on discussing god and religion

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:14 pm

iambiguous wrote:I've never argued that life is meaningless. On the contrary, existentially, it is bursting at the seams with meaning. But in a No God or No Religion world there does not appear to be a way in which to ascribe -- teleologically -- any essential meaning to it. Thus no font for differentiating right from wrong behavior on this side of the grave and no font to attach "I" to on the other side of it.


felix dakat wrote: So according to you life is meaningful existentially but not essentially. And, I suppose then, right and wrong can be differentiated existentially as Dasein but not essentially according to some absolute.


No, more like this: based on my own experiences in life to date, combined with my efforts explore that life philosophically, I have come to conclude "here and now" that, in regard to my moral and political value judgments, "I" is the embodiment a subjective point of view rooted in an existentially evolving fabrication rooted in dasein.

And whether right or wrong can be differentiated doesn't change fact that had my life been different I might have come to very different conclusions. Nor does it change the fact that whatever my value judgments are now as a moral and political prejudice, others can take the opposite point of view and come up with their own assumptions rooted in their own prejudices.

Thus, whereas I was once convinced as a Christian that abortion is objectively immoral [re God], as a Marxist I came to the conclusion that, on the contrary, it was objectively moral [re ideology]. Now I recognize that reasonable argument can come from both sides that the other side's arguments don't make go away.

And then the part where sociopaths argue that in a No God world they have chosen their own purely selfish wants and needs as the center of the universe morally. Okay, Mr. Ethicist, I note, how is that necessarily irrational?

And I'm less interested in the psychological parameters of moral and political ideals then in the extent to which, once they are taken down out of the theoretical clouds, they can be demonstrated to be values that all rational people are obligated to share.

Whereas I deem my own life "here and now" as essentially meaningless and apparently on the road to oblivion. I can no longer think myself into embodying your own psychologisms -- "a tendency to interpret events or arguments in subjective terms" -- when it comes to grappling with the existential relationship between morality and immortality. Only, in my view, your own subjective/subjunctive "I" here is still viewed by you as objective.


felix dakat wrote: The specter of meaningless has got you. Maybe you're possessed by it. Nietzsche said "if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you". I think that may be what's ailing you. I've seen the image of the abyss too. The image is not the abyss any more than the image of a god is the god. Nor is the image of objectivity objectivity itself. Objectivity is an ideal.


Thinking myself into believing that my own existence is essentially meaningless and about to be obliterated for all time to come is hardly "spectral". It's based on my actual reactions to a world of conflicting goods, and seeming certainty that death commences only a journey back to "star stuff".

Clearly, if someone is able to think themselves instead into believing in the "real me" in sync with an essentially meaningful life in sync with an objective morality that will reconfigure into an immortal soul on the road to salvation, they are probably less likely to be "ailing".

That's why I am always after them to bring this considerably more solidified Self out into a particular context so that we can explore our respective moral narratives/agendas.

For example, your point below:

And, again, based on my past experiences with objectivists, it doesn't surprise me when some reconfigure into Stooges and aim the discussions at me more than at the actual points I am making in regard to God and religion. In fact, Larry might have already come to suspect that perhaps I do know what I am talking about here. And that bit by bit he is beginning to suspect those points are applicable to him too. But that's all just sheer speculation extrapolated from past experiences with objectivists.


felix dakat wrote: Yeah, we try to label and pigeon-hole one another so we don't have to deal with the ungraspable nature of the other. After all we're mostly unconscious. We don't even grasp ourselves.


Let's zero in on a set of circumstances likely to precipitate different behaviors from us and examine our contentions above. There are any number of factors that can be grasped and communicated to each other objectively. About ourselves and others. It's the parts that are more problematic -- "I" in is/ought world -- that are more of interest to me. After all, those are the parts that precipitate this feeling of being "fractured and fragmented".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:40 pm

phyllo wrote:And why does he need essential meaning? Why isn't "existential" meaning enough?


It still boggles my mind how after all these years he is still so far removed from grasping the answer to this question that I have given countless times.

Why are there endless conflicts regarding conflicting goods going back to the very first philosophers? Because there are many different meanings ascribed to many different behaviors when it comes down to judging them as either good or bad, right or wrong. Existential assumptions rooted in dasein regarding the killing of a human fetus. Existential assumptions rooted in dasein regarding forcing women to give birth. Existential assumptions regarding when the unborn become "human beings". Even medical science can't resolve this once and for all.

