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Forums > Social Discussion > Atheism and agnosticism: A discussion.

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:The other thread has been hijacked enough so I have created this new one!

Here is the old thread.. it went off topic about halfway through (page 4ish depending on what your settings are like)

The basic discussions so far have been around the questions of...

Is it possible to rule out the existence of a higher power?

as well as a few tangents... I will edit this with more main points if need be.

Here is my latest response!

I don't have time to respond to the full thread right now, but I will respond to Mr. Joes question of

Originally Posted By: Mr_Joe What I'm asking basically is why you feel it's important that the possibility of a god is kept open, when to me it seems fundamentally useless or even destructive. What makes it positive for you?


Originally Posted By: simtabecause any right minded atheist would never be 100% about the non-existence of god because that belief makes you as ignorant as religious people.


Precisely!

Evidence is in the fact that I exist... remembering that evidence and proof are completely different things. I am here, therefore something created me, regardless of its nature it was either divine or non divine.

I don't want to close my mind off to any avenue of thought, to do so would be bland.

To make the point again, I am not religious... but I refuse to believe there is no god just as much as I refuse to believe there IS one simply because of a lack of proof to prove either case.

It makes it a lot more fun when I decide to have a ponder... I get to think up wild theories as to our own creation and the potential nature of the being that may have created us.

*********************************************
After reading the rest of the discussion...


On the point of miracles




HE'S HERE!

But on a more serious note...

Originally Posted By: Myncihere are atheists who believe there is no God but hold there is a possibility does this make them agnostic

This is a logical impossibility. If you believe there is no god you can't hold the possibility open, if the possibility is open you believe there probably is no god.

To sum up my overall point I will quote one of the great thinkers of our time...

Originally Posted By: hamamelisWhat evidence is there for a divine creator, that could not be equally well explained by science?

And to rephrase it... What evidence there is for a purely scientific view of creation could also be used for divine creation.

"Physics created everything we know" can be retorted with "Oh yeah? God created physics!"

Oh and...

Originally Posted By: NathanielBut I can't let this lie, battles of definition are important, definition is imperative to communication, and without effective communication, how can we accurately hold such discussions?

I feel like definition can be attained without squabbling over the definitions of just a few words, you can outline a concept without getting a grab on the particular word.

EDITED_BY: Mother_Natures_Son (1237507791)


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natasqi


natasqi

addict
Location: Perth

Total posts: 489
Posted:I don't believe in God.
I don't believe God exists.

If someone provide proof that God exists, then I will change my opinion. Like my opinion of everything really.

So I don't hold the possibility open.

I don't see how calling myself an atheist makes me ignorant.


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NathanielEverist
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 315
Posted:The weekend has just started, I'm not going to get into this whole theological discussion here, I just want to party. But I will say this:

Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_Son
I feel like definition can be attained without squabbling over the definitions of just a few words, you can outline a concept without getting a grab on the particular word.

Definition is important, tell me, how would we discuss something without definition? If we can't agree on what certain words mean, then discussion would be pointless, as misinterpretations would be rife. Especially when those words are pretty central to the discussion and they're being used in my mind, incorrectly. Understanding the meaning behind the words enables the reader to interpret them correctly. For instance, your usage of the word "squabble" implies that you feel discussing definition is petty and trivial, as if you're above that, which I find offensive. While I'm sure you didn't mean to cause offense, I do think you understand language enough to understand what you were insinuating. Without an understanding of definition, and to a greater extent, our language, a subtlety like that may be lost.


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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:I have two absolutely perfect examples for you right here, Nathaniel.

You've raised squabble as an example. You're right it does sound like I am implying its menial and petty, but this isn't what I intended!

Now I get to clarify my meaning.
squabble was the wrong word, I cannot recall why, but I was searching for a word, I think i was very tired being late or early or after I had been for a run, but before I went to class... So it came out incorrectly.

I meant that the definition can be attained without having to pin down a word when it seems that it is only definition of the word that holds people back from agreement.

I really honestly do apologise for the implied meaning and more to the point I thank you for bringing it to my attention... I dont know why I hadnt thought of the implied meaning and I intend to check the time so I can work out what I was doing at the time...

natasgi up there helped me note that a point in the article that implied that I thought the opposition was ignorant and this wasnt my intention and due I am not able to clarify that also!

