on discussing god and religion

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:13 pm

There's also the issue of whether God is moral. Let's assume a God for the moment and one is in some form of contact either via texts, intermediaries or direct contact. God says Kill your kid. 1) do you do it? 2) must it be right just because God says it? I wouldn't, terrifying as that might be. I mean, I have been given paternal feelings, empathy and so on by this deity, or something anyway, in this scenario. And now I must put aside the very values of my body and heart because God must be moral? I understand how in a sense a God's morals are objective. This God made things and can potentially judge how we act. But to me this doesn't let me off the hook behaviorally. Iambiguous loves the phrase 'sans God' as if 'avec God' settles everything. I don't think it does. And even many traditional Abrahamists certainly think they must follow God's rules, but the devil is in the application also, the details, not just a set of rules. Real life is complicated (and by this I am tying this part of the argument to your response above.)

But beyond that even if one presumes of demonstrates the presence of a deity, this to me still is not an end to what people call moral decisions. We are still creatures with built in urges as social mammals, God given if God made us. I can't how we suddenly must assume that God is moral. A whole argument line is missing there.
Sure.

There are lots of possibilities :
- God is good
- God is evil
- God is indifferent
- God's morality is not applicable to humans
- That's a prophet talking, not God

Therefore everything that supposedly "God says" has to pass the test of human experience. I don't see any way around that.
(And yes, sometimes humans will get it wrong.)
Strange that he an atheist would echo theist arguments that once there is no God or belief in God people can do anything. 1) like we cannot shape our rules either claiming they are objective or claiming that we do this to facilitate the running of society. 2) atheist parents manage to raise children to adulthood who do not kill whenever they can get away with it.
Yes. It's like there no consequences unless God is there to punish on Judgement Day.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:38 pm

phyllo wrote:
Not sure exactly what you mean by this but, in my view, the reason the "God says so" moralities can be construed as less objective is that, ironically enough, they basically revolve around conflicting Gods!
Objective morality would be tied to the structure of the universe. Observed actions and results is how you discover it. "God says so" is just words, whether spoken by one God or many. Those words would have to be linked to observable actions and results in order for them to be considered objective at all.


What on earth does that have to do with my point though? Until we pin down the actual existence of a God, the God, my God, our observable actions are going to be connected to any particular faith in one of them somehow intertwined in someone's rendition of "the structure of the universe".

Again, the whole point of this thread is to bring assessments like this down to earth. To imagine actual observable actions in actual contexts that allow folks to connect the dots between here and now and there and then.

It's just that, sans God, the consequences of one's actions are predicated first and foremost on getting caught. And, if not caught, on not being punished.


phyllo wrote: I already said that there is more to it than being caught and punished. But you ignored it. :confusion-shrug:


But: Being caught and being punished is the whole enchilada in discussions of this sort. Sans God that part is ever and always embedded in the profoundly problematic interactions of mere mortals.

First it has to be decided which behaviors entail someone being captured and punished for. Then it shifts to those many, many, many contexts in which no one ever is caught and punished.

How could God actually be any more crucial here?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:05 pm

phyllo wrote:
But situating this in the context of the OP, what if, hypothetically, England and the United States agreed to merge. And what if driving on the left or right side of the road was a factor in whether or not one was favored by God.
His point was that there is something 'wrong" with a morality if people decide on a convention and abide by it. As if there is something inherently wrong with agreeing to drive either on the left or the right. As if we need God to decide which side to drive on. #-o


But my point is that if, hypothetically, America and England were to merge, there would not appear to be a way in which to determine objectively [sans God] whether driving on the left or right side of the road is more or less inherently good or bad.

And that, if, hypothetically, this particular convention was of interest to God on Judgment Day, different denominatins might have conflicting assessments regarding that which constitues a sin here.

In other words, driving on the left or the right side of the road would become just one more behavior to take into account re the OP.

phyllo wrote: I don't see anything 'wrong' or unobjective about such conventions whether in traffic control or morality. Seems perfectly reasonable with or without God.


Well, in a nation where democracy and the rule of law prevailed, those conventions would revolve to one degree or another around moderation, negotiation and compromise. The whole point being that if an objective truth cannot be pinned down regarding any particular behaviors, what other recourse is there. Aside from, say, might makes right.

The difficulty arises only when in a No God world "perfectly reasonable" means many different things to many different people in any one particular historical, cultural and experiential context.

Which clearly seems to be why so many feel the need to invent Gods in the first place.

Folks on both sides of the conflicting goods keep insisting that they and only they "use their brains".
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 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:24 pm

Strange that he an atheist would echo theist arguments that once there is no God or belief in God people can do anything. 1) like we cannot shape our rules either claiming they are objective or claiming that we do this to facilitate the running of society. 2) atheist parents manage to raise children to adulthood who do not kill whenever they can get away with it.


phyllo wrote:Yes. It's like there no consequences unless God is there to punish on Judgement Day.


I'm not arguing that in a No God world people can do anything. I am suggesting only that the things they choose to do are embedded in ever shifting and evolving historical and cultural contexts precipitating ever shifting and evolving moral narratives and political agendas.

