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DorothyGale
DorothyGale
Joined: Nov 23, 2009
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December 10th, 2011 at 2:21:26 PM permalink
Quote: HotBlonde

... literally ...

"Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!"
Face
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Face
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December 10th, 2011 at 2:30:27 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I don't see how it follows that because I choose to believe in God that I am forced to be good,...


Quote: FrGamble

I've always tried to be good and moral even before I took my faith seriously,...



Ah, here we are. Just expand on this the tiniest bit and you'll have understanding. Just as you are not "forced to be good" as a believer, neither is a non believer forced to be bad. Or encouraged. Or free to act so. You even say you yearned to be good even before you took your faith seriously. Go back to that point, that time in your life when you took that fork in the road that brought you to your faith. Do you think that your desire to be good would simply dry up and disappear had you chosen a non-theist path? I'm sure your faith has helped, and has encouraged, but is it the ONLY reason you choose to be good? I wouldn't think so, rather I think you're just a good person (that may struggle, as do we all), and faith HELPS you to be better, just as my non-theist ideas HELP this already good guy to be better.

Quote: FrGamble

I think it is becoming clear to me that when discussing atheism I cannot look at it as the polar opposite of my view of God. It doesn't seem to reach the same level of passion and conviction that my faith in God does. As someone mentioned something about hobbies, athesim seems like it fits more as something someone discovers that they think has value so they put it on the shelf and take it down every once and a while to look at it or talk about it if someone asks why is that thing valuable to you.



I'm not sure this is entirely accurate. I'll try to explain, but I'm flying by the seat of my pants with this one. Athieists and Religious are not so different. Thoughts on morality, our purpose, the meaning of life, how we came to be, are all HUMAN traits. Religion claims to be a guide book, an instruction manual, a blueprint, on these answers to life. For some, they can look at these instructions and think "that makes sense, I believe that to be true", so they go with it. While you as a Christian may not understand the entirety of the Bible or some of the less obvious lessons within, overall it makes sense to you and feels true, no? I'm sure the same can be said for Hindis, Jews, Iroqousi Longhouse, or any other religion. For Athieists, none of these ideas ring as true. The thought of a Creator doesn't make sense, so that thought is not held. That is it not to say Athieists don't question morality, our purpose, the meaning of life, or how we came to be, it's just that we don't believe the source is Divine. We're exactly the same, and (what I find to be funny and somewhat sad) we just disagree on the "how" and the "why" of it all.

And much like your Christianity, I'm sure there are varying levels of passion. Mosca has said he rarely thinks about it, he just goes on living his life and trying to be good. Someone like me has spent a lot of time thinking about it, enough to make my own "Natural" theory I shared in part with you earlier. Nareed likewise seems like she has spent a not insignificant time thinking on the subject and creating her beliefs. Some go off the deep end and start picketing the Pledge of Allegiance (I kid, kind of =/) So are Athieists dispassionate? Yup. Are some passionate? Yup. Are Christians dispassionate? Yup. Are some passionate? Yup. We're all the same.

Change ONE word in your poem, and it takes on a form I can understand. Change one word, and the message gets through. Perhaps you feel losing that word removes its spiritual point, I see it as revealing its human message. In the end, we'd be arguing the "why" and missing the point. This poem affects us both, because we are the same.

Quote: FrGamble

Nothing is more practical than
finding yourself, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

The opinions of this moderator are for entertainment purposes only.
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
Joined: Aug 31, 2010
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December 10th, 2011 at 3:55:07 PM permalink
Quote: Face

Change ONE word in your poem, and it takes on a form I can understand. Change one word, and the message gets through. Perhaps you feel losing that word removes its spiritual point, I see it as revealing its human message. In the end, we'd be arguing the "why" and missing the point. This poem affects us both, because we are the same.

Quote: FrGamble

Nothing is more practical than
finding yourself,



But finding oneself is a lot more difficult than finding God. It is easy to give oneself over to religion and to behave according to a predefined code of conduct. "Islam" literally (sorry Dorothy) means "to surrender the will to Allah". It is much harder, and requires quite a bit more thought, to determine for oneself what conduct is appropriate without relying on someone else to tell you what to think or how to act.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
DorothyGale
DorothyGale
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December 10th, 2011 at 4:08:29 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

"Islam" literally (sorry Dorothy) means "to surrender the will to Allah".

Do you use the word "literally" for every word you define? Every definition is "literal," n'est-ce pas? Your sentence reads more powerfully without the reductive addition ...

God is literally God ... Literal is Godly literal ... is God literally literal?

And if God is Love, is God literally Love? Of course, the latter implying that "Love" is a super-set of God, which makes it really easy ...

Consciousness is so much more complex and interesting without these palliative God-like things humans create ...

--Ms. D.
"Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!"
FrGamble
FrGamble
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
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December 10th, 2011 at 4:34:47 PM permalink
Face thanks for your good post. It is a good question about what would have happened to my desire to do good and be virtuous if I had chosen a non-theist path. I'd like to think that I like yourself and many other non-theists here would continue to do good and be moral individuals. What I am still struggling with is how these non-theist ideas would HELP me to be a better person?

