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The Atheist's Belief in God

s-anthony
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9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.

This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God? This, on its surface, I must admit sounds ludicrous. For, how can one who professes no belief in God actually believe in God?

Maybe the answer to that is found in that which we describe as God; or, maybe our meaning of God is too exclusive. All too often, we as finite beings see things in a very limited manner. Of course, we profess to know things exclusively; and, in fact we do. However, it's our very exclusive knowledge which prevents us from seeing things as others do; and, this in turn allows us to describe and label things in limited terminology. As a collective, we have done this with the concept of God. We have taken very distinct measures to rope off and divide that which we define as God. However, the atheist does not see things as we do; and, he, or she, seeing something different or from a different perspective does not equate his, or her, ideas with our very limited definition of God. So, from the atheist's perspective, there is no god.

As we become broader minded and our definition of God takes on a greater inclusiveness, maybe to that degree atheism will take on less relevance.

However, I believe as long as we finite beings exist there will be misunderstandings; and, as long as there are misunderstandings of the immensity of God, atheism and theism will continue to exist.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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9/8/2015 1:19:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.

This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God? This, on its surface, I must admit sounds ludicrous. For, how can one who professes no belief in God actually believe in God?

Maybe the answer to that is found in that which we describe as God; or, maybe our meaning of God is too exclusive. All too often, we as finite beings see things in a very limited manner. Of course, we profess to know things exclusively; and, in fact we do. However, it's our very exclusive knowledge which prevents us from seeing things as others do; and, this in turn allows us to describe and label things in limited terminology. As a collective, we have done this with the concept of God. We have taken very distinct measures to rope off and divide that which we define as God. However, the atheist does not see things as we do; and, he, or she, seeing something different or from a different perspective does not equate his, or her, ideas with our very limited definition of God. So, from the atheist's perspective, there is no god.

As we become broader minded and our definition of God takes on a greater inclusiveness, maybe to that degree atheism will take on less relevance.

However, I believe as long as we finite beings exist there will be misunderstandings; and, as long as there are misunderstandings of the immensity of God, atheism and theism will continue to exist.

If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.
RuvDraba
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9/8/2015 1:40:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.
This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God?

Deists often call the imputed creator of the universe 'God', though they reject the idea that the creator responds to worship, admits sacred theology, offers revelation and punishes or rewards anyone.

So in other words, their creator is sometimes called 'God', but doesn't act as a god, and isn't invoked as one.

In this respect then, Deists can be described as nontheists who believe in a creator, but worship no god.
s-anthony
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9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance. A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief. Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence; in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.
dhardage
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9/8/2015 2:20:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species

The thousands, if not millions, of people killed in the name of religion might dispute that, as well as those kept in slavery with religion justifying it and those denied basic human dignity because they are of a different religion. I could go on but I'm sure you get my point.

, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance.

Only in your view.

A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief.

Unadulterated crap. Look at the immense variety of beliefs that have existed and still exist today.

Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence;

Unsupported by any factual evidence.

in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.

As if they haven't always been? We are like every other species on this planet, trying to survive in the face of the environmental dangers we face. That danger includes other humans. In order to do that, we have become a social species that uses the power of numbers, be it in family groups, tribes, villages, cities, etc. to multiply our strength. We have developed certain rules for living in groups, many of them common to most humans because we all have the same basic set of needs. That's our commonality, we are all members of this species. All your comments about a 'common belief' being necessary are neither demonstrably correct or even superficially valid if one only looks at the entirety of the human race and not just the little piece we happen to have contact with.
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,598
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9/8/2015 2:34:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance. A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief. Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence; in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.

We do have something that unites us, it's us and our survival on this planet, which is far more important than any invisible make believe entities. The common source is mankind, it is the one and only source that drives our responsibility to each other. The only people who think we are all meaningless and self-serving are those who would much rather alienate themselves from mankind and do nothing at all, they are indeed the ones who are meaningless and self-serving.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
s-anthony
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9/8/2015 3:57:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Deists often call the imputed creator of the universe 'God', though they reject the idea that the creator responds to worship, admits sacred theology, offers revelation and punishes or rewards anyone.

So in other words, their creator is sometimes called 'God', but doesn't act as a god, and isn't invoked as one.

Sorry, but whether or not an actual god exists and the manner of that god's existence, for me, is immaterial.

The intention of my post is not to prove or disprove anything. However, it's to explain the significance of a phenomenon that has existed throughout recorded history; and, that's the belief in God.

You may say people have differences of opinion on the meaning, and significance, of God; and, that's perfectly alright. These differences have gone into the creation of various and diverse collectives.

Being we are a social species, being a collective is a survival mechanism.
An atheist may say we have other commonalities that bind us together, and, therefore, the idea of God is not needed. However, without religion, I believe these other commonalities are distinctly utilitarian and solely self-serving. In seeing ourselves as isolated particles in a soulless universe, our solitary goal becomes the preservation of our selves. In other words, we become uniquely selfish.

Selfishness is not innately evil; yet, alone and without the equilibrating mechanism of altruism leads to our destruction.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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9/8/2015 4:34:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 3:57:25 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Deists often call the imputed creator of the universe 'God', though they reject the idea that the creator responds to worship, admits sacred theology, offers revelation and punishes or rewards anyone.

