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Carlos Allende

Religion versus Fiction

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Carlos Allende
8 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Okay, that is a theory, I'd say maybe on it.  When you mention religion as a 'byproduct' though you are leaning towards why I don't think your argument works, as I see a 'byproduct' as something sufficiently separate from its source. I wouldn't phrase it as religion is designed to take us out of our regular worlds, I think it instead says our regular worlds are much larger, more meaningful, and more wonderful than we may have previously thought. It's not an escape from reality like fiction, it's an enhancement of reality.

Yes. But I should explain that I'm a dirty, dirty gnostic. Like I've fought my way out of a Matrix pod, but then I've found out that Morpheus' world is just another Matrix pod in turn, and I've fought myself out of that, and each pod is just an ever-decreasing refinement of pain, and the feeling of friction wrought by constantly freeing myself from Matrix pods is what we call consciousness.

8 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

An atheist, or an a- anybody for that matter, is usually saying something isn't true.  Fiction says it itself isn't true.  Atheists agree with that.  Why would an atheist have any obligation to engage fiction when there's nothing in dispute?

I've already answered this, but to put it another way -- Religion exists in a special category of things which claim to be true. It'd all be very well if you had, say, a bogus maths teacher who'd simply lied about their teaching qualifications, and was telling kids outright lies. You could be confident that, if maths is such a vital, utilitarian thing, his lies would be exposed in a very short space of time. But the religious leaders, the indoctrinated institutions and families who ask us to believe things that are _so_ far-removed from our earthly lives, it's actually kind of insulting. I believe the _only_ parallel is the way writers ask us to suspend our disbelief while reading fiction. Think of a far-out religion. Say, Shinto, or something from Native American times. What possible psychological mechanism explains why people would believe that? And yet they have a more compelling vibe by a factor of hundreds and hundreds compared to Midsommer Murders, which really _is_ insulting.

But this isn't just an academic argument. It has real-world applications about the criteria for sticking one's nose into other people's business. You use the example, LG, of how my argument can be related to having a mas cull of raccoons and bats because they might have rabies. The moral is, either don't live in a country that has rabies (like me), don't go around playing with wild animals, or just develop a cooler, dude-like 'c'est la vie' attitude to rabies a whole. All atheistic propositions can be translated into something else, and they always end up sounding uncool. Atheism is the antithesis of being cool. It's like choosing to sound like Richard Dawkins when you could sound like Bill Hicks.

4 hours ago, Rlyeh said:

How does what other people think affect you?

Anyone with a strong personality has a hobby horse. Everyone has some kind of doomed, neurotic trigger that winds them up. Probably, be cool enough to keep it to yourself.

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Carlos Allende said:

But the religious leaders, the indoctrinated institutions and families who ask us to believe things that are _so_ far-removed from our earthly lives, it's actually kind of insulting. I believe the _only_ parallel is the way writers ask us to suspend our disbelief while reading fiction.

"Suspension of disbelief" is absorption, an appropriate  reaction (I think) to a category of narrative for which it doesn't matter whether or not the story is true, compared with the value of vicarious experience for its own sake. Part of that value includes opportunities for reflection on the narrative after the state of absorption has passed (e.g. discussing the final espisode of GOT "around the water cooler," or here online), reflection that occurs in a more-or-less routine state of consciousness.

Religious entrepreneurs who ask us to believe things demand something else, not something "parallel."  Compare the BBC website, which asks me to believe things because they are true (e.g. that the Brexit party did well in the European Parliament elections). My resulting state of mind is pretty much the same during the encounter with the story as it is when reflecting on the information afterward. That is the parallel Bible thumpers seek. This stuff really happened, just the way this book says.

It is true that we live in a world of unintended consequences, and maybe the religious entrepreneur sometimes achieves mere "suspension of disbelief" even though something more durable was sought. I don't know, maybe SoD is the state of mind of people who are pious for one hour a week when they attend church, but the rest of the week just live their lives in the real world. I watch Game of Thrones; they prefer Jesus in Outer Space.