And that these existential contraptions revolve around the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. In a world bursting at the seams with contingency, chance and change. In any one particular context involving actual choices that we make.

And, on this thread, the manner in which the religious among us choose particular behaviors and react to others embedded in a frame of mind that connects the dots between "here and now" and "there and then".

The consequences of our behaviors are obviously not dependent on the existence of a God, the God, my God. Nothing stops them.

But what of being rewarded or punished regarding particular behaviors in a No God world? Given the manner in which different people react differently to those consequences?
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 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:27 am

iambiguous wrote:
phyllo wrote:
Not sure exactly what you mean by this but, in my view, the reason the "God says so" moralities can be construed as less objective is that, ironically enough, they basically revolve around conflicting Gods!
Objective morality would be tied to the structure of the universe. Observed actions and results is how you discover it. "God says so" is just words, whether spoken by one God or many. Those words would have to be linked to observable actions and results in order for them to be considered objective at all.


What on earth does that have to do with my point though? Until we pin down the actual existence of a God, the God, my God, our observable actions are going to be connected to any particular faith in one of them somehow intertwined in someone's rendition of "the structure of the universe".

Again, the whole point of this thread is to bring assessments like this down to earth. To imagine actual observable actions in actual contexts that allow folks to connect the dots between here and now and there and then.

It's just that, sans God, the consequences of one's actions are predicated first and foremost on getting caught. And, if not caught, on not being punished.


phyllo wrote: I already said that there is more to it than being caught and punished. But you ignored it. :confusion-shrug:


But: Being caught and being punished is the whole enchilada in discussions of this sort. Sans God that part is ever and always embedded in the profoundly problematic interactions of mere mortals.

First it has to be decided which behaviors entail someone being captured and punished for. Then it shifts to those many, many, many contexts in which no one ever is caught and punished.

How could God actually be any more crucial here?
A remarkable post. Very educational.

Iambig : "What on earth does that have to do with my point though?"

What indeed?

When Iambig wrote "Not sure exactly what you mean by this ...", I interpreted that as a request for an explanation. Therefore, I wrote more about what I had meant by "God says so" moralities being less objective. But actually, he's not interested in anything that I have to say about it. He wants someone to talk about what he wrote and what he thinks is important. He's not even interested in the contents of the response, as long as they are discussing his stuff.

Iambig : "Again, the whole point of this thread is to bring assessments like this down to earth. To imagine actual observable actions in actual contexts that allow folks to connect the dots between here and now and there and then."

Attempting to control the entire discussion. Everything in this thread has be exactly about what he wants it to be about.

Iambig : "But: Being caught and being punished is the whole enchilada in discussions of this sort."

Yup. We're only allowed to discuss morality, God and religion in terms of punishment and eternal damnation. Everything else is off the table.

Iambig : "But my point is that if, hypothetically, America and England were to merge, there would not appear to be a way in which to determine objectively [sans God] whether driving on the left or right side of the road is more or less inherently good or bad."

Again, ignoring the point in the original quote and my response to it. Instead we are required to only deal with Iambig's hypothetical tangent.

Iambig is completely egocentric. There is no reason to continue responding to him.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:21 am

phyllo wrote:A remarkable post. Very educational.

Iambig : "What on earth does that have to do with my point though?"

What indeed?

When Iambig wrote "Not sure exactly what you mean by this ...", I interpreted that as a request for an explanation. Therefore, I wrote more about what I had meant by "God says so" moralities being less objective. But actually, he's not interested in anything that I have to say about it. He wants someone to talk about what he wrote and what he thinks is important. He's not even interested in the contents of the response, as long as they are discussing his stuff.
And even if it does respond, but not in a way he likes. And even if it fits the OP better. Even if it is someone else's thread and he is the one off or more on a tangent.

Iambig : "But my point is that if, hypothetically, America and England were to merge, there would not appear to be a way in which to determine objectively [sans God] whether driving on the left or right side of the road is more or less inherently good or bad."

Again, ignoring the point in the original quote and my response to it. Instead we are required to only deal with Iambig's hypothetical tangent.

Iambig is completely egocentric. There is no reason to continue responding to him.
Yes. And the response is not really a response. It is a reassertion of his position. He did not interact with your ideas. He does not justify the continuation of saying that sans God is so different from avec God, around determining what to do, GIVEN what you wrote. Reassertion posing as critical response. Been there suffered that.

But he cannot give up saying there is a radical difference between sans God and avec God. The latter must solve all the problems, otherwise what is the point of this thread and others. What reason would there be to bait theists into the rabbit hole of never really being responded to discussions that give opportunities for him to say that they have failed to convince him.

Of course many theists agree with him. So, he should have his autumn and winter years filled with the same activity.

