Death and Religion

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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Trick on Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 am

Bao wrote:
What atheists say is that everything will eventually be gone and no memories or thought about no one will be left, so life is completely worthless. Life means suffering. so I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world.

could be like that, but could also be - I'm not going to suffer even if it means that other will suffer as long as I get to my goals.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby wiesiek on Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:35 am

well,
guys,
if you have a spiritual questions - go and try shaman`s rituals or learn how to reach theta waves brain state,
hmmm,
even better if you do both... -joint-

lot of peps >know</feel that there is something
but
what is it?
tales are different, so everybody has to find his own name , if you askin` me 8-)
joyful usefullnes of the effords
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:23 am

A very appropriate podcast for those with the time to listen:

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/is-life-actually-worth-living

I have been considering death alot over the last few years. it is an ongoing thought process and exploration for me.

I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world. Most atheists believe for some reasons that it's wrong to take your own life.


It is very common for believers to ask the athiest 'what have you got to live for' and the answer is really very simple. Life.

Most athiests i have spoken to understand how incredibly fortunate they are. How incredible it is for the atoms in their body, formed in dieing stars, to have co-elessed into a form where they can observe and experience the universe. As a result they treasure this life, and the moments inherent in it, not thinking they have a get out of jail free card when it ends. That story alone, trumps almost every religious tale i have ever heard.

On a related point, I have come to think that immortality (often a state present in the world religions in one form or another) is very real, but not in the way that most religious people would define it. IMO, immortality is in our survival of 2 things.

1) Our Genes.
The most obvious is the propegation of our genes via our offspring. They carry our genetic essence into the future including many of the traits we perceive to be uniquely our own.
2) Information.
The less obvious answer is that our 'information' can continue into the future. What we put out into the world and how that is they used, assimilated, recorded and passed on from generation to generation is truely a peice of ourselves. This is an extremely potent motivation to do good in the world and be 'remembered' how we want to be remembered. But even more, it is a potent motivator to try to use your knowledge in a living way to help those whom it touches.

Obvously these two things are intimately linked together, our offspring and our genes present in them are infused with the information we imbue them with and so, in a round about way, we continue inevitably into the future.

Again, both of these things and the inevitability that our consiousness will expire, are extraordinerilly powerful motivators for living a full life here and now, even in the absence of religion.

Interesting topic,

thanks.
Last edited by middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby windwalker on Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:29 am

Buddhist have some thoughts on this echoing some of what is expressed here.

Image

Thây often uses the image of waves and water to illustrate interbeing. Imagine waves on the sea. If the waves had consciousness they might look at themselves and compare themselves with other waves, saying: “I am more (or less) beautiful than that wave”, or, “I am higher (or lower) than that other wave,” and develop a sense of importance or of low self-esteem.

As the waves approach the shore the self-important wave might see the waves ahead dashing themselves against the shore and become filled with fear. This is because it considers itself to have a separate existence.

It does not realise that it is only a manifestation of the water and in a process of continual metamorphosis or transformation. Once it realizes this, liberation occurs and it is freed from fear, particularly the fear of death. It has realised that its ultimate nature is water.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Trick on Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:35 am

middleway wrote: This is an extremely potent motivation to do good in the world and be 'remembered' how we want to be remembered. But even more, it is a potent motivator to try to use your knowledge in a living way to help those whom it touches.

If all just had that good morality. I would guess there are quite a few bad apples among atheists too, people that see opportunities in others suffering or others religious beliefs. As you say, an atheist might think this is it this is my one and only life and I will do my best.....but only for me and my family. They might use, misuse, abuse, cheat and lie as much as the worst religious people to get to their goals in this only life, their great motivator for that might be there is no God that judge my actions when I hang my hat, there in no hell with eternal fire suffering.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby cloudz on Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:48 am

Atheists can turn to Humanism - a label I'm applying to the kind of answers given above - and or Spirituality. Spiritual atheists are nothing new really, it's just not as common in recent times though people like Sam Harris are obviously popularizing and playing on the gaping hole that modern society is leaving and left behind it. It's easy to see Nihilism as the logical conclusion to Strong Atheism, whether it is or not, or becomes that depends on the person I guess. Living for your/our own sake and deriving meaning and happiness from that is more than possible but it doesn't necessarily satisfy everyone.. In Universal, big picture terms, it's perhaps quite self serving and even tautological.

