Page 1 of 51 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 505

Thread: Atheism

  1. #1
    Hammertime
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Desert Southwest

    Atheism

    There has been a really good discussion on Atheism in the Catholic Church Molestation thread that I thought may be interesting to bring here.

    I come from the POV of a 40 year evangelical Christian who has, ever so slowly moving toward atheism the past few years. More correctly I would describe my religious beliefs as heavily Christianity tinged agnosticism, with atheism used as a way of interpreting the world around us. I no longer seem to interpret the story of our place in the universe as the epic struggle between good and evil presented by Christianity.

    Coming to grips with my practical agnosticism has has been pretty upsetting to my world view coming from early, sincere and zealous religious belief that has carried me through life well into my mid forties. Christian College, serving on church boards for years, teaching from a pulpit, well educated in theology, and reading the bible at least yearly (I have probably read the Old testament 40 times and other large biblical portions well into the 100s over the years.) Anyway, I was the truest of true believers, but now I think I am no longer.

    It was no wrong perpetrated by the church upon me either. I just am too much of a rationalist to put up with all the make believe any more, and I don't "feel" the faith in a way I previously had. Don't know if it is a change in brain chemistry or what? I have lost the "belief" hormone.

    So, I am an agnostic, scientist, rationalist who still reads the bible and believes in the goodness of a creator, I guess going forward. Dunno.

  2. #2
    100% american mongrel blues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    blue ridge mtns
    I don't know and don't pretend to know.

    I am somewhat spiritual in many regards but the spirituality lacks defined focus. More animism or the universe as "god" than some system of belief in an all powerful antropomorphic being created in our image via mythology. (Unfortunately, mankind seems to find a way to ruin even that simple happy thought.)

    I find it difficult to believe, well, way beyond difficult actually, to accept that any one group has a monopoly on "knowing". It's that strident belief that "our group is the one true faith" that has led to so many of the world's woes. I cannot and will not support it.

    So, most days I just go along with the simple thought that we're all bozos on this bus*.



    (*With credit to Firesign Theater for introducing me to the term 47 years ago.)
    “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

  3. #3
    Member EMC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Utah
    I grew up in a very similar manner, raised in a high demand fundamentalist/literalist/authoritarian religion. The process of discovering your worldview is crumbling before you in the information age is a painful but rewarding process. Evolving away from tribalism and "othering" based on religion and being open to new discovery is very freeing.

    I like Dr. James Fowler's "Stages of Faith":
    http://www.psychologycharts.com/jame...-of-faith.html

    I would consider myself in the stage 4 category. The difficulty lies in maintaining healthy relationships with family who still cling to the faith tradition.

  4. #4
    Hammertime
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Quote Originally Posted by EMC View Post
    I like Dr. James Fowler's "Stages of Faith":
    http://www.psychologycharts.com/jame...-of-faith.html

    I would consider myself in the stage 4 category. The difficulty lies in maintaining healthy relationships with family who still cling to the faith tradition.
    That is pretty helpful. I would put myself in Stage 4 as well. Honestly I am super happy with life and couldn't care less if I am "wrong" on the whole religion thing any more.

  5. #5
    100% american mongrel blues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    blue ridge mtns
    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    That is pretty helpful. I would put myself in Stage 4 as well. Honestly I am super happy with life and couldn't care less if I am "wrong" on the whole religion thing any more.
    Sounds like you've won the game. (Don't change a thing.)
    “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

  6. #6
    The Christian Bible ie. The Word of the living God, tells of how the world was plunged into sin, by man's disobedience, shortly after creation. Look around. The forces of darkness are certainly at work, but God has placed bounds on these forces and provided a Way of salvation through His Son Jesus who has conquered sin and death. Things will get worse before they get better but there will be a day when all things will be made new and sin will be no more.

    That is what I believe the truth is...in a nut shell. I hope that we all will at least look into what the Bible says and really search your heart as to whether we believe what it says. My advise is to at least read the gospel of John.
    "Don't get me started on how coddled the modern anus is." -Dwight K. Shrute

  7. #7
    Hobbyist JAD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Kansas City
    John's a /bitch/ of a place to start. I mean, I love it, but that's weapons grade stuff -- literally the sum and essence of Christianity.

    Start here:
    https://youtu.be/nbCP3HisyW0

    If you're ok with your purpose being "whatever," or "to be happy," or "to make other people happy," then the sloppy sea between agnosticism and Deepak that I sailed in for 25 years will suit you fine. My thinking was very much like Blues', and I think it's fine until it bugs you.

    But as Augustine said 'You made us for you, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.'* In Oggie's thinking we all have a god-hole, and we shove various things in the god-hole trying to fill it, which is his way of explaining concupiscence (a good concept to understand in this context).

    If you're happy and you're not being an asshole, you may not need God. If you're unhappy or an asshole, it is sometimes worth trying. I like to approach things intellectually first, and I started with the Summa Theologica (as an audiobook, if you can dig that). If you're old like Blues, you may not have time for that.

    Other good examinations are 'Orthodoxy,' 'Confessions,' 'The Seven Storey Mountain,' and 'Mere Christianity.' They're smart books by smart people; it is not a bad idea to read and reject them before projecting oneself as a thinking atheist.

