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Carlos Allende

Religion versus Fiction

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Habitat
14 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Its not a fake subject. Religion is all too real. The beliefs are fake but the concept shaped society. 

Is there a reason you don't find it hypocritical that you spend as much or more time telling posters not to discuss religion? How do you find your harassment of those discussing religions better than those discussing the subject? It might be just me but your fascination with this argument whilst enacting the same principle seems a great deal stranger. 

Most societies are secular, if anything, people with religious dogmatist views are now discriminated against, as the Folau case shows. Religion has receded far into the background in most advanced countries.

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psyche101
8 hours ago, Habitat said:

Most societies are secular, if anything, people with religious dogmatist views are now discriminated against, as the Folau case shows. Religion has receded far into the background in most advanced countries.

I beg to differ. Government is largely secular but still influenced by religion. Societies are largely religious. Have you ever looked up what the percentage of atheists is in any country? 

Its a minority. 

 

 

No comment on your skeptic stalking? 

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Carlos Allende
10 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Whereas the abundance of theist output is just so fresh and novel...  I think atheism is already inclusive and probably stronger than it's ever been; if you'd like it to be more creative, then go ahead, do so.

@Liquid Gardens I like you a lot. You're on course for being Man-of-the-Match. Good Passing. Never offside. 

I mean,

10 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Not trying to be pedantic, just trying to make sure there aren't any hidden meanings in these phrases.

...introducing the idea that someone might be pedantic in an Atheism v Theism forum? You've been in this ring before and you're _lean_ and _tactile_ and there's not an ounce of unnecessary weight on your whole body. You might KO me yet.

10 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Just to get this out of the way, at this point and with some of your later points, we have drifted from known qualities of the 'average atheist'.  I think believing in Bigfoot is incorrect based on science, but it doesn't follow that I think Bigfoot belief is having a net negative effect.  Same thing with God for me.

Trying to ascertain reasons why someone would mention anything in public is very fraught, people discuss all kinds of things in public for all kinds of reasons. There is no obligation for atheists to stay silent if they simply think there is no god, but don't think there's anything necessarily harmful about god belief.  My country protects free speech.

Free speech is a weird thing. Imagine, for example, if we were in the old-style Soviet Union. Our _lack_ of Freedom of Speech would be a tantalizing thing, because it would give us something tangible to fight against. And the great thing is, because a tenet of Marxism as a philosophy is perpetual revolution, our rule-breaking would automatically _help_ the very institution that was subjugating us. It's like, all we ever have to do is watch for taboos. 

I get your Bigfoot (and the Hendersons?) analogy, and it works fine, in this context. I'm talking about a different context. I watched the two Richard Dawkins TED talks as was suggested to me in the course of this very pile-on. The one concerning the 'queerness of existence' was very entertaining, and I'd recommend it as a jumping-on point for anyone getting acquainted with evolution or quantum physics. He's not the most perfect public speaker, and that makes him very endearing (that is, he's 100% a better public speaker than me, 50% better than the average politician, nowhere near as good as _any_ stand-up comedian or army drill sergeant).

But his talk on atheism made me cringe almost all the way through. Not what you wanted to hear, but I can't lie. And guys, if you think I'm lumping all atheists together --school me! I will listen! I thought I'd covered every possible motivation for disbelieving in God with, 

10 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

The Atheist statement 'I don't believe in God', implies either a scientific grievance with the concept of God, a philosophical grievance, or a moral grievance.

...if you substitute 'grievance' for 'disagreement' -- well nutmegged, LG. It's worth noting, I'll also take a Sex Pistols v Bill Grundy naysaying as a valid reason for disbelief (I might even respect that position most of all). The thing that makes me most despondent about conventional Atheist arguments is that they focus on the flaws of institutional belief in a past sense. And that does everyone a massive disservice. You get older and more sophisticated. You realise stuff is baloney. This isn't a big revelation. It's called being human and living among other humans. I'm talking about God and religion as if they were part of a philosophical frontier.