That's about as close as I personally can get to understanding your position: maybe an unintended consequence of creedal religion is suspension of disbelief among some adherents. I am not even confident that that is the state of mind of the typical occasional churchgoer. Even if it were, there are plenty of others who accept these fact claims on the same basis as election returns and utility bills.

I understand that somebody might wonder how anybody could believe some of what creedal religions claim, but people durably believe all sorts of patent BS. That's what keeps Saru in business :)

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Desertrat56
20 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

I'm championing neither atheism or religion, mate. And for 'police' I'd just say, 'indulge'.

Your title indicates you are championing religion by separating it from fiction.  You have a bias and you are pretending like your bias doesn't matter but other's bias does.

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Carlos Allende
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

"Suspension of disbelief" is absorption, an appropriate  reaction (I think) to a category of narrative for which it doesn't matter whether or not the story is true, compared with the value of vicarious experience for its own sake. Part of that value includes opportunities for reflection on the narrative after the state of absorption has passed (e.g. discussing the final espisode of GOT "around the water cooler," or here online), reflection that occurs in a more-or-less routine state of consciousness.

This is a great way of putting it, EB. And I can give you bonus points for gloating over Farrage's win today. But I do think that your 'state of absorption' exists in religion, too, plus the opportunity to reflect on it once the indoctrination has finished. It's all about AWE. Besides, it's possible that one day a piece of fiction might come along that, while not explicitly religious, is so awesome in scope that it _eclipses_ the water-cooler-reflection period --I don't think there's a writer anywhere that would object if their output ended thus. If I was feeling snarky, I might even say, 'That's what Buddhism is' - but you gotta play nice, right? 

'Religious Entrepeneurs' -- I guess you're referring to some kinda evangelist, the type Crockett and Tubbs chased up a TV mast in Miami Vice, rather than a cult leader? I still don't understand how an atheist would divvy up their intellectual distinctions. The period of reflection you mention, you get that after a sermon _or_ watching a film or reading a book, surely? And surely it all boils down to how much a cynical, lazy priest stands to gain compared to how much a cynical, lazy writer stands to gain? How much intellectual work they bring to bear? It's such a _daring_ proposition to suggest there's an afterlife. Yet all too many writers use only tropes and cliches. I'm pretty sure the number of people reading crappy thrillers outweighs the number of people who go to church. The number of TV channels devoted to bad films and shows _easily_ outweighs the number of religious channels. And so what do you suppose the average atheist would say about that? Do they think, compared to a writer, a religious leader somehow has a darker agenda than just vying for people's time and money? Surely that agenda would necessarily be _profound_ and intellectually satisfying on a transgressive level?

1 hour ago, Desertrat56 said:

Your title indicates you are championing religion by separating it from fiction.  You have a bias and you are pretending like your bias doesn't matter but other's bias does.

I'm really not biased. I'm not religious at all. I've made it plain that I dislike atheists, but I'd _love_ them to prove my contention is baloney. What's more satisfying than having an opponent who's more sophisticated than you are? 

 

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Liquid Gardens

 

44 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

It's such a _daring_ proposition to suggest there's an afterlife.

It is?  How so?  Billions of people believe there is currently let alone historically, it's almost impossible in my country to not encounter some expression that an afterlife exists on a nearly daily basis; what's so daring about going along with an already well-established flow?

43 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

I've made it plain that I dislike atheists, but I'd _love_ them to prove my contention is baloney. What's more satisfying than having an opponent who's more sophisticated than you are? 

Why would atheists need to prove your contention to be baloney, wouldn't it be better for you to prove it is not?  To be honest I'm not sure exactly what your current contention is, it seems to grow another head with every post.  I think your contention is that if an atheist is being consistent they should criticize something about fiction also, but I'm not understanding the why.  It is an idea I haven't heard before so that's interesting at least.

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Carlos Allende
11 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

It is?  How so?  Billions of people believe there is currently let alone historically, it's almost impossible in my country to not encounter some expression that an afterlife exists on a nearly daily basis; what's so daring about going along with an already well-established flow?

