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Do atheists ever post on religious forums?
Posted: 16 September 2013 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Lausten - 16 September 2013 10:58 AM

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?

It’s OK, I enjoy the discussion.

There’s no need to reconcile the lists. They address completely different things. The two broad conceptions of God that I offer do not make any objective fact claims, which is the main problem with theism. They are only ways of condensing a concept of the good into a single, ineffable, image or idea. Necessarily, the result is hard to pin down. That’s OK, as long as people keep in mind that it’s just a way of looking at things, and is highly individualized.

When I refer to what is within, I refer to the life experience that each of us has. For example, when I awake in the morning, I feel a certain way, see, touch and smell certain things, am thinking about certain things, etc. That is my Truth at that moment. And though I don’t know what your awaking moments are like, I know enough about you from being human to know that you awake and have experiences too. It has nothing to do with whether we express it or don’t express it to others. It’s the life experience itself. This is not only important - there is not merely “something to be found” in this - it’s the basis for every value, every law, every ethical and moral decision we make. Because it is only by being human, and having human experiences, that we have some understanding of what other humans (and non-human sentient creatures) experience, value, fear, etc. Our individual human experience - our personal revealed Truth - is a necessary foundation for our relationships with others. And indeed, people who have been badly damaged in their lives have very difficult times interacting with others for precisely this reason. It is only because we are human beings, who have had and continue to have human experiences, that we can form civil societies, enact laws, love others and strive toward a planetary ethic, as stated in CFI’s mission statement.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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PLaClair - 16 September 2013 12:14 PM

When I refer to what is within, I refer to the life experience that each of us has. For example, when I awake in the morning, I feel a certain way, see, touch and smell certain things, am thinking about certain things, etc. That is my Truth at that moment. And though I don’t know what your awaking moments are like, I know enough about you from being human to know that you awake and have experiences too. It has nothing to do with whether we express it or don’t express it to others. It’s the life experience itself. This is not only important - there is not merely “something to be found” in this - it’s the basis for every value, every law, every ethical and moral decision we make. Because it is only by being human, and having human experiences, that we have some understanding of what other humans (and non-human sentient creatures) experience, value, fear, etc. Our individual human experience - our personal revealed Truth - is a necessary foundation for our relationships with others.

I can’t quite get on board with “personal revealed Truth”. It’s a way of seeing knowledge that caused a lot of trouble in the past. When Descartes sat down and started eliminating everything he couldn’t verify, he came to a terribly wrong conclusion that got stuck in philosophy for a couple centuries. Obviously the type of revealed truth in the book of Revelations is more troublesome.

The word “god” could continue to be watered down, gaps filled, until everyone sees it as a concept instead of a real being, or it could take on a meaning more like “intuition”. That is, something that can’t be shown to exist but people still have a sense that they have it, they sense it as a real experience, without too much consideration of whether it is or not.

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Posted: 16 September 2013 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Lausten - 16 September 2013 02:06 PM

I can’t quite get on board with “personal revealed Truth”. It’s a way of seeing knowledge that caused a lot of trouble in the past. When Descartes sat down and started eliminating everything he couldn’t verify, he came to a terribly wrong conclusion that got stuck in philosophy for a couple centuries. Obviously the type of revealed truth in the book of Revelations is more troublesome.

Right but this isn’t “knowledge” in the usual sense of the word. It’s experience. My experience is a window into the experience of others. My observation is a window into the workings of nature. That’s as far as it goes.

Michael Dowd speaks of day language and night language. Day language is what we think is literally true. Night language is how we symbolize things. The main problem with theology is that it hasn’t kept the two separate. This is one way to help do that.

Lausten - 16 September 2013 02:06 PM

The word “god” could continue to be watered down, gaps filled, until everyone sees it as a concept instead of a real being, or it could take on a meaning more like “intuition”. That is, something that can’t be shown to exist but people still have a sense that they have it, they sense it as a real experience, without too much consideration of whether it is or not.

It’s not watering it down. It’s identifying what it really is: a human construct. As you identified before on another topic, we seem to be saying quite similar things.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Michelle D. - 13 September 2013 05:25 PM

Just a question here… do atheists ever bother to add their comments on religious forums?

I noticed that religious folks post here at times, which I actually find engaging (sometimes only), but do atheists ever bother to post on religious forums? I would guess not, unless you like arguing and getting nowhere, but maybe there are people who do? No idea. Any input?

Thanks.

Michelle

One doesn’t have to be an atheist to quickly learn you are wasting your time when trying to even carry on a civil conversation with “true believers”.  The true believers live in a vacuum and the only sounds they will listen to come from an echo chamber.

I belong to a diverse group that hold salons where we carry on conversations about most anything we can even imagine.  We are civil, respective and honestly care about the well being of each other.  I am three score and nine and never in my life have I felt more at ease than I am with our little group of “assorted nuts”.  Its all a breath of fresh air and even makes me feel a bit younger.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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deros - 17 September 2013 04:29 AM

I belong to a diverse group that hold salons where we carry on conversations about most anything we can even imagine.  We are civil, respective and honestly care about the well being of each other.  I am three score and nine and never in my life have I felt more at ease than I am with our little group of “assorted nuts”.  Its all a breath of fresh air and even makes me feel a bit younger.

Cafe Socrates?

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Posted: 17 September 2013 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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PLaClair - 16 September 2013 02:19 PM
Lausten - 16 September 2013 02:06 PM

The word “god” could continue to be watered down, gaps filled, until everyone sees it as a concept instead of a real being, or it could take on a meaning more like “intuition”. That is, something that can’t be shown to exist but people still have a sense that they have it, they sense it as a real experience, without too much consideration of whether it is or not.

It’s not watering it down. It’s identifying what it really is: a human construct. As you identified before on another topic, we seem to be saying quite similar things.

By “watering down” I mean changing from a definition that includes actual powers (like parting seas) to invisible powers (like putting something in your heart) to no power at all, at least no more power than any other words. And I’m not sure it’s going that way. A few intellectuals have an understanding of human constructs, but even they argue, and since they do, the rest of us don’t know what to trust. I can imagine all of the current religions becoming equal to how we currently treat Druids or fairies, and by “we” I’m including people who actually dress up and go to Stone Henge on the solstice. We might get rid of Popes and mega-churches, but I don’t think we’ll ever eliminate all of the Wayne Dyers and Oprah Winfreys.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Lausten - 17 September 2013 06:00 AM

By “watering down” I mean changing from a definition that includes actual powers (like parting seas) to invisible powers (like putting something in your heart) to no power at all, at least no more power than any other words. And I’m not sure it’s going that way. A few intellectuals have an understanding of human constructs, but even they argue, and since they do, the rest of us don’t know what to trust. I can imagine all of the current religions becoming equal to how we currently treat Druids or fairies, and by “we” I’m including people who actually dress up and go to Stone Henge on the solstice. We might get rid of Popes and mega-churches, but I don’t think we’ll ever eliminate all of the Wayne Dyers and Oprah Winfreys.

No, probably not. Still, people have been making the argument that God is of human invention for a very long time: “God didn’t create man, man created God.” Much rides on how we present it. There are times and places for standing ground and emphasizing that there is no evidence that a supreme being exists. But there are also times and places where the most productive point to make is that people have made up thousands of gods; that your audience, in many instances, rejects all of them but one, believing that all those other gods are just stories people made up. It’s easy to see where the explanation goes from there. So in a sense it’s not a matter of changing definitions; it’s more a matter of recognizing that people have long entertained many definitions or conceptions of God, and being able to shift the focus from the universe (objective) to the human mind (subjective) when we want to do that. If the entire Humanist community spoke as one on these points, instead of fighting endless and essentially meaningless battles for linguistic turf, we would be better positioned to make progress in getting our ideas across. At the very least, I’d like to see the meaningless word wars come to an end.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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PLaClair - 17 September 2013 07:56 AM

If the entire Humanist community spoke as one on these points, instead of fighting endless and essentially meaningless battles for linguistic turf, we would be better positioned to make progress in getting our ideas across. At the very least, I’d like to see the meaningless word wars come to an end.

That is a problem, but your solution seems to be to settle on a new and improved cultural definition. A sort of Joseph Campbell “re-mythologizing”. But as he said, when there is rapid change, mythology can’t take hold. So, we have this terrible mix of Gaia hypothesis old hippies on one side and young Ayn Randians who can’t see past their own pocketbooks on the other. I’m terrible at predicting the future, but I just don’t see an understanding of a socially constructed concept becoming the meaning of a word. That kinda goes against what a socially constructed concept is, doesn’t it?

I have a recorded old English version of The Green Knight. It is barely understandable. It doesn’t have the word “table”, they use “dais”. But either way, I know what their talking about. I don’t think it will be that easy with “god”. I suspect it will take at least a few generations and the invention of a new word to get where you are pointing to. And there will still be lots of people using “god” as if it means just what it does today. Maybe, eventually, there will be a pill for it, but experiencing oneness with the universe is part of who we are.

The trouble being neuro-psychology. Thomas Jefferson thought everyone would be UU by now. In the 70’s sociologists were predicting the end of religion. But now, we’re finding out people don’t lie about their OBO experiences, they really feel like they are flying around. Pointing out that they can’t prove it, or that what they saw is not verifiable, or that we know how to simulate that feeling doesn’t matter.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Laursten, those are all very good points. I’m not convinced, though that a new construct has to take over the old one and “become” the word. A greater awareness that “God” can mean many things might suffice. I could be wrong: most people do seem to like having a place to put their stuff, to paraphrase George Carlin. All the same, if enough people can make the shift from God as an objective fact claim to God as an ideal, that could both mark and engender significant changes.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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deros - 17 September 2013 04:29 AM
I belong to a diverse group that hold salons where we carry on conversations about most anything we can even imagine.  We are civil, respective and honestly care about the well being of each other.  I am three score and nine and never in my life have I felt more at ease than I am with our little group of “assorted nuts”.  Its all a breath of fresh air and even makes me feel a bit younger.

Cafe Socrates?

Yep, but just remember when you place that drink order you don’t tell the bartender “I’ll have what HE had! and Deros, you’ll have to agree that the cyber group of assorted nuts here can be a breath of fresh air, and also frustrating at the same time.


Cap’t Jack

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

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Posted: 17 September 2013 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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deros - 17 September 2013 04:29 AM

I belong to a diverse group that hold salons where we carry on conversations about most anything we can even imagine.  We are civil, respective and honestly care about the well being of each other.  I am three score and nine and never in my life have I felt more at ease than I am with our little group of “assorted nuts”.  Its all a breath of fresh air and even makes me feel a bit younger.

I’d be interested as to how this works. We have “pizza nights” with our FreeThinkers, but they tend to be not much different than any other party, except making fun of religion is not off the table. Do you use any rules of order? a moderator? My experience has been, without that, you get a couple guys (usually guys) who dominate and the only people who like going are their “followers”.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I’ve attended some Café Socrates meetings. The organization has rules that the moderators try pretty hard to adhere to but each moderator has a style. They can be fun depending on who shows up and who is moderating.

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Posted: 19 September 2013 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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advocatus - 14 September 2013 07:34 AM

Not so fast.  I USED to post on Christian forums.  Sometimes they can be difficult.  For example, on one I described myself as an agnostic.  Their attitude was:  “Agnostic means you don’t know, therefore you should take our word for it because we DO know.”  And that was pretty much it.

LOL That is sooo faithful believer, it’s comical.

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Posted: 19 September 2013 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Here is an example of how religious believers act on a secular forum.
https://www.upworthy.com/a-religious-leader-tries-to-tell-the-wrong-woman-how-to-dress-big-mistake?c=upw1

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Posted: 19 September 2013 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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That was excellent!

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