So in other words, their creator is sometimes called 'God', but doesn't act as a god, and isn't invoked as one.

Sorry, but whether or not an actual god exists and the manner of that god's existence, for me, is immaterial.

The intention of my post is not to prove or disprove anything. However, it's to explain the significance of a phenomenon that has existed throughout recorded history; and, that's the belief in God.

You may say people have differences of opinion on the meaning, and significance, of God; and, that's perfectly alright. These differences have gone into the creation of various and diverse collectives.

Being we are a social species, being a collective is a survival mechanism.
An atheist may say we have other commonalities that bind us together, and, therefore, the idea of God is not needed. However, without religion, I believe these other commonalities are distinctly utilitarian and solely self-serving. In seeing ourselves as isolated particles in a soulless universe, our solitary goal becomes the preservation of our selves. In other words, we become uniquely selfish.

How is a belief in a god, any god, who answers our prayers to smite our enemies and carve us out a homeland by taking it from others not selfish? Your reasoning is totally flawed in that the belief in any god is always selfish, always top benefit ourselves and if others are included, that's ok too unless they are different from us. You've completely ignored a lot of data on your way to your conclusion.

Selfishness is not innately evil; yet, alone and without the equilibrating mechanism of altruism leads to our destruction.
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,598
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9/8/2015 5:29:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 3:57:25 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Deists often call the imputed creator of the universe 'God', though they reject the idea that the creator responds to worship, admits sacred theology, offers revelation and punishes or rewards anyone.

So in other words, their creator is sometimes called 'God', but doesn't act as a god, and isn't invoked as one.

Sorry, but whether or not an actual god exists and the manner of that god's existence, for me, is immaterial.

The intention of my post is not to prove or disprove anything. However, it's to explain the significance of a phenomenon that has existed throughout recorded history; and, that's the belief in God.

You may say people have differences of opinion on the meaning, and significance, of God; and, that's perfectly alright. These differences have gone into the creation of various and diverse collectives.

Being we are a social species, being a collective is a survival mechanism.
An atheist may say we have other commonalities that bind us together, and, therefore, the idea of God is not needed. However, without religion, I believe these other commonalities are distinctly utilitarian and solely self-serving. In seeing ourselves as isolated particles in a soulless universe, our solitary goal becomes the preservation of our selves. In other words, we become uniquely selfish.

LOL. That is hilarious, you say that the preservation of mankind is selfish and that's it far more important we sit around gazing at our navels as the world goes to pot. Indeed, the damage religions cause mankind is glaringly obvious in your lack of reasoning.

Selfishness is not innately evil; yet, alone and without the equilibrating mechanism of altruism leads to our destruction.

The mechanism you refer IS mankind, not some imaginary sky daddy.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
PureX
Posts: 1,522
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9/8/2015 6:55:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.

This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God? This, on its surface, I must admit sounds ludicrous. For, how can one who professes no belief in God actually believe in God?

Maybe the answer to that is found in that which we describe as God; or, maybe our meaning of God is too exclusive. All too often, we as finite beings see things in a very limited manner. Of course, we profess to know things exclusively; and, in fact we do. However, it's our very exclusive knowledge which prevents us from seeing things as others do; and, this in turn allows us to describe and label things in limited terminology. As a collective, we have done this with the concept of God. We have taken very distinct measures to rope off and divide that which we define as God. However, the atheist does not see things as we do; and, he, or she, seeing something different or from a different perspective does not equate his, or her, ideas with our very limited definition of God. So, from the atheist's perspective, there is no god.

As we become broader minded and our definition of God takes on a greater inclusiveness, maybe to that degree atheism will take on less relevance.

However, I believe as long as we finite beings exist there will be misunderstandings; and, as long as there are misunderstandings of the immensity of God, atheism and theism will continue to exist.

Despite all the guffaws from the chimps, I think this is a very astute observation. Ultimately, "God" is a kind of 'uber-ideal' that transcends all of our various conceptualization of it; including both the atheist's and the theist's individualized conceptions. So that at some point, these seemingly contradictory viewpoints become just two different perspectives of the same phenomenological experience.
DanneJeRusse
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9/8/2015 8:00:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 6:55:22 PM, PureX wrote:
At 9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.

This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God? This, on its surface, I must admit sounds ludicrous. For, how can one who professes no belief in God actually believe in God?

Maybe the answer to that is found in that which we describe as God; or, maybe our meaning of God is too exclusive. All too often, we as finite beings see things in a very limited manner. Of course, we profess to know things exclusively; and, in fact we do. However, it's our very exclusive knowledge which prevents us from seeing things as others do; and, this in turn allows us to describe and label things in limited terminology. As a collective, we have done this with the concept of God. We have taken very distinct measures to rope off and divide that which we define as God. However, the atheist does not see things as we do; and, he, or she, seeing something different or from a different perspective does not equate his, or her, ideas with our very limited definition of God. So, from the atheist's perspective, there is no god.

As we become broader minded and our definition of God takes on a greater inclusiveness, maybe to that degree atheism will take on less relevance.

However, I believe as long as we finite beings exist there will be misunderstandings; and, as long as there are misunderstandings of the immensity of God, atheism and theism will continue to exist.