A truly grounded discussion of religion could only have experiences in it. IOW it would involve attempted participation on his part and then a sharing of specific experiences they each had with religious practice and then likely experiences that just arise. Of course this might not solve the gap between him and theists, but the really odd thing is he think that he can understand a theist's world without actually experiencing any of it. And without then trying to see if what a theist bases his or her experience on has parallels to what he bases decisions, actions, attitudes and beliefs on. That's the second step, one which few active non-theists takes....first participate, then compare the actual bases for decisions, actions, attitudes and beliefs that it seems like theists have, with his or her own bases for those things. IOW if you really want a Christian to show you why they believe what they believe, you can talk until you are blue in the face, or you can go to mass, read the Bible, and spend time on that. You can also go deeply into how they arrived at their beliefs, probably best talking to people who went from atheism to Christianity. Find out exactly what experiences they had, practices they engaged in, and at least pursue these a bit yourself. Also, once you begin to understand the make up of their process, see if, in fact, it mirrors processes in your own arriving at beliefs, attitude, choices, actions. They may be more similar, as far as epistemology than one realized. This could lead to thinking there would be no loss in continuing the day to experiencing of a religion. Other religions could also be experienced in this way.

So of in the spirit of the first approach below from the OP
My emphasis added....
There are two ways in which we can come to a point of view pertaining to value judgments. On the one hand, we can spend hours and hours and hours actually thinking about the pros and the cons of the behaviors we derive from our particular value judgments. We can then try to have as many different experiences as possible relating to those behaviors ; and we can discuss them with as many different people as possible in order to get diverse points of view; and we can try to acquire as much knowledge and information about these behaviors/value judgments in order to be fully informed on it.

On the other hand, based on my own experience, most folks don't do this it all. Instead, they live in a particular time and place, acquire a particular set of experiences, accumulate a particular set of relationships and acquire particular sources of knowledge and information -- which then comes [rather fortuitously] over the years to predispose them to particular subjective points of view that might well have changed over and again throughout the years. And, indeed, may well change many times more.


Now that is a false dichotomy. Even this thread is neither one of these processes, so there is at least a third. But note the importance of experiencing in learning.

Reading arguments, even with specifics, is not doing this. It is a forumula for repetition.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:11 pm

phyllo wrote:A remarkable post. Very educational.

Iambig : "What on earth does that have to do with my point though?"

What indeed?

When Iambig wrote "Not sure exactly what you mean by this ...", I interpreted that as a request for an explanation. Therefore, I wrote more about what I had meant by "God says so" moralities being less objective. But actually, he's not interested in anything that I have to say about it. He wants someone to talk about what he wrote and what he thinks is important. He's not even interested in the contents of the response, as long as they are discussing his stuff.


From my frame of mind, this is basically the route that KT takes: Making me the issue.

Switch the discussion from the extent to which you do address my point above, to a discussion of what I am doing here. Once I am exposed to be what you claim that I am in these discussions, the substantive discussion itself is beside the point.

So, I can only leave it to others to decide for themselves which of us is closer to whatever the whole truth here might possibly be.

Iambig : "Again, the whole point of this thread is to bring assessments like this down to earth. To imagine actual observable actions in actual contexts that allow folks to connect the dots between here and now and there and then."


phyllo wrote: Attempting to control the entire discussion. Everything in this thread has be exactly about what he wants it to be about.


Guilty as charged if I am being accused of focusing the exchange on the actual points being raised in the OP.

Iambig : "But: Being caught and being punished is the whole enchilada in discussions of this sort."


phyllo wrote: Yup. We're only allowed to discuss morality, God and religion in terms of punishment and eternal damnation. Everything else is off the table.


That's what creating other threads is for, right? This thread allows those who do believe that the behaviors they choose on this side of the grave will reconfigure into their imagined fate on the other side of the grave.

But what does that mean when he or she encounters others who challenge the behaviors they choose. Either because their God has a different set of Commandments or because they do not believe in God at all.

Something [God or No God] is "in their head" "here and now" that prompts them to choose one set of behaviors rather than another. With zinnatt, I was interested in exploring both the manner in which he himself connected the dots here, and the manner in which he reacted to the components of my own moral narrative.

Iambig : "But my point is that if, hypothetically, America and England were to merge, there would not appear to be a way in which to determine objectively [sans God] whether driving on the left or right side of the road is more or less inherently good or bad."


phyllo wrote: Again, ignoring the point in the original quote and my response to it. Instead we are required to only deal with Iambig's hypothetical tangent.


You'll have to be more detailed here. I don't even know what this is actually in reference to. Start from the beginning. What original quote, what response to it? What hypothetical tangent?

I was merely reacting to your driving on whatever side of the road "convention" by bringing it down to earth. What if a nation driving on the left merged with a nation driving on the right. And what if this behavior was a factor in regard to the OP. A behavior, in other words, that a God, the God, my God judged.

Or, for that matter, what if the merger involved a more controversial issue, like the death penalty. England abolished it in 1999, not so in any number of jurisdictions in America.

Does your own God include capital punishment in the commandment "thou shalt not kill"?

phyllo wrote: Iambig is completely egocentric. There is no reason to continue responding to him.


Right, like someone is forcing you to respond to me.

