Jump to content
PaulS

Deleting 'god'

Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

Thank you for your thought-full consideration and response, Paul. (BTW, I never said that any aspect of what my ideas referenced as 'super'natural - maybe you think that anything that isn't materialistic/physical (such as conciousness itself) isn't 'natural', in which case 'Houston, we have a problem!"

By 'supernatural' I mean something attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.  In my opinion, much of what you were saying in your treatise actually sits in this space.

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

My response to your post is that your 'agnostic' position/stance leaves something to be desired.

Each to their own.

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

Why? Because to choose anything, one has to have a 'hunch' that said something might be 'worth' exploring/experiencing (that is, if said hypothetical something even exists as hypothesized, but maybe even it is isn't so because then one will know more, in that case that 'reality' doesn't accord with said (hypothesized) something.

I read your treatise, thought about what you had to say, and didn't see any hunch I felt desire to explore because I have already explored to some degree in my own way and come to the opinion that it isn't so.  

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

Enjoy your maybe this maybe that maybe not this maybe not that 'speculation' ad infinitum - I have no truck with anyone who doesn't want to explore possibilities which I think are (possibly) really meaningful or submit possibilities which he or she thinks are (possibly) really meaningful in terms of possibly :) enriching Life-actualtizations.

What about if they explore such possibilities and come to the conclusion that those possibilities are not possibilities at all?

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

BTW, I think Ideas (philosophies, theories, etc.) are just 'tools' for exploring the REALM of CREATiVITY, and possibly 'building' (more) interesting CREATIONS within it.

Enjoy what I (perhaps inaccurately) see as your dilettantish idea twiddling, Bro That ain't my 'game' of choice. Thanks for clarifying that you are not interested in 'playing' (with) my game.

Yes, you inaccurately see my position as dilettantish idea twiddling.  I enjoy playing all games, and discussing ideas.  Please don't be offended if I don't agree with you.

7 hours ago, Davidsun said:

 

Perhaps, the following excerpt from http://www.prismagems.com/castaneda/ will get my point relating to the 'poverty' of 'agnosticism' across better than what I've already said:

"As an example, this passage from Tales of Power where Carlos had told don Juan of his having taken his cats to be put to sleep and of how one of them, Max, had apparently sensed that all was not well and jumped out of the car and ran away when he had the chance. Following this passage in blue is my compiled version in purple.

      "What I've been trying to tell you is that as a warrior you cannot just believe this and let it go at that. With Max, having to believe means that you accept the fact that his escape might have been a useless outburst. He might have jumped into the sewer and died instantly. He might have drowned or starved to death, or he might have been eaten by rats. A warrior considers all those possibilities and then chooses to believe in accordance with his innermost predilection.
      "As a warrior you have to believe that Max made it, that he not only escaped but that he sustained his power. You have to believe it. Let's say that without that belief you have nothing."
      The distinction became very clear. I thought I really had chosen to believe that Max had survived, knowing that he was handicapped by a lifetime of soft and pampered living.
      "Believing is a cinch," don Juan went on. "Having to believe is something else. In this case, for instance, power gave you a splendid lesson, but you chose to use only part of it. If you have to believe, however, you must use all the event."
      "I see what you mean," I said.
      My mind was in a state of clarity and I thought I was grasping his concepts with no effort at all.
      "I'm afraid you still don't understand," he said, almost whispering.
      He stared at me. I held his look for a moment.
      "What about the other cat?" he asked.
      "Uh? The other cat?" I repeated involuntarily.
      I had forgotten about it. My symbol had rotated around Max. The other cat was of no consequence to me.
      "But he is!" don Juan exclaimed when I voiced my thoughts. ''Having to believe means that you have to also account for the other cat. The one that went playfully licking the hands that were carrying him to his doom. That was the cat that went to his death trustingly, filled with his cat's judgments.
      "You think you're like Max, therefore you have forgotten about the other cat. You don't even know his name. Having to believe means that you must consider everything, and before deciding that you are like Max you must consider that you may be like the other cat; instead of running for your life and taking your chances, you may be going to your doom happily, filled with your judgments."


      And my compiling of that passage, which, reading the original again now after over 20 years, I see that I didn't really capture the whole power of the original passage -- a good reason for you to read the actual books and not just this compilation. In my defense, however, I will tell you that this is one of only about three places where I sort of gave my own interpretation. The vast majority is very very accurately compiled to match the teachings presented in the books:

      Having to believe means that you accept the facts of something, consider all possibilities and possible outcomes, and then choose to believe in accordance with your innermost predilection. Believing is a cinch. Having to believe is something else. If you have to believe, you must use all of an event, account for all possibilities, and consider everything. Before deciding that you believe one way you must consider that it may well be another way."

Personally, I don't think anybody can 'choose' to believe or not.  Belief happens whether we like it or not.  I guess one could pretend they believe or don't believe, but that would only be pretence and not true belief/non-belief.  I can't make myself believe in Father Christmas for instance because I have developed non-belief in Him.  Similarly, I used to believe that Jesus Christ was my lord and saviour, who died on a cross as a sacrifice on my behalf to satisfy God and thus be saved from a Godless eternity.  I did not choose to stop believing that but nonetheless, I don't believe that anymore and couldn't change it if I tried.  Frankly, I think belief is over-rated because it simply relies on a personal brain computing information and drawing a conclusion.  As we all know, there are many, many beliefs that are incorrect, even harmful, yet people still hold those beliefs.