Why _wouldn't_ it be daring? This is one of the biggest grievances that I have with atheism. It seems (to me) that a person either grudgingly admits that religious people's conception of the afterlife is pleasingly abstract or else those religious people are just gullible. Think about dreams. They're the ultimate coping mechanism therapy, culled from a billion bits of information that your subconscious soaks up from who-knows-where. Who can criticize the gestalt religion of a billion people and then not feel disingenuous about their own dreams? 

33 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Why would atheists need to prove your contention to be baloney, wouldn't it be better for you to prove it is not?  To be honest I'm not sure exactly what your current contention is, it seems to grow another head with every post.  I think your contention is that if an atheist is being consistent they should criticize something about fiction also, but I'm not understanding the why.  It is an idea I haven't heard before so that's interesting at least.

I _am_ growing a different head with every post, but each of those heads is vigorously defending my original contention innit.

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Desertrat56
34 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

I _am_ growing a different head with every post, but each of those heads is vigorously defending my original contention innit.

No, at least as far as I can tell, you haven't.  You haven't vigorously defended anything, you have just made incorrect assumptions and accustation.  And in one post you said "I'm really not biased. I'm not religious at all. I've made it plain that I dislike atheists, ..."  which is contradictory.  You are biased against atheists, you say you are so you ARE BIASED.  So, why do you dislike atheists beside making stuff up about what atheist believe and think?  What you have said so far has nothing to do with atheists, but there is a lot of fiction to it.

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Carlos Allende
2 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

And in one post you said "I'm really not biased. I'm not religious at all. I've made it plain that I dislike atheists, ..."  which is contradictory.  You are biased against atheists

If you dislike something sufficiently, you take extra care to _not_ be biased against it. Being respectful is essential for a two-way argument.

6 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

So, why do you dislike atheists beside making stuff up about what atheist believe and think?  What you have said so far has nothing to do with atheists, but there is a lot of fiction to it.

Yes, there was some argie-bargie earlier -- with stalwart semantic overlords @XenoFish and @danydandan - but to be honest, there's a reason people don't take a dictionary to bed and marvel at the non-ambiguous, non-nuanced definitions of their favourite words. To be fair to myself, I made sure I covered both the conventional definition of atheism and all the perceived stuff like personal dislike of religion. I mean, would it salve your ire, D56, if I publicly _flattered_ atheists, too? Most atheists are unusually dogged in the pursuit of their opinions, and highly intellectual, and extremely engaging. 

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danydandan
Posted (edited)

@Carlos Allende, I'm not Atheist. However you are stereotyping, and incorrectly too (like how many times do I have to say that the majority of Atheists are religious...do you just like to ignore that fact). Stereotyping is essentially two steps away from racism and it's why I wanted to point out your incorrect assumptions regarding the definition of an Atheist. But whatever go ahead and bury your head in the sand. 

Regarding you intial premise I think @eight bits addressed it as I would have and as such found no real reason to address it further than that. 

One thing though at least we know (most of the time) who the author of a fictional novel is, unlike (mostly) all religious novels.....whoops I meant to say divinely inspired Gospels/Revelations/etcetera. So we can ask "Hey the stuff you wrote about regarding the Culture Intergalactic Society, was that real or inspired by a celestial being?".......

It's very very difficult to hold a discussion when a person can't stick to the definitions set forth by dictionaries of the English language. You ran off on your own tangent regarding the term Atheists and thus made it hard to address your point.

Edited by danydandan
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Sherapy
Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

If you dislike something sufficiently, you take extra care to _not_ be biased against it. Being respectful is essential for a two-way argument.

Yes, there was some argie-bargie earlier -- with stalwart semantic overlords @XenoFish and @danydandan - but to be honest, there's a reason people don't take a dictionary to bed and marvel at the non-ambiguous, non-nuanced definitions of their favourite words. To be fair to myself, I made sure I covered both the conventional definition of atheism and all the perceived stuff like personal dislike of religion. I mean, would it salve your ire, D56, if I publicly _flattered_ atheists, too? Most atheists are unusually dogged in the pursuit of their opinions, and highly intellectual, and extremely engaging. 