And one thing still has not changed: You have your God, you have your objective morality, you have your comfort and consolation.

So, for all practical purposes -- and you know how important that is to me -- you win. I have none of that.

Just thought of something...

You have your God, KT does not. You have your objective morality, KT does not. So, you have a frame of mind that begets a level of comfort and consolation that might be compared and contrasted to the comfort and consolation that KT's pragmatism begets.

Why don't the two of you beget a new thread. Discuss this given a context that most of us will be familiar with.

Not only to explore in more depth your own respective comforts and consolations, but to provide all the rest of us with an example of an exchange that entirely avoids all of the narcissistic pratfalls that my own posts exude.
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 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:46 pm

Just thought of something...

You have your God, KT does not. You have your objective morality, KT does not. So, you have a frame of mind that begets a level of comfort and consolation that might be compared and contrasted to the comfort and consolation that KT's pragmatism begets.

Why don't the two of you beget a new thread. Discuss this given a context that most of us will be familiar with.

Not only to explore in more depth your own respective comforts and consolations, but to provide all the rest of us with an example of an exchange that entirely avoids all of the narcissistic pratfalls that my own posts exude.
Why would I want to do that? :-k

I think that your ideas about our "comfort and consolation" are bullshit. They don't make sense to me. They are not applicable.

I got thrown into this world and there are things in it that I like and things that I don't like. I try to avoid and/or change what I don't like and enhance what I do like.

I think that God is a good explanation for some things that I have observed. That's why I think God exists.

I don't think that there is an afterlife. I'm living this life. But I don't piss on people who think that there is an afterlife.

Humans have needs, wants, likes and dislikes which are founded on their biology. That's where objective morality comes from - human biology.

It's that simple.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:26 pm

phyllo wrote:
Just thought of something...

You have your God, KT does not. You have your objective morality, KT does not. So, you have a frame of mind that begets a level of comfort and consolation that might be compared and contrasted to the comfort and consolation that KT's pragmatism begets.

Why don't the two of you beget a new thread. Discuss this given a context that most of us will be familiar with.

Not only to explore in more depth your own respective comforts and consolations, but to provide all the rest of us with an example of an exchange that entirely avoids all of the narcissistic pratfalls that my own posts exude.


Why would I want to do that? :-k

I think that your ideas about our "comfort and consolation" are bullshit. They don't make sense to me. They are not applicable.


To one degree or another, someone either does or does not believe in a God connected to behaviors that are chosen on this side of the grave connected to what they image their fate to be on the other side. And, to one degree or another, this frame of mind comforts and consoles them.

The part about bullshit revolves around an assumption that all of the actual existential complexities that coagulate into any one particular "I" in any one particular context can be reduced down to an optimal frame of mind.

Still, all we can do [in places like this], is to explore each other's perspectives.

Though, sure, why you either would or would not want to explore this with KT, is no less an existential contraption.

phyllo wrote: I got thrown into this world and there are things in it that I like and things that I don't like. I try to avoid and/or change what I don't like and enhance what I do like.


Me too. This thread merely allows those who do this to examine their likes and dislikes "here and now" as that relates to what they imagine the fate of "I" to be "there and then". Through God and religion.

And, in particular, what happens when these likes and dislikes come into conflict precisely because the subjective contraption that they call God is not in sync with another's subjective understanding of Him.

Either in regard to scripture or for the secular a moral philosophy.

phyllo wrote: I think that God is a good explanation for some things that I have observed. That's why I think God exists.


Thinking something and demonstrating to others how and why you think what you do is the reason venues like this were created. To go below the surface and to explore a belief more rigorously. And even to explore the extent to which beliefs might never fully be grasped.

phyllo wrote: I don't think that there is an afterlife. I'm living this life. But I don't piss on people who think that there is an afterlife.


Same here.

When people get pissed off at me, though, it's usually because I aim the discussion more toward examining not what they believe so much as how they have come to believe what they do given the actual accumulation of experiences that encompass their lives.

They like and dislike what they do not because they are in touch with a "real me" able to rationally distinguish "the right thing to like" from "the wrong thing to like". But, rather, because the very trajectory of their lived lives situated out in particular worlds predispose them to go in particular directions.

"I" as an existential contraption in the is/ought world. Only, for some, God becoming an important factor in this trajectory.

phyllo wrote: Humans have needs, wants, likes and dislikes which are founded on their biology. That's where objective morality comes from - human biology.

It's that simple.


Well, it's always that simple when expressed as an utterly abstract general description of human interactions.

Indeed, folks like Satyr over at KT could not possibly agree with you more about the biological nature of human morality. Sans God of course.

And, as long as you both stay up in those general description clouds, merely believing what you do is enough.

But let someone suggest that, say, human wants and needs are more biologically in sync with Communism than capitalism...?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:06 pm

Where was "comfort and consolation" in that "utterly abstract general description" of my life and thinking? Nowhere. It's not applicable.

If I wanted to be comforted and consoled then I could adopt other thinking.

