The Enlightened Atheist ?


By marcus   Follow   Fri, 6 Jan 2012, 10:21am   1,915 views   16 comments
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I can respect the point of view of an atheist, who believes there is no God, but who also understands that that belief is a at its core just a belief, a choice, and that truth be told they really have no idea whether there is a God. Instead what they have is some sort of assessment of the probability that God exists, using logic, but also fully aware and acknowledging that bias and self interest may play a role.

Obviously if one restricts their definition of God to being a supernatural (man like) being who created the universe and reflects a literal interpretation of the bible then it becomes FAR easier to assign an extremely low probability assessment to the existence of God.

But then why would that be a goal ?

Ah, here is where the truly self aware atheist realizes that they have an agenda. That is of course, not to believe in God. Since they really don't know for sure, they rig the argument and use a false understanding of what many adult intelligent believers believe, thus making it easier for them to make their trite and condescending remarks about virgin birth, water in to wine, heaven and hell, or you choose the story.

It's all so transparent.

The question I have, is why do they need to feel so certain ?

As so many have noted, they really are so much like the believers in God. They seem to need dogma that comforts them in their beliefs. Wouldn't it be easier to just say, "hey I don't know if there is a God, I really don't, but I choose not to believe based on what is partly a subjective assessment (especially subjective in my understanding of what believing in God means to others who do believe - like me their beliefs are their beliefs and it's not my place to judge them - oops, oh wait I've gone to far - yes it is)."

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  1. thunderlips11


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    1   10:54am Fri 6 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I asked in the Liberal Christianity thread for claims. I got no clear answers, I don't even know what liberal Christians believe other than some sense of spiritualism, based on some interpretation of the Sacrifice Myth in Western culture (Mithra, Jesus, Atlas, Tyr, etc.).

    Maybe this spiritualism is the same sense of "Whoa" I get from Cosmos. But I don't need myths to get all "Whoa". Reality is more than enough to blow one's mind. I enjoy a good story like everyone else but don't think it's necessary to have some kind of belief system about them to find them inspirational or enjoyable.

    marcus says

    Ah, here is where the truly self aware atheist realizes that they have an agenda. That is of course, not to believe in God.

    This seems to be a version of the old "What happened to you to make you mad at God?" conversion technique/distraction.

    Whether somebody's Mother was a Prostitute who lost both legs in a car accident shortly after, after the family was abandoned by an alcoholic father when the person was 7 years old, and now that person is mad at the world over it and therefore is taking it out on God by not believing in him, is a red herring.

    Does God exist or not?

    marcus says

    Since they really don't know for sure, they rig the argument


    There is no argument rigging. It is a simple matter of deciding whether rain is created by crying deities or a gift of the sky god, or a result of the evaporation cycle.

    Except these days, it's about the operator or creator behind the universe and the meaning of life, since deities have been driven out of pretty much all natural phenomenon.

    Maybe life has no meaning. Maybe life just is, like Hematite and Hydrogen and Gravity.

    ... and use a false understanding of what many adult intelligent believers believe, thus making it easier for them to make their trite and condescending remarks about virgin birth, water in to wine, heaven and hell, or you choose the story.

    Okay, so do you believe in the virgin birth, water to wine, etc. as something that really happened, or do you take it as allegory, some kind of Campbellian myth thing?

    If it's the latter, then there's no need for religion, just like you don't need religion to benefit from Aesop's fables or other traditional folk tales with moral lessons handed down through time (although many of these were Disney-fied and their original versions are just pure dark Germanic terror of the dark and unknown lurking in the black forest.)

    As so many have noted, they really are so much like the believers in God. They seem to need dogma that comforts them in their beliefs.

    Atheism is the absence of belief in deities. The difference between atheism and theism is the same difference between ahydraism and the belief in many headed hydras. Ahydraists simply don't believe there are hydras because they find the evidence lacking. That's all there is to it.

    Not believing in Hydras isn't belief, it's the absence of a belief.

    The Question is: Does God Exist?

    Why should religious belief get a pass on skeptical inquiry? Thunder, Disease, all eventually subjected to skeptical inquiry. Why not subject the deity that is suspected to be behind the world to it?

    "That which is asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof"

  2. marcus


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    2   11:09am Fri 6 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Ahydraists simply don't believe there are hydras because they find the evidence lacking. That's all there is to it.