Well you aren’t going to build much of a bridge by calling X and Dan stalwart semantic overlords. 

You have no clue about Dan, he is not an Athiest. 

Neither is X.

 

Edited by Sherapy
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Hammerclaw
2 hours ago, danydandan said:

@Carlos Allende, I'm not Atheist. However you are stereotyping, and incorrectly too (like how many times do I have to say that the majority of Atheists are religious...do you just like to ignore that fact). Stereotyping is essentially two steps away from racism and it's why I wanted to point out your incorrect assumptions regarding the definition of an Atheist. But whatever go ahead and bury your head in the sand. 

Regarding you intial premise I think @eight bits addressed it as I would have and as such found no real reason to address it further than that. 

One thing though at least we know (most of the time) who the author of a fictional novel is, unlike (mostly) all religious novels.....whoops I meant to say divinely inspired Gospels/Revelations/etcetera. So we can ask "Hey the stuff you wrote about regarding the Culture Intergalactic Society, was that real or inspired by a celestial being?".......

It's very very difficult to hold a discussion when a person can't stick to the definitions set forth by dictionaries of the English language. You ran off on your own tangent regarding the term Atheists and thus made it hard to address your point.

Broadly speaking, the definition of Atheist is someone who calls themselves an atheist. Anything deeper is subject to debate and--hooboy-- will they debate you!

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psyche101
On 5/26/2019 at 5:25 AM, Carlos Allende said:

Firstly, I'm asking atheists so take a very, very bold, unusual step --to imagine that atheism is no longer needed to combat religion-as-a-force-of-oppression. Let's say -- society has tweaked the human personality in such a way that _all_ oppression just ends --economic, age-based, gender-based, not just religion ...all without anyone ever needing to regurgitate a Dawkins, Hitchens or Maher diatribe. Would you guys be willing to give up atheism as a subject for debate?

Why dance around these people when they define militant atheism, which isn't a bad thing I feel, better than most? 

Have you seen Dawkins TED talk on militant atheism? 

Atheism is more than combating the evils of religion. Its embracing the natural universe which negates the need for a God at all. 

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spartan max2
6 hours ago, Sherapy said:

Well you aren’t going to build much of a bridge by calling X and Dan stalwart semantic overlords. 

You have no clue about Dan, he is not an Athiest. 

Neither is X.

 

Maybe I missed something but I was fairly certain X is? Lol

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Sherapy
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, spartan max2 said:

Maybe I missed something but I was fairly certain X is? Lol

Apatheist, possibly moving towards Agnostic.

Or undeclared at this point. 

 I am fairly certain he is not an Atheist. 

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Mr Walker
On 24/05/2019 at 5:20 AM, Carlos Allende said:

This is something that's been playing on my mind a lot, recently (I don't post stuff frivolously, me). Recap -- with my last effort into this arena, I got into all sorts of trouble with my fellow UM users --

 

-- for a lot of different reasons. Mainly, for the tacit implication that militant atheists are somehow neurotic (like everyone else), but secondarily for the idea that _any_ atheism can legitimately be accused of being militant. I enjoyed the debate greatly. But to clear up my thinking on this matter --I still think atheism as a matter for public discussion is inherently a militant subject. In Britain (where I live), religion is by no means a force of oppression. For sure, you get heavy-handed Jehovah's Witnesses, and the supposedly ubiquitous Muslim patriarchy -- but I don't think these groups can be fought head-on by any kind of atheist intent on putting the world to rights. As I was trying (and failing) to suggest in '10 Questions', the whole matter of theism and atheism is a universal tug-of-war between _everyone._ It's like arguing wabbit season / duck season, and why are you getting worked up, Daffy? 

So, in the (maybe unlikely) event that you dig the above, can we agree on one of the other big aspects of atheism versus theism --that it's all about a war between truth and fantasy?

The question I want to ask today --again, of atheists-- why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on? There _is_ an intellectual double-standard, in my opinion.