I could pretend that Communism is good. It would be great if Communism worked as described in the writings, the slogans and the movies. But in reality, it's a miserable failure. Or to be more accurate, it's a bigger failure than capitalism.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:50 am

phyllo wrote:Where was "comfort and consolation" in that "utterly abstract general description" of my life and thinking? Nowhere. It's not applicable.

If I wanted to be comforted and consoled then I could adopt other thinking.

I could pretend that Communism is good. It would be great if Communism worked as described in the writings, the slogans and the movies. But in reality, it's a miserable failure. Or to be more accurate, it's a bigger failure than capitalism.
The fact is that almost any belief can be comforting and consoling, even ones that seem unpleasant. Nihilism can be comforting because it justifies not trying all sorts of things. Now, to be clear, it need nto be comforting, but it can be. He would likely say that his nihilism is unpleasant, but that does not mean he is not avoiding things that scare him. It might not or it might.

So it's just boring ad hom stuff. He is suffering so his beliefs are not based on consolation. We seem to be suffering less, so our beliefs must be based on consolation. Snore.

How does this all related to discussing God and Religion?

It relates because the religious and atheists alike love to go for ad homs. If we are speaking generally.

And that doesn't seem to be very practical as far as either group's goals. At least the one's they generally proclaim.

I think a real discussion between theists and atheists would have it's form very dependent on the goals. And the goals would likely not be mutual.

If the atheists want to push forward epistemological concerns, then it behooves them to join in the practices of the theists in question. If the theists want to compel the atheists to believe, then they are going to have to suggest this also, but further understand that such processes would necessarily be long. and also understand that the atheists may not be interested. Hence a gap in experience. Gaps in experience, huge gaps, make certain kinds of discussion extremely limited. And either side pretending they know what the other person's experiences really are, or mean, is making psychic and epistemological claims that I think are week.

So, given the most atheists won't participate in practices and community, how does the discussion happen

given the gap.

Depends on the goal.

What's the goal?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:48 pm

"Comfort and consolation" is code for "You guys are avoiding looking at the truth. You're compromising, rationalizing and ignoring in order to be comfortable."

I don't see either of us doing that. He hasn't presented a simple bit of evidence that we are.
How does this all related to discussing God and Religion?

It relates because the religious and atheists alike love to go for ad homs. If we are speaking generally.

And that doesn't seem to be very practical as far as either group's goals. At least the one's they generally proclaim.

I think a real discussion between theists and atheists would have it's form very dependent on the goals. And the goals would likely not be mutual.
There would have to be a mutual respect in the first place and I think that's missing these days. I'm surprised how little respect there is in these forums(not just ILP) and how quickly posters become judgemental, aggressive and dismissive. It's a "I'm wonderful, you're delusional" attitude that stops effective communication. Ironic in an age where we are all supposed to be connected in a global village.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:07 pm

phyllo wrote:"Comfort and consolation" is code for "You guys are avoiding looking at the truth. You're compromising, rationalizing and ignoring in order to be comfortable."

I don't see either of us doing that. He hasn't presented a simple bit of evidence that we are.
And then it would be beside the point, and assumes, on the side of that he has no such reasons for his beliefs, lack of beliefs, and attitude.

There would have to be a mutual respect in the first place and I think that's missing these days. I'm surprised how little respect there is in these forums(not just ILP) and how quickly posters become judgemental, aggressive and dismissive. It's a "I'm wonderful, you're delusional" attitude that stops effective communication. Ironic in an age where we are all supposed to be connected in a global village.

We're connected more with like minds and then like data through those minds. Or so they say.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:15 pm

phyllo wrote: Where was "comfort and consolation" in that "utterly abstract general description" of my life and thinking? Nowhere. It's not applicable.


Okay, if the manner in which you think about God and religion and objective morality does not bring you some measure of comfort and consolation, it's not applicable to you.

On the other hand, in order that others might come to understand this relationship as it unfolds for you [for all practical purposes] you will either intertwine it in a description of the life that you do live or you won't.

I can only base my own speculations here on the many experiences I have had with those for whom God and religion were an important foundation upon which to engender behaviors that then came to revolve around the "real me" in touch with "the right thing to do".

As, long ago, it once did for me.

Obviously: It will work differently for different people. That's the whole point behind exploring the existential relationship between "I", value judgements, context and dasein.

phyllo wrote: I could pretend that Communism is good. It would be great if Communism worked as described in the writings, the slogans and the movies. But in reality, it's a miserable failure. Or to be more accurate, it's a bigger failure than capitalism.


Historically, it was a spectacular failure. But advocates still today can spin you a narrative that explains why that was the case. And why it had nothing to do with the inherent goodness of Communism. And why capitalism will always revolve around the greatest good for the fewest number.

But, as with God and religion, secular political ideologies are tailor made for the objectivist mind. A psychological foundation upon which to embed "I" in the best of all possible worlds.

Again, it's less what you believe the font is and more that you believe the font exists.