Footnote: I reserve the right for my beliefs to change at any time, as they have done throughout my life to date. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, thormas said:

.... again, I see it more as different expressions of - a common, human effort to seek - Meaning (and although each religion or philosophy, might reflect the insights of a particular group, tribe or people, it is typically understood to have significance for all humanity, i.e. to be the Meaning for all).

I don't disagree, but I don't see these understandings as pointing towards anything outside of the physical world we exist in.  For me personally, i don't have to hold any notions of a 'consciousness' outside of what we seem to know now that somehow enlightens or fulfils us.  Definitely there are things we don't understand about ourselves and the world we live in, but I see this as an entirely natural part of us.  We only think we need more answers.

I don't know if I'm explaining it well, but I've been on this bit of a journey in recent years where I seem to have come to the conclusion that we are born, we live, then we die - there is nothing more to it and I am very comfortable with that.  There is no more meaning or afterthought to our lives.  However, in that brief 70-100 year period of consciousness (just round figures :) ) that we do exist, we have a brain that is not content with just eating, sleeping, and reproducing (well, a few of my friends may seem to but that's another story :) ), and so we seek meaning and purpose and fulfilment etc.  The fact that meaning, purpose and fulfilment is so starkly different for every single person, indicates to me that there is no single meaning, purpose or fulfilment available for all as some sort of 'answer'.  Our individuality drives us to all sorts of different conclusions, beliefs and other thoughts.

For me, the 'Meaning for all' that you suggest religion & philosophy is typically understood to have significance for all humanity, does not exist.  It may hit on some obvious themes that our brains have evolved to understand (love, peace, anger, jealousy, pride, etc) but this is simply material fact about our brains and processes.  I don't see it as some sort of external consciousness reaching in and providing insight to an existence or understanding outside of the physical world we reside in (and will soon leave).

That's where I'm at at the moment, but maybe it'll be different tomorrow :) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I don't disagree, but I don't see these understandings as pointing towards anything outside of the physical world we exist in.  For me personally, i don't have to hold any notions of a 'consciousness' outside of what we seem to know now that somehow enlightens or fulfils us.  Definitely there are things we don't understand about ourselves and the world we live in, but I see this as an entirely natural part of us.  We only think we need more answers.

I don't know if I'm explaining it well, but I've been on this bit of a journey in recent years where I seem to have come to the conclusion that we are born, we live, then we die - there is nothing more to it and I am very comfortable with that.  There is no more meaning or afterthought to our lives.  However, in that brief 70-100 year period of consciousness (just round figures :) ) that we do exist, we have a brain that is not content with just eating, sleeping, and reproducing (well, a few of my friends may seem to but that's another story :) ), and so we seek meaning and purpose and fulfilment etc.  The fact that meaning, purpose and fulfilment is so starkly different for every single person, indicates to me that there is no single meaning, purpose or fulfilment available for all as some sort of 'answer'.  Our individuality drives us to all sorts of different conclusions, beliefs and other thoughts.

For me, the 'Meaning for all' that you suggest religion & philosophy is typically understood to have significance for all humanity, does not exist.  It may hit on some obvious themes that our brains have evolved to understand (love, peace, anger, jealousy, pride, etc) but this is simply material fact about our brains and processes.  I don't see it as some sort of external consciousness reaching in and providing insight to an existence or understanding outside of the physical world we reside in (and will soon leave).

That's where I'm at at the moment, but maybe it'll be different tomorrow :) .

That's fair: although I agree I don't see them as pointing outside or beyond nature (i.e. classical understanding of transcendent) I do see that, for some, there is a belief that there is 'more' than the human in existence. I further agree we don't 'have' to hold such notions yet 'some do.' And I do understand about explaining it well - not an easy task.

I have a best friend that believes the same (as you do), I respect it, just doesn't speak to me. Even though I am not one to forsake this world because I have an eye on another world, I can't help but think of my introduction to surrealism when I think about the belief you and my friend share. When the professor walked into the room he just kept repeating nada, nada, nada, nothing, nothing, nothing. I know people say there is value in living 'this' the only life but can't help thinking, in the end, it might as well have not happened. if you are born, live and die - it seems to make no difference if you lived 2 months, 8 years or 91 years - it was going no place and it, in the end, meant nothing.

I guess I feel this even more not that he is sick and has a very limited future. Obviously, he (and you) believe it means something - yet I always think of Sisyphus: all meaning, purpose and fulfillment meant nothing - the rock just rolls down the other side of the mountain and all his effort, his life was for naught. I am reminded that some , even in the face of ultimate meaninglessness, say they will make meaning - yet in the end, it still was meaningless. This is not meant as a judgement (nor am I trying to win you or him over), merely a sadness if it is the actually reality. My thought is that in the moment of death, faced with this reality, I would shout to/at the God that doesn't exist and say, "you should have been." Absurd of course, and I know that. 

For me, one, who believes this, seeks a meaning in life that is not real and does not exist: all such meaning is illusion. Even Sisyphus might find meaning in his work or he might defiantly push the rock up one side and down the other - but either way, the rock is at the bottom where it always was: it was without meaning. 

And I agree - that is where I am today. 

p.s. I have to muse a bit more on your idea that nobody chooses whether to believe or not, it just happens.

