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The Appeal Of Atheism?


Mudcat

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How do you define "bleak"? I define it in this case as "without real meaning, hopeless."

Bleak would be depressing, barren, hopeless. My life is none of those. Now, I'll grant that I am saddened that I see short lives that live in suffering and this is troubling. I understand why theists ascribe some meaning or ultimate plan to these lives as that is hopeful. Yet, in my life I do not feel without hope or bleak with the knowledge that there is nothing more.

It's important to you when you give, and it's never completely forgotten. It forms part of your character, which is eternal.

Well, I think character is important and agree that it is important for one to form good character. Yet, when I'm a lil old shriveled lady about to pass away and am closing my eyes for the last time my character ends with me. Whatever actions I took in life may or may not live on after me. Whatever impact I had on others while living may live on after me or not. Yet, I'm gone. Finale. Close curtains. I'm not troubled that my character or lack thereof ceases to be when I cease to be.

Not just being remembered, but mattering. And not mattering for the immediate future only and then being forgotten, but having some small influence on the universe forever. Surely an action that forever alters the course of future events matters more than one that does not?

First you said this:

If life is indeed eternal then our actions become infinitely more significant, since they will stay with us and be remembered throughout eternity - at least by us if by no one else.

So, you're changing the goal posts? Haha. So, not only must they be remembered for eternity, yet, all actions must change the course of the universe to be really meaningful. My ego doesn't need that prop.

To be truly happy forever.

The purpose intrinsic in each human is to be happy forever? Huh? Aren't there humans miserable during their life (probably all those atheists with a bleak outlook) so how does that work precisely? The purpose given to man that is intrinsic in mankind is to be happy. Well, how about this? I have assigned that same purpose to myself and have no problem seeking it and helping others seek the same. No need for God!

That is the simpilest precise explanation. How to acheive that purpose is a much more lengthy topic.

Well, quite seriously I have no clue what you're talking about with your simplest precise example. Purpose is happiness? That's it? Without God we could not be happy? Without an afterlife we can not be happy?

Or is it that we do what we are told to do here on Earth and jump through certain hoops to reach the highest level of glorified mammalian bodies so that we can sit about and hang with our homiess in the afterlife and do what the God did before us, and His God did before Him, and His God did before Him, and continue on the same non-creative path that was assigned to us? Bah. That sounds like hell, to me.

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If life is indeed eternal then our actions become infinitely more significant, since they will stay with us and be remembered throughout eternity - at least by us if by no one else.

I don't remember much from when I was 10 years old. Was that period of time purposeless? In fact, if you asked me what I did on a given day six months ago, I couldn't provide you with any detailed memories. If something has to be remembered to truly matter, almost none of a person's life matters at all. And given the inaccuracy of the memories we do retain, it could even be said that we don't remember anything, which would mean, according to the "memory=purpose" formula, that nothing really matters.

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If I were to believe that God created humans I would have to consider all the flaws and well, that doesn't make sense, to me, that a perfect creator would make so many mistakes.
Our bodies are not meant to be perfect in this life or else what purpose would there be in "overcoming the flesh" and developing faith. The bigger question to me is how do you explain the many small chances of everything falling into place to sustain life on this earth, including the moon, a totally separate orb. The number of chances is astronomical and would indicate that life on this earth is a one time phenomena, not to be found elsewhere in the universe.
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Bleak would be depressing, barren, hopeless. My life is none of those. Now, I'll grant that I am saddened that I see short lives that live in suffering and this is troubling. I understand why theists ascribe some meaning or ultimate plan to these lives as that is hopeful. Yet, in my life I do not feel without hope or bleak with the knowledge that there is nothing more.
So if you had a short life with suffering in it then you would agree that it was "bleak"? It's only because you're one of the lucky ones that you're happy?
Well, I think character is important and agree that it is important for one to form good character. Yet, when I'm a lil old shriveled lady about to pass away and am closing my eyes for the last time my character ends with me. Whatever actions I took in life may or may not live on after me. Whatever impact I had on others while living may live on after me or not. Yet, I'm gone. Finale. Close curtains. I'm not troubled that my character or lack thereof ceases to be when I cease to be.
Therefore your character would be more important if it had a longer duration. And an eternal duration makes it infinitely more important.
So, you're changing the goal posts?
No. I said "at the least it will be remembered by you." What is really more likely than "at the least" is that it will have an eternal effect. The goal posts were an endzone from the start, and I'm describing the other end beyond the "at the least" condition.
The purpose intrinsic in each human is to be happy forever?
Yes.
Aren't there humans miserable during their life (probably all those atheists with a bleak outlook) so how does that work precisely?
Well, you can't fulfill life's purpose as an atheist. And forever is a very long time.
Well, how about this? I have assigned that same purpose to myself and have no problem seeking it and helping others seek the same. No need for God!
To be truly happy requires building your life on eternal principles that can last eternity (the very long time coming up). Knowledge of God is a fundamental element of those eternal principles.
Well, quite seriously I have no clue what you're talking about with your simplest precise example. Purpose is happiness? That's it? Without God we could not be happy?
No, we couldn't. Not a lasting happiness for eternity.
Without an afterlife we can not be happy?
Obviously not forever, since you can't be happy if you no longer exist.
Or is it that we do what we are told to do here on Earth and jump through certain hoops to reach the highest level of glorified mammalian bodies so that we can sit about and hang with our homiess in the afterlife and do what the God did before us, and His God did before Him, and His God did before Him, and continue on the same non-creative path that was assigned to us? Bah. That sounds like hell, to me.