Ever and always your own.
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 Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:08 pm

phyllo wrote:There would have to be a mutual respect in the first place and I think that's missing these days. I'm surprised how little respect there is in these forums(not just ILP) and how quickly posters become judgemental, aggressive and dismissive. It's a "I'm wonderful, you're delusional" attitude that stops effective communication. Ironic in an age where we are all supposed to be connected in a global village.
It makes me think that it might be good to put the goals you have for the discussion first. Which might save a lot of time. On the other hand one has to be honest about those goals, especially, or at least first, with oneself.

Goals like:
I was raised in the church left it and I have a lot of bitterness.
I hate what people get away with nowadays and I want to put the fear of God into them.

Of course there may be all sorts of goals more conducive to a pleasant, interesting meeting of the minds, but if there are these things, then they should be out front. That way it is clear what is happening and what will likely happen.

And then if there was some sort of backdrop to such discussions that encouraged exploration over defeating.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:54 pm

Okay, if the manner in which you think about God and religion and objective morality does not bring you some measure of comfort and consolation, it's not applicable to you.
I discovered that I had to eat in order to survive. I enjoy eating. I might as well enjoy it since I have to do it anyways. But I didn't invent eating to get enjoyment, comfort or consolation from it.

Do you see what I'm getting at?
I can only base my own speculations here on the many experiences I have had with those for whom God and religion were an important foundation upon which to engender behaviors that then came to revolve around the "real me" in touch with "the right thing to do".
Even after all these years, I have no idea what the practical consequences are of this. The "real me" is the one that exists in the present moment and everyone thinks that he/she is doing "the right thing" when doing it.

So what's the real issue down on the earth?

You're mistaken about how you see yourself? You make mistakes when making decisions? Seems to describe everyone.

People are too arrogant. Sure. People ought to be confident but not arrogant.

That doesn't seem to be anything that you can change.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:01 pm

phyllo wrote:
Okay, if the manner in which you think about God and religion and objective morality does not bring you some measure of comfort and consolation, it's not applicable to you.
I discovered that I had to eat in order to survive. I enjoy eating. I might as well enjoy it since I have to do it anyways. But I didn't invent eating to get enjoyment, comfort or consolation from it.

Do you see what I'm getting at?


No, not really. At least not as it relates to the trajectory I wished to explore on this thread. The one that grapples more with the moral parameters of consuming food on this side of the grave as it relates to the fate of "I" on the other side.

You eat food because you have to. Nature made it taste good to prompt you to eat the stuff all the more. Nature also created hunger pains and death by starvation in order to compel you.

On the other hand...

"Every day, more than 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes--one child every five seconds. 852 million people across the world are hungry, up from 842 million a year ago."

https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/qui ... bal-hunger

Now, this thread would focus more on how one might react to these facts, given how one might choose to behave "here and now" in order to sustain what they would like their fate to be "there and then".

How are "I" and "Thou" and human values intertwined existentially here in the life you live.

Assuming, of course, that human autonomy is a factor.

I can only base my own speculations here on the many experiences I have had with those for whom God and religion were an important foundation upon which to engender behaviors that then came to revolve around the "real me" in touch with "the right thing to do".


phyllo wrote: Even after all these years, I have no idea what the practical consequences are of this. The "real me" is the one that exists in the present moment and everyone thinks that he/she is doing "the right thing" when doing it.


The "real me" is certainly embodied existentially in the "facts of life": How old you are, where you reside, the state of your health, your financial situation, your interactions with others, the actual experiences you have had etc. etc. etc..

No one can dispute any number of "things" about you. Unless they are not of sound mind. Why? Because these things can often be clearly demonstrated.

But what of the "real me" in regard to the behaviors that you choose or the God that you believe in; or the way you connect the dots between them here and now in your head?

To what extent is "I" here more an existential contraption rather than an actual "thing" that exist deep down inside any particular individual. The "core" you. The "soul" that you are.

How is that demonstrated to be true for others? In particular as it relates to the points I raised in the OP?
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 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:50 pm

iambiguous wrote:
phyllo wrote:
Okay, if the manner in which you think about God and religion and objective morality does not bring you some measure of comfort and consolation, it's not applicable to you.
I discovered that I had to eat in order to survive. I enjoy eating. I might as well enjoy it since I have to do it anyways. But I didn't invent eating to get enjoyment, comfort or consolation from it.

Do you see what I'm getting at?


No, not really. At least not as it relates to the trajectory I wished to explore on this thread. The one that grapples more with the moral parameters of consuming food on this side of the grave as it relates to the fate of "I" on the other side.

You eat food because you have to. Nature made it taste good to prompt you to eat the stuff all the more. Nature also created hunger pains and death by starvation in order to compel you.

On the other hand...

"Every day, more than 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes--one child every five seconds. 852 million people across the world are hungry, up from 842 million a year ago."

https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/qui ... bal-hunger

Now, this thread would focus more on how one might react to these facts, given how one might choose to behave "here and now" in order to sustain what they would like their fate to be "there and then".

How are "I" and "Thou" and human values intertwined existentially here in the life you live.