If you wonder what's the difference between say an atheist and a pantheist it's not much more than the ability to recognise, accept, and be inspired by the concept of Divinity accross nature.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:04 am

If all just had that good morality. I would guess there are quite a few bad apples among atheists too, people that see opportunities in others suffering or others religious beliefs. As you say, an atheist might think this is it this is my one and only life and I will do my best.....but only for me and my family. They might use, misuse, abuse, cheat and lie as much as the worst religious people to get to their goals in this only life, their great motivator for that might be there is no God that judge my actions when I hang my hat, there in no hell with eternal fire suffering.


Perhaps there is . I can only speak about my personal view of things. I would say that you could remove 'athiest' and put 'people'.

it is very important to remember Athiesm is not a thing, just like a disbelief in the ability to levitate is not a thing. Sure the word has become assciated with a certain 'out group', but ultimately, even the most furvant Christian is an athiest about every other god of history ... as the well known saying goes, the athiest simply adds one more god to the list.

There are outliers in every population on the planet, there really are some people who will enact attrocoty with no aparant reason to do so.

The big difference to me is that in many of the worlds idiologies you dont need these outliers ... you simply need people devoted to bad ideas because they fully believe them to be true.

So as much as eternal suffering is a case for people staying on the straight and narrow as you point out, it is as powerful a case for them to enact the barberism they are explicitly told to enact, things that no longer relate to the modern world and our current impression of morality.

Our morality comes from our evolution. We are social animals who evolved in co-oporative groups. It is deeply embedded in our biology to ensure that our social groups are not destroyed and it is from this simple and basic need that our morality was seeded. our ability to alter our perspective and reason, our technological advance, and the vastness of modern social interaction and information, has clouded this nature but certainly i dont think that believing an 'All Loving' god will punish us if we screw up their version of things is the answer.

I wonder how many Christians would run outside on a killing spree if it were ever proven that god didnt exist. Not many i wager, because their morailty is not related to their belief.

thanks.
Last edited by middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:05 am

Atheists can turn to Humanism - a label I'm applying to the kind of answers given above - and or Spirituality. Spiritual atheists are nothing new really, it's just not as common in recent times though people like Sam Harris are obviously popularizing and playing on the gaping hole that modern society is leaving and left behind it. It's easy to see Nihilism as the logical conclusion to Strong Atheism, whether it is or not, or becomes that depends on the person I guess. Living for your/our own sake and deriving meaning and happiness from that is more than possible but it doesn't necessarily satisfy everyone.. In Universal, big picture terms, it's perhaps quite self serving and even tautological.

If you wonder what's the difference between say an atheist and a pantheist it's not much more than the ability to recognise, accept, and be inspired by the concept of Divinity accross nature.


Beautifully put :)
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Dmitri on Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:37 am

windwalker wrote:
It does not realise that it is only a manifestation of the water and in a process of continual metamorphosis or transformation. Once it realizes this, liberation occurs and it is freed from fear, particularly the fear of death. It has realised that its ultimate nature is water.

I'm seriously starting to think that I've actually achieved enlightenment. :o :D The above is exactly how I've been actually feeling and thinking for the past few years, and I've been saying that same thing, in different words, again and again.


middleway wrote:Our morality comes from our evolution.

Exactly. There are countless examples of various animals "selflessly" helping other animals. No extra brain complexity required. :)
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Steve James on Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:38 am

Any suggestions that people who practice a religion are more moral than an atheist are funny and contrary to historical fact. As Bao pointed out, everybody in the west was religious since...the Romans? Greeks? Then again, Christianity is an eastern religion that was adopted (Appropriated) by the west anyway.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Bob on Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:01 am

I've found that The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart an interesting read that stirs the pot quite well:

http://wmbriggs.com/post/11494/

The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart.
A good joke


A joke which many atheists think clever goes like this: (speaking to a theist) “You reject Zeus, Aphrodite, Ra, and many others gods; we just reject one god more.”

Ain’t that rattling? The “one more” being by implication is the Christian God. I mean capital-B Being. As in the ground of all existence, the necessary Being, He who which if He didn’t exist, nothing would exist, He who which if He didn’t exist, nothing would happen.

Say what? Never mind, for now. Let that stew in the recesses while we tackle another interpretation of the joke, which in a sense does not go far enough. Because it turns out that the god modern-day atheists have in mind, what Hart calls the Demiurge, is a god Christians also reject. The Demiurge is a kind of “superior being”, a being like any other only more so, and it is this small-g god that the man-in-the-street atheist, and certainly those well known celebrity authors, find implausible or ridiculous. And so does the theologian.

Of the God, the necessary Being, the new atheist knows little to nothing. Well, maybe the Christian-, Muslim-, or Hindu-in-the-street knows little of Him either, in the sense of being unable to write down a philosophically consistent definition of just who and what God is. The theologian, however, can, and this is Hart’s task. To definite, delimit, demarcate just what it is the great religious traditions say about God. Hart’s isn’t a work of apologetics nor a list of proofs of God’s existence. It is an in-depth examination that spells out precisely who God is. Something very necessary for those who say they don’t believe in God: just what is it you don’t believe?

Let’s get one popular fallacy out of the way. This is the most-people-believe-what’s-false-therefore-it’s-false fallacy, or the Coyne fallacy, named after its most frequent user, Jerry Coyne. This fallacy is used to reject a proposition because most people misunderstand or hold false beliefs about that proposition. So that if the average church or temple goer has a definition of God that suffers certain inconsistencies, therefore God doesn’t exist. If you accept that then you’d have to believe that since the average citizen has mistaken ideas about evolution (holding to Intelligent Design, say), therefore evolution is false. Truth is not a vote . . .

http://wmbriggs.com/post/11581/

You Can’t Get Something From Nothing: The Experience of God, Part II

You can’t get there from here

It’s difficult, thus far impossible, to get Enlightened persons to understand nothing. Lord knows it’s been tried. Some physicists—Larry Krauss, Vic Stenger, Stephen Hawking, others—make a nice living misunderstanding nothing. Still, where there’s life there’s hope. So let’s try again.

Nothing is no thing. It is not some thing. It is not some thing very small or difficult to see. It is not some thing far away in time or distance. It is not a quantum field, for a field is something. It is not a set of mathematical or physical laws, for sets of laws are something. It is obviously not an infinity of universes, for an infinity of universes is certainly something. It is not time, for time is not nothing.

I assure you, dear reader, whatever exceptions you believe you have discovered to this definition are mistaken. Nothing means just what it says: nothing. That’s our first premise.

Second premise: some things exist. Like the monitor or screen on which you’re reading this. Even you exist and are something, despite what our government or some rogue materialist philosopher might have told you.

This leads to the Big Question: why is all this stuff here? Pay attention, now. I do not mean to ask, though we will ask later, when all this stuff got here, but I want to know why anything is here right now, right this very moment.

Well, no surprise that the answer is God, a.k.a. I Am That I Am. If you don’t find that name spine tingling, even if you’re an unbeliever, than you haven’t understood it. And you must understand it, because it is this God you claim to reject (with all the others). So let’s try to.

You yourself are composed of parts, you are made of things which are in movement in the sense that they change, perhaps not from one place to another, but from actual states to other potential states. Example? Well, you have to scroll down to read this article, so you move your hand to the mouse (say), press its button, and drag the mouse to scroll the page.

Your hand moves because the muscles pullings on tendons and bones move simultaneously, and your muscles contract because of changes (which don’t matter here) inside the cells, and these changes occur because of chemical interactions, which are themselves changes in the position of certain electrons, protons, and neutrons, and these change because (to make it short) the quantum field in which these objects are “embedded” changes, and the field changes…because why?