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, thormas said:

I have a best friend that believes the same (as you do), I respect it, just doesn't speak to me. Even though I am not one to forsake this world because I have an eye on another world, I can't help but think of my introduction to surrealism when I think about the belief you and my friend share. When the professor walked into the room he just kept repeating nada, nada, nada, nothing, nothing, nothing. I know people say there is value in living 'this' the only life but can't help thinking, in the end, it might as well have not happened. if you are born, live and die - it seems to make no difference if you lived 2 months, 8 years or 91 years - it was going no place and it, in the end, meant nothing.

I used to think like that, but now I tend to think that it doesn't matter if I like it or not - that is how it is.  Also, it doesn't mean nothing if I die and cease to exist.  I have lived, been involved in other people's lives, hopefully contributed just a tiny bit to the world being a better place for the next folk, and then there's my kids too who will continue on until they die, etc.  Just because I can't celebrate that after the fact (i.e. after I'm dead) doesn't render my life meaningless to me.  I am not depressed about that and actually am encouraged that the very same thing has happened to billions of humans before me (and billions and billions of every other form of consciousness on this planet too).

4 hours ago, thormas said:

I guess I feel this even more not that he is sick and has a very limited future. Obviously, he (and you) believe it means something - yet I always think of Sisyphus: all meaning, purpose and fulfilment meant nothing - the rock just rolls down the other side of the mountain and all his effort, his life was for naught. I am reminded that some , even in the face of ultimate meaninglessness, say they will make meaning - yet in the end, it still was meaningless. This is not meant as a judgement (nor am I trying to win you or him over), merely a sadness if it is the actually reality. My thought is that in the moment of death, faced with this reality, I would shout to/at the God that doesn't exist and say, "you should have been." Absurd of course, and I know that. 

I don't regard you as being judgemental and I think I understand where you're coming from.  I love your honesty and reflection on this matter.  I see how it can be sad - not ever getting to see my children again, or my wife, family, friends, other cultures, other planets etc.  But I'm not going to know that - I will be dead.  The sadness will be having this life now and not living it to the full, not just for me, but everybody associated and affected by me in any way.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

For me, one, who believes this, seeks a meaning in life that is not real and does not exist: all such meaning is illusion. Even Sisyphus might find meaning in his work or he might defiantly push the rock up one side and down the other - but either way, the rock is at the bottom where it always was: it was without meaning. 

And I agree - that is where I am today. 

p.s. I have to muse a bit more on your idea that nobody chooses whether to believe or not, it just happens.

If it helps, see if you can think of one choice you have 'made' to believe something and consider if, with all things taken into account concerning what you know about this belief that you hold, can you now simply say I do not believe in that thing.  I suspect not.  So there simply is no choice.  You believe it because your mind believes it.  Sure you weigh up evidence and take data and information into account, but I doubt you 'choose' to believe it - you can't not believe it because that's the conclusion you've come to, that that thing is true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, PaulS said:

I used to think like that, but now I tend to think that it doesn't matter if I like it or not - that is how it is.  Also, it doesn't mean nothing if I die and cease to exist.  I have lived, been involved in other people's lives, hopefully contributed just a tiny bit to the world being a better place for the next folk, and then there's my kids too who will continue on until they die, etc.  Just because I can't celebrate that after the fact (i.e. after I'm dead) doesn't render my life meaningless to me.  I am not depressed about that and actually am encouraged that the very same thing has happened to billions of humans before me (and billions and billions of every other form of consciousness on this planet too).

I don't regard you as being judgemental and I think I understand where you're coming from.  I love your honesty and reflection on this matter.  I see how it can be sad - not ever getting to see my children again, or my wife, family, friends, other cultures, other planets etc.  But I'm not going to know that - I will be dead.  The sadness will be having this life now and not living it to the full, not just for me, but everybody associated and affected by me in any way.

If it helps, see if you can think of one choice you have 'made' to believe something and consider if, with all things taken into account concerning what you know about this belief that you hold, can you now simply say I do not believe in that thing.  I suspect not.  So there simply is no choice.  You believe it because your mind believes it.  Sure you weigh up evidence and take data and information into account, but I doubt you 'choose' to believe it - you can't not believe it because that's the conclusion you've come to, that that thing is true.

Good discussion. 

Again, your belief and that of my friend is respected yet still, for me, Sisyphus lingers. And I get the idea of "I have lived, been involved....." yet, again for me, in this perspective, all living, all contribution, all involvement is meaningless: the rock is still where it was in the beginning; the top is reached and then down the other side. For me, it is without meaning (and thus sad) but not for you, not for my friend. And, that is a good thing.  

Again, this is not my view, neither is my view traditional supernatural theism. Philosophies, religions, poetry, art, friendship and love: each suspects/experiences a transcendence; there is 'More." The rock may and has rolled back along the way but the challenge, the possibility the call is always there; the 'top' is always before us, there is never the ultimate futility of the other side; the rock is never at the bottom. Not my best image but what I have on a Friday morning.

On belief:  I believed the girl I met the year after college and I had real possibilities, things changed and I came to believe something different about us (decades later we are still friends). I believed one thing, with new evidence/consideration, I came to believe something else and I chose to believe and accept this new reality or I would still be at the local bar. So too, I had the traditional view of God but just as I grew and needed new clothes, so too I grew in understanding and my 'view' of 'God' changed over time. It all seemed and still seems a rather natural process. So, I had (and confirmed earlier) beliefs, then learned, grew, explored and now believe something that is radically different. Who did it? I did it. Of course I believe it because my mind believes it - my mind is me and that which I fed with information, discoveries, the consideration of new thoughts, etc. - and here I am with a new and different belief. There were a series of "ah ha" moments and gradually there was a change: I don't believe now what I previously did. 

