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thecesspit
thecesspit
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December 9th, 2011 at 10:58:14 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I really would like to try and understand the idea of atheism more. It would be helpful if someone could explain why they are good, kind, and moral because of thier atheism? There are again many reasons why people are all of these things (peaceful, generous, etc.) but specifically how does atheism, that there is no God, actually help you to live your life?



I am not good or kind or moral because of my atheism. Atheism does not have an effect on my life except to argue on the internet :) Being an atheist and being a moral, good person are orthogonal. To borrow a famous bus campaign "You can be good without God".

Else where you made the argument that without a God and his Goodness there is no reason not to lie, cheat, steal and be bad. I find that scary that the ONLY reason people act in a moral kind why is because of their God. I am sure that's not what you meant. I hope that's not what you meant.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
EvenBob
EvenBob
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December 9th, 2011 at 11:51:33 AM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

I find that scary that the ONLY reason people act in a moral kind why is because of their God. I am sure that's not what you meant.



I'm not sure of that at all. FrG has said it over and over. Without
god, how can we be expected to act in a moral way, or even have
a reason for living. How can we possibly be happy.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
FrGamble
FrGamble
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December 9th, 2011 at 3:04:12 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit


Else where you made the argument that without a God and his Goodness there is no reason not to lie, cheat, steal and be bad. I find that scary that the ONLY reason people act in a moral kind why is because of their God. I am sure that's not what you meant. I hope that's not what you meant.



What I am trying to say is that I cannot envision believing one thing very strongly and doing another. My thoughts and belief system support my desire to be radically good and holy. I believe very strongly in God and while I am far from perfect everything I do is trying the best I can to follow God's commandments. If I believed as strongly that there was no God as I do believe there is a God I imagine it might be difficult for me to live the way I do now. To be a moral, loving, and selfless person when a persistent thought is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not, life has no purpose, I and all around me is random accidents, death and nothingness await us all, blah, blah would be tough if not impossible.

This leads me to believe as Nareed has told me before; atheism is not really a belief. It can't be something that you wake up in the morning thinking about and spend your whole day having the thought that there is no God as part of everything you do. This makes it very different than my belief in Christianity. It is almost as if one intellectually assents to the thought there is no God and then lives the rest of their lives ignoring the ramifications of what life would be like if that was actually true. Is atheism a benign intellectual philosophy that should not influence your actions or is atheism akin to a belief in Jesus Christ, which is meant to change everything about how you live, move, breath, and have your very being?
EvenBob
EvenBob
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December 9th, 2011 at 3:20:53 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

To be a moral, loving, and selfless person when a persistent thought is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not, life has no purpose,



So you're only good because you have to be, thats what
you're saying. What so honorable and respectable about that.
I much more respect someone who is good and moral because
he chooses to be of his own accord. And are you really that shallow
and vacuous that you couldn't have a purpose to your life outside
the church? Thats pretty pitiful, padre. It sounds like you cling to
your religion like its a life preserver and you'd drown without
it.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Mosca
Mosca
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December 9th, 2011 at 3:35:43 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

What I am trying to say is that I cannot envision believing one thing very strongly and doing another. My thoughts and belief system support my desire to be radically good and holy. I believe very strongly in God and while I am far from perfect everything I do is trying the best I can to follow God's commandments. If I believed as strongly that there was no God as I do believe there is a God I imagine it might be difficult for me to live the way I do now. To be a moral, loving, and selfless person when a persistent thought is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not, life has no purpose, I and all around me is random accidents, death and nothingness await us all, blah, blah would be tough if not impossible.

This leads me to believe as Nareed has told me before; atheism is not really a belief. It can't be something that you wake up in the morning thinking about and spend your whole day having the thought that there is no God as part of everything you do. This makes it very different than my belief in Christianity. It is almost as if one intellectually assents to the thought there is no God and then lives the rest of their lives ignoring the ramifications of what life would be like if that was actually true. Is atheism a benign intellectual philosophy that should not influence your actions or is atheism akin to a belief in Jesus Christ, which is meant to change everything about how you live, move, breath, and have your very being?



I think you're starting to understand. For me, it's not something I "believe", in the sense that I'm fervent about it. I just try to live a good life.

On the other hand, I sometimes enjoy the discussions about it, so I participate when I think I have something to say. I like the question that you posed, about why one should be good without God. It's a simple question without a simple answer... or rather, one with a multitude of answers, all of them challenging, some of them diametrically opposed, all of them requiring serious introspection.
NO KILL I
Mosca
Mosca
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December 9th, 2011 at 3:41:53 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

So you're only good because you have to be, thats what
you're saying. What so honorable and respectable about that.
I much more respect someone who is good and moral because
he chooses to be of his own accord. And are you really that shallow
and vacuous that you couldn't have a purpose to your life outside
the church? Thats pretty pitiful, padre. It sounds like you cling to
your religion like its a life preserver and you'd drown without
it.



I can't answer for FrG because that would be putting words into his mouth. But the way I read what he has written isn't the same as you have read it. I read his words as saying that a beautiful truth has been revealed to him, and because of this he has no choice... he must live this way, or deny that truth.
NO KILL I
EvenBob
EvenBob
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December 9th, 2011 at 3:53:31 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

and because of this he has no choice... he must live this way, or deny that truth.



Maybe. But he also says, over and over, that he can't
understand how we can live the same way and not
believe exactly as he does.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
thecesspit
thecesspit
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December 9th, 2011 at 4:03:09 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

What I am trying to say is that I cannot envision believing one thing very strongly and doing another. My thoughts and belief system support my desire to be radically good and holy. I believe very strongly in God and while I am far from perfect everything I do is trying the best I can to follow God's commandments. If I believed as strongly that there was no God as I do believe there is a God I imagine it might be difficult for me to live the way I do now. To be a moral, loving, and selfless person when a persistent thought is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not, life has no purpose, I and all around me is random accidents, death and nothingness await us all, blah, blah would be tough if not impossible.



That's where you keep making a mistake. I don't consider the lack of God mean that that life is meaningless, purposeless or matter if I behave morally. That is NOT the conclusion I came to. So I don't intellectually ignore that each day... because I don't think it's true! You keep taking that as the atheist position. But however many times you state it as the conclusion we "must" make, it doesn't mean it's the position actually reached!

You keep using the "random accidents" line, too. But that's not a position most atheist seem to use, and not the one that's been expressed to you here.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Mosca
Mosca
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December 9th, 2011 at 4:07:15 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Quote: Mosca

and because of this he has no choice... he must live this way, or deny that truth.



Maybe. But he also says, over and over, that he can't
understand how we can live the same way and not
believe exactly as he does.



Forest, tree.
NO KILL I
Face
Administrator
Face
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December 9th, 2011 at 4:22:27 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

What I am trying to say is that I cannot envision believing one thing very strongly and doing another.



This is an issue I constantly see you bump up against. Athieism and goodness are not mutually exclusive, no more than religion and wrongness are mutually exclusive. Believing something was an "accident" does not mean it has no value. Believing that nothingness awaits me does not mean the somethingness I'm in now is inconsequential. In fact it's quite the opposite, since this blink in the eternity of time is all I get.

Quote: FrGamble

... It is almost as if one intellectually assents to the thought there is no God and then lives the rest of their lives ignoring the ramifications of what life would be like if that was actually true. Is atheism a benign intellectual philosophy that should not influence your actions or is atheism akin to a belief in Jesus Christ, which is meant to change everything about how you live, move, breath, and have your very being?



You've gone back to that "ramifications of no God" arguement. If the religious, as we must admit, are both good and bad, and the non religious are both good and bad, then doesn't it stand to reason that without one or the other, there would still be good and bad? Right here and now, there either is a God and badness still exists, or there isn't a God and goodness still exists. I don't see how making a decision of which way to place your bets affects the big picture.

But yes, athieism is quite different than belief in God. Like thecesspit noted earlier, I rarely think of my athieism unless it is brought to me, like the way these conversations bring it to me. I don't wake up and pledge my love for it, or vow to represent my belief, or make a decision based on "What Would Nobody Do". And I certainly don't contemplate committing a "sin" simply because I don't feel there's an omnipresent judge watching me from above. But has it changed everything about who and what I am as an individual? I don't think I've ever contemplated the thought that way, and I would have to let that idea marinate a while before I could give an honest answer.
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