Assuming, of course, that human autonomy is a factor.

I can only base my own speculations here on the many experiences I have had with those for whom God and religion were an important foundation upon which to engender behaviors that then came to revolve around the "real me" in touch with "the right thing to do".


phyllo wrote: Even after all these years, I have no idea what the practical consequences are of this. The "real me" is the one that exists in the present moment and everyone thinks that he/she is doing "the right thing" when doing it.


The "real me" is certainly embodied existentially in the "facts of life": How old you are, where you reside, the state of your health, your financial situation, your interactions with others, the actual experiences you have had etc. etc. etc..

No one can dispute any number of "things" about you. Unless they are not of sound mind. Why? Because these things can often be clearly demonstrated.

But what of the "real me" in regard to the behaviors that you choose or the God that you believe in; or the way you connect the dots between them here and now in your head?

To what extent is "I" here more an existential contraption rather than an actual "thing" that exist deep down inside any particular individual. The "core" you. The "soul" that you are.

How is that demonstrated to be true for others? In particular as it relates to the points I raised in the OP?
Yup.

There is no prospect of any advancement.

That's all folks.


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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:41 pm

phyllo wrote:
Yup.

There is no prospect of any advancement.

That's all folks.


Nope.

There is always the prospect of advancement in exchanges such as this because everyday there is in turn always the prospect of one of us having a new experience or a forming a new relationship or coming into contact with a new idea etc., such that it reconfigures our thinking.

It's just that when someone's way of thinking here and now already provides him with a respectable measure of psychological comfort and consolation there is more resistance to this reconfiguring "I".

There's just too much to lose.

Now, I'll leave it to others to decide for themselves who this is more applicable to. :wink:
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 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:19 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

Today I want to argue that if God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties, and moral accountability is secured, but that in the absence of God, that is, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and non-binding.


This seems entirely reasonable to me. With God you have that crucial transcending point of view such that there can never be any doubt as to what is immoral, who is being immoral and whether being immoral will get one punished.

Nothing those who advocate secular renditions of morality have come up with down through the ages has ever come close to this. After all, how on earth could they?

So, for any number of human communities, it's not a question of if God exists, but in challenging those who refuse to accept their own. With God they have behaviors reduced down to sin. Without God they have endless conflicting goods that, sooner or later, comes down to who has the actual power to enforce their own.

We might act in precisely the same ways that we do in fact act, but in the absence of God, such actions would no longer count as good (or evil), since if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Thus, we cannot truly be good without God. On the other hand, if we do believe that moral values and duties are objective, that provides moral grounds for believing in God.


And around and around they go. But, let's face it, the secularists have never really managed to make those points go away. And that's before the part where immortality and salvation kick in.

And even if you can't bring yourself to believe in something that has never actually been experienced by you in any substantive or substantial manner, there's always a leap of faith. You just have to be convinced that it is a genuine leap of faith.
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 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:40 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

Consider, then, the hypothesis that God exists. First, if God exists, objective moral values exist. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.


Over and again, I stress the importance of this with respect to human morality.

Without an omniscient and omnipotent font to seal Hitler's fate as [one presumes] a denizen of Hell, it still today comes down to mere mortals embracing conflicting assessments.

Though I'm sure there are those out there able to link fascism and genocide to their own rendition of God.

Just look at the narrative that Donald Trump is stirring up today in America.

It is simply imperative for some that this narrative be condemned as inherently, necessarily evil. And I certainly once believed that passionaitely myself.

Which it still may be. But how is this established sans God?

This is now the part that my own "fractured and fragmented" "I" is unable to sink down into. The Trumps of the world may prevail down the road but at least some have the comfort and consolation of knowing that he is unequvocally on the side of evil. And they are unequivocally on the side of good.

With God you get a demarcation here that is beyond all doubt. Without God you get whatever it is that you are able to think yourself into believing is good or evil.

The existential contraption "I" and "Thou".

On the theistic view, objective moral values are rooted in God. God’s own holy and perfectly good nature supplies the absolute standard against which all actions and decisions are measured. God’s moral nature is what Plato called the “Good.” He is the locus and source of moral value. He is by nature loving, generous, just, faithful, kind, and so forth.


Bingo! The classic religious narrative. With regard to morality and everything else.

Then [of course] the true believers are left with the task of establishing "here and now" what that Good is. At least insofar as embodying it gains you access to the fate that you crave "there and then": immortality and salvation.

And this thread was created for those who believe in God to flesh that out insofar as it impacts the behaviors they choose from day to day.
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 Jul 31, 2019 5:57 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

Having proposed the argument that God is the necessary component enabling mere mortals to embrace objective morality, he next moves on to atheists.

...if atheism is true, objective moral values do not exist. If God does not exist, then what is the foundation for moral values? More particularly, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Moreover, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us?


And, as an atheist myself -- "here and now" -- this seems to be a perfectly reasonable assessment of human morality in a No God world.

Which is not to say that this makes it true objectively.

I am still forced to acknowledge that...