Ah, but suppose someone believes in God and God's Scripture. Suppose she uses that to "resolve" it once and for all. Or suppose Buddhists and other No God religions go back to those who started their own spiritual paths?

Common sense tells me that if there is an essential font, it transcends whatever mere mortals might believe in their head "here and now".

Same with oblivion. If you are on a religious/spiritual path able to assure you that, one way or another, "I" lives on after death [and is on the road to salvation], how is that not likely to comfort and console you more than believing that "I" will one day be obliterated for all time to come.

Now, some, like him, are not nearly as bothered that their own life is meaningless and destined to be snuffed out for all of eternity.

Fine. More power to them. But others are not like that at all. And, in my view, they are surely entitled to feel considerable more dread at that prospect.

Again, it always comes down to their own particular existential death. Their own set of circumstances and all they have to either gain or lose personally in dying. And how is that not embedded in dasein?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:52 pm

You have a need to "resolve this once and for all".

Why do you have that need?

Others don't. I don't. I'm pretty sure that KT doesn't.

If there is no resolution "once and for all" in the universe then why are you fighting the universe? Why are you insisting on it?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby felix dakat » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:22 pm

phyllo wrote:You have a need to "resolve this once and for all".

Why do you have that need?

Others don't. I don't. I'm pretty sure that KT doesn't.

If there is no resolution "once and for all" in the universe then why are you fighting the universe? Why are you insisting on it?


Yeah he denies the validity of ideals but resolving difficult conflictual moral questions in the abstract once for all is an unrealistically high ideal. More likely he'll settle for kicking it around on ILP with people he whose thinking he dismisses and disrespects as " three stooges". As Kurt Vonnegut said, "We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:55 pm

phyllo wrote:You have a need to "resolve this once and for all".

Why do you have that need?

Others don't. I don't. I'm pretty sure that KT doesn't.

If there is no resolution "once and for all" in the universe then why are you fighting the universe? Why are you insisting on it?


Again, nothing sinks in with him.

[Well, I do admit that months ago, I never would have thought I'd hear him claim that his own existence is meaningless and on the road to oblivion --- neither of which bothers him]

The question isn't why some have the need to resolve it and others don't, but what are the particular factors in an individual's life that might explain why he or she is more or less likely to want it resolved. My explanation for this: the arguments I make in my signature threads.

Then those religious objectivists -- millions and millions and millions of them -- who insist that through their own God or spiritual path it already is resolved for them. They do differentiate vice from virtue here and now based on their own interpretation of one or another holy scripture. Or based on those who crammed that interpretation into their heads when they are being indoctrinated as children.

And, if differentiating right from wrong behaviors in your interactions with others, along with the fate of "I" when as a mere mortal you die is important to you, then why wouldn't a "once and for all" resolution [either through God or the universe] become important to someone?

And how am I fighting the universe? When have I ever insisted that either God or the universe owes me an explanation? I am only noting my own thinking "here and now" regarding the existential relationship between morality and immortality. But only for all of the reasons this is important to me. And never to insist those reasons should be the same for others as well.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:22 pm

Typical. He completely ignores all of the points and suggestions I raised with him just above and instead comments on something that phyllo posted.

phyllo wrote:You have a need to "resolve this once and for all".

Why do you have that need?

Others don't. I don't. I'm pretty sure that KT doesn't.

If there is no resolution "once and for all" in the universe then why are you fighting the universe? Why are you insisting on it?


felix dakat wrote: Yeah he denies the validity of ideals "but resolving difficult conflictual moral questions in the abstract once for all is an unrealistically high ideal".


Here, once again, I will explain how he gets this wrong. But I can all but guarantee you that down the road he will come back with much the same accusation.

I do not deny the validity of the ideals that others come to embody. Either as objectivists or not. Instead, I suggest only that in my view these ideals are rooted more in moral and political prejudices derive existentially/subjectively from dasein. And that they are likely not able to demonstrate why all other rational/virtuous men and women are obligated to in turn become "one of us" and share them.

And what on earth does he mean by, "resolving difficult conflictual moral questions in the abstract once for all is an unrealistically high ideal".