As to your last sentence:  I weighed evidence, new data, new information, the 'ah ha' moments and the choice to do that led to a new belief (thus ultimately chosen because all leading to it was chosen). I can't not believe because I believe it; the decision has been made. If I chose not to believe it (like my old views/beliefs) then I would not believe it. However, it is possible with continued new information, insights and 'ah ha' moments - I might believe something else in the future. 

Again, enjoyable and helpful. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, PaulS said:

What about if they explore such possibilities and come to the conclusion that those possibilities are not possibilities at all?

That's that then. I appreciate your definitive (hence non-dilettant-ish in the present case, IMO) engagement with the issues at hand, Paul.

Edited by Davidsun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, thormas said:

Again, this is not my view, neither is my view traditional supernatural theism. Philosophies, religions, poetry, art, friendship and love: each suspects/experiences a transcendence; there is 'More." The rock may and has rolled back along the way but the challenge, the possibility the call is always there; the 'top' is always before us, there is never the ultimate futility of the other side; the rock is never at the bottom. Not my best image but what I have on a Friday morning.

Perhaps the challenge is simply to do the best with the limited time we have and to be happy with that.  I just don't see futility in living a good life and then blanking out so one doesn't recall any of it when they are asleep for eternity.

Whilst there are numerous instances of suspecting a 'more' expressed in philosophy, religions, poetry, art, friendship and love, it's not as though 'more' is all those groups stand for or support.  I would suggest that the likes of philosophy, poetry, art, friendship and love just as strongly/frequently express a 'nothing more' understanding of life and support a 'make the most of it now for only that reason' viewpoint.

I suspect our desire for there to be a 'more' is possibly a hangover of our earlier tribal superstitions and ignorance toward things that were once unexplainable.  Possibly it is a trait of higher intelligence that we simply don't want our intelligence ( or ego) to cease and so we desire there to be a more for that reason.  Both of these seem a better explanation for me rather than there being a 'more' which somehow still alludes us after millions of years of searching.

10 hours ago, thormas said:

On belief:  I believed the girl I met the year after college and I had real possibilities, things changed and I came to believe something different about us (decades later we are still friends). I believed one thing, with new evidence/consideration, I came to believe something else and I chose to believe and accept this new reality or I would still be at the local bar. So too, I had the traditional view of God but just as I grew and needed new clothes, so too I grew in understanding and my 'view' of 'God' changed over time. It all seemed and still seems a rather natural process. So, I had (and confirmed earlier) beliefs, then learned, grew, explored and now believe something that is radically different. Who did it? I did it. Of course I believe it because my mind believes it - my mind is me and that which I fed with information, discoveries, the consideration of new thoughts, etc. - and here I am with a new and different belief. There were a series of "ah ha" moments and gradually there was a change: I don't believe now what I previously did. 

As to your last sentence:  I weighed evidence, new data, new information, the 'ah ha' moments and the choice to do that led to a new belief (thus ultimately chosen because all leading to it was chosen). I can't not believe because I believe it; the decision has been made. If I chose not to believe it (like my old views/beliefs) then I would not believe it. However, it is possible with continued new information, insights and 'ah ha' moments - I might believe something else in the future. 

I'm not saying beliefs won't change - obviously they do.  I'm just trying to say (poorly) that I don't think we 'choose' our beliefs.  We simply either believe our assumptions (based on data, evidence, experience, etc) or we don't.  We simply cannot say "I do not think that is true but I am going believe the opposite" as though we have sort of choice.  The fact that we think something is true, or close enough to the truth, is WHY we believe it.  We didn't choose it so to speak, it chose us.  We have no say in the matter.  And when new evidence, data or understandings come along our beliefs may change but again,not because we choose to believe differently, but because what we are presented makes us believe differently.  There is a subtle but major difference between changing beliefs and picking and choosing beliefs.

And on a side note - thankyou for the understanding, sharing and thoughtful discussion.  I think it is so much more fruitful and pleasurable when we can discuss our opinions and thoughts here without barbs, insults, self righteousness and sarcasm.  A little bit of humour is always helpful too :) .

Peace & goodwill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, PaulS said:

Perhaps the challenge is simply to do the best with the limited time we have and to be happy with that.  I just don't see futility in living a good life and then blanking out so one doesn't recall any of it when they are asleep for eternity.

Whilst there are numerous instances of suspecting a 'more' expressed in philosophy, religions, poetry, art, friendship and love, it's not as though 'more' is all those groups stand for or support.  I would suggest that the likes of philosophy, poetry, art, friendship and love just as strongly/frequently express a 'nothing more' understanding of life and support a 'make the most of it now for only that reason' viewpoint.

I suspect our desire for there to be a 'more' is possibly a hangover of our earlier tribal superstitions and ignorance toward things that were once unexplainable.  Possibly it is a trait of higher intelligence that we simply don't want our intelligence ( or ego) to cease and so we desire there to be a more for that reason.  Both of these seem a better explanation for me rather than there being a 'more' which somehow still alludes us after millions of years of searching.