Now, in situations that the slip is less extreme we are able to use what we know about one another in order to make a judgement about meaning...

You and I have spoken before, Nathaniel and I feel as though you have a feel for my nature which you demonstrate by saying "While I'm sure you didn't mean to cause offense". You did go on from tehre... and this can be explained by my tired and probably multi-tasking state. And I once again thank you for bringing it to my attention.


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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:ahh but I've spotted an recurring loop possibility

If good created physic it's highly possible that physics created what people call god. early man and fire worship (man worshiping physics misplaced as god) isn't entirely possible that religion has it backwards not god creating physics but physics creating god? (See science can play the same school yard games as religion reversing the god created science argument, but more plausibly) if physics didn't do it, then biology did and if biology didn't do it chemistry did. we can see the processes work out what will happen, divinity theory (as I feel religion should be called) has no explaination for their starting point other than god, who is paradoxical

back to a long winded poke at agnosticism wink although not a hard poke.

Sims article on the other thread mentions biological hardwiring to fear and put a face on the unknown (if a bush moves then run as it MAY be a predator and it's no use being right 9 out of 10 times when a little running is unlikely to hurt)
this makes belief a biological survival trait, it's highly possible that evolution the very theory thought to prove the non-existance of god is the same reason people believe because instinct wants an explanation of the unknown?

If you accept the above "could" be true then what you have now is a belief in an incorrect assuption that the unknown is god when some of those unknowns are now known. so why run from the bushes if we know whats there? we could be running INTO trouble, that very belief held on from a previous time could be the the very factor that deems humans "unfit" for survival through natural selection, the skittish beast who ran into trouble.

following the above theory, some unfounded belief is dangerous and by extension the belief in a possibility because if your not sure, you should run, whilst all the atheist sit there and welcome the rustle as a sexy prospective mate laugh3 (Before you say, yes certainty can be just as dangerous but correct certainty is good all it takes is one person to wait and be proved correct whereas uncertainty will always run from the answer)

what this also describes is fear of the unknown, different peoples or religions which would explain many of previous wars (on top of the obvious we want it we'll take it but if that was the only factor we would never make alliances with people we feel familiarity with like the U.S) which leads to racial and religious misunderstanding, which also occurs. this one theory can permeate through our current political and even local structures.

one question

do agnostics believe in the possiblility of monotheism, polytheism or both as being "possible"? or does someone only need to think 1 type is plausable? are all religions possibly true? a divinity which laid down a base said some rules then buggered off is a cause for worship why does everyone frown on parents who abandon children? aren't they following the example of the divine? is a god worth worship should be the starting point, if not, why argue for it's existance if it won't bother itself. (more a religion poke there than agnosticism)


EDITED_BY: Mynci (1237539346)
EDIT_REASON: addition


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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blu_valley
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

blu_valley

fluffy mess
Location: Brighton

Total posts: 197
Posted:I've tried my darndest to follow this thread but it's making me squint.( I blame you Mynci tongue2 )

I know you're trying to avoid defining so forgive this question, but I would really like an answer.What do you call a person who believes there defenitly is a god but doesnt really follow some sort of devised path, and is open to possibilities when it comes to the details? Is there a word for that?


"I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.." - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings

Total posts: 1182
Posted:even though you used my quote to give credence to agnosticism i still feel my position is atheism through lack of proof.

i don't think that (very) small possibility of there being a god means that i am agnostic. it just means i concede that i do not know everything, but through lack of proof to the existence of god being an atheist is the logical position.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:I agree with Sim here,

I do think those that think there is the possibility of a god can still be atheist, they feel there is a possibility but don't agree it's likely (tried not to use believe there laugh3 )
it's like aliens there is a possibility of intelligent life near our planet but I feel it's unlikely, although much more likely that a divine entity and creator of all including itself.

that's the problem with a divinity / creator the first thing it has to create is itself. which is very hard if it has nothing to create itself with because it would have to create the stuff of self before the self could be. this stands if your i exist so something created me theory stands. if the divinity argument doesn't stand neither does yours. but as you do exist and your parents created you what created divinity. you can't have it both ways and say god just was. if you say for something to exist it had to have a creator you can't complete the chain back to the root. as you will always need a higher creator. also what about planets? they are self creating from numerous parts and processes.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:On this subject...

Today is the Out Campaign's first world campaign day. They are asking people to change their facebook status to "{name} is an athiest" (or agnostic etc).
The event page is HERE.