To use an extreme example --and this is my own personal rule of thumb-- what if the concept of God is actually a phenomenon related to the brinkmanship that takes place in someone's despair-ridden mind a split second before they commit suicide? Is there a bigger, more defining moment in the whole of existence? Should _anyone_ condemn that person if they choose to carry on living, albeit with _small, stupid, vestigial beliefs in creationism, or patriarchy (which, let's face it, anyone can snap out of if they've got a sufficiently strong personality -- which has nothing to do with God or religion). Or should we simply deny the possibility of sorrow and oblivion as possible outcomes for human endeavour? My personal opinion and life experience tells me that we'll go from one extreme to another, and 99 percent of the population will indulge in meaningless hedonism, and the one percent (still countless millions) will be sorrowful through tangible problems. 

And this is where I come back to fiction. Criticism of the _concept_ of God and (even moreso) organised religion is low-hanging fruit. If we're sophisticated enough creatures to find meaning in fiction-we-know-isn't-true, why not _automatically_ up the ante and focus on things related to a _living_ God? Surely the thought that we're not living on the frontier should preoccupy us? You'd at least read something like, 'The Heart of the Matter' by Graham Greene, or watch _any_ Ingmar Bergman film, and there wouldn't be a lot of difference with believing in God, moving around in your life, tinkering, messing things up.

 

 

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Desertrat56
15 hours ago, Habitat said:

Most societies are secular, if anything, people with religious dogmatist views are now discriminated against, as the Folau case shows. Religion has receded far into the background in most advanced countries.

So, I guess you consider the U.S. a less than advanced country.

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Liquid Gardens
5 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

But his talk on atheism made me cringe almost all the way through. Not what you wanted to hear, but I can't lie.

No offense really but I have no stake in what you agree with and don't, agreements and disagreements both have benefits.  I'm not a big fan of Dawkins but that's partly because I've heard all the points he talks about regarding atheism lots of times on discussion forums like this.  I don't necessarily agree with things he says on other topics, but on atheism (not to be confused with anti-theism, see below) I'm not aware of his making a bad argument.

5 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

And guys, if you think I'm lumping all atheists together --school me! I will listen! I thought I'd covered every possible motivation for disbelieving in God with, 

Actually I think the issue might be that one of your categories doesn't belong.  I disagree a lot with some of the modifiers (massive, 99%, etc) you use but I don't want to get in semantic arguments, but I don't think it's much of a stretch for me to say that the vast majority of atheists disbelieve because of what you are terming scientific/philosophical reasons; they don't believe because of the lack of evidence, same reason a lot of them also don't believe in Nessie.  Acknowledging that there is probably some fringe atheists motivated by anything we can think of, I would say that there are not many atheists who base their disbelief in god on a moral grievance, as it's not logical. Does god exist is a different question from is it bad or harmful to believe in god.  I think all people with a moral grievance (anti-theists) who are also atheists (there is a large overlap) are atheists for scientific/philosophical reasons.  Your erroneous lumping is when you refer to 'atheists' when you are really referring to anti-theists, or atheists who have a moral grievance, which is not all of us.

6 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

To use an extreme example --and this is my own personal rule of thumb-- what if the concept of God is actually a phenomenon related to the brinkmanship that takes place in someone's despair-ridden mind a split second before they commit suicide?

Depends on the nature of the phenomenon.  If you mean God is a purely psychological phenomenon then you're actually agreeing with what a lot of atheists argue.

6 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Should _anyone_ condemn that person if they choose to carry on living, albeit with _small, stupid, vestigial beliefs in creationism, or patriarchy (which, let's face it, anyone can snap out of if they've got a sufficiently strong personality -- which has nothing to do with God or religion).

No.  Thanks for the easy one.

6 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

And this is where I come back to fiction. Criticism of the _concept_ of God and (even moreso) organised religion is low-hanging fruit

What's the fruit like that's hanging higher?

6 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

If we're sophisticated enough creatures to find meaning in fiction-we-know-isn't-true, why not _automatically_ up the ante and focus on things related to a _living_ God? 

I actually am not aware of any atheist who has argued that believers don't derive meaning from their religious beliefs.  The best I can make of the point of you mentioning this is that you are arguing against anti-theists who say there is absolutely nothing good about god belief by pointing out that people derive meaning/entertainment from it which is a good thing, just like these anti-theists derive meaning/entertainment from things that aren't literally true/fiction, and are thus hypocrites.  The problem is I don't know any anti-theist who has seriously argued that there is absolutely nothing good about god belief; they just think the bad outweighs the good.  There are windmills and you are atilt.

6 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Surely the thought that we're not living on the frontier should preoccupy us?

? Again, no offense, but this is the only response that for me fits: :blink:

I think we've cleared up that you are talking about anti-theists, people who think there is something wrong with god belief (not just that god belief is incorrect).  Let's take Dawkins, he's on the extreme end of both atheism and anti-theism, and he's also very prolific.  What has he said or what idea do you think he holds that at all implies some attitude about fiction?  There is nothing inconsistent about being against fictional things that sometimes cause harm (like religion) and not being against fictional things that in a relative sense do not cause harm ("fiction").

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Desertrat56

I got tired of this and did not read all the posts but it occurs to me that people who are not religious are not necessarily atheists and based on what I have read from @Carlos Allende AND based on his ridiculous thread title I think he is confused about that.  Anti-religion is not anti-god/anti-theist, and not all atheists are anti-religion or as Liquid Gardens pointed out anti-theist.  That leaves a whole group of people, who do believe in a creator but refuse to participate in any religion, out of this idiotic conversation (I consider it idiotic as the OP refuses to acknowledge all the answers he has gotten to his original question and continues to pretend like no one is answering it, and also pretends like no one has explained anything to him).   Why bother?

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Carlos Allende
15 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Your erroneous lumping is when you refer to 'atheists' when you are really referring to anti-theists, or atheists who have a moral grievance, which is not all of us.

I fully acknowledge your distinction between atheists and anti-theists, but I don't think there's much in it. Having the two distinct groups suggests to me neurotic, redundant thinking. For an Atheist whose disbelief in God(s) is based on, as you say, science, philosophy or lack of evidence --why should they then need to think about God in terms of negative moral characteristics and societal impact, if his existence has already been ruled out by far more empirical propositions? Similarly, moral, emotional judgments should be enough when it comes to the decision of whether or not to air your opinions in public. I support Swindon Town FC. In a Port Vale forum, I'd either pontificate about stats, or the general vibe of their team -- but I wouldn't do both, because they'd think I'd over-thought it and was rattled. And they'd be right.

And you might say, 'None of the above matters in relationship to whether God exists'. But for me, the motivation that prompts either an Atheist or anti-theist to think about God in the first place, and how to present their argument, is an emotional one, based on the irreducibility of consciousness -- for all I know, that might even be God Himself / Itself. You said it yourself:

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

If you mean God is a purely psychological phenomenon then you're actually agreeing with what a lot of atheists argue.

 

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I actually am not aware of any atheist who has argued that believers don't derive meaning from their religious beliefs.  The best I can make of the point of you mentioning this is that you are arguing against anti-theists who say there is absolutely nothing good about god belief by pointing out that people derive meaning/entertainment from it which is a good thing, just like these anti-theists derive meaning/entertainment from things that aren't literally true/fiction, and are thus hypocrites.  The problem is I don't know any anti-theist who has seriously argued that there is absolutely nothing good about god belief; they just think the bad outweighs the good.  There are windmills and you are atilt.

Should I point out the irony of your referencing Don Quixote -a novel- in an argument about the inseparability of God and fiction? Or just keep schtum? Your summation of my argument is near bang on, though. What I'd take issue with is --if there are, as you suggest, no atheists who argue that believers don't derive meaning from religion _AND_ no anti-theists who argue there's _nothing_ good about God _AND_ God is a legitimate psychological coping mechanism that takes advantage of the unknowable nature of death ...isn't that enough that God and Religion _at least_ get a breather, while us iconoclasts take aim at, say, twee housewife thrillers, or the CSI franchise, or sci-fi stories that are painfully cloned from earlier sci-fi stories that were shhh to start with? After all, these things don't even have _trace_ meaning, or metaphorical value, and they certainly don't reflect our personal relationship with death or reality.

But, RE your hyping of the new Godzilla film: Give 'Shin Godzilla' a look-in, if you haven't already done so. It's the last Japanese-produced film, and I think it's the business. The CGI has got such a profound look, like they've thought, 'let's spend every last dollar not only making G look real, but _eerily_ real'. And there's no real human drama to ruin the vibe, just panicking politicians.