Maybe this question wouldn't have been so striking a couple of decades ago, when people like Aldous Huxley, Samuel Beckett, JG Ballard and Anna Kavan were writing _genuinely meaningful novels,_ but go into the fiction section of any high street bookshop nowadays, and the most popular novels will be _tripe._ Just really, really terrible tripe. Chewing-gum-for-the-mind thrillers involving generic 'troubled' cops or housewives investigating a mystery. Look at it this way: no airport or train station has a tiny church affixed to the side, but they _all_ have shelves upon shelves of generic thrillers. And people will spend _hours_ upon _hours_ devoting the processing power which your precious evolution fought so hard to give them ...on completely meaningless stories. 

But, yeah. Perhaps I'm being hard on, say, James Patterson, Alexander McCall Smith, Tom Clancy and the like by calling their 'work' meaningless. But let me ask you guys: if truth is so important to you, why doesn't it make you angry that, instead of reading a ham-fisted _novel_ about the Cold War, they could -- just as easily -- read an entertaining _non-fiction_ book by Ben MacIntyre or the like?  Why an Assassins Creed cash-in novel when they could equally read 'Millenium' by Tom Holland? Why 'The Martian' by Andy Weir, while 'Magnificent Desolation' by Buzz Aldrin goes unread? There's an example in any field of human interest you care to mention. People just prefer fantasy: this isn't a good thing (in my opinion).

 

horse.jpg

I read "everything"

Pure fantasy has a specific purpose ie escapist entertainment , but can also contain allegories, lessons from history, and social commentary 

Then you have any form of historic fiction which contains real life  material from the past, describing how people lived and thought. 

In the last two days i watched Churchill   Bumblebee Aquaman and Summer coda  Two of them had me in tears, the other two laughing in joy and wonder 

I read 4 westerns, the latest Janet Evanovich novel, and the latest Harlan Coben  I also read  4 newspapers, two magazines, several comics, and a lot of stuff online about various topics, from military power to metal detecting  i watched QI, escape form the city, would i lie to you,  Joanna lumley's the silk road and a few other things like the news and current affairs and landline  

I think individuals tend to prefer what satisfies their own greatest needs, and gives the deepest emotional response, from education to entertainment  

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Rlyeh
Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Anyone with a strong personality has a hobby horse. Everyone has some kind of doomed, neurotic trigger that winds them up. Probably, be cool enough to keep it to yourself.

And yet you're projecting it on Atheists.

 

15 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

I'm really not biased. I'm not religious at all. I've made it plain that I dislike atheists, but I'd _love_ them to prove my contention is baloney. What's more satisfying than having an opponent who's more sophisticated than you are? 

Complete rubbish.  You've invented a straw man atheism in order to attack it.

Edited by Rlyeh
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Liquid Gardens
18 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Why _wouldn't_ it be daring?

For the reasons you just quoted from me.  'Daring' usually refers to something that requires a bit of courage, bungee-jumping or waiting in line to get to the top of Mt Everest for example.  I don't think believing in an afterlife requires courage, I think it instead does the opposite and provides comfort.

18 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Who can criticize the gestalt religion of a billion people and then not feel disingenuous about their own dreams? 

Because, and please try to incorporate this fact this time as it's been mentioned by nearly everyone here, most people do not say that the content of their dreams really occurred, which makes it different than religion. Atheists aren't against coping mechanisms, whether those coping mechanisms are based on anything real or not. There is nothing inconsistent about saying there is no god and that the belief in god can provide comfort and meaning to people.

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XenoFish
9 hours ago, Sherapy said:

Apatheist, possibly moving towards Agnostic.

Or undeclared at this point. 

 I am fairly certain he is not an Atheist. 

Indifferent agnostic. Meaning I don't know if an actual god exist and I don't care. I do know that I don't believe in man made gods. Which are the ones deity based beliefs are centered on. 

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Carlos Allende
22 hours ago, danydandan said:

It's very very difficult to hold a discussion when a person can't stick to the definitions set forth by dictionaries of the English language. You ran off on your own tangent regarding the term Atheists and thus made it hard to address your point.