I'll post a proper reply when I have a bit more time.


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Mr_Joe
BRONZE Member since Aug 2008

Mr_Joe

Part-time genius


Total posts: 59
Posted:My stance on the whole atheist/agnostic problem of definition:

I live my life entirely absent of any god. I don't appeal to one for the sense of wonder that the world gives me, nor do I look to one for moral guidance, nor do I think it necessary to implicate one in the creation of man, the world or the universe. There is no god in my life, not a one.

This, I'm reasonably certain, qualifies me as an atheist. (Even if we follow the philogical route back the the greek)

This does not mean it would be impossible to prove me wrong, but I'll reiterate a point I made in the last thread. If I drop an apple, I expect it to fall downwards, and not up. If, however one day it fell up, I would stand corrected in my belief that apples always fall down when dropped. This does not mean I'm undecided or 'agnostic' on the subject of gravity's relationship with apples. It is with this same degree of not-quite-absolute-but-near-as-damn-it certainty that I view the absence of a god.

EDITED_BY: Mr_Joe (1237585288)


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NathanielEverist
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 315
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_Son
You've raised squabble as an example. You're right it does sound like I am implying its menial and petty, but this isn't what I intended!

I really honestly do apologise for the implied meaning and more to the point I thank you for bringing it to my attention... I dont know why I hadnt thought of the implied meaning and I intend to check the time so I can work out what I was doing at the time...

You and I have spoken before, Nathaniel and I feel as though you have a feel for my nature which you demonstrate by saying "While I'm sure you didn't mean to cause offense". You did go on from tehre... and this can be explained by my tired and probably multi-tasking state. And I once again thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Hey man, no problem. Like I said, I knew you didn't intend to offend, and like you said, I've met you a few times and know your nature well enough to know you're not the malicious or angry type.

Originally Posted By: Mynci
...entirely possible that religion has it backwards not god creating physics but physics creating god? (See science can play the same school yard games as religion reversing the god created science argument, but more plausibly)

Yeah, it's possible that people simply misinterpreted physics as God. And yes, science can play the same games, but the fact that each side can play those games just makes agnosticism an even stronger stance. But you can take that even further...

Perhaps religious people would say you are misinterpreting people's perceptions of god as a misinterpretation of physics, when really God did make those physics. But then you too could say that those religious people who say that are misinterpreting your perceptions of other people misinterpreting physics as God are also delusional in their perception of you... and so on and so on and so on and so on...

It's paradoxical, and sorry if that was hard to follow, paradoxes hurt my head.

Originally Posted By: Myncithis makes belief a biological survival trait, it's highly possible that evolution the very theory thought to prove the non-existance of god is the same reason people believe because instinct wants an explanation of the unknown?

The irony of that is very amusing, and very possible.

Originally Posted By: Mynci
If you accept the above "could" be true then what you have now is a belief in an incorrect assuption that the unknown is god

Not necessarily. Now you're making an assumption that if that belief is a biological trait that is must be incorrect. Just because it came about through evolution and is explainable in terms of Biology doesn't mean it's incorrect. Perhaps there is God in science. Maybe God gave us that trait to help us survive. Maybe not...My point is, that just because it's explainable by science doesn't mean that it proves religious theories on the same subject incorrect. Perhaps science is simply helping us uncover God's work, perhaps the saying "God works in mysterious ways" will become obsolete one day.

Originally Posted By: Myncisome unfounded belief is dangerous and by extension the belief in a possibility because if your not sure, you should run, whilst all the atheist sit there and welcome the rustle as a sexy prospective mate

If you don't know what it is, it may not be a prospective mate. Who's to say it isn't a predator. Only the person who acts on uncertainty and flees will survive. Yes, they may miss out on a mate (if it is a mate), but if it's a predator, they will live. I know what gamble I'd rather make.

Originally Posted By: Mynci
what this also describes is fear of the unknown, different peoples or religions which would explain many of previous wars

I see Atheists as guilty of this fear as Theists, because they don't like to admit they don't know, they adhere to the belief that there is no God. Only the Agnostic will admit acceptance of the unknown (though they may still fear it).