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Pettytalk
2 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

What's the fruit like that's hanging higher?

Sour, said the fox.

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Pettytalk

I feel too insignificant to come between two who are arguing, what seems to me to be, in eloquent style. I say seem, because I have this idea that eloquence to me means something that I cannot understand that easily. And I don't understand why there is so much talk of monsters in a conversation for the belief/non-belief in God, who truly is no monster. But in reality, God is a most beautiful Being, the Most, to be exact, for those that have been fortunate enough to have caught a glimpse. I mean, comparing the belief in the Lock Ness monster, as being on the same level of belief in God? Or the introduction of Godzilla into the conversation? I can understand if one is just doing it for amusing the spectators, and in a playful mode, but to do it in a serious discussion, as you two seem to be engaged in, is truly out of play, as it's said in certain sports.

Otherwise, you two are very interesting to follow, and it seems that no one is really winning at this point. And it's refreshing to see new material, and new presenters, brought in for the discussion. A very interesting one, at that. Because it's not just about the old argument for the existence of God, but delves into the personalities and characteristics of those that engage in such discussions, and the pros and cons resulting from the two opposing views, one of believers and the other of atheists, or as suggested, non-theist seeming atheists..

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Liquid Gardens
3 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

I fully acknowledge your distinction between atheists and anti-theists, but I don't think there's much in it. Having the two distinct groups suggests to me neurotic, redundant thinking.

I have no idea why, it seems basic.  There are people who don't believe in god who think religion is a force for good and there are people who don't believe in god who think religion is not a force for good. All those people are atheists, but there's big differences.  I don't see any redundancy or neuroses, they are markedly different opinions and neither follows necessarily or is inconsistent with not believing in god.  

3 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

For an Atheist whose disbelief in God(s) is based on, as you say, science, philosophy or lack of evidence --why should they then need to think about God in terms of negative moral characteristics and societal impact, if his existence has already been ruled out by far more empirical propositions?

Because they think that god has negative moral characteristics and god belief has a negative societal impact, ideas that there is some evidence for.  You keep trying to cast aspersions as to the psychological motivations and attitudes that atheists have or should have.  You seem to keep trying to take, 'they don't believe in god' and add 'and therefore...''; there is no 'therefore' from the mere act of disagreeing with a proposition that something does or doesn't exist.

3 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Similarly, moral, emotional judgments should be enough when it comes to the decision of whether or not to air your opinions in public.

I don't understand at all why you're mentioning airing opinions in public again, you seem to be implying some impropriety or rudeness in atheists mentioning their beliefs.  What should we conclude about your motivations and responsibilities for airing your opinions in public?  The particular 'public' we are referring to is a discussion forum for disputing and debating spirituality topics, I air my opinions in public for entertainment.  Since there are endless ways that people find entertainment and you can't read people's minds, you shouldn't infer specific motivations from the mere fact that someone posted something.

4 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

But for me, the motivation that prompts either an Atheist or anti-theist to think about God in the first place, and how to present their argument, is an emotional one, based on the irreducibility of consciousness -- for all I know, that might even be God Himself / Itself.

I think the only way you can possibly know that is an accurate motivation is for someone to flat out state it, that is not something you can just infer.  The motivation that prompts an atheist to think about god in the first place is the enormous number of theists in the world; irreduciibility of consciousness is needlessly complicated.  Why does the argument for atheism need to be an emotional one when there are scientific/philosophical arguments supporting it?

3 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

What I'd take issue with is --if there are, as you suggest, no atheists who argue that believers don't derive meaning from religion _AND_ no anti-theists who argue there's _nothing_ good about God _AND_ God is a legitimate psychological coping mechanism that takes advantage of the unknowable nature of death ...isn't that enough that God and Religion _at least_ get a breather, while us iconoclasts take aim at, say, twee housewife thrillers, or the CSI franchise, or sci-fi stories that are painfully cloned from earlier sci-fi stories that were shhh to start with? After all, these things don't even have _trace_ meaning, or metaphorical value, and they certainly don't reflect our personal relationship with death or reality.

So you're wondering why people don't pause and not criticize god and religion for a while why you take aim at fiction?  Why can't we do both?  Again why on earth do you think you determine what has meaning and value; I can find trace meaning and metaphorical value in lots of sci-fi stories or thrillers for example.  And what's wrong with entertainment?  I'll take a cheezy episode of CSI or an average Star Trek episode over any sappy religious story any day.

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Liquid Gardens
4 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

Give 'Shin Godzilla' a look-in, if you haven't already done so. It's the last Japanese-produced film, and I think it's the business.

And thanks for the recommendation, I already own Shin Godzilla. I agree, it was a good one, a fresh take on the story.

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Habitat
7 hours ago, Desertrat56 said:

So, I guess you consider the U.S. a less than advanced country.

I said most, the US is the exception.

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Liquid Gardens
5 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

I mean, comparing the belief in the Lock Ness monster, as being on the same level of belief in God?

That isn't what was said exactly.  If you have more evidence for God than Nessie point it out, I don't see it.

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Hammerclaw
3 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

That isn't what was said exactly.  If you have more evidence for God than Nessie point it out, I don't see it.

3 hours. Echoes answer, mournfully.

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Pettytalk
4 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

That isn't what was said exactly.  If you have more evidence for God than Nessie point it out, I don't see it.

Evidently there are way more eyewitness accounts of having spotted God and His agents than Nessie. And God has been spotted the world over, rather than just in a tiny, murky, little lake in Scotland. Not to mention reliability, as those in that frigid area drink too much scotch just to keep warm. And I tell you, personally,  that with a few shots of good scotch one is  liable to see anything.

And as far as you not seeing it, I ask, how can the spiritually blind see?

Edited by Pettytalk

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Sherapy
1 hour ago, Pettytalk said:

Evidently there are way more eyewitness accounts of having spotted God and His agents than Nessie. And God has been spotted the world over, rather than just in a tiny, murky, little lake in Scotland. Not to mention reliability, as those in that frigid area drink too much scotch just to keep warm. And I tell you, personally,  that with a few shots of good scotch one is  liable to see anything.

And as far as you not seeing it, I ask, how can the spiritually blind see?

Anecdotal claims are not facts. 

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Habitat
7 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Anecdotal claims are not facts. 

Your favourite mantra !  And not a true statement, either. They may be entirely factual, just not demonstrated as such.

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Hammerclaw
19 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Your favourite mantra !  And not a true statement, either. They may be entirely factual, just not demonstrated as such.

They are not demonstrated facts. I've seen some very strange things all my life. I have opinions as to what they signify, but I can't prove any of them. I have no evidence save for that of my senses to which only I am privy. I choose to believe what I have concluded, but expect no one else to. In fact, I don't even talk about them, not wishing to subject myself to ridicule. I'm content to keep my own council and spare the world yet more unprovable tales of the fantastical. It would be to no purpose and I'm prone to get angry when laughed at. 

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danydandan
43 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Anecdotal claims are not facts. 

 

33 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Your favourite mantra !  And not a true statement, either. They may be entirely factual, just not demonstrated as such.

Actually facts are something proven to be true. Simple as.

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Habitat
1 minute ago, danydandan said:

 

Actually facts are something proven to be true. Simple as.

You mean dinosaurs were not a fact till humans came along ? Remarkable !

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danydandan
3 minutes ago, Habitat said:

You mean dinosaurs were not a fact till humans came along ? Remarkable !

If it's unknown obviously it's not known thus can't be proven. Thus isn't known to be fact until proven true. 

Hence the definition from Oxford "something proven to be true."

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Habitat
1 minute ago, danydandan said:

If it's unknown obviously it's not known thus can't be proven. Thus isn't known to be fact until proven true. 

Hence the definition from Oxford "something proven to be true."

I'm sure the dinosaurs thought it was true, such an anthropocentric view to think otherwise.

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danydandan
Just now, Habitat said:

I'm sure the dinosaurs thought it was true, such an anthropocentric view to think otherwise.

Can you prove that? 

Maybe this link might help you in understanding the matter.

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Habitat

The poor old team, fishing around for legal precedents to quell those nagging doubts !

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danydandan
2 minutes ago, Habitat said:

The poor old team, fishing around for legal precedents to quell those nagging doubts !

No team here. 

Just using the English language to dismantle your precarious arguments for why anyone should actually accept some nonsensical anecdotage.

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