If that is unrealistic how about resolving ideals down on the ground in regard to a context in which conflicting goods do precipitate conflicting behaviors precipitating conflicting sets of rewards and punishments.

I must be misunderstanding him. A little help from others please.

Moe wrote: More likely he'll settle for kicking it around on ILP with people he whose thinking he dismisses and disrespects as " three stooges". As Kurt Vonnegut said, "We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."


What does this have have to do with anything of substance in discussing God and religion. And a Stooge in my view is someone who generally eschews the points that I raise [let alone bring them down to earth] in order to reconfigure the discussion into a series of accusations about me.

And surely were Kurt Vonnegut still around he would not be content with looking at the world these days and reducing the terrible pain and suffering inflicted on millions from the pandemic, the economic travail and the social unrest [in America alone] as all of us just farting around.

Now, note carefully as he completely misconstrues this point too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:41 pm

The question isn't why some have the need to resolve it and others don't, but what are the particular factors in an individual's life that might explain why he or she is more or less likely to want it resolved. My explanation for this: the arguments I make in my signature threads.
You're then one who keeps bringing this up ... "resolve once and for all", "one true path", optimum, obligations for all rational men and women.

You bring it up even when you are talking to people who don't give a shit about any of it. In all sorts of threads.

You're obsessed with it.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:33 pm

The question isn't why some have the need to resolve it and others don't, but what are the particular factors in an individual's life that might explain why he or she is more or less likely to want it resolved. My explanation for this: the arguments I make in my signature threads.


phyllo wrote: You're then one who keeps bringing this up ... "resolve once and for all", "one true path", optimum, obligations for all rational men and women.


For two [very personal] reasons:

1] I, like many others here who follow the news, am confronted daily with conflicting goods that often result in enormous pain and suffering inflicted on many. But, unlike others, I am not able to neatly differentiate between "one of us" who are most likely to stop or minimize that suffering, and "one of them" who either caused it or make it worse. "I" am instead fractured and fragmented here in a way that [obviously] the objectivists don't fathom at all.

Now, from my frame of mind, only to the extent that there does exist a font able to objectively differentiate good from bad behaviors, is aware of those who chose one or the other set of behaviors, and is able to reward or punish those on both sides of the divide, is there any resolution possible at all. Which, of course, most call God.

Though others attribute this to secular agents: ideology, deontology, science, philosophy, nature.

2] But: with the secular variants there is neither an omniscient nor an omnipotent point of view in regard to morality. And death is still oblivion. My own, for example.

phyllo wrote: You bring it up even when you are talking to people who don't give a shit about any of it. In all sorts of threads.

You're obsessed with it.


Again, given my own particular set of circumstances, it makes sense [in a philosophy venue] to be rather preoccupied with it.

But this obsession only sticks around for a few hours a day. The rest of my time is given over to distractions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:39 pm

Preoccupied with something that doesn't exist.

Why not move on.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:58 pm

phyllo wrote:Preoccupied with something that doesn't exist.

Why not move on.


How on earth, in any definitive manner, could I possibly know what either does or does not exist in regard to the existential relationship between morality and immorality? Given either a God or a No God world. I only know what "here and now" I think is true. While allotting a few hours a day to the opinions of others. There's always the possibility that my own frame of mind here might be shifted as a result of it.

You should be thankful that you are at least able to sustain a frame of mind that is not bothered at all by either a meaningless life or oblivion.

Indeed, given that, why on earth are you even here at all? Aren't you taking a chance that someone might note something that causes you to be bothered by it?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:37 pm

How on earth, in any definitive manner, could I possibly know what either does or does not exist in regard to the existential relationship between morality and immorality? Given either a God or a No God world. I only know what "here and now" I think is true. While allotting a few hours a day to the opinions of others. There's always the possibility that my own frame of mind here might be shifted as a result of it.
You dump this into discussions where it has no place. You clog threads. You waste people's time with these tangents.

And you wonder why you are accused of trolling. #-o
Indeed, given that, why on earth are you even here at all? Aren't you taking a chance that someone might note something that causes you to be bothered by it?
Yeah, I might learn something new but that's not likely to happen when the same tired stuff gets repeated over and over.

I don't need to keep reading about resolving something "once and for all", when it's been obvious for years that it won't happen.

Has anything new come up in the last 10 years? No, right?

Is the point of this place to keep going round and round in the same hole?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:40 pm

Larry wrote:
How on earth, in any definitive manner, could I possibly know what either does or does not exist in regard to the existential relationship between morality and immorality? Given either a God or a No God world. I only know what "here and now" I think is true. While allotting a few hours a day to the opinions of others. There's always the possibility that my own frame of mind here might be shifted as a result of it.
You dump this into discussions where it has no place. You clog threads. You waste people's time with these tangents.

And you wonder why you are accused of trolling. #-o


Where you think it has no place, what you construe as clogging threads, when you insist is wasting the time of others.

Oh, yeah, I forgot: being a Stooge here settles it.

And, no, I don't wonder why some consider me to be troll. It's just that my suspicions here are not likely to coincide with their own absolute certainty.

Still, note for us examples of threads [not started and sustained by me] into which I dump my own obsessions, that I clog, in which I waste the time of others, in which I am a troll. So we can all see what you mean by that.


Indeed, given that, why on earth are you even here at all? Aren't you taking a chance that someone might note something that causes you to be bothered by it?


Larry wrote: Yeah, I might learn something new but that's not likely to happen when the same tired stuff gets repeated over and over.


Try this:

1] you come into ILP
2] you note a thread started and sustained by me or one in which others have begun it but I post in
3] you remind yourself that reading my posts is only to endure the same stuff over and over again
4] you don't read them

See how that works.

Larry wrote: I don't need to keep reading about resolving something "once and for all", when it's been obvious for years that it won't happen.


Same thing. Don't read anything that I post relating to God and religion because I am likely to focus [selfishly enough] on the things that most preoccupy me about them. And my point is that what eventually becomes "obvious" for science in the either/or world, doesn't often occur at all for ethicists in the is/ought world.

Larry wrote: Has anything new come up in the last 10 years? No, right?

Is the point of this place to keep going round and round in the same hole?


What option is there for me, but to try to be persuaded to think differently about God and religion? It's a "hole" only because I find it reasonable "here and now" to think as I do about the relationship between morality and immortality. And it will never not be a hole if I don't at least make an effort a few hours a day to see how others are not in a hole here themselves.

Or how folks like you who are in a "hole" that encompasses a meaningless existence that ends in oblivion, but are not bothered by it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:14 pm

Where you think it has no place, what you construe as clogging threads, when you insist is wasting the time of others.
You're in a social situation with other people. And you don't care what impact the repetitive posting has on them.

It's like you don't know how to share the sandbox with other kids.

You'll do whatever you want.

And Ironically, you promote moderation, negotiation and rule of law. Which is for other people and not you?
Try this:

1] you come into ILP
2] you note a thread started and sustained by me or one in which others have begun it but I post in
3] you remind yourself that reading my posts is only to endure the same stuff over and over again
4] you don't read them

See how that works.
Yeah, I can do that.

But here is the thing ... people start responding to your posts or they leave. The tread gets hijacked or dies.
Same thing. Don't read anything that I post relating to God and religion because I am likely to focus [selfishly enough] on the things that most preoccupy me about them. And my point is that what eventually becomes "obvious" for science in the either/or world, doesn't often occur at all for ethicists in the is/ought world.
Same thing.

You act as if you are the only one here. Or as if everyone is here to serve you.
What option is there for me, but to try to be persuaded to think differently about God and religion? It's a "hole" only because I find it reasonable "here and now" to think as I do about the relationship between morality and immortality. And it will never not be a hole if I don't at least make an effort a few hours a day to see how others are not in a hole here themselves.

Or how folks like you who are in a "hole" that encompasses a meaningless existence that ends in oblivion, but are not bothered by it.
I thought that you are short of time.

Then why use what time you do have, so unproductively?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby felix dakat » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:35 pm

iambiguous wrote:I've never argued that life is meaningless. On the contrary, existentially, it is bursting at the seams with meaning. But in a No God or No Religion world there does not appear to be a way in which to ascribe -- teleologically -- any essential meaning to it. Thus no font for differentiating right from wrong behavior on this side of the grave and no font to attach "I" to on the other side of it.


felix dakat wrote: So according to you life is meaningful existentially but not essentially. And, I suppose then, right and wrong can be differentiated existentially as Dasein but not essentially according to some absolute.


iambiguous wrote:No, more like this: based on my own experiences in life to date, combined with my efforts explore that life philosophically, I have come to conclude "here and now" that, in regard to my moral and political value judgments, "I" is the embodiment a subjective point of view rooted in an existentially evolving fabrication rooted in dasein.