  8. #8
    Rotary Coterie RevolverRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Baddest Part of Town...
    One thing, that I believe scientists do very wrong, is not draw the distinction between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism. It is apparent, when you carefully read the earliest works on evolutionary theory, that this was an important distinction to those authors. Subsequently, the nuance between them has been lost and this distinction is no longer discussed at length or even part of the pedagogical training for many (most) scientists. This is a reflection of specialization and training that allows an escape from a broad liberal arts focus at the early stages of scientific careers allowing scientists who are in their early career stages to bypass understanding of the history, philosophy, and classical ethics of their fields.

    Why do I start there? Because what you describe in your initial post reflects very much the thought process of individuals who are, by necessity or through lack of clarity between the concepts, conflating philosophical and methodological naturalism. Whether they be students confronted for the first time or established scholars confronted with evidence for the first time. Which, by the by, is not to say that you are not changing or you belief system is not being altered as you perceive new evidence, that can be and probably is quite true. Rather, what I am saying is, one way to deal with some of the conflict you elude to in your post, is by drawing this careful distinction and treating these two topics as separate, but related topics.

    Philosophical naturalism is an a-theistic view, where Natural Laws can and does explain the entire existence of everything. It is a personal viewpoint of the universe, not a scientific construct. In this framework, there are no God(s), there is nothing that cannot, ultimately, be explained by investigation, though philosophical naturalists concede that some things, at present, cannot be adequately investigated, but suggest that they could be given appropriate circumstances.

    Methodological naturalism, is the required framework, where scientists exclude the supernatural as explanatory mechanisms for studied phenomena. Because investigation of the supernatural falls outside the domain of scientific inquiry, we exclude supernatural explanatory mechanisms. In other words, "Casper the Friendly Ghost did it." is not a valid hypothesis for, "Why my beer bottle fell on the floor and broke when I was drunk." Where a valid scientific hypothesis for that phenomena is, "While intoxicated, the individual (me) had reduced capacity for physical control of my beer bottle, resulting in my dropping it or knocking it over and it breaking." The latter can be investigated through experimentation, the former (Casper) cannot.

    It is, absolutely necessary, that methodological naturalism be invoked as the framework for scientific inquiry, not so with philosophical naturalism. Philosophical naturalism, like theism, or spiritualism, is, in many respects, a faith-based belief system. I've seen philosophical naturalists argue, this isn't the case their they system is evidence-based, but ultimately at the far ends of the spectrum it is faith-based that the laws and rules are adequately described and investigated to explain things currently beyond what is known.

    Moreover, there is plenty of physical evidence to support that at least portions of narratives in Judeo-Christian-Muslim texts are real. There is no doubt, for instance, that King David was real, given substantial archeological evidence and even existence of a royal seal marking ring that bears his name and kingdom. The fact that this evidence was recovered in the 19th and 20th centuries, long after the Old Testament was written and codified (as evidenced by the Dead Sea Scrolls), bears witness to the fact that the Bible and related texts are historical in nature and therefore have physical evidence to support them. The reality that the science supports the interpretations of these artifacts, also supports this.

    My point here is - evidence is important in its appropriate context. Bear in mind that methodological naturalism allows you to investigate the physical evidence of the history of the universe and of Biblical texts, but does not (and cannot) tell you how to integrate that data in your personal belief system - only you can do that. The scientific method and mode of inquiry is the greatest gift that science has to give, more so than the knowledge it allows us to uncover. But science cannot, should not, and will not (while I am alive and a scientist), tell you what to believe.

    For me - I am agnostic to the existence of higher "supernatural" powers. Because I believe that at present our ability to investigate the supernatural is non-existent. There are simply questions that cannot be investigated or answered using methodological naturalism. Until someone invents either an alternative, evidence and hypothesis based approach to inquiry that can bear evidence, or we refine our abilities, I believe we will have to wait on investigating "matters of faith". In other words, matters that one must "believe in" to find evidence for. An important distinction for me here is that I don't believe for or against any God(s). I do believe that if such omnipotent beings exist that they are beyond the physical comprehension of our brains and therefore outside of the realm of investigation for us.

    Importantly, as a scientist, skeptic, and inquirer - I am able to sidestep philosophical belief issues in my own world view. I do not know, I cannot know, and therefore I will not know the answers to some questions. This, I am quite fine with, as a person. I don't lose any sleep over it, because I have accepted that my ability to know things is limited and therefore I allow myself to investigate questions that I believe I can answer adequately. It also means I do knot, cannot, and will not tell someone else what to believe - except if they deny the existent of evidence backed, verifiable, observations. At which point I take the tact of showing them how the evidence was collected, why, and how it was studied. Ultimately, I leave it with the recipient to decide if they believe it, but after I've shown them everything "behind the curtain", rational folks usually accept it with the assumptions and caveats provided. Irrational people cannot have their perceptions altered and are not worth continuing discourse with.

    And that's basically it.
    Last edited by RevolverRob; 08-21-2018 at 02:40 PM.
    "P-f: I lurked for wonderful combat pistolcraft advice, but I ponied up cash for my daily dose of Dada." - Baldanders

  9. #9
    Agnosticism was a brief stop on the way to atheism for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Site Supporter DocGKR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    I am somewhere between stage 5 & 6. There is definitely much more going, much more mystery in life, than pure atheism or agnostic beliefs allow--hang out in an ED, ICU or other such place for a while and that truth becomes quite apparent...
    Facts matter...Feelings Can Lie

User Tag List

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •