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Atheistic Dilemma - How do you deal with your mortality?
Posted: 05 September 2011 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 136 ]
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John 76, I chose not to go along with anything occult.  My belief in Evolution is very strong and is rational and sane.  The boogy-man does not exist in my elderly brain.  I’ve had a long time to disrespect anything supernatural.

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Posted: 05 September 2011 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 137 ]
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Mind you, I am learning, and I do consider myself a deist…........However, do we then simply set back and say we live in a chaotic vacuum?............

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“Take courage mortal, death cannot banish you from the universe.”
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Posted: 05 September 2011 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 138 ]
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philo deist - 05 September 2011 07:53 AM

Mind you, I am learning, and I do consider myself a deist…........However, do we then simply set back and say we live in a chaotic vacuum?............

Well, a couple of points.

(1) Why do you consider yourself a deist? Why do you start a response that way? Is there something self-evidently true about deism?

(2) Science shows that we do not live in a chaotic universe. There are laws to how it all works: physical laws, chemical laws, biological laws, perhaps laws of psychology, mathematical and logical laws, etc. But we find them out by looking around us at the way things actually behave rather than trying to figure things out without data.

As for ‘vacuum’, clearly the vast majority of space is, in fact, hard vacuum. But there are areas like Earth that are not at all, and there are areas in between.

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Posted: 05 September 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 139 ]
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Also NB: blue is reserved for Moderator and Admin comments (as per the rules). Please change the color of your Signature line. (If you can’t figure out how to do it, I can do it for you).

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Posted: 06 September 2011 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 140 ]
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I’m not a big fan of labels, so I’ll respond as me. Not only is this question a dilemma for Atheists, it’s also a dilemma for all human beings. Wea re the only species (that I am aware of) that has an understanding that we will all die at some point.

I’d say i was around 11 or 12 when I realised that Death was inevitable. It caused some discomfort but I coped with it.

As my life progressed it became apparent that everyone understands this (at varying times in their life) then the question of “The menaing of life” came to the fore, I struggled with this for many many years. Frequently becoming paralysed by this statement. Then due to reading several books and experiencing an A-HA moment, I knew that the menaing of life (for me) was about living my life with a coherent philosophy of life, becoming less selfish, learning to delay gratification, to help and support others, and to reflect daily and find ways to enjoy life. This works for me, this sentiment of it “Working for Me” was confirmed by a Woody Allen film starring Larry David - that film was called “Whatever Works”

The above works for me..reading the posts here I’d also wager that the responses were based on whatever works for them.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 141 ]
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Amy, are you a book reader?  If you are, try “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and follow it up with her brilliant essays.  She is devoted to the meaning of life.  One must live to suit oneself and in doing so, bring others into the action.  She writes that one can only experience love, if one loves oneself.  It takes a lifetime to understand what life and death are all about.  I was in my mid twenties when I had married and produced children and it didn’t seem enough as I was missing in my own world.  I had read her first novel “The Fountainhead” and understood what she was saying as she introduced her ideal man.  Nothing could affect his plans to build what he designed.  No personal, political or financial pressure could touch him.  But if you are not accustomed to reading these books, then try Atlas Shrugged.  You will find yourself in that book, she overlooks no one.

In 1963, I met her at a symposium of her works at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  She lectured about her philosophy and then took questions for over an hour.  I was surprised at her homeliness but after a minute of listening to her, she because a beautiful woman of courage.  I drove by her home in Chatsworth and she was helping Frank, her husband, prune the roses.  My god!  She was very gracious and I was nearly speechless. 

I owned a book store for many years and had only a dozen regular readers.  I saw the television remove many readers and it saddened me as they miss so much of the grand and great writers. 

I’m certain that most members here at CFI have read Rand’s words.  It fits their interest…....

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Posted: 06 September 2011 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 142 ]
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john76 - 05 September 2011 07:06 AM

No one knows what does or doesn’t happen after you die - same way no one knows whether there is a God(s) or not.

Not exactly - on both counts. There is absolutely zero evidence (outside of arcane philosophical arguments that are not evidence at all) of the existence of either a god or an afterlife. Despite the fact that many have tried to prove both. Therefore there is no reason to expect that anything happens when a creature dies other than what can be observed to happen, namely, that the creature begins a process that eventually leads to it’s complete decomposition. So an unbiased observer (one with no religious or philosophical sacred cows to protect) can feel safe in asserting that he does in fact know what happens when we die.

Your statement is logically no different than saying “No one really knows for sure that there aren’t invisible purple monkeys inhabiting my closet.” Yet no one believes that.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 143 ]
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Sandy Price - 06 September 2011 08:27 AM

Amy, are you a book reader?  If you are, try “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and follow it up with her brilliant essays.  She is devoted to the meaning of life.  One must live to suit oneself and in doing so, bring others into the action.  She writes that one can only experience love, if one loves oneself.  It takes a lifetime to understand what life and death are all about.  I was in my mid twenties when I had married and produced children and it didn’t seem enough as I was missing in my own world.  I had read her first novel “The Fountainhead” and understood what she was saying as she introduced her ideal man.  Nothing could affect his plans to build what he designed.  No personal, political or financial pressure could touch him.  But if you are not accustomed to reading these books, then try Atlas Shrugged.  You will find yourself in that book, she overlooks no one.

In 1963, I met her at a symposium of her works at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  She lectured about her philosophy and then took questions for over an hour.  I was surprised at her homeliness but after a minute of listening to her, she because a beautiful woman of courage.  I drove by her home in Chatsworth and she was helping Frank, her husband, prune the roses.  My god!  She was very gracious and I was nearly speechless. 