Well, because of something. Maybe because there is something smaller and more fundamental than the field that causes the field to change, but anyway something is causing it to change. Even if there is something smaller and more fundamental than the field, this series of simultaneous, here-and-now causes-and-effects must have a first cause, a base which starts the whole thing off. This simultaneous, here-and-now cause-and-effect chain can not go on forever. It must terminate somewhere or nothing could ever happen.

The whole shebang must have a first cause, a cause which itself is not caused by anything else. Now it doesn’t take much to see that it’s this same first cause that must also be causing every other simultaneous, here-and-now cause-and-effect chain. Every as in every. This first cause, as we’ll see, is why there is something and not nothing right here and right now.

This first uncaused cause is what we call Being Itself, the Unmoved Mover, I Am That I Am, which is to say, God.

You can get something from God

Judaism and Christianity are not the only traditions to have noted these curious facts, albeit in different contexts. Hart: “Everything available to the senses or representable to the mind is entirely subject to annicha (to use the Buddhist term): impermanence, mutability, transience.” God “is beyond all mere finite beings, and is himself that ultimate ground upon which any foundations must rest. Thus the Mundaka Upanishad speaks of Brahma, the first-born among the gods, coming forth from Brahma, the eternal Godhead who is the source of all being”.

What of existence itself? It “lies logically beyond the system of causes that nature comprises; it is, quite literally, ‘hyperphysical,’ or, shifting into Latin, super naturam.” Boy, howdy, is that a frightening word. Just imagining the demons set loose upon “reason” by this word is probably what causes prominent scientists to confuse a universe (or multiverse, or whatever stuff there is) transitioning “from one physical state to another, one manner of existence to another” with coming into being out of nothing.

These guys figure that if the somethings they describe are smaller and more basic, that somehow the infinite bridge between non-existence and existence can be crossed. This is an example “of what might be called the ‘pleonastic fallacy’: that is, the belief that an absolute qualitative difference can be overcome by a successive accumulation of extremely small and entirely relative quantitative steps.”

More metaphysics, which are the physics beyond the physics, the stuff which we must know before we can even discuss, say, molecular bonding and quantum chromodynamics. We need at least these two things: . . .

http://wmbriggs.com/post/11688/

You Are Who You Think You Are: Hart’s The Experience of God, Part III

tand by for news!

You’re not going to believe this, but I swear it’s true. It’s one of those things that’s so psychedelically stratospherically hyper-dimensionally grotesque that you will think old Briggs is trying to pull a large wet one over you. Gross! But I do not lie. Ready? There exists a large and growing segment of academia filled with earnest moralists whose sole purpose is to prove they do not exist.

Contradictory? Well, contradiction is the Marxist way. (Did he say Marxist? What a distraction! Never mind!)

Anyway, it’s true. “We do not exist,” say these academics. “We are illusions.” Well, so what. Intellectuals, and academics in particular (have you seen the puerile fantasies leaked from Women’s “studies” departments?), so often say loopy things which have no connection to reality that it’s considered boorish to remark on them. And what do you expect? Insensibility and illogicality is the natural result of too much free time married to a reward system which favors “transgressions” of sanity and tradition.

What makes this novel aberration worth discussing is that these academics say you, dear reader, that you don’t exist either. And they’re determined to get you to believe it. Why? Three reasons. First is that all people are natural proselytizers. Second, the non-existent academics believe that once you, like them, don’t exist, then the world will be a better place.

Third and most important, their belief in non-self-hood is deduced from Theory. Theory! As a paleskinned man from the north once wrote: The love of theory is the root of all evil. So beguiling and beautiful is this theory that nothing, not even the obvious and contradictory fact of their existence, can talk them out of it. These fellows would rather give up rationality itself rather than cast aspersions on their beloved.

Theoretically speaking

The theory is materialism. Our bodies, and even the bodies of academics, are made of physical stuff, material. Hart says, “Absolutely central to the mechanistic vision of reality is the principle that material forces are inherently mindless, intrinsically devoid of purpose, and therefore only adventitiously and accidentally directed toward any ends.”

Think of it this way. No, wait, You cannot direct yourself, or intend yourself, to think of anything. Not if you don’t exist as mental being. What happens instead is this. A coherent, contiguous block of flesh, entirely governed by deterministic physical laws, is in some state, a huge configuration of nerves, muscle, chemicals, and so forth all in one place at some instant. As the next moment ticks by, the whole mess enters another configuration, the transition precisely and unsentiently determined by mindless physical and chemical equations.

The moments flow, and if you stand back a bit and squint you can see the contiguous mass move in such a way that it appears as if the mass were directed by some intelligence. The actions are thus like motion pictures, which are really individual lifeless snapshots, or configurations if you will, that only simulate vitality when viewed in quick succession. This imitation vitality in human beings is called consciousness, the picture which results from accumulating billions and billions of tiny blind forces. Now whatever consciousness exactly is, materialism dogmatically—I mean without proof, for this metaphysical view is impossible to prove—insists there is no you, no “soul” or god guiding your actions, except maybe, and only a scant maybe at that, there is some remote and powerful demiurge who set the whole thing in motion at some timeless past and who now sits pondering whatever it is demiurge’s ponder.

Human beings do not have intellects or wills, therefore “they” do not really exist, though it can seem like they do to lesser people, folks with shallow brain pans. “bitter clingers”, God-fearers, those sort of creatures. But after you ascend the Slope of Enlightenment, it’s easy to see belief in the existence of selves is a silly fantasy. So far the only brave mountain climbers are those possessing superior neural configurations, such as those who listen to NPR. But this is going to change once word of the Theory reaches in the valley and dehumanization begins in earnest. Then will life on earth be terrific? Boy! (See this video.)
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Steve James on Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:48 am

Well, the author just seems to be scoffing at the idea that anyone could disbelieve in "God" as he defines it.:) But, it'd be easier to discuss if he made it clear how he felt about death.

This leads to the Big Question: why is all this stuff here? Pay attention, now. I do not mean to ask, though we will ask later, when all this stuff got here, but I want to know why anything is here right now, right this very moment.


Yeah, that's a big question. But, who can ask God what He was thinking? Ah, for that, it's not about physics, the answer must come from someone's writing (i.e., scriptures). The thing is, Every Human Society and people on Earth have asked and answered that question. Pick a "tribe" anywhere, and they'll have an answer to "Where did we come from?"

Afa nothing, if it's no thing, then that means no THING. But, if there must be a God before no thing, then there was some thing. Or, (1) perhaps, the human mind is not capable of conceiving no thing. Or, (2), perhaps there has always been some thing. Or, (3) perhaps religion (and God) is the product of the human ability to ask why we are here.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby middleway on Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:55 am

Bob,
I must say that was all a really strange read, every argument is standing on a foundationally poor assumptions, or a 'lets just say this is true ... then .... ' type of position.

The 'A Good Joke' is a particularly strange set of paragraphs, i dont see anything in the article that refutes the point at all!

Trouble arises because the atheist goes farther and fallaciously argues that if evolution is true that therefore God cannot exist.


I mean ... that is a really strange statement.

If you re-read the articles and look for the assumptions or statements of 'fact' he asks you to accept before making his arguments, you see that if you do no grant them (why would you on insufficient evidence), then every point made falls flat.

This is a common tactic however, "just grant me this assumption ... oh and this one ... then i can prove everything to you."

Regardless, this is not an athiest vs Theist post so i will leave it there. I dont particularly identify as an Athiest, Agnostic or Theist tbh.

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Re: Death and Religion

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:35 am

The internet is made of straw men
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Bob on Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:55 am

It might not have been the best idea to bring in Brigg's commentary on David Bentley Hart's book LOL but the last sentence of the original post indeed leads this to an atheist v agnostic/believer issue - all in all a very interesting discussion
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