I'm not saying beliefs won't change - obviously they do.  I'm just trying to say (poorly) that I don't think we 'choose' our beliefs.  We simply either believe our assumptions (based on data, evidence, experience, etc) or we don't.  We simply cannot say "I do not think that is true but I am going believe the opposite" as though we have sort of choice.  The fact that we think something is true, or close enough to the truth, is WHY we believe it.  We didn't choose it so to speak, it chose us.  We have no say in the matter.  And when new evidence, data or understandings come along our beliefs may change but again,not because we choose to believe differently, but because what we are presented makes us believe differently.  There is a subtle but major difference between changing beliefs and picking and choosing beliefs.

And on a side note - thankyou for the understanding, sharing and thoughtful discussion.  I think it is so much more fruitful and pleasurable when we can discuss our opinions and thoughts here without barbs, insults, self righteousness and sarcasm.  A little bit of humour is always helpful too :) .

Peace & goodwill.

I totally agree about doing our best with the time we have, and neither of us see futility in doing that - the difference is in the reason why. Which, if fine.

Again, agree there is no agreement on the 'more' and there are some (less I suspect) that see nothing (was it Sartre who said hell is in hello? What we used to call a 'fun -gi' in philosophy class). But it is intriguing, (for me) that so many, across cultures and time, see and seek 'more.' Many/most of us have left tribal superstitions and the accompanying ignorance in the dust and maybe the higher intelligence/consciousness is on to something: Maslow talks about self-actualization and Whitehead talks about the 'thrust' to be, to be better, to be best (this last not in comparison to others but in self) - both suggest, again from my perspective, that there is more to us. The only real question is the meaning of life, and all answers are particular to the individual, as we have shown here. The friend I mentioned describes life as being in a bus careening through the universe, with no idea where we're going or what it means but, while on the bus, we might as well be nice to each other and enjoy the ride. Words to live by!

What I'm saying about belief is that believing one thing over another is a choice and it would make no sense to say I think something is true and then believe the opposite. The gathering of the 'evidence,' the thought, the weighing of things is all part of the decision process and without proof, we are left with belief and are able to function because we consider true (and trustworthy) what we believe (for now). We differ: I think there is choice. But again, that is fine. Although I do like the idea that, "we didn't choose it........... it chose us" - but this immediately makes me think about the 'more' once again. Oh, well :+} 

And however we differ on the above, I totally agree with you that it is "much more fruitful and pleasurable ...... without barbs, insults, self righteousness and sarcasm".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, thormas said:

The only(?) real(?) question is the meaning of life, and all answers are particular to the individual, as we have shown here. The friend I mentioned describes life as being in a bus careening through the universe, with no idea where we're going or what it means but, while on the bus, we might as well be nice to each other and enjoy the ride. Words to live by!

What is 'real' to one may be seen as just being 'hallucinatory' by another, this pertains to 'answers' as well, I think - I totally agree with you on the later point, Thormas.

The Life being like "a bus careening through the universe, with no idea where we're going or what it means" scenario stand in glaring(?) contrasts to the Second Coming scenario I described in the excerpt I shared from (towards the end of) my "What Jesus Really Meant" chapter.

Two (quite divergent, aye what) Realities/Hallucinations, aye what?

It strikes me that statements like "You create your own (experience of) Reality" (implicit in Mark 11:24) and "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" (Galations Ch.6) may really explain the dynamic (aye what?) divergence. And then again, especially if you don't believe that Spirit is universally 'creative' such that we are each (at some level at least) the determiners of our own Reality (or Hallucination?) experience, hence in a sense of our own experienced 'fate', maybe not (that is, maybe there no real explanation for the 'careening', just the vagaries of randomness.)

Edited by Davidsun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, thormas said:

...it would make no sense to say I think something is true and then believe the opposite.

It might not make sense but I think as such it  highlights the actual meaning of the word 'choice'.  Choice is the act of choosing between two or more possibilities.  When you weigh up the data, evidence etc you come to a conclusion.  You don't choose one conclusion over another - you are already convinced one way or another based on your understanding of the evidence presented.    Having a belief but then choosing not to hold it, would actually be a choice.  It seems to make no sense because you cannot not believe what you believe.  Hence, I don't think you have a choice concerning beliefs.

I am certain we could resolve this if we were at least halfway through a couple of bottles of a good red! :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, PaulS said:

It might not make sense but I think as such it  highlights the actual meaning of the word 'choice'.  Choice is the act of choosing between two or more possibilities.  When you weigh up the data, evidence etc you come to a conclusion.  You don't choose one conclusion over another - you are already convinced one way or another based on your understanding of the evidence presented.    Having a belief but then choosing not to hold it, would actually be a choice.  It seems to make no sense because you cannot not believe what you believe.  Hence, I don't think you have a choice concerning beliefs.

I am certain we could resolve this if we were at least halfway through a couple of bottles of a good red! :) 

You know this could get depressing if I buy it :+{ first no 'more' so for me that means, this (i.e. life is) rather pointless and now, even though it all has no (ultimate) point, we don't have a choice anyway.

I guess we simply have to choose to disagree on this one: for me, the act of weighing the data, and considering the evidence (between/among options) means the choice is still before you. 

You do bring up a good way to resolve the issue - but what if we are presented with (a choice of) different wines? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, PaulS said:

It might not make sense but I think as such it  highlights the actual meaning of the word 'choice'.  Choice is the act of choosing between two or more possibilities.  When you weigh up the data, evidence etc you come to a conclusion.  You don't choose one conclusion over another - you are already convinced one way or another based on your understanding of the evidence presented.    Having a belief but then choosing not to hold it, would actually be a choice.  It seems to make no sense because you cannot not believe what you believe.  Hence, I don't think you have a choice concerning beliefs.