I owned a book store for many years and had only a dozen regular readers.  I saw the television remove many readers and it saddened me as they miss so much of the grand and great writers. 

I’m certain that most members here at CFI have read Rand’s words.  It fits their interest…....

Hello Sandy Price, yes I am a book reader. I have made a note of the book and the author, and I will certainly make every effort to read the book and her essays.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Andrew

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 144 ]
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A couple of random reactions:

1. On the matter of an atheist living in a chaotic world without purpose, my answer is: “I don’t get my purpose in life out of a book. I get it from my heart.”

2. On Ayn Rand: she may have been a good philosopher, but “Atlas Shrugged” was absolute illogical nonsense. I tossed that book aside about halfway through when I realized how shallow her reasoning was. Perhaps we should start a topic on that book—unless it has already been trashed in this forum.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 145 ]
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amygdala101 - 06 September 2011 08:39 AM

Hello Sandy Price, yes I am a book reader. I have made a note of the book and the author, and I will certainly make every effort to read the book and her essays.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Andrew

I wouldn’t get too enthusiastic about that recommendation. Ayn Rand was the High Priestess of selfishness, and her followers often resemble a cult. HERE‘s a fun video of Hitchens on Rand.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 146 ]
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Chris Crawford - 06 September 2011 09:04 AM

... unless it has already been trashed in this forum.

I believe it has, several times, but in passing. Always room for another. For a look from the conservative side, HERE‘s Bill Buckley on Rand, and “her scorn for altruism”. He published a review of Atlas Shrugged in National Review that apparently annoyed her very much. HERE it is, FWIW. “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To the gas chambers — go!”“

One could argue that it was Rand’s atheism and materialism that annoyed these conservatives so, but from the look of things it was more her heartlessness. And that says something.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 147 ]
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Andrew, I am sorry, I misread your signature.  Rand is not easy reading but if you can disregard those who are unable to understand her philosophy, she has much to teach you. 

Let me try to explain her selfishness.  Doing and sharing with others is more expressive if it comes from one who wants to share rather than from the pressure of how it looks to others.  I had a lot of time on my hands when I was raising my kids and I got involved in many political groups who concentrated on clearing poverty, hypocrisy, racism and homophobia.  I did it because it made me feel good to do it.  That was my selfishness being expressed.  I have pursued these selfish actions all my life and I can say with full honesty that my life has been glorious.  Most people live by the actions and reactions of others rather than what comes from their hearts. 

Yes indeed, Rand was selfish and so am I.  My youngest daughter went to Berkeley (University of California) and Dr. Leonard Piekoff was engaged as a visiting professor and the student body was delighted.  When Berkeley discovered who Dr. Piekoff was (Rand’s heir) they cancelled his lecture.  The student body was furious and they rented a large assembly room and gathered up donations and hired him on their own.  My daughter is in her mid 40s and still understands the philosophy of Objectivism. 

America has slipped into the illusion that we all are religious in some way.  That has denigrated Rand and as you can read the above, it even happens in places of freethinking like CFI.  I have always made up my own mind what I read, what I smoke, eat, drink and the style that I chose to live.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 148 ]
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Doug.  William F. Buckley is a Roman Catholic…what the hell do you expect when rejected his National Review article?

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Posted: 06 September 2011 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 149 ]
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Sandy Price - 06 September 2011 09:33 AM

Doug.  William F. Buckley is a Roman Catholic…what the hell do you expect when rejected his National Review article?

Sure. But if you hear and read the arguments they give, although some of them are that Rand was an atheist or a materialist, most of what they object to isn’t that. It’s her unrelenting selfishness and her distaste for altruism and charity. And one doesn’t have to be a Roman Catholic, or even religious at all, to see that.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 150 ]
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Doug, Christians are raised to depend on the approval of others rather than themselves.  Everything must be done for the welfare of others.  This cancels every ounce of individual character in people.  The family structure is designed by the churches and children should be bred for the purpose of adding to the number of Christisans in the world.  Nobody attains the ideal character of the individual.  I picked up on Rand’s individualism before I even finished her first book.  Years ago Carl Sagan and Bill Buckley had some powerful debates.  Sagan was the ultimate individual and Bill spoke for all Catholics.  The difference in their positions was very obvious. 

There comes a time in every humans life when the doubt their own philosophy and often give in to public opinions.  It is not easy to stand alone when something very wrong is being promoted by the masses.  In my world, “the masses are asses.”  I believe in individual selfishness.  It led me into 28 years of working for the Red Cross and being trained for disasters.  It led me into working with AIDs patients and then into Hospice.  How else could I fight the masses with my work for death with dignity?  How else could I take on the masses with my work with California Equality which is working for gay marriages?  I had my two kids by the hand and marched for Martin Luther King in one of his massive parades.  I left the parade when I saw the TV cameras as everyone around me at home wanted no black people around them.  Since I was a young girl, I took the opinion of the least popular because something inside my head directed this as something that needed doing. 

I wasn’t born an individual but a product of a very Mormon family who wanted me to breed more Mormon babies.  This way of life made me sick.  I was sent to boarding school to learn my manners.  It was a struggle until I read “The Fountainhead” and then her essays.  She had her ideals strongly in place and never could she ever be without them. 

Life is too short to follow a crowd.  We tend to live in mentally gated communities where nothing is ever accomplished.  Our government is a perfect example of a loss of individual thinkers.  I will always take a road alone rather than follow people who have no end game. 

To quote Auntie Mame…“Life is a banquet and all you poor bastards are starving to death.”

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