Despite all the guffaws from the chimps, I think this is a very astute observation. Ultimately, "God" is a kind of 'uber-ideal' that transcends all of our various conceptualization of it; including both the atheist's and the theist's individualized conceptions. So that at some point, these seemingly contradictory viewpoints become just two different perspectives of the same phenomenological experience.

Interesting, so the nothingness experienced by us chimps is the same thing that represents a transcending 'uber-ideal' for believers.

I'll have another banana, please.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
s-anthony
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9/8/2015 8:17:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species

The thousands, if not millions, of people killed in the name of religion might dispute that, as well as those kept in slavery with religion justifying it and those denied basic human dignity because they are of a different religion. I could go on but I'm sure you get my point.

I believe religion only reflects the heartfelt intentions of its collective.

Religion is a means of procuring a collective for the sake of survival. Groups, or collectives, fight with each other for the same reasons individuals fight with each other. The group, or collective, has interests it is trying to preserve. In the collective these interests are codified into the creation of a moral code. The morality of a group is not randomly, or arbitrarily, selected. Each moral value goes to the preservation of the collective's ideals.

As national barriers diminish in significance and through communication the collective becomes more universal, the interests of the collective becomes more diverse. The morality of the group becomes less restrictive. Greater assimilation into the collective changes the dynamics of the group.

Groups that hold too fast to rigid laws lose touch not only with societies, at large, but also with their constituencies. It is in the groups best interest to diversify, however, to an extent; too much diversity could weaken the group's identity and its relevance in the world.
dhardage
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9/8/2015 8:48:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 8:17:42 PM, s-anthony wrote:
I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species

The thousands, if not millions, of people killed in the name of religion might dispute that, as well as those kept in slavery with religion justifying it and those denied basic human dignity because they are of a different religion. I could go on but I'm sure you get my point.

I believe religion only reflects the heartfelt intentions of its collective.

Religion is a means of procuring a collective for the sake of survival.

One potential means, not the only one.

Groups, or collectives, fight with each other for the same reasons individuals fight with each other. The group, or collective, has interests it is trying to preserve. In the collective these interests are codified into the creation of a moral code. The morality of a group is not randomly, or arbitrarily, selected. Each moral value goes to the preservation of the collective's ideals.

No, they're not. Some of our 'morals' are handed down by primitive societies and interpreted by those desiring to control us and these so-called 'morals' are just atavistic hangovers.

As national barriers diminish in significance and through communication the collective becomes more universal, the interests of the collective becomes more diverse. The morality of the group becomes less restrictive. Greater assimilation into the collective changes the dynamics of the group.

Groups that hold too fast to rigid laws lose touch not only with societies, at large, but also with their constituencies.

And religion is a perfect example, primarily the monotheistic Abrahamic religions that continue to try and enforce a code of conduct made for a semi-nomadic tribe living around four millennia ago.

It is in the groups best interest to diversify, however, to an extent; too much diversity could weaken the group's identity and its relevance in the world.

When the group becomes all inclusive we may finally realize that we all have the same interests and that only by acting as a single unit can we realize it to the greatest extent for everyone.
one_love
Posts: 41
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9/8/2015 9:08:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 12:58:43 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Socrates was condemned by the Ancient Greeks as an atheist. However, to the ancient mind, atheism was not the disbelief in God but the disbelief in the gods of one's collective.

This compels me to wonder about the idea of modern atheism. Is it possible for one to be an atheist and also a believer in God? This, on its surface, I must admit sounds ludicrous. For, how can one who professes no belief in God actually believe in God?

Maybe the answer to that is found in that which we describe as God; or, maybe our meaning of God is too exclusive. All too often, we as finite beings see things in a very limited manner. Of course, we profess to know things exclusively; and, in fact we do. However, it's our very exclusive knowledge which prevents us from seeing things as others do; and, this in turn allows us to describe and label things in limited terminology. As a collective, we have done this with the concept of God. We have taken very distinct measures to rope off and divide that which we define as God. However, the atheist does not see things as we do; and, he, or she, seeing something different or from a different perspective does not equate his, or her, ideas with our very limited definition of God. So, from the atheist's perspective, there is no god.

As we become broader minded and our definition of God takes on a greater inclusiveness, maybe to that degree atheism will take on less relevance.

However, I believe as long as we finite beings exist there will be misunderstandings; and, as long as there are misunderstandings of the immensity of God, atheism and theism will continue to exist. : :

I am witnessing to several atheists who listen intently to the voice of God. It's very difficult for them to trust the voice of God because of the false gospels of Christianity that Christians have been preaching since the heathens began stealing the words from God's saints who were preaching the true gospel.
s-anthony
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9/8/2015 10:50:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
We do have something that unites us, it's us and our survival on this planet, which is far more important than any invisible make believe entities. The common source is mankind, it is the one and only source that drives our responsibility to each other. The only people who think we are all meaningless and self-serving are those who would much rather alienate themselves from mankind and do nothing at all, they are indeed the ones who are meaningless and self-serving.

Even though I believe in self-preservation, I believe a strictly materialistic view of the world promotes the individual's needs over the needs of the collective.