OK, DDD. Don't feel bad about sitting this one out. But regarding whether I abide by strict dictionary definitions, I admit that I don't. I don't come from an academic background, and to be honest, that stuff makes my skin crawl. I mean, that episode of Blackadder that featured Dr Johnson was _very_ funny, but that's the extent of my interest. For what it's worth, however, I fully take receipt of your stats about most Atheists (why the capital?) being religious -- but are you sure this is necessarily a good thing in terms of intellectual reasoning? 'Religion' is a bit close to 'spirituality' is a bit close to 'sacredness' and on and on it goes. People don't think in words, they think in _teeming, tangential nuances._ Isn't that what consciousness is? (Please don't quote me a definition of consciousness, mate). Plus, your distinction between atheism and religion (presumably versus God?) is a bit retreat-y, isn't it? As humans, whether we want to live or die, we're all about being and nothingness. I don't know if God exists, but it's not hard for me to conceive an ubermind that transcends conventional definitions and logic (some would say He necessarily _needs_ to). And in my opinion, it's OK for a prospective god to not care about nuance in most things, but he _needs_ to pay attention to nuance in religion, the supernatural, quantum physics, anything that gets us a ticket out of this crazy hell-hole.

In summary, though, you're right, I've probably made some assumptions somewhere along the line -- in doing so making an 'Ass' out of 'u' and 'me' _(highfives ghost of mousey-faced English teacher)_

22 hours ago, Sherapy said:

Well you aren’t going to build much of a bridge by calling X and Dan stalwart semantic overlords. 

You have no clue about Dan, he is not an Athiest. 

Neither is X.

Sorry again, X and Dan. Come to think of it, do atheists actually exist _anywhere?_ This whole brouhaha could be for nothing. That would be ironic.

17 hours ago, psyche101 said:

Have you seen Dawkins TED talk on militant atheism? 

Atheism is more than combating the evils of religion. Its embracing the natural universe which negates the need for a God at all. 

Ain't seen no TED talk, but I did listen to the audiobook of The God Delusion, read by Leela from Dr Who (who I actually _met_ once -- she's still got it, dads).

I appreciate the appeal of a natural universe that negates the need for God. In my opinion, though, having 'read' the God Delusion and watched some of his Youtube output, RD comes across as just a picker-of-low-hanging-fruit. For a privileged university-bred Westerner, picking holes in cruel, dogmatic religions and centuries-old holy books is no big achievement in my book. It's passive-aggressive. It's doubling back when you could be going forward --but then again, I could be being unfair to him. I'll be sure to watch the TED lecture(s) when I get five. 

In my opinion, if you can't get a conception of the meaning of life from theoretical quantum physics, there's only one other place you can go. The Communist Manifesto. But that was another debate from another time. AIN'T NO RABBIT HOLE LIKE A CARLOS RABBIT HOLE.

 

11 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

 

Pure fantasy has a specific purpose ie escapist entertainment , but can also contain allegories, lessons from history, and social commentary 

Then you have any form of historic fiction which contains real life  material from the past, describing how people lived and thought. 

In the last two days i watched Churchill   Bumblebee Aquaman and Summer coda  Two of them had me in tears, the other two laughing in joy and wonder 

I read 4 westerns, the latest Janet Evanovich novel, and the latest Harlan Coben  I also read  4 newspapers, two magazines, several comics, and a lot of stuff online about various topics, from military power to metal detecting  i watched QI, escape form the city, would i lie to you,  Joanna lumley's the silk road and a few other things like the news and current affairs and landline  

I think individuals tend to prefer what satisfies their own greatest needs, and gives the deepest emotional response, from education to entertainment  

Man alive, Mr Walker, those are more or less the exact bit of fiction I'd go for if I had even a quarter of the time (except for 'Summer Coda', never heard of it). Harlan Coban, though, is AWESOME, and in my opinion the only worthy successor to Elmore Leonard. Is Bumblebee any good?