Okay, so life is meaningful to you but you are aware that your moral and political judgments are based on your personal history and philosophical inquiry and that they lack final objective certainty. You think that's probably true for other people too but that they [especially the objectivists] don't recognize it.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:32 pm

Larry wrote:
Where you think it has no place, what you construe as clogging threads, when you insist is wasting the time of others.
You're in a social situation with other people. And you don't care what impact the repetitive posting has on them.


Let's just say that I am less likely to care in a situation where others are not obligated to read my repetitive posting. And what is of far more interest to me lies in whatever repetitive answers they might offer. Answers that might nudge or propel me up out of the hole that I have thought myself into.

Larry wrote: It's like you don't know how to share the sandbox with other kids.

You'll do whatever you want.


Again, if it were a sandbox in which the other kids were required to share their time with me, I could see your point. And I do what I want but only in the sense that we all do what we ultimately do...but I am never really entirely certain as to why I have come to want that instead of something else. It's rooted deeply in dasein. It's just that when I suggest that perhaps this is true of the other kids too that some of them turn it all into me becoming the "problem". I'm disturbing their far more solidified understand of "I" out in the world. I'm intruding on the comfort and the consolation that being in the sandbox brings them.

Larry wrote: And Ironically, you promote moderation, negotiation and rule of law. Which is for other people and not you?


Again, note an instance on this thread [or another thread] in which this becomes more manifest.

Try this:

1] you come into ILP
2] you note a thread started and sustained by me or one in which others have begun it but I post in
3] you remind yourself that reading my posts is only to endure the same stuff over and over again
4] you don't read them

See how that works.


Larry wrote: Yeah, I can do that.

But here is the thing ... people start responding to your posts or they leave. The tread gets hijacked or dies.


Note examples of threads where this is the case. There are threads like these...

https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=190138
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=195982
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 3&t=195888

...started by others in which I contribute posts from time to them. Have I hijacked the threads? Have they died? No, instead, some will respond to my posts and others will ignore them. And for any number of personal reasons. Which is fine by me. That's the way it should be in venues such as these. Right?

Same thing. Don't read anything that I post relating to God and religion because I am likely to focus [selfishly enough] on the things that most preoccupy me about them. And my point is that what eventually becomes "obvious" for science in the either/or world, doesn't often occur at all for ethicists in the is/ought world.


Larry wrote: Same thing.

You act as if you are the only one here. Or as if everyone is here to serve you.


No, you act as though your own assessment of how I act here settles it. As though I might not -- ought not? -- see myself as acting as you see me at all. Or that I do but for reasons that you yourself fail to understand.

What option is there for me, but to try to be persuaded to think differently about God and religion? It's a "hole" only because I find it reasonable "here and now" to think as I do about the relationship between morality and immortality. And it will never not be a hole if I don't at least make an effort a few hours a day to see how others are not in a hole here themselves.

Or how folks like you who are in a "hole" that encompasses a meaningless existence that ends in oblivion, but are not bothered by it.


phyllo wrote: I thought that you are short of time.

Then why use what time you do have, so unproductively?


Ah, so now you know how much time I should allot to discussing God and religion because you know the extent to which the time I do allot to it now is either productive or unproductive.
Last edited by iambiguous on Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:40 pm

felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:I've never argued that life is meaningless. On the contrary, existentially, it is bursting at the seams with meaning. But in a No God or No Religion world there does not appear to be a way in which to ascribe -- teleologically -- any essential meaning to it. Thus no font for differentiating right from wrong behavior on this side of the grave and no font to attach "I" to on the other side of it.


felix dakat wrote: So according to you life is meaningful existentially but not essentially. And, I suppose then, right and wrong can be differentiated existentially as Dasein but not essentially according to some absolute.


iambiguous wrote:No, more like this: based on my own experiences in life to date, combined with my efforts explore that life philosophically, I have come to conclude "here and now" that, in regard to my moral and political value judgments, "I" is the embodiment a subjective point of view rooted in an existentially evolving fabrication rooted in dasein.


Okay, so life is meaningful to you but you are aware that your moral and political judgments are based on your personal history and philosophical inquiry and that they lack final objective certainty. You think that's probably true for other people too but that they [especially the objectivists] don't recognize it.


Yeah, something like that. Given the reality of human autonomy and the gap between what I think about this "here and now" and all that would need to be known about the existence of existence itself...in order to confirm how close to or far away from the whole truth I am here.

Also, that given new experiences, new relationships and access to new ideas from others [here for example] I might come to change my mind.

Finally, that my own assessment here as it relates to God and religion is no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein than yours is.

Or, rather, here and now, so it still seems to me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:27 pm

Religion & Evil
Raymond Tallis has some inconclusive thoughts.

For some commentators, the evidence for religion promoting beneficence and making people behave better is at least as strong as that for it fomenting, justifying, and organising conflict and cruelty. Historian JCD Clark has argued that “Egalitarianism was a religious principle for many centuries before it became a secular one: the idea that ‘all men are created equal’ has real leverage only when the emphasis is placed on the word ‘created’ and that term is construed literally.” (‘Secularization and Modernization: The Failure of a ‘Grand Narrative’’, The Historical Journal 55, 2012). However, a particular difficulty of judging the overall impact of one religion, Christianity, is well expressed in the British Humanist Association pamphlet The Case for Secularism (2007):

“Christianity has been the dominant culture, so it is unsurprising that it has provided the vocabulary of both sides in most significant moral and social divisions. Those who argued for the abolition of the slave trade argued their case in terms of Christian values and so did the slave-traders. Many of those who sought to improve the atrocious working conditions in factories and mines invoked Christian values – and so did the factory owners and mine owners who opposed reforms.”


Clearly, if you come to construe certain behaviors as "good" and others as "bad" and one or another religious denomination has over time favored/furthered those behaviors more in sync with your own moral and political values than, sure, in that sense religion can be deemed a good thing.

On the other hand:
https://time.com/5171819/christianity-s ... k-excerpt/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/th ... story.html

And, for others, the idea of egalitarianism itself is considered the abomination. And not just the Nietzscheans and the Ayn Randroids.

Similarly, Christianity can be twisted in defense of either socialism or capitalism.

Then this part:

When the horrors of the secular totalitarian states of the twentieth century are highlighted, secularists often argue that Communism and Fascism are disguised religions: creeds that permit no heresy; the worship of a godlike infallible leader who commands unquestioning obedience enforced by apparatchiks spying on the inner and outer lives of the flock; and the promise of earthly paradise, promulgated despite the increasingly present reality of earthly hell.


Here I lump all of these basically authoritarian and/or dictatorial moral and political dogmas under the general heading of objectivism. Those who argue that there is but one overarching assessment of the human condition and it is their own. Then it just comes down to how far the adherents will go to sustain their own agenda. The part where the ends can come to justify practically any means.

And, since the "secular religions" are unable to provide the comfort and consolation that comes with believing in an afterlife, they have to be all that much more adamant about sustaining all the things they promise regarding human interactions on this side of the grave.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:38 pm

Religion & Evil
Raymond Tallis has some inconclusive thoughts.

What therefore can be concluded about the relationship between religion and evil? That the question of whether the contribution of religion to human well-being has been net positive or net negative cannot be resolved.

So history cannot guide us as to whether religious revival or the resurrections of particular beliefs would be desirable.


Resolved in what way? Scientifically? Philosophically? Theologically? Empirically? Spiritually? Net positive or negative using "the greatest good for the greatest number" as a yardstick? Or one or another deontological assessment of good and evil? Or sheer numbers alone?

Instead, we are left with a jumble of religious denominations intent on proselytizing the Word. Scouring the globe to preach the faith. And why not given what is at stake? It's only the fate of your eternal soul.

And history among the ecclesiastics is no less written by the winners. There are still only a relative handful of major religious denominations that [by far] sustain the largest flocks.

Clark has claimed that the Christian doctrine, which in theory at least values individuals equally given that they are equal in the sight of God, has had a role in the emergence of democracies based on a universal franchise. Even if we were to accept this, it would not follow that returning established religion to a central place in our cultures and power structures would necessarily be beneficial for the democracies we now have.