To some extent, selfishness is admirable, being an individual is in competition to a degree against others. Either the individual is a collectivist or an individualist; no one is completely both. Being slightly in one direction or another is beneficial to society.

However, as one takes it to the extreme, division and conflict goes into defining his, or her, relationships with others. In American politics, this has become evident as libertarian Congressional members in many cases have brought the legislative process to a halt. An inability to compromise is just as stifling as an inability to decide. The reason I use the illustration of extreme libertarianism in Congress is for the fact libertarianism is extreme individualism.

As we become isolated from each other through materialism, our ability to move forward as a society, or collective, becomes stifled, personal morality displaces collective values, the needs and interests of the individual become paramount at the expense of society as a whole.

Placing value in yourself is not a problem as long as you also see value in the collective; it is only as you become blinded by self-interests are you made a tumor in the organism that is society.
one_love
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9/8/2015 11:10:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 10:50:50 PM, s-anthony wrote:
We do have something that unites us, it's us and our survival on this planet, which is far more important than any invisible make believe entities. The common source is mankind, it is the one and only source that drives our responsibility to each other. The only people who think we are all meaningless and self-serving are those who would much rather alienate themselves from mankind and do nothing at all, they are indeed the ones who are meaningless and self-serving.

Even though I believe in self-preservation, I believe a strictly materialistic view of the world promotes the individual's needs over the needs of the collective.

To some extent, selfishness is admirable, being an individual is in competition to a degree against others. Either the individual is a collectivist or an individualist; no one is completely both. Being slightly in one direction or another is beneficial to society.

However, as one takes it to the extreme, division and conflict goes into defining his, or her, relationships with others. In American politics, this has become evident as libertarian Congressional members in many cases have brought the legislative process to a halt. An inability to compromise is just as stifling as an inability to decide. The reason I use the illustration of extreme libertarianism in Congress is for the fact libertarianism is extreme individualism.

As we become isolated from each other through materialism, our ability to move forward as a society, or collective, becomes stifled, personal morality displaces collective values, the needs and interests of the individual become paramount at the expense of society as a whole.

Placing value in yourself is not a problem as long as you also see value in the collective; it is only as you become blinded by self-interests are you made a tumor in the organism that is society. : :

The Beast is responsible for materialism that make men worship the Beast. Without the Beast, God wouldn't have been able to teach us about the future or how he created everything.
Skepticalone
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9/8/2015 11:26:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 3:57:25 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Deists often call the imputed creator of the universe 'God', though they reject the idea that the creator responds to worship, admits sacred theology, offers revelation and punishes or rewards anyone.

So in other words, their creator is sometimes called 'God', but doesn't act as a god, and isn't invoked as one.

Sorry, but whether or not an actual god exists and the manner of that god's existence, for me, is immaterial.

*No pun intended* ;-)

The intention of my post is not to prove or disprove anything. However, it's to explain the significance of a phenomenon that has existed throughout recorded history; and, that's the belief in God.

You may say people have differences of opinion on the meaning, and significance, of God; and, that's perfectly alright. These differences have gone into the creation of various and diverse collectives.

Being we are a social species, being a collective is a survival mechanism.
An atheist may say we have other commonalities that bind us together, and, therefore, the idea of God is not needed. However, without religion, I believe these other commonalities are distinctly utilitarian and solely self-serving. In seeing ourselves as isolated particles in a soulless universe, our solitary goal becomes the preservation of our selves. In other words, we become uniquely selfish.

Selfishness is not innately evil; yet, alone and without the equilibrating mechanism of altruism leads to our destruction.

I believe an argument could be made for the earliest forms of altruism being completely self serving. Giving resources to offspring, family members, and the population ultimately benefits the individual.

The idea of pattern recognition being beneficial to the survival of our ancestors and misinterpreted patterns being attributed to a special being more powerful than us resonates with me. Pattern recognition kept us one step ahead of animals more powerful than us. Is it any wonder that we would conceive of a most powerful being because of it?
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
DanneJeRusse
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9/9/2015 1:41:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 10:50:50 PM, s-anthony wrote:
We do have something that unites us, it's us and our survival on this planet, which is far more important than any invisible make believe entities. The common source is mankind, it is the one and only source that drives our responsibility to each other. The only people who think we are all meaningless and self-serving are those who would much rather alienate themselves from mankind and do nothing at all, they are indeed the ones who are meaningless and self-serving.

Even though I believe in self-preservation, I believe a strictly materialistic view of the world promotes the individual's needs over the needs of the collective.

It would help we spoke the same language so as to be able to communicate effectively. A"materialistic view" makes no sense, why not just use the common word, "reality" so that we both know what it is we're talking about.

You, me and everyone else on the planet has to deal with reality one way or another and the more we work together to make reality better, the more united we'll become. And, since reality is all there is, we should probably make the best of it for all of us.

And no, reality does not promote the individual needs over the needs of the collective, that makes no sense. It is our decision to promote whatever needs we think are required for everyone, not just ourselves.

To some extent, selfishness is admirable, being an individual is in competition to a degree against others. Either the individual is a collectivist or an individualist; no one is completely both. Being slightly in one direction or another is beneficial to society.

We can easily be both, working for ourselves and the welfare of others, it all depends on what people want. We don't have to be in competition unless we want to be. These are all free choice decisions we can make.