I am certain we could resolve this if we were at least halfway through a couple of bottles of a good red! :) 

Don't forget one must choose what evidence to accept or ignore, how to weight the evidence accepted etc.  we need a mental apparatus to account for this plus account for the known and unknown unknowns.

God is a useful asymptote which segregates things which cannot be approached logically. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Burl said:

Don't forget one must choose what evidence to accept or ignore, how to weight the evidence accepted etc.  we need a mental apparatus to account for this plus account for the known and unknown unknowns.

God is a useful asymptotic which segregates things which cannot be approached logically. 

I think it is an illusion to think one 'chooses' which evidence they will believe and which they won't.  We have a mental apparatus for reviewing all available data and evidence but that doesn't mean we choose which evidence or data to believe, or not.  Take for example the multiple beliefs about God etc.  Same data, different beliefs.  I don't think this is because people 'choose' to believe one way or the other but by the fact that for whatever reason (past experience, emotional state, how their brain ticks, etc) they 'take on' a belief thinking they have come to some rational conclusion of their own making.  A little 'pat on the back' for themselves if you like for 'choosing' the 'right' belief.  This may make us 'feel' like we're choosing beliefs, but I don't think we are.  Again, if you could choose to not believe what you believe, that would be a choice.  But one cannot do that, so clearly (to me) there is no choice.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Paul's points are valid. He seems fine with it if this is all there is and if not, and if he is wrong ...., so what.....   he will be pleasantly surprised. It seems to me too many people focus on the afterlife and miss out on this life.

Just my 2 cents,

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

I think Paul's points are valid. He seems fine with it if this is all there is and if not, and if he is wrong ...., so what.....   he will be pleasantly surprised. It seems to me too many people focus on the afterlife and miss out on this life.

Just my 2 cents,

Joseph

Seemingly, in the past, some/many(?) Christians have been focused on the afterlife, that has/is changing for many and certainly not the main (or really any) consideration for me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

I think Paul's points are valid. He seems fine with it if this is all there is and if not, and if he is wrong ...., so what.....   he will be pleasantly surprised. It seems to me too many people focus on the afterlife and miss out on this life.

Just my 2 cents,

Joseph

I am certainly open to be pleasantly surprised Joseph.  Can't say I wouldn't mind that occurring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I think it is an illusion to think one 'chooses' which evidence they will believe and which they won't.  We have a mental apparatus for reviewing all available data and evidence but that doesn't mean we choose which evidence or data to believe, or not.  Take for example the multiple beliefs about God etc.  Same data, different beliefs.  I don't think this is because people 'choose' to believe one way or the other but by the fact that for whatever reason (past experience, emotional state, how their brain ticks, etc) they 'take on' a belief thinking they have come to some rational conclusion of their own making.  A little 'pat on the back' for themselves if you like for 'choosing' the 'right' belief.  This may make us 'feel' like we're choosing beliefs, but I don't think we are.  Again, if you could choose to not believe what you believe, that would be a choice.  But one cannot do that, so clearly (to me) there is no choice.

 

Not really the same data.

For me, there may be similarities but it is not the 'same' data as many/any(?) traditional theists, evangelicals and even a good number of progressive Christians. Different data, different beliefs. I think this debate go on and on and on.......... 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, thormas said:

Not really the same data.

For me, there may be similarities but it is not the 'same' data as many/any(?) traditional theists, evangelicals and even a good number of progressive Christians. Different data, different beliefs. I think this debate go on and on and on.......... 

 

If we just took one group of Christians who share the precise same data and evidence - the bible (and let's say it is the same version they all read) - I guarantee you that there will be different beliefs believed amongst that group.  Not because they chose to believe differently, but because they had no choice in perceiving the data the way they did which in turn made it a belief for them, albeit different to the person next door who shared the same precise data and evidence.  Some of those Christians might try to convince others that people in the same test group actually had a choice to believe what they did, but I think you would agree that this would not be the case.

Take me for instance - I can read the bible and believe in a physical Satan.  I certainly did once upon a time.  Since those days I read other data and evidence and slowly began to believe something different - i.e. I now don't believe in a physical entity that wars against God named the Devil.  I did not choose to change my beliefs but rather mt beliefs couldn't help but be changed when I read and perceived information as the new truth.  And who knows, maybe somewhere down the track I will change my beliefs once again, but not from choosing (because I can't), but from reading and experiencing and then feeling that this new information is now the truth.  Again, it won't be by choice but it still happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, PaulS said:

If we just took one group of Christians who share the precise same data and evidence - the bible (and let's say it is the same version they all read) - I guarantee you that there will be different beliefs believed amongst that group.  Not because they chose to believe differently, but because they had no choice in perceiving the data the way they did which in turn made it a belief for them, albeit different to the person next door who shared the same precise data and evidence.  Some of those Christians might try to convince others that people in the same test group actually had a choice to believe what they did, but I think you would agree that this would not be the case.