On the other hand, some have argued that religion here is more in sync with materialism. That in order to understand the role that religion plays in our daily lives it must be fitted into one or another historical evolution of political economy. Thus in the West as feudalism gave way to mercantilism and burgeoning world trade configured into full-blown capitalism, religion itself configured from focusing the beam less on the "next world" and more on "this world". Protestantism and capitalism making a much more seamless fit.

As for "returning established religion to a central place in our cultures and power structures" just look at how this is unfolding in America now as Trumpworld forges an allegiance with the multitudes that encompass the evangelicals. That Trump may be playing them for suckers doesn't make that demographic segment itself go away in November.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Pinocchio » Sat Oct 03, 2020 8:25 am

Is there a Heaven?

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby promethean75 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:31 pm

If my memory doesn't deceive me, that's the smartest guy in the whole wide world.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby felix dakat » Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:09 am

promethean75 wrote:If my memory doesn't deceive me, that's the smartest guy in the whole wide world.


He's not exactly a poster boy for the validity of IQ testing.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:02 pm

Religion & Evil
Raymond Tallis has some inconclusive thoughts.

The argument remains unresolved – and unresolvable – and for this reason alone is ultimately unrewarding. But there are other reasons for not dismissing religion simply as a collective act of self-harm. We need to preserve the vast, rich cultural legacy owing to, or inspired by, religious belief. We cannot forget or actively reject this without losing something irreplaceably precious in ourselves.


Of course this is the part where the focus shifts from religion examined, assessed and judged by theologians, philosophers, scientists, politicians, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, etc., to the fact that all of us as individuals come to embody it in all manner of conflicting and contradictory ways. Given all of the very different lives that we live.

We start with the part where the evolution of life on earth has culminated in a species able "think up" God and religion as one possible explanation for existence itself. The source one can go to for all things ontological and teleological. And given all of the profoundly complex and problematic contexts in which any particular individual might take this, sure, there are going to be any number of examples of what are deemed by most to be "good things" coming from the "vast, rich cultural legacy owing to, or inspired by, religious belief".

On the other hand...

The legacy is not simply out there in the public realm as a collective heritage of art, literature, architecture, and music. It is in the very fibre of our individual and social being. The atheist, existentialist, Marxist, Maoist, Jean-Paul Sartre highlighted this in L’Idiot de la Famille, cited and translated by Robert Cumming in Starting Point:

“we are all Christians, even today; the most radical disbelief is still Christian atheism. In other words, it retains, in spite of its destructive power, schemata which are controlling – very slightly for our thinking, more for our imagination, above all for our sensibility. And the origins of these schemata are to be sought in centuries of Christianity of which we are the heirs whether we like it or not.”


Of course: Assessments that only intellectuals are prone to dispensing. I try to to grasp it in terms of my own life but nothing really clicks. Yes, given the role that Christianity has played historically in the shaping of "Western culture", there's no getting around the manner in which it sinks into any number of relationships. But how on earth am I to connect the dots here between Christianity as a "schemata" and the manner in which my own unique experiences led me to abandon it in favor of moral and spiritual nihilism?

As soon as I make the attempt to translate this particularly abstruse "intellectual contraption" into something more substantive -- existentially substantive -- and make it more pertinent to the life that I live, it all just vanishes into thin air.

Though, sure, others might read it, and make considerable sense of it in terms of their own lives. And, if so, tell us about it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby felix dakat » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:08 pm

iambiguous wrote:Religion & Evil
Raymond Tallis has some inconclusive thoughts.

The argument remains unresolved – and unresolvable – and for this reason alone is ultimately unrewarding. But there are other reasons for not dismissing religion simply as a collective act of self-harm. We need to preserve the vast, rich cultural legacy owing to, or inspired by, religious belief. We cannot forget or actively reject this without losing something irreplaceably precious in ourselves.


Of course this is the part where the focus shifts from religion examined, assessed and judged by theologians, philosophers, scientists, politicians, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, etc., to the fact that all of us as individuals come to embody it in all manner of conflicting and contradictory ways. Given all of the very different lives that we live.

We start with the part where the evolution of life on earth has culminated in a species able "think up" God and religion as one possible explanation for existence itself. The source one can go to for all things ontological and teleological. And given all of the profoundly complex and problematic contexts in which any particular individual might take this, sure, there are going to be any number of examples of what are deemed by most to be "good things" coming from the "vast, rich cultural legacy owing to, or inspired by, religious belief".

On the other hand...

The legacy is not simply out there in the public realm as a collective heritage of art, literature, architecture, and music. It is in the very fibre of our individual and social being. The atheist, existentialist, Marxist, Maoist, Jean-Paul Sartre highlighted this in L’Idiot de la Famille, cited and translated by Robert Cumming in Starting Point:

“we are all Christians, even today; the most radical disbelief is still Christian atheism. In other words, it retains, in spite of its destructive power, schemata which are controlling – very slightly for our thinking, more for our imagination, above all for our sensibility. And the origins of these schemata are to be sought in centuries of Christianity of which we are the heirs whether we like it or not.”


Of course: Assessments that only intellectuals are prone to dispensing. I try to to grasp it in terms of my own life but nothing really clicks. Yes, given the role that Christianity has played historically in the shaping of "Western culture", there's no getting around the manner in which it sinks into any number of relationships. But how on earth am I to connect the dots here between Christianity as a "schemata" and the manner in which my own unique experiences led me to abandon it in favor of moral and spiritual nihilism?

As soon as I make the attempt to translate this particularly abstruse "intellectual contraption" into something more substantive -- existentially substantive -- and make it more pertinent to the life that I live, it all just vanishes into thin air.

Though, sure, others might read it, and make considerable sense of it in terms of their own lives. And, if so, tell us about it.


I agree with Tallis. Religion is at the origin of every culture that becomes a civilization. Nihilism is a symptom of declining Western Civilization. Skepticism and cynicism are filters that keep people from transcending their egos.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm

felix dakat wrote:I agree with Tallis. Religion is at the origin of every culture that becomes a civilization. Nihilism is a symptom of declining Western Civilization. Skepticism and cynicism are filters that keep people from transcending their egos.


We'll need a context of course.

And, again, religion is at the origin of every human culture because every human culture, given the evolution of biological life on Earth, consist of men and women with brains able to think up Gods/God/religion as one possible explanation for existence itself.

Assuming of course we interact in a universe that is not wholly determined. And assuming of course those who embrace the idea of an omniscient God can square that with mere mortals in possession of free will.

And my own understanding of moral nihilism isn't a "symptom" at all. It's a philosophical argument that I make given the assumption that we live in a No God world. An argument containing in the points I raise in my signature threads.

As for, "Skepticism and cynicism are filters that keep people from transcending their egos", I'll ask you to note an actual context in which you explain this in considerable more detail.

Please?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby felix dakat » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:43 pm

iambiguous wrote:
felix dakat wrote:I agree with Tallis. Religion is at the origin of every culture that becomes a civilization. Nihilism is a symptom of declining Western Civilization. Skepticism and cynicism are filters that keep people from transcending their egos.


We'll need a context of course.

And, again, religion is at the origin of every human culture because every human culture, given the evolution of biological life on Earth, consist of men and women with brains able to think up Gods/God/religion as one possible explanation for existence itself.

Assuming of course we interact in a universe that is not wholly determined. And assuming of course those who embrace the idea of an omniscient God can square that with mere mortals in possession of free will.

And my own understanding of moral nihilism isn't a "symptom" at all. It's a philosophical argument that I make given the assumption that we live in a No God world. An argument containing in the points I raise in my signature threads.

As for, "Skepticism and cynicism are filters that keep people from transcending their egos", I'll ask you to note an actual context in which you explain this in considerable more detail.

Please?


Previous attempts at dialogue with you have repeatedly broken down over your habit of dismissing other's concepts as "contraptions" rather than showing that you made good faith efforts to understand what others mean. I'm not interested in proffering ideas only to have them summarily shot down as contraptions. Without a demonstration that you at least attempt to comprehend a proposition and your reasons for rejecting it, "dialogue" is a waste of time.

I don't view gods as possible explanations. I view them as archetypal representations of being which is fundamentally unexplainable.

I don't accept your three assumptions above as conditions for dialogue. The antimony of free will versus determinism is an open question. "Omniscience" is incomprehensible. "No God world" explains nothing.

A context for my statement about skepticism and cynicism is your thread and your use of the contraption dismissal. Whether or not I will supply more details depends on you convincing me that you see what you have been doing and demonstrating that you can change your habit.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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