However, as one takes it to the extreme, division and conflict goes into defining his, or her, relationships with others. In American politics, this has become evident as libertarian Congressional members in many cases have brought the legislative process to a halt.

Yes, that would be the Republican right who refuses to work together, they would much rather be selfish and not help the people or the country, but instead are in it for their own personal agendas.

An inability to compromise is just as stifling as an inability to decide. The reason I use the illustration of extreme libertarianism in Congress is for the fact libertarianism is extreme individualism.

Here is the definition of Libertarianism: a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

Sorry, but it would appear that definition does not agree with your personal version.

As we become isolated from each other through materialism, our ability to move forward as a society, or collective, becomes stifled, personal morality displaces collective values, the needs and interests of the individual become paramount at the expense of society as a whole.

Sorry, but you're using the word materialism again, which makes no sense. Reality is the word you refer and it does not promote what you claim by any stretch of the imagination.

Placing value in yourself is not a problem as long as you also see value in the collective; it is only as you become blinded by self-interests are you made a tumor in the organism that is society.

Yes, I see the value of the collective, but religions do not, they seek to divide us and remain intolerant to others, this is our reality. Non-believers, on the other hand wish to unite all people together so we can make a better world, but unfortunately, religions will never allow that.

You were saying about God?
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
s-anthony
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9/9/2015 2:11:49 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
How is a belief in a god, any god, who answers our prayers to smite our enemies and carve us out a homeland by taking it from others not selfish? Your reasoning is totally flawed in that the belief in any god is always selfish, always top benefit ourselves and if others are included, that's ok too unless they are different from us. You've completely ignored a lot of data on your way to your conclusion.

In using the adjective, selfish, I am making a distinction between the self and the group, in other words, to define one's intentions and interests as opposed to the intentions and interests of the collective.

However, in saying that, I am not dismissing your point. The group, itself, consists of many different egos that collectively form the ego of the collective. So, in this sense, the group is a larger self that transcends the individual; it too has selfish tendencies; however, it allows each of its members to develop interests and intentions that transcend them, as separate individuals.

The capacity for transcendence is essential to the development of our species. Throughout our history, smaller groups have evolved into ever larger groups. Tribes, clans, and serfdoms for the most part have become things of the past. We have overgrown our borders and have developed into cities, states, and countries. We have traversed oceans and planted new civilizations on foreign soil. Within modern history, we have conquered the seven seas with ocean liners, traveled at record breaking speeds with aircraft, and have explored the deepest regions of the known universe with advance technologies.

These feats were not accomplished individually but collectively. Alone and blinded by self-interests, we can do very little; together, as collectives, we can conquer both Earth and heaven with the knowledge of gods.
s-anthony
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9/10/2015 3:30:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
LOL. That is hilarious, you say that the preservation of mankind is selfish and that's it far more important we sit around gazing at our navels as the world goes to pot. Indeed, the damage religions cause mankind is glaringly obvious in your lack of reasoning.

I use selfishness as it applies to the self.

Selfishness, in and of itself, I don't believe is an unhealthy thing; in fact, the preservation of oneself can be a very good thing.

However, I believe an unhealthy obsession with one's needs and interests to the point of excess can be very wasteful.

Considering the needs and interests of others not only reduces incidences of wastes in the form of excess but also encourages cooperation among the members of society, which not only helps the individual but advances societal growth in many different areas.

In speaking of religion, I am making reference to collective values symbolized and illustrated by archetypes and motifs. These symbols and illustrations have deep psychological significance that speaks of a world beyond the purely rational.

The materialist sees the world, primarily, in a logical, or reasonable manner, filtering everything through one's capacity to rationalize. Those things that seem irrational, or contradict logic, are at best looked at as being suspicious and at worst completely denounced as false.

The problem with this is those things we fail to understand are often interpreted as being illogical. It's, only, in the light of understanding do things begin to make sense. Saying irrational, or unreasonable, things are not apart of that which is real is to dismiss a large part of our own experience. However, you may say certain things may only give the appearance of being illogical yet in fact as we grow in understanding we discover their reasonableness, after all.

For something to appear as something it is not, a dynamic between the observer and the thing being observed must occur. In other words, the observation is a bringing together of two phenomena. The observer may incorrectly view the thing being observed by one's own faulty faculties and imagine it to be something it is not; however, this imagining is partly inspired by the thing being observed. So, you may conclude the absurdity does not originate with the thing being observed but the observer; the thing is completely logical, in and of itself; however, the observation is distorted. Without the two phenomena, the observer and the thing being observed, there is no observation. Two parts to every equation are equally important; one is not a complete sentence without the other. You may say absurdity does not exist in reality; however the observation does not exist without it. Without the unreality of one's imagination and the realness of the thing being observed, the equation is incomplete. In other words, the observation is made impossible.

Our brains are comprised of both rational and emotional components, or things that we think and things that we feel. Often times, that which we think is true and that which we feel is true are out of sync and we become conflicted. This becomes most apparent in religious people. Science says one thing while their religion says something else. As a rationalist, one interprets this to mean either the religionist is delusional or he, or she, is being deceptive. I do not believe the religionist, in most cases, is trying to deceive anyone; I believe he, or she, is being true to one's feelings at the expense of that which he, or she, knows. However, on the other hand, the skeptic puts more faith in reason than he, or she, does in one's emotions, thinking with one's head at the expense of one's heart. These two different means of perception may not be apparent to either the religionist or the skeptic, respectively speaking, because in the religionist the rational brain is suppressed and in the skeptic the emotional brain is suppressed. However, as Carl Jung once said, "What you resist, persists." In other words, that which we actively suppress does not go away. It goes to the destabilization of our conscious minds and in turn creates conflicted personalities which create conflicted worlds. This is the reason for such heated debate among those who represent opposite extremes.

The goal in life should not be to live in the extremes but to drift towards one's center of gravity; for, in so doing, our lives become less destabilized and more centered. To center oneself, completely, brings a silence that is deadly; but, to hover near one's center creates just enough instability to manufacture motion without causing one to fall apart.
s-anthony
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9/10/2015 1:22:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Despite all the guffaws from the chimps, I think this is a very astute observation. Ultimately, "God" is a kind of 'uber-ideal' that transcends all of our various conceptualization of it; including both the atheist's and the theist's individualized conceptions. So that at some point, these seemingly contradictory viewpoints become just two different perspectives of the same phenomenological experience.

I agree completely.

However, I'm wrestling with the idea of our experiences of God being phenomenological. For me, the world of phenomena is the world of the bodily senses, a world defined by space and time, in other words, the physical, or material, world. However, I believe God is a metaphysical concept that cannot be experienced in this way.

Maybe our redefining of God or our fashioning of God in our own image is a phenomenal mechanism, whereby, to make sense of that which is beyond logic or to relate to God in a phenomenal way, but just because we can measure out that which is beyond measure does not mean it is measurable in its entirety.

I know that which I just said sounds as though a contradiction, in terms; and, it is. Life is full of contradictions and thusly disagreements. For instance, the concept of infinity is something beyond our ability to measure out, or define. However, in giving the concept meaning, we are in fact defining it. The same applies to an immeasurable or metaphysical God. We experience God, as you said, partly, but not entirely. This goes to the nature of our disagreements about God. A classic example in the phenomenal world of that which appears to be a contradiction is the very nature of light. To us, light appears to travel in space and time; it is a physical property. However, if light were conscious, it would neither experience space nor time; the moment of emission would be the exact moment of absorption.
PureX
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9/10/2015 1:31:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 8:00:18 PM, DanneJeRusse wrote:

I'll have another banana, please.

Of course you will.
PureX
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9/10/2015 2:16:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 10:50:50 PM, s-anthony wrote:

Even though I believe in self-preservation, I believe a strictly materialistic view of the world promotes the individual's needs over the needs of the collective.

To some extent, selfishness is admirable, being an individual is in competition to a degree against others. Either the individual is a collectivist or an individualist; no one is completely both. Being slightly in one direction or another is beneficial to society.

However, as one takes it to the extreme, division and conflict goes into defining his, or her, relationships with others. In American politics, this has become evident as libertarian Congressional members in many cases have brought the legislative process to a halt. An inability to compromise is just as stifling as an inability to decide. The reason I use the illustration of extreme libertarianism in Congress is for the fact libertarianism is extreme individualism.

As we become isolated from each other through materialism, our ability to move forward as a society, or collective, becomes stifled, personal morality displaces collective values, the needs and interests of the individual become paramount at the expense of society as a whole.

Placing value in yourself is not a problem as long as you also see value in the collective; it is only as you become blinded by self-interests are you made a tumor in the organism that is society.

Excellent post!

To seek enlightenment, or self-awareness, is to seek the unification and fulfillment of both ideals: the self, and the collective. "Truth" is what is. It is the totality of being. To seek the truth, then, is to seek an understanding of (or alignment with) this totality of being.

Both the atheist and the theist are part of the whole of what is. They are both aspects of that totality of being. So that they are both aspects of The Truth. And as our understanding of the whole becomes clearer, these two apparently opposite perceptions will unify. In fact, if we are seeking knowledge of or ligament with the truth, we are seeking the unification of these apparent opposing perspectives.
Otokage
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9/10/2015 2:37:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance. A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief. Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence; in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.

You are also a christian by mere coincidence, and you will fall in love with someone u met by a mere coincidence too. Your very gestation and pregnancy of your beloved mother, can be reduced to a succesion of mere coincidences. Why do some christians believe coincidences lack value? Coincidences are the very fundations of our lives and of life.
dhardage
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9/10/2015 2:39:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 2:37:37 PM, Otokage wrote:
At 9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance. A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief. Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence; in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.

You are also a christian by mere coincidence, and you will fall in love with someone u met by a mere coincidence too. Your very gestation and pregnancy of your beloved mother, can be reduced to a succesion of mere coincidences. Why do some christians believe coincidences lack value? Coincidences are the very fundations of our lives and of life.

Because that would not make man 'special' or 'superior' to all the other life on this world and that scares them.
PureX
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9/10/2015 2:56:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 1:22:31 PM, s-anthony wrote:

I'm wrestling with the idea of our experiences of God being phenomenological. For me, the world of phenomena is the world of the bodily senses, a world defined by space and time, in other words, the physical, or material, world. However, I believe God is a metaphysical concept that cannot be experienced in this way.