1] objective morality is possible in a No God world but the argument and the evidence demonstrating its existence have not come to my attention
2] the arguments and the evidence have come to my attention but I am not able to grasp them

Here I can only fall back on the assumption that if the argument and the evidence does exist, it would be all that everyone was talking about.

Just as if the argument and the evidence for God's existence itself were available, that in turn would be all that everyone was talking about.

So, I am in the same boat that you are in: left to base my beliefs on the accumulation of actual experiences that I have had inclining me to go in one direction rather than another. And with no particular font around that is able to settle it all once and for all.


Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science, writes,
"The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . ."


Again, this in turn seems entirely reasonable to me. Morality revolves around biological imperatives that are, in complex and convoluted ways, able to be shaped and molded memetically as human interactions evolve historically, culturally and interpersonally over time in particular contexts understood from particular points of view.

And, thus, our only recourse then is to devise methods -- science in particular -- that allows us to best differentiate things able to be demonstrated as true for all of us from things that are not.
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 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:01 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

...on the atheistic view there is no divine lawgiver. But then what source is there for moral obligation? Richard Taylor, an eminent ethicist, writes,

"The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, not noticing that, in casting God aside, they have also abolished the conditions of meaningfulness for moral right and wrong as well. Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things are war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights, are ‘morally wrong,’ and they imagine that they have said something true and significant. Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion."

He concludes...

"Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air; which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning."


In my view, there are any number of secular arguments that pounce on this religious manifesto regarding morality and God. But none of them are actually able to make it go away.

After all, it is one thing to argue that, in a No God world, mere mortals are able to construct their own secular manifestos regarding behaviors said to be right or wrong for everyone.

But saying that they are and demonstrating how and why others are inherently, necessarily obligated to say the same thing, is something else altogether.

Instead, in my view, what we have come to say is good or bad, right or wrong is more a reflection of "I" as an existential contraption ceaselessly constructed and then reconstructed from the cradle to the grave. Predicated on the lives that we actually do live that can only ever be more or less in sync with lives of others. And, in fact, that are often very, very different.

And all I can do in believing this "here and now" is to go looking for the arguments of others who, given a God or a No God world, believe something else.
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 Aug 07, 2019 8:11 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

Now it is important that we remain clear in understanding the issue before us. The question is not: Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives? There is no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent lives.


This is important to point out. There are any number of religous folks who are more than willing to embrace this moral perspective. They are not nearly as concerned with condeming the non-believers to eternal damnation as they are with the arguments from those who insist that, in a No God world, objective moral narratives [configured into the political agendas of so-callled philosopher-kings] are even possible. The foundation of a religious Commandment is that it is backed up by an omniscient and omniponent Creator.

What then backs up the secular rendition of objective morality -- a doctrinaire and dogmatic political ideology? And what if over the course of human history we are confronted with any number of political manifestos that in many crucial respects regarding actual human interactions, are in conflict?

Similarly, the question is not: Can we formulate a system of ethics without reference to God? If the non-theist grants that human beings do have objective value, then there is no reason to think that he cannot work out a system of ethics with which the theist would also largely agree.


Instead, it comes down more to demonstrating how on earth mere mortals who lack omniscience and omnipotence are able to both establish moral obligations and then to enforce them.

Or again, the question is not: Can we recognize the existence of objective moral values without reference to God? The theist will typically maintain that a person need not believe in God in order to recognize, say, that we should love our children. Rather, as humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz puts it, “The central question about moral and ethical principles concerns this ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?”


Which explains why down through the ages so many philosophers who did conclude that human interactions can be judged as either Good or Evil, did so based only on the assumption that there existed one or another embodiment of the "transcending font".

Which most called God.

"Ephemeral" here being "historical" or "cultural" or "experiential" -- embedded in a particular community in a particular time and place.
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 Aug 13, 2019 7:32 pm

"Can We Be Good without God?"
William Lane Craig from the Reasonable Faith website

If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time.


Right?

Mindless matter evolved into living matter. Living matter evolved into mind matter. Mind matter evolved into self-conscious mind matter. Self conscious mind matter evolved historically and culturally into communities of human beings having no choice but to prescribe and proscribe "rules of behavior" in order to sustain the least dysfunctional interactions.

So, sans the transcending moral font that most call God, what becomes special about any particular aggregation of human beings out in any particular world?

Again, all of this assuming that, in the evolution of matter here, self-conscious mind matter is somehow able [sans God] to embody the actual capacity to choose freely among conflicting value judgments regarding conflicting behaviors.

Some action, say, incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing really wrong about committing incest. If, as Kurtz states, “The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,” then the non-conformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably.


Right?

From my frame of mind, I have [of late] yet to come upon a Humanist argument that makes this assessment go away in a No God world.

Now, sure, some will argue that I bring this up only because deep down inside I want someone to convince me to, once again, believe in God.

But: I do not believe in God. And while recognizing how much more comforting and consoling it would be if, once again, I did believe in Him, that doesn't make the arguments I propose [as a moral nihilist] go away in the absence of actual proof that God exist.
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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