I agree that people need fiction to bond with their inner drives and emotions. My thinking, though, is why don't atheists _or atheist-like creatures, Dan_ have pause for thought in this:

The greatest skill of any writer is to give a minimum, highly economical amount of biographical data for their characters, and it be so compelling that a workable model of that character then appears fully formed in the reader (or watcher's) mind thereafter. And yet. Look at our biggest holy books. Their narratives hit the ground running. We don't need to relate to Jesus as a human. He doesn't make small talk. There are no sub-plots. There's no breathless action sequences. The Koran has fewer 'story-like' elements even than that. It's a source of fascination for me that atheists _or atheist-like creatures_ don't automatically take a backwards step and say, "Well, I suspect these books are (intentionally or unintentionally) manipulative bits of fiction, and yet ...if they are, they're unlike any fiction we've had since. This is some kind of legitimate psychological mechanism. I'm going to stay quiet for a while".

Come on, people. Give me an ensemble drama where the disparate characters fit together as economically and have as definitive an effect as the Disciples in the New Testament. Star Wars? Well, no because that story is never going to end is it? Disney is just going to give us generation after generation of _slightly_ different Sith lords and _slightly_ different Jedi, until there's no more dramatic impact left. Watchmen? Dr Manhattan is more high-concept than Jesus.   

11 hours ago, Rlyeh said:
On 5/27/2019 at 10:30 AM, Carlos Allende said:

Anyone with a strong personality has a hobby horse. Everyone has some kind of doomed, neurotic trigger that winds them up. Probably, be cool enough to keep it to yourself.

And yet you're projecting it on Atheists.

Certainly I'm projecting on to Atheists _(and atheist-like creatures)._ Why would that be a problem? If _anyone_ enters a public debate about one of the most fundamental areas of human life, surely they WANT to epitomize their opinions? And all humans are flawed some way or other. Don't you think? 

11 hours ago, Rlyeh said:

You've invented a straw man atheism in order to attack it.

OK, R. Maybe I have. If you think it's worth it (and I concede it may not be), perhaps you could give me your idea of a strong, resilient, intellectually _vital_ atheism? Or just send me a link if you've got one pre-prepared. My homework from @psyche101 is to watch Dawkin's TED lectures. Will that do?

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

For the reasons you just quoted from me.  'Daring' usually refers to something that requires a bit of courage, bungee-jumping or waiting in line to get to the top of Mt Everest for example.  I don't think believing in an afterlife requires courage, I think it instead does the opposite and provides comfort.

Personally, I can't derive any comfort from Heaven, either as a concept or in the event it turns out to be a real phenomenon. I've been thru too much in life and it's thoroughly messed up my hopes and dreams. But that's not to say that there aren't plenty more people out there who've not been _completely_ messed up by life, and they've got profound doubts, but they still think Heaven is possible --either as a real place or a transcendental idea.

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Because, and please try to incorporate this fact this time as it's been mentioned by nearly everyone here, most people do not say that the content of their dreams really occurred, which makes it different than religion. Atheists aren't against coping mechanisms, whether those coping mechanisms are based on anything real or not. There is nothing inconsistent about saying there is no god and that the belief in god can provide comfort and meaning to people.

But those dreams _did_ occur in as much as they were an apparently 3D, first-person, uncontrollable environment, correct? This is what this post was fundamentally supposed to be about: thinking about _anything_ is a slippery slope. In our minds, we either go one way or another, based on a whim. Say you're trapped in a room with an alien teenager, or maybe it's a kinda 'Dogtooth' scenario, and there's two books. He's very suggestible, but that's cool. One book is 'Valis' by Philip K Dick (or y'know, something of that variety, maybe 'Hard to Be a God' by Sturgatsky Brothers, or maybe something by Stanislaw Lem). The other book is The Bible. Your pal reads both books, but he's nuts for the Bible. It's all he wants to talk about. At what point do you explain that The Bible is used by billions of people as a religion, but Valis isn't? How much effort do you put into explaining the distinction? Do you just describe _the harm_ that Christianity has done, historically? He doesn't care about that. All he wants to do is talk about the cool book he's just read.