Take me for instance - I can read the bible and believe in a physical Satan.  I certainly did once upon a time.  Since those days I read other data and evidence and slowly began to believe something different - i.e. I now don't believe in a physical entity that wars against God named the Devil.  I did not choose to change my beliefs but rather mt beliefs couldn't help but be changed when I read and perceived information as the new truth.  And who knows, maybe somewhere down the track I will change my beliefs once again, but not from choosing (because I can't), but from reading and experiencing and then feeling that this new information is now the truth.  Again, it won't be by choice but it still happens.

I am no longer following your point. First you said, "I think it is an illusion to think one 'chooses' which evidence they will believe and which they won't.  We .............review(ing) all available data and evidence but that doesn't mean we choose which evidence or data to believe, or not." Then you said,  "I read other data and evidence and slowly began to believe something different."

The second statement seemingly contradicts the first: you review other info and began to believe something different. Where is the illusion? You had the 'evidence/data' from your former life/belief - you put that to the side (so to speak), read other, different info - it resonated and your belief followed/changed.  'You" chose what to consider and/or to just be open to various new information and 'you' decided which set of evidence and data (old or new) to accept and believe, going forward. 

Again, if I bought this, it really, really could get depressing: first we come in and out of existence (an accident or happenstance I guess), it means nothing, except what we give it (but even this doesn't actually matter in the end, because the rock is still at the bottom) and now choice is an illusion. So any meaning I might impose (or give or intent for) on my little corner of existence is really not mine - all is illusion and without meaning?? 

I have to have a hearty mug of tea now to deal with these implications :+}

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Rom:

Paul's position makes perfect sense to me. Again when choosing beliefs to say  we choose beliefs you are using the phrase in a non standard way. For example as a child I might have believed the sun goes around the Earth. it certainly seems that way and language certainly reinforced that point of view. I certainly did not choose to believe the sun went around the Earth ... I just did. As I went to school. my parents explained, saw the plethora of evidence that the Earth spins and goes around the Sun ... I ended up believing in a different model of our solar system. There was no "conscious" choosing.

So are you not buying in because you don't want it to be an illusion? .......

Response to Rom:

Can't state it much clearer. But with your sun example, like Paul's childhood faith: there is a 'given and accepted' belief, the data and evidence coming from family or church community (or society). Then, as Paul said, he decided, he chose, to look at other data and evidence, it spoke to him and a change in belief followed. His ("I read") was a conscious decision that caused a change in belief.

I'm not buying it, not because I don't  want it to be - but because I don't think it is -  an illusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, JosephM said:

I think Paul's points are valid. He seems fine with it if this is all there is and if not, and if he is wrong ...., so what.....   he will be pleasantly surprised. It seems to me too many people focus on the afterlife and miss out on this life.

Just my 2 cents,

Joseph

Assuming (as a theoretical proposition) that there is an 'afterlife' - say that there is such a thing as 'soul' living in and through our 'earthly' 'identities', and that such 'soul' may or may not continue to 'reincarnate' in progressively more advancing or regressively deteriorating 'personalities' (I can point to passages in The New Testament, quoting Jesus, which indicate he believed in 'reincarnation' if anyone is interested, BTW) and that it eventually may or may not grow to the point where it 'immortally' lives on in spiritual realms - which 'living on' or not 'living on' is what I think Jesus references when he said things like “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26), ...

... in other words IF Jesus' world-view and understanding of Life's dynamics was and is 'correct' ...

THEN, conceivably at least,  Paul might UNpleasantly surprised, aye what?

 I mean, it's fine with me that Paul (or anyone) might choose to disregard certain ('central' or 'key') teachings of Jesus, but let's all acknowledge that he is choosing to believe and set himself up as more truly 'knowing' (that is based on the facts of Life as he 'sees' these to be) than Jesus, and that in a forum on the site of a 'group' which declares at "Point 1" that "By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who....

Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus.or more recently (2011) and alternately  can be restated as ...
 
Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life."

.. albeit said 'group' members are 'religiously' :) understanding and tolerant of other, even contrary, points of view.

Given your clearly belonging to said 'group' and therefore (ostensibly) subscribing to Jesus' Teachings ThomasM, I can't for the life of me understand your going along with and 'second'ing! the idea that Paul may be pleasantly surprised after he 'dies'. Do you yourself really believe that there are no 'consequences' for souls depending on whether or not they have led lives 'in keeping' with what Jesus taught ? I am not saying someone has to 'identify' themselves being a 'Christian', now - Jesus never taught that!

Maybe you think that Paul is (without identifying that that is what he is doing) doing what Jesus taught (about 'losing' one's 'life' for LIFE's sake"), in which case I retract my above commentary in relation to you.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P.S. Anyone wanting to consider evidence pertaining to the subject of reincarnation, just type "evidence of reincarnation" into YouTube's search box. Of course, as in the case of any set of evidentiary points - just look at what happened in O'J' murder tiral for example - peeps may arrive at opposing conclusions on the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, thormas said:

I am no longer following your point. First you said, "I think it is an illusion to think one 'chooses' which evidence they will believe and which they won't.  We .............review(ing) all available data and evidence but that doesn't mean we choose which evidence or data to believe, or not." Then you said,  "I read other data and evidence and slowly began to believe something different."

The second statement seemingly contradicts the first: you review other info and began to believe something different. Where is the illusion? You had the 'evidence/data' from your former life/belief - you put that to the side (so to speak), read other, different info - it resonated and your belief followed/changed.  'You" chose what to consider and/or to just be open to various new information and 'you' decided which set of evidence and data (old or new) to accept and believe, going forward. 