Specifically I think to myself what is the logical conclusion that atheism leads us towards? In all the other religious traditions you mentioned their conclusion leads to some purpose, meaning, nirvana, what have you. In denying God or some form of divinity the only conclusion I can see is eventually a cold meaningless death. Now everybody screams at me that this is not necessarily so, but if there is no creator or at least no intelligent or divine creator (obviously stuff had to come from somewhere) then eventually it seems to me that you have to run into this cold hard truth - eternal death and nothingness. How does this help me or anyone? I really want to understand if I am missing something and look forward to an explanation.

One explanation I have heard is that atheism makes your time here on earth more precious because it is all you have. To me that seems a little based on fear, you better enjoy your life because there is nothing after this (that sounds like the bad religious teacher who says you better do good just to avoid hell). I also fail to see how this would motivate me to do good. I definitely see how it would make me avoid suffering at any cost. Based solely on the ideas of atheism what would stop me from cheating if I knew I could get away with it? This idea also seems to make every second extraordinarily weighed down with meaning; if I really thought this I would hate to sleep and I would never watch TV, every commercial would take 30 precious never to have again seconds away from my one shot of life.

I understand very well that religious and non-theists have many varied levels of passion when it comes to holding their beliefs. It just seems to me that religious people get more and more encouragement and motivation to do good as they become more and more passionate about their faith. Atheism seems to cause more and more logical and intellectual problems for moral living as it is more and more passionately lived.

Please continue to help me understand.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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December 10th, 2011 at 4:47:42 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

In denying God or some form of divinity the only conclusion I can see is eventually a cold meaningless death.



As opposed to a warm meaningful death? Why does everything
have to be so black and white with you. If its not one way, it
has to be the complete opposite. Is there no gray area? Atheism
is not a hardcore religion, its not a hardcore anything. Death for
an atheist is the same as death for a Christian, whatever happens,
it happens to everybody. Only to you, there's some kind of reward
for playing the Parker Bros board game called 'Christianity', and
atheists are under no such delusion.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Face
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Face
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December 10th, 2011 at 4:57:36 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

But finding oneself is a lot more difficult than finding God. It is easy to give oneself over to religion and to behave according to a predefined code of conduct. "Islam" literally (sorry Dorothy) means "to surrender the will to Allah". It is much harder, and requires quite a bit more thought, to determine for oneself what conduct is appropriate without relying on someone else to tell you what to think or how to act.



I tend to agree. Having no beacon, no shining light to lead me, in the pursuit of my own self was difficult. IS difficult. And in the course I became lost, got beat up, felt defeat, experienced despair. At times I STILL do. Sometimes I take pride in the thought that I did it alone, without a "crutch", without a benevolent Father cheering me on from the above. But I also realize those feelings are subjective and biased.

FrGamble, before these last few weeks of discussion, might well have thought athieism is easy. Just do what you want, whenever you feel like it. Kind of sounds like heaven, but we know it to be different. As a result of seeing his error in thinking, I don't feel it's fair to label religion as "taking the easy way out", especially when I have a hard time understanding it and therefore cannot empathize, cannot judge it fairly. I could be making the error I just saw him make. I imagine they, too, must struggle within their own beliefs, to find meaning, to connect the dots.

So we talk. We all feel our individual struggles are the worst and our accomplishments the most rewarding. And we're all right. We could argue over opinions, and we will, it's almost irresistable. But prioritizing arguing over sharing and contemplation seems kind of disservicing to ourselves. These recent discussions seem much more of the sharing and contemplation type, as opposed to the arguing type of whether or not there is a God. I like these ones better, for there is little to learn from the unknowable.
The opinions of this moderator are for entertainment purposes only.
belleepoque
belleepoque
Joined: Dec 9, 2011
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December 10th, 2011 at 4:59:32 PM permalink
That was hysterical. Im buying his book tomorrow...
FrGamble
FrGamble
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December 10th, 2011 at 5:07:30 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Atheism is not a hardcore religion, its not a hardcore anything. Death for
an atheist is the same as death for a Christian,...



This part of your answer actually helps. Remember I am purposely drawing things out to their furthest conclusions where only the hardcore are going to want to go. Again I think my mistake is that I am thought atheists hold their positions as strongly as hardcore religious freaks like me, but I am beginning to see that this would be very hard for an atheist to do.

My friend, death couldn't be more different for an atheist and a Christian. For a Christian life is not ended it is changed as we are warmly embraced by God for all eternity. For a hardcore atheist life is an end and that is all.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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December 10th, 2011 at 5:25:32 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

My friend, death couldn't be more different for an atheist and a Christian.



Please don't state your beliefs as hardcore facts. You hope
its different, you have no proof of anything. Belief without
proof is the cement that holds your religion together. The
true 'believers' get rewarded. If it was as clear as turing on
a light bulb, what would be the point of having the religion
at all. There's nobody going around trying to make people
believe in electricity, we can all plainly see it exists.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal

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