 

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danydandan
34 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

OK, DDD. Don't feel bad about sitting this one out. But regarding whether I abide by strict dictionary definitions, I admit that I don't. I don't come from an academic background, and to be honest, that stuff makes my skin crawl. I mean, that episode of Blackadder that featured Dr Johnson was _very_ funny, but that's the extent of my interest. For what it's worth, however, I fully take receipt of your stats about most Atheists (why the capital?) being religious -- but are you sure this is necessarily a good thing in terms of intellectual reasoning? 'Religion' is a bit close to 'spirituality' is a bit close to 'sacredness' and on and on it goes. People don't think in words, they think in _teeming, tangential nuances._ Isn't that what consciousness is? (Please don't quote me a definition of consciousness, mate). Plus, your distinction between atheism and religion (presumably versus God?) is a bit retreat-y, isn't it? As humans, whether we want to live or die, we're all about being and nothingness. I don't know if God exists, but it's not hard for me to conceive an ubermind that transcends conventional definitions and logic (some would say He necessarily _needs_ to). And in my opinion, it's OK for a prospective god to not care about nuance in most things, but he _needs_ to pay attention to nuance in religion, the supernatural, quantum physics, anything that gets us a ticket out of this crazy hell-hole.

In summary, though, you're right, I've probably made some assumptions somewhere along the line -- in doing so making an 'Ass' out of 'u' and 'me' _(highfives ghost of mousey-faced English teacher)_

I get your point. But my point is that we aren't psychic and we can't read your mind, thus we can only respond to the words you are writing. These words are established so why or how, would anyone know you're actually trying to state something other than the words you're typing. This is your mistake, in my opinion.

People generally think in words, by association/imagery. But I really don't know, other than what Dr Steve Novella says!

What do you mean retreaty? Can you elaborate more on this? 

But what the difference between Jack Reacher and Jesus? 

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Carlos Allende
20 hours ago, danydandan said:

I get your point. But my point is that we aren't psychic and we can't read your mind, thus we can only respond to the words you are writing. These words are established so why or how, would anyone know you're actually trying to state something other than the words you're typing. This is your mistake, in my opinion.

People generally think in words, by association/imagery. But I really don't know, other than what Dr Steve Novella says!

What do you mean retreaty? Can you elaborate more on this? 

But what the difference between Jack Reacher and Jesus? 

Well look, Triple-D, I accept how tough it is to engage with someone who doesn't want to argue using the same terminology as you -- but is it worth mentioning that one of the main questions I've asked here didn't actually use _any_ ambiguous, contentious language - rather it was just a very, very delicate moral dilemma? Maybe you'd like to do the honours? You can even tie-in your idea of comparing Jack Reacher to Jesus:

On 5/27/2019 at 5:18 PM, Carlos Allende said:

Yet all too many writers use only tropes and cliches. I'm pretty sure the number of people reading crappy thrillers outweighs the number of people who go to church. The number of TV channels devoted to bad films and shows _easily_ outweighs the number of religious channels. And so what do you suppose the average atheist would say about that? Do they think, compared to a writer, a religious leader somehow has a darker agenda than just vying for people's time and money? Surely that agenda would necessarily be _profound_ and intellectually satisfying on a transgressive level?

 

 

 

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XenoFish

Is this just another veiled jab at atheist? 

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danydandan
16 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Is this just another veiled jab at atheist? 

Obviously. He thinks that all Atheists are irreligious, no point in even talking to him.

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Carlos Allende
2 minutes ago, danydandan said:
19 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Is this just another veiled jab at atheist? 

Obviously. He thinks that all Atheists are irreligious, no point in even talking to him.

GENTLEMEN,

How about this: you assume that I want to hear your thoughts, and I promise not to give a reply, only responding with an in-house emoji?

Unless the crime of thinking atheists are irreligious (and I _did_ apologise for making assumptions yesterday) has robbed me of your brotherhood forever?

The only proviso I'd make is the same one I asked for in the original post --that we focus less on the idea that religion is some ultimate form of oppression (which, let's face it, is a very old debate).

Eh?

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