    Wrong. Some atheists, such as Dan claim the belief that God does not exist, which is quite different than simply not believing that God does exist. Further, he talks as if he can logically prove it.

    thunderlips11 says

    "That which is asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof"

    If that assertion is in large part the assertion of an experience, and you dismiss it because you have not had that experience nor can you relate to that experience,... fine.

    But then if you pass judgement on the person who has that experience, that you can not relate to, and go and a crusade GENERALIZING that all people who have any with in an entire class of experiences are fools, evil and detrimental to our species.....

    Well then at that point you (not you personally) have crossed a line over to being an arrogant prick.

  3. thunderlips11


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    3   11:39am Fri 6 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    marcus says

    If that assertion is in large part the assertion of an experience, and you dismiss it because you have not had that experience nor can you relate to that experience,... fine.

    It boils down to the kind of experience it is. Was it something demonstrable and repeatable?

    If not, there's no way I can confirm it.

    One time, I went down to the cafeteria at the tail end of a good trip. I spoke to a friend, and she said "I have something that's been going around."

    I said, "I know, it's really great, isn't it?" I could have swore she winked at me.

    Later on after I slept and recovered, I went to visit her and she was in her nightgown, blowing her nose in kleenex and sneezing alot.

    She didn't "Have what I had." That feeling of interconnectedness brought upon by drugs. She had the beginnings of a cold.

    While dropping acid often makes people appreciate the mystic side of things, *for me* it helped me appreciate the APPEARANCES vs. REALITY.

    The same thing happened another time when the pipes were gurgling gossip, and finally Conan appeared to tell them to "Shut up, alll of jooo." He didn't really yell it, but at the time I was having a hard time distinguishing between what I thought and what I perceived. Nobody heard him but me, and nobody else saw Conan, and nobody heard the pipes in the wall that wouldn't stop talking.

    But if I was to have another such experience again in my life, without dropping acid, my first thoughts would be: "Am I having a flashback? Did I eat something with ergot? Were the kids at the pizza shop fucking around with my order? Maybe I should go to a doctor as I may have a brain tumor!"

    It's also why I give the theory about brain pumping all kinds of feel good chemicals near the point of death credence, when it comes to explaining the "light at the end of the tunnel" stories.

    I don't say this to be condescending, just explaining why I don't take experience as a valid explanation for things.

  4. rdm


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    4   1:06pm Fri 6 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    What is it that always wants to see the world as black and white, yes and no, God or accidental occurrence? Most of life is lived in a state of abject dualism. The nuanced argument comes down to the teleogical one: is there a purpose to life on earth and of man in particular? This question is not really answered by typical religion and it is distained by most evolutionary biologists (Dawkins and his like). Are we merely eating, fucking, shitting and moving around machines or is there a possible higher purpose?

  5. marcus


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    5   11:13am Sat 7 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    I don't say this to be condescending, just explaining why I don't take experience as a valid explanation for things.

    I had said

    marcus says

    If that assertion is in large part the assertion of an experience, and you dismiss it because you have not had that experience nor can you relate to that experience,... fine.

    I thought that was clear.

    Experience isn't a "reason for things," but it obviously can be a reason for disagreement regarding "spiritual" matters. I'm not saying you need to accept what others accept, quite the contrary. Just respect them, as you respect yourself.

    A natural question might then be for you to turn it around and say "why don't you respect the Atheists ?" Actually I do, if they can manage to be humble about it, and preferably if their definition of Atheist is closer to yours, not believing in God, as opposed to believing that there definitely is no God (and all the believers are morons) and even using faulty logic to reach their view, and then being arrogant assholes on top of all that.

    But a humble agnostic view is even more respectable in my view.

  6. marcus


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    6   11:22am Sat 7 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    rdm says

    Are we merely eating, fucking, shitting and moving around machines or is there a possible higher purpose?

    You could add to the list to include remembering, questioning, analyzing, and on.....

    And it would still be a good question.

  7. Kevin


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    7   9:39pm Mon 9 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I'm a fairly vocal atheist, mainly because of the restrictions that religion has attempted to impose upon myself, my loved ones, and the development of the useful arts.

    Here is a short list of things currently being harmed by religion (no point even going into the past):

    - Reproductive rights
    - Homosexuals
    - Alcohol
    - Stem cell research
    - Orphans
    - Lots and lots of human beings in many countries (physically)

  8. marcus


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    8   9:53pm Mon 9 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    Here is a short

    Most of these could be classified as anti fundamentalist. I have problems with these too. Anti Catholic in a couple of your examples.

    You could call yourself antireligion, but anti belief in God takes it a step beyond that, no ?

    Who knows, as annoying as the religious can be, maybe a day will come when genetic engineering or the (poorly named) "singularity" that is Ray Kurzwell predicts, when man merges with machine, will bring about a conflict over the future of our species in which the religious are in the righteous corner helping to preserve something important.

    I'm not predicting it, but the possibility seems far from outrageous to me.

  9. Kevin


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    9   12:29am Tue 10 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    marcus says

    You could call yourself antireligion, but anti belief in God takes it a step beyond that, no ?

    Depends. If you use "god" as an excuse to avoid actually figuring out how something works, then it's still a problem, even if it's not bound to organized religion.

    I sense a lot of that in discussions of things being "unnatural".

  10. marcus


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    10   7:00am Tue 10 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I think the pov that homosexuality is unnatural or bible related excuses aren't the real issue, but that it's human arrogance along the lines of "you need to be like me and like most of us." This seems to be part of human nature. Our group think.

    God and religion can be brought in on both sides of it.

    Acceptance now of homosexuality by a large portion of the population has to do with our getting used to it and it might in some part be related to rejecting religious arguments. But it might also be related to Christian ethics, such as "love thy neighbor." Judge not, lest ye be judged" (speaking of unnatural), "the golden rule," "we're all Gods chjldren," etc.

    There clearly are believers, even scientists in some cases, who don't let their religious beliefs get in the way of wanting to understand how things work.

  11. shri


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    11   8:21am Tue 10 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    "The question I have, is why do they need to feel so certain ?"

    I do not need to feel to certain, I just am.

    If you meant to ask "Why do you feel the need to assert atheism strongly?", well, here's my rationale:

    http://bit.ly/rn3kTb

  12. marcus


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    12   5:15pm Tue 10 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    shri says

    I do not need to feel to certain, I just am.

    If you didn't have such a strong need to be certain, I think you would not choose such a silly way of defining God. There are many beliefs of what God is. It seems to me that if you say there is no God, you are rejecting all of them, and saying there is no God of any definition, not just this childs view of God as daddy in the sky who does magic.

    By that I mean that there are no beings that are living and can perform magic. No, not magic tricks. Magic.

  13. deb


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    13   7:53pm Tue 10 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Irrelevant concerns, IMO. Read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Then read the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Two different cultures with the same detailed description of the after-death experience.

    Documented NDEs tell us the same thing. Yogis (many of them over several centuries) who have learned the ability to turn off the mind tell us the same thing. Ingest enough psychedelics (ego death) and you'll also experience the same thing, provided you are guided properly. The oldest religion in existence (60,000 years -- Aboriginal Dreamtime), basically agrees. Most occult teachings worldwide agree.

    Atheism is for people who can't handle reality, IMO. It's a cop out for people who don't know how to do research.

  14. thunderlips11


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    14   9:30am Wed 11 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Jason M. says

    Documented NDEs tell us the same thing.

    Yes, that the brain does weird things when oxygen levels decline or certain anesthetics are administered.

    Ketamine and Pilots in Centrifuges duplicate NDE experiences.

    Not to mention the "God Helmet"

  15. CL


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    15   11:42am Wed 11 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Do we believe in Psychoanalysis though? If one recognizes the Ego, Superego and Id in our psyches, then it's not hard to believe that God is there. Conversely, it's not hard to believe that "God" is really just the manifestation of the psyche.

  16. Kevin


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    16   10:36pm Wed 11 Jan 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Jason M. says

    Irrelevant concerns, IMO. Read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Then read the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Two different cultures with the same detailed description of the after-death experience.

    Documented NDEs tell us the same thing. Yogis (many of them over several centuries) who have learned the ability to turn off the mind tell us the same thing. Ingest enough psychedelics (ego death) and you'll also experience the same thing, provided you are guided properly. The oldest religion in existence (60,000 years -- Aboriginal Dreamtime), basically agrees. Most occult teachings worldwide agree.

    Atheism is for people who can't handle reality, IMO. It's a cop out for people who don't know how to do research.

    Yeah, "research" like anecdotes from people high on hallucinogenics and experimenting with oxygen and sleep deprivation!

    Do you actually understand what "research" is?

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