. If we look deeply, though, we see that it is the attempt to bring everything together into a coherent whole; in other words, it is being part of life, the human community and all things. I’ve always been religious and that is what it means to me. I wouldn’t know how not to be. It’s like breathing.

There are at least two concepts of God that I could endorse. Their common element is that God is an idea, a human construct, a way of looking at things.  I have no problem with people having a conception of God. My problem is with theism, for many reasons: the way it makes fact claims, the way it fudges the distinction between the real and the symbolic, etc.
1. God is the ultimate reality, whatever is true and real is God. The difference between a theist and me is that I see no value in looking for God in ancient texts, or even within ourselves by this definition; science is the best method we have for understanding reality.
2. God is the ideal state, or highest good, in every dimension; in other words, God is what we desire most broadly and deeply. This is a conception of God that is understood from within.

I don’t call myself an agnostic any more. Here’s what I believe:
1. We know the genesis of belief in a supreme being or other gods. People all over the world have made up those stories for thousands of years, continuing to the present. The stories are completely different from each other. There isn’t a shred of doubt where these stories come from: they come from human desire, or as Freud put it, theism is wish fulfillment.
2. We cannot empirically disprove the existence of a being that supposed created the universe. But that is a meaningless and trivial point because it calls for proof of a negative. There is an infinite number of fantastic ideas (fantastic as in “fantasy”) that people could come up with if we accepted that test. The proof of that is the thousands of god-concepts that people have made up over the several millennia of our history.
3. However, we can logically disprove the existence of the biblical god. The Bible contains too many absurdities for anyone to take it seriously as a literal history.
4. We haven’t a shred of evidence that a being created the universe. That would require a conscious entity without a material brain; that fantasy contradicts everything we know about what consciousness is and where it comes from.
5. Any conception of God as omniscient, omnipotent and all-good is not tenable. Suffering cannot reasonably be explained by “free will” and God throwing an extended temper tantrum, etc. The idea of a chosen people makes no sense if every human being is created in God’s image. If God had sent a savior whom he wanted us to believe in as a condition to being saved (from what?), the whole world would have known about it. Christian theology contains more absurdities than I have time to shake a stick at.
6. The world looks exactly what we would expect it to look like if it was the product of blind natural forces.
You may call that what you will.

[ Edited: 16 September 2013 09:22 AM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 16 September 2013 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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PLaClair, I agree with you 99 percent. We only disagree on the label. I do not call my beliefs religious; I call them humanist.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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There are at least two concepts of God that I could endorse. Their common element is that God is an idea, a human construct, a way of looking at things.  I have no problem with people having a conception of God. My problem is with theism, for many reasons: the way it makes fact claims, the way it fudges the distinction between the real and the symbolic, etc.
1. God is the ultimate reality, whatever is true and real is God. The difference between a theist and me is that I see no value in looking for God in ancient texts, or even within ourselves by this definition; science is the best method we have for understanding reality.
2. God is the ideal state, or highest good, in every dimension; in other words, God is what we desire most broadly and deeply. This is a conception of God that is understood from within.

Ok, thanks for the detailed explanation and I take it that this is the essence of your belief. But if your concept of a “god” is the ultimate reality wouldn’t that be empericism as well? Or am I saying tomato and you tomahto? You are using science to discover the ultimate truth. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the highest good in every dimension, as in a multiverse? I do agree with your explanation of theism however; adherents often blur the lines between fact and fancy but sometimes it’s used as a coping mechanism and I really have no problem with that. BTW I came from a religious background as well and both of my parents consider themselves as committed to xtianity (Methodists). I believe that we all approach this subject with an innate prejudice colored by those belief systems that we learned almost from birth. I knew, for instance that your background was Catholic and that it diverged from my Protestant upbringing. IMO those with a strong Catholic background seem to have a harder time breaking away from the dogma. It would be interesting to hear from former Muslims on this topic but so far I.J. Is about the only one who shares his thoughts and he’s a committed theist.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 16 September 2013 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 16 September 2013 10:25 AM

But if your concept of a “god” is the ultimate reality wouldn’t that be empericism as well? . . .
Cap’t Jack

Not necessarily. The ultimate reality isn’t known. We uncover it empirically as best we can but parts of reality remain hidden from us; so much that we don’t even know its contours. So in this conception, God includes all the things we don’t yet know, and may never know. It’s a useful concept for the reasons William James alluded to when he wrote of an “unseen order.”

Thevillageatheist - 16 September 2013 10:25 AM

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the highest good in every dimension, as in a multiverse? . . . .
Cap’t Jack

Not a multiverse, just this: many theisms posit the existence of a heaven, or ideal state. Good people strive toward a universal good. “Imagine all the people sharing all the world,” as John Lennon put it. In this conception, God is unbounded Love, knowledge, generosity, kindness and all the other values and virtues.

Thevillageatheist - 16 September 2013 10:25 AM

IMO those with a strong Catholic background seem to have a harder time breaking away from the dogma. . . .
Cap’t Jack

Agreed, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to turn that into an asset, I think. By maintaining my Catholic sense of order, I’ve been able to look at these issues more systematically. It’s a perspective not often seen in Humanism, and I think it has a value.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I found it difficult to reconcile the two lists. The second one is all about what is not true about theism, but then you have the first list of what God is. The first item is fine, and in an ideal future, that is the definition of God, probably with a small “g”. The second item gets dicey, introducing terms like “from within” and “we desire”. Mind you, I am being extremely picky here and you don’t need to respond to this at all. Cap’t Jack covered these too.

Matt Dillahunty challenged me once via email on the “within” thing, and I’ve seen him do it to others on the ACA show. I’m not sure “within” means anything other than thoughts we haven’t expressed. These could be secrets or could be things we don’t have the language for. Do you see a difference between “looking within” and “thinking about”? “Thinking about” has a more mundane feeling to it, but is there really something to be found when “looking within” or do we give it a flowery name because we hope there is something in there?

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Posted: 16 September 2013 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Not a multiverse, just this: many theisms posit the existence of a heaven, or ideal state. Good people strive toward a universal good. “Imagine all the people sharing all the world,” as John Lennon put it. In this conception, God is unbounded Love, knowledge, generosity, kindness and all the other values and virtues.

As a secular humanist I agree to the above, of course if you want to bundle up all of those positive characreristics and label them god I see the analogy. In that respect I could say that I believe in “god” as well, especially the knowledge part. But as far as I’m concerned, these are very inherently human traits programmed into our brains for group survival. Whatever the case though I’d faaaar rather be around someone who exemplifies these, virtues? than a narcissist, hedonist or sociopath. And that from personal experience if you accept anecdotal evidence!


Cap’t Jack

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