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John Byrne
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Grumpy Old Guy

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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 2:13pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

As someone said, science is about questions. Religion is about “answers”.

And once you think you have the answers, you stop asking questions.

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Steven Queen
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 3:33pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 JB wrote:

The existential dilemma: we’re alone in the universe, life has no meaning, death is inevitable. 

Embrace this, and sailing will be considerably smoother.

While that sounds like a perfectly good "hard man" view of reality, it does have some problems for society.

How do we then decide what is morale behavior?  Or at least "good" or "proper" behavior?  The Enlightenment tried to define it in many different conflicting ways.  Our (mostly) secular society continues to fight over this, e.g. best for the many versus freedom of the individual, etc.

I know the temptation will be to compare secular governments favorably to centuries of religious warfare in Europe, but that side steps the conundrum of still having to define a societal morale compass so we can talk about right and wrong.

All I am saying is that dumping faith for nihilism still doesn't tell you how to live your life daily in a practical way.

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Sheila Friedland
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"The existential dilemma: we’re alone in the universe, life has no meaning, death is inevitable. 

Embrace this, and sailing will be considerably smoother."

You should consider writing a Joker series.


Edited by Sheila Friedland on 07 September 2023 at 3:46pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 3:47pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

But dumping the artificiality of “faith” in favor of a PRACTICAL approach…?

One of the greatest falsehoods religions have forced upon us is that morality comes FROM the gods. In fact, humans invented the gods to reinforce our moralistic tendencies that already existed. Atheists don’t need the threat of a bogeyman in the sky. We do the right things because they are right—and because doing so makes us feel good about ourselves.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

You should consider writing a Joker series.

•••

Point missed.

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Sheila Friedland
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Just about everybody thinks they're doing the "right thing."  As it's been said, humans aren't the rational animal, they're the rationalizing animal.

I can see rejecting the "why" of it all.  "There is no why" is a zen-like concept that I dig.

I can see rejecting the God of the Bible as obviously a lot textual debunking is possible.

I have trouble rejecting the "how" of it all and rejecting the possibility of forces beyond our ken.  

Men may have created God, but men did not create themselves, this earth, this universe, or reality itself.

(The Joker joke comes from the "Killing Joke" which famously made Joker a lamenter/embracer of the pointlessness of existence.  So if you've gotta go, go with a smile!)


Edited by Sheila Friedland on 07 September 2023 at 4:00pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 4:10pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Men may have created God, but men did not create themselves, this earth, this universe, or reality itself.

•••

Men/humans very much “created” themselves, and the earth, the universe and “reality”.

By nature, humans are storytellers, and in our earliest days, we used stories as a kind of grout to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of what we found around us. We invented gods to explain the lightning. We invented heroes to reinforce our importance in the eyes of those gods. And, at the point of a sword we “convinced” the people over the next hill that ours was the correct interpretation.

All created from nothing, as was the universe itself.

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Sheila Friedland
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 4:21pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I'm not talking about social realities.

I'm talking about the mud and grass under our feet, the fish in the ocean, the stars in the sky, the air in our lungs, and the very structure of our bodies.  Man had nothing to do with any of it.

Something can't come from nothing.

I'm not asking you to go to Church, but I do find it plausible for the existence of things simply beyond our 5 senses.  The ant thinks what he senses is everything, too.  Also, the blind men and elephant parable is applicable.


Edited by Sheila Friedland on 07 September 2023 at 4:26pm
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Steven Queen
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

We do the right things because they are right—and because doing so makes us feel good about ourselves.
-----

But doesn't right need to be articulated and defined if it's purely a man-made construct?

Something I see today is that "right" has become very temporal and external.  What's "right" is being defined by the peer-pressure and propaganda of the moment.  

The result is contentious and chaotic.  Everything is situational ethics.

Alternatively, if "right" comes from an immutable internal source --- who/what imprinted it there?  That is actually where C.S. Lewis starts his WWII radio series broadcasts during the bombing of London (collected in Mere Christianity).




Edited by Steven Queen on 07 September 2023 at 4:38pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 5:03pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Jails and prisons are full of people who believe in various deities. Often it is those beliefs that have led them there.

Pretty shoddy gods who create us as beings capable of committing crimes even if we believe in them and their eternal punishments.

No great crimes have been committed in the name of atheism.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 5:06pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Something can't come from nothing.

•••

Quantum physics says otherwise.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 07 September 2023 at 5:26pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Where was the moral compass of religion to say slavery was wrong through those many wicked years of the Atlantic slave trade. That was a time when people were more religious than they are now.

Religion allows people to be wrong with more conviction.

There is nothing wrong with debating whether something we think is right may be wrong, or vice versa. There is nothing dangerous or heretical in ideas or challenging ideas -- unless you have a position of power derived from a religious framework.
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