Originally Posted By: Mynci
one question

do agnostics believe in the possiblility of monotheism, polytheism or both as being "possible"? or does someone only need to think 1 type is plausable? are all religions possibly true? a divinity which laid down a base said some rules then buggered off is a cause for worship why does everyone frown on parents who abandon children? aren't they following the example of the divine? is a god worth worship should be the starting point, if not, why argue for it's existance if it won't bother itself. (more a religion poke there than agnosticism)

Your definition of "one" is different from mine... Most agnostics I would say would believe in the possibility or monotheism and polytheism. Personally, I don't think all Religions are possibly true, because I have a bit of a strict perception of truth in relgious terms. Taking traditional Judeo-Christian belief systems for example, if their text is the word of God, then he's either lying to us or wrong. If he's wrong, he's not all knowing (omniscient). If he's lying, I wouldn't say he's all good (omnibenevolent), unless he's doing it for our own good. But even if he is, it taints to complete truth of the texts. Therefore, while some of the religions may have gotten some of it right, some of them don't follow logic and are unreasonable, which means they cannot be completely true, essentially tainting the credibility of the entire thing (in my opinion).

Personally, I don't think a God who laid down some rules and buggered off is worth Worshiping. If he's buggered off completely, meaning he's not even around anymore, then he clearly doesn't care, and wouldn't know if we were worshiping him or not. To me, such a being wouldn't really be a god.

Originally Posted By: Blu ValleyWhat do you call a person who believes there defenitly is a god but doesnt really follow some sort of devised path, and is open to possibilities when it comes to the details? Is there a word for that?

A Theist, is somebody who believes in the divine, whether religious or not. Colloquially, they're labelled "spiritual" or "new age".

To Simta and Mynci:

If you're open to the concept of God being Possible, but so unlikely as to not be given credit, then in my mind, you're either an incredibly strong agnostic or... I want to say a "practical" Atheist, as in, for all intents and purposes, you're an Atheist, so you're practically an Atheist. But to me, if you don't actually believe that GOD DOESN'T EXIST, then you're not completely Atheist, but maybe I'm being too strict to the definition of Atheist, as it's clearly been watered down and softened in modern times. This blurring of the lines between Agnosticism and Atheism has probably occurred because they both fall under the umbrella of somebody who doesn't believe in God, and the differences between the two, while to me are important, to most Theists would be irrelevant. That's the thing, Atheism and Agnosticism are closely related, but Agnosticism isn't related to Theism much at all, especially in the dogmatic, religious sense of "you believe in God, or you don't". Religious people probably see Agnostics and Atheists as, for all intents and purposes, the same thing.

There are degrees of adherence to these systems, it's not one or the other, there are grey areas. Hence the varying levels of belief within each system. It sounds like you two, are soft Atheists, because while you don't believe that god doesn't exist, you have strong doubts as to the probability of his existence, but can't logically rule out it's possibility entirely. In my eyes, this makes you Agnostic, but very close to Atheist. To me, the level of your agnosticism depends on your perceived probability that God exists. Because you guys sound like you're pretty darn confident in the probabilities of God not existing, you'd be far towards Atheism on the spectrum, but in my mind, unless you actually believe there isn't a god, you're not an Atheist.

That said, the definitions have certainly been blurred, this discussion makes that painfully clear. I blame that upon people throwing the titles around without fully understanding them, but what's done is done, Atheism and Agnosticism are becoming very hard to seperate, so I think I'll probably just adopt the view of a gradient, where you can sit at different levels on the divine spectrum. What do you think?

Originally Posted By: Mr Joe
I live my life entirely absent of any god. I don't appeal to one for the sense of wonder that the world gives me, nor do I look to one for moral guidance, nor do I think it necessary to implicate one in the creation of man, the world or the universe. There is no god in my life, not a one.

This, I'm reasonably certain, qualifies me as an atheist. (Even if we follow the philogical route back the the greek)

This does not mean it would be impossible to prove me wrong, but I'll reiterate a point I made in the last thread. If I drop an apple, I expect it to fall downwards, and not up. If, however one day it fell up, I would stand corrected in my belief that apples always fall down when dropped. This does not mean I'm undecided or 'agnostic' on the subject of gravity's relationship with apples. It is with this same degree of not-quite-absolute-but-near-as-damn-it certainty that I view the absence of a god.


I was working my way down the thread with responses, and your post suits what I said above pretty darn well. For all practical purposes you're an Atheist, but for you to completely rule-out the agnostic part of you that says that God is a possibility, that would make you unreasonable, so I see your stance as pretty logical and it makes good sense to me.

I just know that there's going to have been a whole heap of posts since I wrote this. Goddamnit! How'd I get dragged into this again, now I'm late for a spinning gathering, how ironic that discussion on Home of Poi keeps me from actually spinning.

EDITED_BY: NathanielEverist (1237615248)
EDIT_REASON: Quotations needed fixing.


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Mr_Joe
BRONZE Member since Aug 2008

Mr_Joe

Part-time genius


Total posts: 59
Posted:Originally Posted By: blu_valleyWhat do you call a person who believes there defenitly is a god but doesnt really follow some sort of devised path, and is open to possibilities when it comes to the details? Is there a word for that?

I believe the accepted term is 'deist'. 'Theist' being used more to describe adherent to particular doctrines/dogma.


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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:Atheists aren't scared of the unknown they thrive on it it's how they search for answers without that we'd be sat believing in god and that the earth was formed in 7 days or people were made out of clay or that there is a plane of existance you can't visit until your dead, but we promise it's there and if you do as we say, give us donations and spread the word you will be guaranteed a place at this unvisitable place that even WE haven't actually seen only heard about from other people that is apparently among the stars, where you will be happy forever. if you don't you will burn for all eternity, as we follow the word of a being we cannot see but has told us how to live and created the universe.


If that theory was started today would you think it possible?
that's how I think of religion. you believe, or you don't or you're not sure. it can be flowered up with clever words but it's the underlying base of one of the most powerful religions on the planet. A sect grown so large and powerful it now gets preferential tax treatments, rights to teach it's beliefs in schools, and has origins lost in history any proof of accuracy is lost in time.

Going by earlier examples of how atheistm is the lack of belief if you go by that example:
Perhaps I'm too simplistic but if you believe there is a possibility of the divine, you must hold some belief otherwise with no belief you would be an atheist. so would agnostics BE deists? they don't know which religion but as the hold a possibility they must have some belief as by there argument atheism is lack of belief in a god.

I know it's odd as I argued it wasn't lack of belief but I'm looking from another point of view today.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:First, I will back up Mr. Joe on the term "deist" I am fairly sure thats right.

Next... If there is a God, I seek to assume almost nothing about that god except that it will be more capable of most things than I am. I don't necessarily think that this creature would be omniscient or omnipresent or omnipotent or any such thing... though I don't rule that out either. tongue2

Originally Posted By: Myncithis makes belief a biological survival trait, it's highly possible that evolution the very theory thought to prove the non-existance of god is the same reason people believe because instinct wants an explanation of the unknown?

So if belief is a biological trait... do you think this is why you feel you must believe that there is NOT a God?

I apparently defy this biological trait on this topic because I am less willing to believe.

I think that (to use the bushes analogy) if theres no way of telling whats in the bushes... why do we have to make the assumption nothing is there? What one person says may well be wrong, but that doesnt pin down that answer as being correct.

Originally Posted By: NathanielEverist
Religious people probably see Agnostics and Atheists as, for all intents and purposes, the same thing.


I agree that the blurring of distinctions is due to the idea that it doesnt make much of a difference to theists... but I believe that for all intents and purposes they are NOT the same.

Atheists- Non believers, will burn in hell.
Agnostics- Non believers, will burn in hell unless they repent... and you might be able to convert them!


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Originally Posted By: SeyeOn this subject...

Today is the Out Campaign's first world campaign day. They are asking people to change their facebook status to "{name} is an athiest" (or agnostic etc).
The event page is HERE.

I'll post a proper reply when I have a bit more time.

I don't get it. I'm an atheist, but I feel no reason to organize. Atheism is not something that needs to be advertised. It's not something that needs to be proselytized. It comes from a personal realization that dogmatic belief in things that cannot be proved or in things that can be (and have been) disproved is illogical.

I am an atheist because I realized at a young age that if all these religions disagree, either one of them is right or none of them is right.

I considered Universalist Unitarianism, but I wondered why I needed a church at all. I have my spiritual life, my experiences with the divine, and my own experiences with the idea that there may be more to life than we realize, but I don't need someone to tell me what my beliefs should be.

I'm an atheist, but I don't need to wear at T-shirt saying so. It's not a religion; it's the very absence thereof.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:I see where you come from Mike It is a bit odd, however I believe it is Richard Dawkins trying to level the playing field a fraction. religions spread the word to try and recruit new followers I think he's trying to raise awareness of the arguments that some people may not have heard or only heard mangled re-tellings by religious recruiters some of whom use flagrant lies to try and convince people thier religion is the way to go.

If atheism is to be classed as a religious stance should it not get that politically correct equality everyone blathers on about?

Would it be possible to start the athiest "church" a place for study into the beginnings of the universe and the workings of everything that also gets the tax breaks associated with religion? should there be an atheists "holy" day where atheists are to be given a day off work to ponder the true beginnings of the universe?
or more likely (and I dislike admitting this) is it just 2 fingers up at religion to say we've kept quiet all this time but now we've decided to stand up and be counted, we decided we think it's wrong to promote the teaching to children that God DOES exist before they have all the facts and are able to choose for themselves as once a belief is set in a mind it's hard to get someone to change it.

when does a constant reminder of god existing and the existance of heaven, the feeding of bible stories in assembly the barrage of religious information stop being provision of information and become cloaked brain washing?

It seems schools can say God does exist, but they are frowned on for saying he doesn't because it offends believers. it does seem an inbalance why should belief have more standing than disbelief? I know we live in a christian society here in the UK but at school we had religious services at Xmas etc. the non-christian believers were allowed to stay in the school and do work rather than go to the church for service. I however was not allowed to stay at school even with a letter from my parents stating non-belief as a reason. I was told I had no valid reason to stay behind because other atheist were going and it did not conflict with my beliefs as I wasn't muslim or Jewish. It seems the school ruling was that they were not allowed to try and convert other beliefs to christianity but non-believers were fair game, almost as if they just hadn't picked a team yet. I refused to go saying I had permission from my parents to stay and NO permission to go to which I was bundled off to the anger of my parents. (today I could probably sue the school for actions like that)

THAT is the power religion has in schools and mine wasn't a particularly religious school as it was made up from many religions and tried to keep a balance. I would welcome anything that reduced that influence, although I unfortunately see this blossomiing of atheism to be more likely to cause a global confrontation.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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jojodijojo


stranger


Total posts: 13
Posted:Personally, I always thought that, assuming agnosticism signifies a sceptical openmindedness, it isn't necessary to agonise over a specific term for something pretty simple....

Watching people argue over the sematics is actually pretty akin to people wrangling furiously over trivial sentences in the Bible XP

As for destructive beliefs, pretty much any belief can be made destructive, even an unerring belief in cake.

I don't think anything can be ruled as absolute in an argument in which the two different sides are using totally different methods for justifying their belief/disbelief. It would only really be possible in a self- sufficient thing like mathematics, which has totally set and inviolable mathematical laws of its' own that determine whether the mathematical answers are right or wrong.

Also I always feel that arguments basically reduced to 'I think x' vs 'but I think y' are ultimately an awful waste of energy- they always seem to end up going around in endless circles- I mean, I can't envisage the whole world coming to a sudden consensus about the ultimate answer!

EDITED_BY: jojodijojo (1237894223)


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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

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Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

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Posted:Originally Posted By: jojodijojoAs for destructive beliefs, pretty much any belief can be made destructive, even an unerring belief in cake.


The cake is a lie.

Originally Posted By: jojodijojo
Also I always feel that arguments basically reduced to 'I think x' vs 'but I think y' are ultimately an awful waste of energy- they always seem to end up going around in endless circles- I mean, I can't envisage the whole world coming to a sudden consensus about the ultimate answer!

I think most of those conversations are quite useful for questioning ones own beliefs, we can throw questions at ourselves and usually end up having a better/slightly different idea, even if we dont come one centimetre closer to someone elses understanding of things.

Yeah, the trick is to know when to pull the plug on the conversation.


hug

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Brenn
PLATINUM Member since Jun 2004

Brenn

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Posted:*Throws a book into the center of the thread entitled "The Power of Now" and walks away quietly* smile

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:laugh3

I have to say Brenn I have an irrational dislike for any book that mentions spiritualism. In my opinion it's too close to religion insofar as spiritualism is a reference to the spirit which in perfect honesty I don't believe exists hug same as ghosts or baby pigeons. (apart from white spirit - I have some in a bottle grin )
I'll be honest I'm not very hippy shrug and believe in spiritualism as much as I believe in Religion. I see them as much the same but 1 is without the Church structure


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Good one Brenn. The Power of Now is an excellent book smile Its about the only book Ive ever read, that had an immediate positive impact on my life.

Mynci, the book doesnt really have that much to do spirituality per-sey, or religion for that matter. It is more about understanding who we really are as human beings, and that the little voice in our heads is not the real self.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:That almost makes it worse laugh3 if that voice isn't us who is it? I'm pretty sure my voice is me, it knows all the same things I do. I'll take your word for it though becuase it's not the type of book I would read. I've read a couple of books that sound similar (I'm not saying they are the same as I have never read "the power of now") and to be honest they apalled me and I won't go into it.

I've just read a review of that book and honestly. It looks like just the kind of cobblers that is used to line pockets. (my scepticism leaking out) the voice in your head and time are the enemy laugh3 seems contraindicatory to me. telling you that then having you pause to think. (sorry I know I have only read the review but I do think life is infinitely simple)


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

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Posted:I thought the people reading this topic might be interested in this...

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Brenn
PLATINUM Member since Jun 2004

Brenn

Will carpal your tunnel in a minute.
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 3286
Posted:If I can elaborate a little on what Stone has said:

The book is more to do with separating the mind from the feeling/intuition that we have. A lot of our neuroses, hangups and fears are all products of the mind, and mankind's nature to have to analyse, measure, count and otherwise label every single thing around us can be very detrimental particularly if we know them in a bad context amd if it as the expense of being.

Case in point: Your aversion to the book, Mynci, because it contained the word 'spiritual' in the title. For you, the label spiritual is one that you are adverse to because of how perhavsively and incorrectly it is used elsewhere (and frankly, rightly so!).

I'm merely halfway through the book but I am finding it an interesting and uplifting read. It's worth a look into; it does not seek to convert or to prophecise, but to empower you in the sense that everything you need to be happy, if harnessed correctly, is right Now. It dispels the notions that you have to wait for the right person, right event, right circumstances to achieve enlightenment. You could read it iand find things you already know: You could find it to be a complete waste of time. Either way, you have almost nothing to lose smile

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EDITED_BY: Brenn (1237986835)
EDIT_REASON: Was post midnight when I read this. May still be fluffy and a non helpful post :)


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blu_valley
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

blu_valley

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Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_SonFirst, I will back up Mr. Joe on the term "deist" I am fairly sure thats right.



Thanks to both!


"I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.." - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:laugh3
My aversions to books like that aren't to do with incorrect use in the past. I can except inner peace that is something we can all find without divine or spiritual assistance. The Term "spiritual" refers to the incorporeal it has basis in religion. I know today it is often used in conjunction with inner peace, but the very use of the word to me indicates a subversive element.

You use the term enlightenment. enlightened to what? happiness? I have that. I almost feel sorry for people who feel the need to read books aimed at telling you how to be happy and feel good about yourselves.

you say I Have nothing to lose by reading it. I have time to lose. and Time is precious. I could be sat reading a book which teaches me nothing, I could be out being happy, spending that time with people I love and care about. actually Living Life. I read a lot, but I read for enjoyment mostly, and occasionally to learn something new. the act of reading a book like this IMO would be counterintuitive to the books purpose. I would be making myself unhappy.

And your very statement about reading the book promotes my disregard for these incorporeal beliefs. You tried to get me to change my beliefs and fall in with a set I don't hold too, conversion to increase the flock, the attempt to increase standing with numbers. I know I argue on here but in life I'm happy to let people believe what they wish (I don't stand outside church preaching evolution) or ever try to convert someone to atheism.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Originally Posted By: MynciThat almost makes it worse laugh3 if that voice isn't us who is it?

Mynci, good question. I should have replied sooner.

The little voice is the false-self, ego or just memories. The classic explanation given by Tolle, in A New Earth, is that when Descartes said "I think, therefore I am" what he really discovered was the ego. Then 300 years later Sartre had a light-bulb moment when he realised that the consciousness that says I am is not the consciousness that "thinks". Like, when you are aware that you are thinking, that awareness is not part of the thinking. It is a different dimension of consciousness.

"If there was nothing but thought in you, you wouldnt even know you were thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesnt know he is dreaming. You would be as identified with every thought as a dreamer is with every image in a dream. Many people still live like this, like sleepwalkers, trapped in old dysfunctional mind-sets that continually recreate the same reality (want proof, turn on the TV news). When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream, and another dimension of consciousness has come in. That is what is said to be awake." (Quote from A New Earth). One way to become awake is to focus on the breath, as is practiced in any of the breathing meditations.

This mind-set is what also what Einstein referred to as "being a prisoner of the mind".

No one is forcing you to do anything, read anything, or to use the word spiritual. Enlightenment is just another name for awareness. Might I add that for someone who claims to be happy, you dont sound very happy, more like someone whose ego feels threatened wink




EDITED_BY: Stone (1238108762)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

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Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

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Posted:I find the term "Enlightenment" hilarious...

If we look at the point of time termed "The Enlightenment" in the 1700s its all about rationality and understanding, yet the word carries connotations of that which is its binary opposite.


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Brenn
PLATINUM Member since Jun 2004

Brenn

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Posted:Originally Posted By: Myncilaugh3
My aversions to books like that aren't to do with incorrect use in the past. I can except inner peace that is something we can all find without divine or spiritual assistance. The Term "spiritual" refers to the incorporeal it has basis in religion. I know today it is often used in conjunction with inner peace, but the very use of the word to me indicates a subversive element.


Fair point.

Originally Posted By: Mynci
You use the term enlightenment. enlightened to what? happiness? I have that. I almost feel sorry for people who feel the need to read books aimed at telling you how to be happy and feel good about yourselves.


*adds 'enlightenment' to the 'overused fluffy word list'* laugh3
Unfortunately, a lot of people are unhappy in this world but still seek comfort in the material (especially if they expect the material to provide contentment indefinitely). I consider one who reads a book aimed at teaching one to be happy is a step in the right direction, and those who still cling to the material are ones to be sorry for smile

Originally Posted By: Mynci
you say I Have nothing to lose by reading it. I have time to lose. and Time is precious. I could be sat reading a book which teaches me nothing, I could be out being happy, spending that time with people I love and care about. actually Living Life. I read a lot, but I read for enjoyment mostly, and occasionally to learn something new. the act of reading a book like this IMO would be counterintuitive to the books purpose. I would be making myself unhappy.


Not to be pedantic, but I said you had almost nothing to lose smile Time indeed is precious, and if you feel you can glean nothing from reading it then that's fine. At present I'm finding I'm learning things and also reaffirming some aspects of my thinking that I already knew.

Originally Posted By: Mynci
And your very statement about reading the book promotes my disregard for these incorporeal beliefs. You tried to get me to change my beliefs and fall in with a set I don't hold too, conversion to increase the flock, the attempt to increase standing with numbers. I know I argue on here but in life I'm happy to let people believe what they wish (I don't stand outside church preaching evolution) or ever try to convert someone to atheism.


I'm afraid I wasn't trying to change your beliefs. I didn't mean to convey that.

hug


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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:hug I know wink I'm just like a dog with a bone I'll try any approach in a discussion, they're fun as long as people realise I work from a peaceful perspective I may antagonise but I don't like to win arguments it's boring laugh3 that statement was my step back to earlier comments on religion, how religions grow and scarily how atheism is taking a step in that direction. As much as I am an atheist, I would never want to push my views, I am aware that a majority of religious people aren't scary god mongers just confused people grasping at what they can understand. rather than confused people who are still digging for answers.

Stone - My ego's not threatened it's not imaginitive enough wink how can you not be aware when you're dreaming? that would be weird. hug


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Mynci, I was watching Compass last night, and apart from the book sales, Id have to agree that atheists are becoming militant and will probably end up being just as dogmatic as the believers.

Originally Posted By: MynciStone - My ego's not threatened it's not imaginitive enough how can you not be aware when you're dreaming? that would be weird.

By ego Im referring to the thinking mind. The dreaming is just an analogy for the state most of us live in. Like as living in a dream world or in the state of intoxication. And, hey if you look around at situations in the Middle East, Iraq or any place where there is a religious war and terrorism. Then I think most people would agree that its a crazy situation. Why are all these people, who all believe in the one and same God, fighting each other?

As to the dreaming, here is how it goes. Most of the time our thinking mind is not in the present. We are either thinking about the past or the future. And its because we are not present to the moment that religious wars develop, and continue for hundreds if not thousands of years. And now it seems like the Atheists are about to join laugh3

May the force be with you smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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