Again, if I bought this, it really, really could get depressing: first we come in and out of existence (an accident or happenstance I guess), it means nothing, except what we give it (but even this doesn't actually matter in the end, because the rock is still at the bottom) and now choice is an illusion. So any meaning I might impose (or give or intent for) on my little corner of existence is really not mine - all is illusion and without meaning?? 

I have to have a hearty mug of tea now to deal with these implications :+}

There is no contradiction - I slowly began to believe something different, not because I chose to but because the new information 'made' me believe the way I did.  This is precisely what I am saying about belief not being a choice.  Evidence or data speaks to you and you do or don't believe.  You don't get to choose what you believe.  The illusion is that you think you are making a choice - you're not.  I never put old data aside but was open to new data which made me change my beliefs, but not because I chose to change them.  They changed because they were required to change with the new information (and for some beliefs, new information doesn't change the belief).  A true choice would be ignore what you believe and go with something you don't believe, but say you believe it.

Not sure why you would feel depressed about not having an existence after this one, but I would argue that just because we don't like something is not a good enough reason for it not to exist.  I expect religion is very much a product of people not wanting to die, rather than the other way around.  Perhaps the evolution of mankind's intelligence is a curse in this regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

 

It seems to me all actions have consequences to some degree, especially in this life now and perhaps in the future.  Yes , I am of the persuasion that Paul follows those teachings of Jesus that speak to him and is living a life in line with his present understanding of those teachings. And i accept your retraction with peace and joy. :):lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Davidsun said:

Assuming (as a theoretical proposition) that there is an 'afterlife' - say that there is such a thing as 'soul' living in and through our 'earthly' 'identities', and that such 'soul' may or may not continue to 'reincarnate' in progressively more advancing or regressively deteriorating 'personalities' (I can point to passages in The New Testament, quoting Jesus, which indicate he believed in 'reincarnation' if anyone is interested, BTW) and that it eventually may or may not grow to the point where it 'immortally' lives on in spiritual realms - which 'living on' or not 'living on' is what I think Jesus references when he said things like “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26), ...

... in other words IF Jesus' world-view and understanding of Life's dynamics was and is 'correct' ...

THEN, conceivably at least,  Paul might UNpleasantly surprised, aye what?

 I mean, it's fine with me that Paul (or anyone) might choose to disregard certain ('central' or 'key') teachings of Jesus, but let's all acknowledge that he is choosing to believe and set himself up as more truly 'knowing' (that is based on the facts of Life as he 'sees' these to be) than Jesus, and that in a forum on the site of a 'group' which declares at "Point 1" that "By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who....

Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus.or more recently (2011) and alternately  can be restated as ...
 
Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life."

.. albeit said 'group' members are 'religiously' :) understanding and tolerant of other, even contrary, points of view.

Given your clearly belonging to said 'group' and therefore (ostensibly) subscribing to Jesus' Teachings ThomasM, I can't for the life of me understand your going along with and 'second'ing! the idea that Paul may be pleasantly surprised after he 'dies'. Do you yourself really believe that there are no 'consequences' for souls depending on whether or not they have led lives 'in keeping' with what Jesus taught ? I am not saying someone has to 'identify' themselves being a 'Christian', now - Jesus never taught that!

Maybe you think that Paul is (without identifying that that is what he is doing) doing what Jesus taught (about 'losing' one's 'life' for LIFE's sake"), in which case I retract my above commentary in relation to you.

It's not the first time somebody who has it 'right' is telling me I am 'wrong', that I am refusing to believe that which is so plainly correct for others, (which seems to be a far too common trait when it comes to spiritual matters), and often just a 'hint' of 'you'll be sorry' thrown in for good measure!  I mean seriously, issues that have been debated ever since man swung down from the trees yet you have all the answers at this point in time!  Honestly David, I find it more humorous than serious that you take this view of others (in this case, me).

I don't set myself up at all as 'knowing' more than Jesus.  At best, I say we simply 'don't know much about what Jesus was reportedly on about.  Much of Jesus ' life has been scrutinised and what his 'real' message was has been thrashed by many a scholar and theologian and lay-person.  There are as many different opinions about what Jesus meant and was saying as there are grains of sand on the beach.

Does that mean there is nothing to be gained from thinking about Jesus' words, from questioning what he may have been saying, to consider and interpret in modern times what somebody 2000 years ago may have meant?  Of course not.  And to dare to do that on this site which encourages and celebrates diversity is exactly why I choose to participate here, whether that is in alignment with what you believe or not is not my issue.

In short for you David, read the rule set of the site.  Understand that PC embraces agnosticism, atheism, even Satanism!  We respect that others have different or opposing points of view and we enjoy discussing them here.  We don't try to run anybody out of town or try to put them down simply because they hold different views and/or may argue for them.

Jesus' teachings CAN lead to and awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life, but for some (like me) that sacredness, oneness, unity does not necessarily live outside of our simple worldly experience and mortal bodies, with or without the existence of a soul.  I believe (not by choice) that to some degree some of the words attributed to Jesus have helped me to that point to where I am at today.  Does every single word attributed to Jesus help - no, in my opinion.  I also believe there is much even the likes of you don't truly know about what Jesus meant, even if you are convinced you know the truth (as mentioned previously, clearly not an unusual trait in religious/spiritual circles).

However, I suspect you will have no regard for my views as you are so thoroughly convinced of your own.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×