Perception is both the sensual input coming into our brains through our bodies, AND the intellectual organization that our brains apply to that physical input. So that this idea that we humans tend to hold on to about there being an "objective" and "subjective" reality is mostly an illusion.

Both the tree and the man perceiving the tree are the same phenomenological reality.

Just as the tree creates a shadow in the sunlight on the ground beneath it, it also creates a perception/conception of itself in the mind of the man who sees it. His perception is part of the whole phenomena. And the unperceived tree is irrelevant.

Maybe our redefining of God or our fashioning of God in our own image is a phenomenal mechanism, whereby, to make sense of that which is beyond logic or to relate to God in a phenomenal way, but just because we can measure out that which is beyond measure does not mean it is measurable in its entirety.

That's exactly what's happening, and it's also what we so often forget, or just don't realize is happening. We confuse the reality of God (which transcends our perception) with our personal idea of God. And so we think our idea of God is some universal absolute truth that trumps all others. When it was always just our personal (limited and relative) idea of God.

I know that which I just said sounds as though a contradiction, in terms; and, it is. Life is full of contradictions and thusly disagreements. For instance, the concept of infinity is something beyond our ability to measure out, or define. However, in giving the concept meaning, we are in fact defining it. The same applies to an immeasurable or metaphysical God. We experience God, as you said, partly, but not entirely. This goes to the nature of our disagreements about God. A classic example in the phenomenal world of that which appears to be a contradiction is the very nature of light. To us, light appears to travel in space and time; it is a physical property. However, if light were conscious, it would neither experience space nor time; the moment of emission would be the exact moment of absorption.

The human condition is limited and relative, and our minds are functionally binary. While the truth is the whole of what is. So for we humans, the truth very often appears paradoxical.
Otokage
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9/10/2015 3:08:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 3:30:28 AM, s-anthony wrote:
LOL. That is hilarious, you say that the preservation of mankind is selfish and that's it far more important we sit around gazing at our navels as the world goes to pot. Indeed, the damage religions cause mankind is glaringly obvious in your lack of reasoning.

I use selfishness as it applies to the self.

Selfishness, in and of itself, I don't believe is an unhealthy thing; in fact, the preservation of oneself can be a very good thing.

However, I believe an unhealthy obsession with one's needs and interests to the point of excess can be very wasteful.

You talk as if being a Christian or an atheist actually changed your most basic values. Religion, or non-religion, is not THAT important. We already have a set of values we unconsciously extract from our personal experiences, way before we are aware of being atheists or Christians. Because of this, I bet most atheists and Christians would give their lives for the life of their mother, father or children. It has nothing to do with religion, as caring for others is not only a voluntary act. I can not help but caring about my family and friends, and it wouldn't matter how much I try to convince myself they are not important. And, since I'm an atheist, I guess I'm demonstrating that I do not care that much about my personal well being, and therefore I'm proving you wrong.

Considering the needs and interests of others not only reduces incidences of wastes in the form of excess but also encourages cooperation among the members of society, which not only helps the individual but advances societal growth in many different areas.

Considering the needs and interests of others is something a lot of animals do, meaning religion has nothing to do with that behaviour: it simply is evolutionary advantageous. Like orcas, chimps, wolves, etc. we are hard-wired to be care about others, and it doesn't matter if you are religious or not: you can not help it.

In speaking of religion, I am making reference to collective values symbolized and illustrated by archetypes and motifs. These symbols and illustrations have deep psychological significance that speaks of a world beyond the purely rational.

Not everyone agrees with the archetypes and motifs and values of religion. Nietzsche destroys that very concept in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and I encourage you to read it.

The materialist sees the world, primarily, in a logical, or reasonable manner, filtering everything through one's capacity to rationalize. Those things that seem irrational, or contradict logic, are at best looked at as being suspicious and at worst completely denounced as false.

That doesn't make a lot of sense imo. Science, and especially physics, is full of theories that are strikingly counter-intuitive, yet nobody claims they are false because of this. A theory doesn't need to be intuitive to be seen as correct, but simply needs a reasonable amount of evidence.

The problem with this is those things we fail to understand are often interpreted as being illogical.

That's the logic of the lazy. Please don't put us on the same sack.

It's, only, in the light of understanding do things begin to make sense. Saying irrational, or unreasonable, things are not apart of that which is real is to dismiss a large part of our own experience. However, you may say certain things may only give the appearance of being illogical yet in fact as we grow in understanding we discover their reasonableness, after all.

For something to appear as something it is not, a dynamic between the observer and the thing being observed must occur. In other words, the observation is a bringing together of two phenomena. The observer may incorrectly view the thing being observed by one's own faulty faculties and imagine it to be something it is not; however, this imagining is partly inspired by the thing being observed. So, you may conclude the absurdity does not originate with the thing being observed but the observer; the thing is completely logical, in and of itself; however, the observation is distorted. Without the two phenomena, the observer and the thing being observed, there is no observation. Two parts to every equation are equally important; one is not a complete sentence without the other. You may say absurdity does not exist in reality; however the observation does not exist without it. Without the unreality of one's imagination and the realness of the thing being observed, the equation is incomplete. In other words, the observation is made impossible.

That's why science never claims absolute truth about anything: it recognizes the subjectivity of observations and therefore the always-present possibility of an error.

Our brains are comprised of both rational and emotional components, or things that we think and things that we feel. Often times, that which we think is true and that which we feel is true are out of sync and we become conflicted. This becomes most apparent in religious people. Science says one thing while their religion says something else. As a rationalist, one interprets this to mean either the religionist is delusional or he, or she, is being deceptive. I do not believe the religionist, in most cases, is trying to deceive anyone; I believe he, or she, is being true to one's feelings at the expense of that which he, or she, knows.

I don't think religious people are trying to deceive anyone either, on purpose. I do think, however, they have been deceived and/or are deceiving themselves, therefore they can not help but deceive people while they profess their religion.

However, on the other hand, the skeptic puts more faith in reason than he, or she, does in one's emotions, thinking with one's head at the expense of one's heart. These two different means of perception may not be apparent to either the religionist or the skeptic, respectively speaking, because in the religionist the rational brain is suppressed and in the skeptic the emotional brain is suppressed.

That's a nice paragraph of poetry there. However, anybody who is educated in science knows hearts can not perceive, nor are the hormones responsible of our emotions meant to provide us with a deep understanding of the world, but simply to help us survive.

However, as Carl Jung once said, "What you resist, persists." In other words, that which we actively suppress does not go away. It goes to the destabilization of our conscious minds and in turn creates conflicted personalities which create conflicted worlds. This is the reason for such heated debate among those who represent opposite extremes.

So it is unhealty to practice the containment of our emotions? Buddhists, reportedly being some of the happiest people alive, might have something to say about that...

The goal in life should not be to live in the extremes but to drift towards one's center of gravity;

Following your emotions is, precisely, to not practice moderation.

for, in so doing, our lives become less destabilized and more centered. To center oneself, completely, brings a silence that is deadly; but, to hover near one's center creates just enough instability to manufacture motion without causing one to fall apart.
Otokage
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9/11/2015 10:56:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 2:39:35 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 9/10/2015 2:37:37 PM, Otokage wrote:
At 9/8/2015 2:10:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
If anything like that infinite thing you trying to define does exist, it would not even be aware of us and we would have no way to communicate with it or invoke its power to do anything. That's exactly the situation if no god exists so I fail to see either the relevance of your comments or the logic in them.

I think you've missed my point, entirely. Whether or not God actually exists is immaterial. Belief in God is to our benefit as a species, not to some deity's benefit who may or may not exist.

The reason I say that is this: If we see the world in a completely mechanistic way, meaning there is no "ghost in the machine", considering ourselves as nothing more than separate parts ruled by mere chance, our relationships with each other become distinctly utilitarian and fade in significance. A collective must have something that unites it; in other words, there must be a common belief. Saying there is no god is like saying there is no common source, we've evolved separately and randomly and any significance we have to each other is by mere coincidence; in other words, relationships and our responsibilities to each other become meaningless and arbitrary; they become entirely self-serving.

You are also a christian by mere coincidence, and you will fall in love with someone u met by a mere coincidence too. Your very gestation and pregnancy of your beloved mother, can be reduced to a succesion of mere coincidences. Why do some christians believe coincidences lack value? Coincidences are the very fundations of our lives and of life.

Because that would not make man 'special' or 'superior' to all the other life on this world and that scares them.

Indeed, because when mankind special status disappears, then suddenly a lot of christians would have no way to justify their cruelty against other people, animals, etc. How paradoxical, the only way these people can be kind, is to refuse to follow the allegedly "all loving God of kindness".
s-anthony
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9/11/2015 11:07:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Groups, or collectives, fight with each other for the same reasons individuals fight with each other. The group, or collective, has interests it is trying to preserve. In the collective these interests are codified into the creation of a moral code. The morality of a group is not randomly, or arbitrarily, selected. Each moral value goes to the preservation of the collective's ideals.

No, they're not. Some of our 'morals' are handed down by primitive societies and interpreted by those desiring to control us and these so-called 'morals' are just atavistic hangovers.

Whether atavistic or not, the moral code reflects the values of its respective collective. A value may seem out of touch with society in your eyes while being perfectly relevant to its adherents. Growing up, I was taught interracial marriages were sinful. However, today, the same, exact denomination teaches interracial marriages are alright. Growing up, I was taught women were to dress to certain standards, meaning that which was considered female attire for that generation. Now, the same denomination allows women to dress like everyone else. Moral codes do indeed change; however, those changes are made by consensus. If a church seems old-fashioned to you, maybe it is; but, to those who wish to adhere to those old-fashioned values do so because they find relevance in them.

When the group becomes all inclusive we may finally realize that we all have the same interests and that only by acting as a single unit can we realize it to the greatest extent for everyone.

As long as we have individual identities, we will continue to have separate interests.

For me, being part of a collective is good, however having a distinct personality is good, also.

The problem I see is as collectivism and individualism are each taken to the extremes, collectivism puts an unduly emphasis on the group while individualism puts too much significance on the individual. Neither the collective nor the individual should be sacrificed, one for the other; but, societies, cultures, and religions should learn to respect individual differences; and, individuals should learn to respect their respective collectives.