A favorite quote of mine: ""There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want to 'spend eternity playing harps'. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them." --C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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So if you had a short life with suffering in it then you would agree that it was "bleak"? It's only because you're one of the lucky ones that you're happy?

I'm saying that I understand why theists want there to be an ultimate purpose and a plan for these lives. Yet, just because I understand the psychological need that people place on lives I don't accept it.

Therefore your character would be more important if it had a longer duration. And an eternal duration makes it infinitely more important.

Whatever.

Yes.

Well, you can't fulfill life's purpose as an atheist. And forever is a very long time.

Life's purpose is to be happy and if that's your purpose then I have just as much a chance to fulfill that purpose as you do.

To be truly happy requires building your life on eternal principles that can last eternity (the very long time coming up). Knowledge of God is a fundamental element of those eternal principles.

OK. Seriously, you've just worn me down.

No, we couldn't. Not a lasting happiness for eternity.

Obviously not forever, since you can't be happy if you no longer exist.

I don't want to last for eternity. What is difficult about this to comprehend?

A favorite quote of mine: ""There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want to 'spend eternity playing harps'. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them." --C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Ah, well, aren't you condescending merely because I don't share your same belief system. I'm sorry that my outlook is not bleak, that I don't subscribe to your religion, that I'm not distressed that I won't live forever so that you could feel better about your beliefs. Yet, no matter how much you tell me what I should want, or how I should view life, you don't get the luxury of that choice.

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I don't want to last for eternity. What is difficult about this to comprehend?

BarrelO'Mangoes',

I understand, the concept of not wanting to exist for eternity if I was stuck with this mortal body and my imperfect mind. But, if you don't mind me asking...... Assuming the Christian belief that immortality in a glorified state is not only possible, but also plausible.

Why would you not want that, as opposed to non-existence?

I suppose you could say .... Christianity isn't real and more than God is. But, If you could assume, for the sake of perspective, that it was.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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I'm saying that I understand why theists want there to be an ultimate purpose and a plan for these lives. Yet, just because I understand the psychological need that people place on lives I don't accept it.
Which plays back to the idea that there is nothing really appealing about atheism in the first place - it is the self denial of a crutch that you feel others need that is the appeal. You can be sure that you have real grit since you don't need such silly superstitions like those poor deluded religious folk. Pride, in other words.
Life's purpose is to be happy and if that's your purpose then I have just as much a chance to fulfill that purpose as you do.
To be happy forever.
I don't want to last for eternity. What is difficult about this to comprehend?
You don't really have a choice, do you? Either you're right and you won't exist for ever, or I'm right and you will. What you want doesn't really factor in.
Ah, well, aren't you condescending merely because I don't share your same belief system.
You mean "C.S. Lewis is condescending." I'm just quoting.
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BarrelO'Mangoes',

I understand, the concept of not wanting to exist for eternity if I was stuck with this mortal body and my imperfect mind. But, if you don't mind me asking...... Assuming the Christian belief that immortality in a glorified state is not only possible, but also plausible.

Why would you not want that, as opposed to non-existence?

I suppose you could say .... Christianity isn't real and more than God is. But, If you could assume, for the sake of perspective, that it was.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

If it was plausible that we were all souls/angels/spirits/reserrected bodies (or whatever) it just doens't sound appealing, to me. Perhaps it's because I've never really thought of it as a real possibility. I have always been attracted to nature and I've even been accused of nature worship (in the past) because of my love of the earth. I find nothing startling or alarming about watching things sprout from the earth, rise up to the life giving sun, and then begin the slow descent back to the Earth from whence life came. That, to me, is beyond comparison to any other eternal beliefs. I find the simplicity of life rising from the earth and then decaying back into the earth as quite satisfying. There is nothing alarming, to me, about the end. It's just not. All things come to an end in my perspective. It's the time between the bursting forth and the descent back to the earth that matters to me.

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Which plays back to the idea that there is nothing really appealing about atheism in the first place - it is the self denial of a crutch that you feel others need that is the appeal.

I didn't choose atheism! I don't know how many times I can explain this. I lost my belief in a numinous type of God that I had created in my mind as a child and was not indoctrinated with religious beliefs. I have attempted (in the past) to find God! I have begged on my knees and pleaded to know! There is no superiority I feel to those that have belief in God or an afterlife. I just do not believe it. Yet, I do understand why an afterlife is appealing. I attend funerals, and have had close friends and family pass away. It is reassuring for people to believe their loved ones live on. I understand this. Yet, just because I don't subscribe to this I don't think less of them. It's a human condition, it seems, to want to answer the tough questions and one of them without a doubt is death. That an afterlife answers this question for many, many, many people does not alarm me or make me feel superiori. I just understand it.

You can be sure that you have real grit since you don't need such silly superstitions like those poor deluded religious folk. Pride, in other words.

Actually, I think you're projecting onto me.

You don't really have a choice, do you? Either you're right and you won't exist for ever, or I'm right and you will. What you want doesn't really factor in.

What is your point?

You mean "C.S. Lewis is condescending." I'm just quoting.

Riiiight.

Well, let me quote, something for you:

"I have never made but one prayer to god, a very short one: 'the lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' and god granted it." ~ Voltaire

:P

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I didn't choose atheism! I don't know how many times I can explain this. I lost my belief in a numinous type of God that I had created in my mind as a child and was not indoctrinated with religious beliefs.
Then I have to wonder: why are you on a Mormon apologetics forum?
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Then I have to wonder: why are you on a Mormon apologetics forum?
I had a step-son that was LDS and came here to understand his belief system. I was attempting to help make the transition from my home to his less chaotic, for him. Now, I just read the board infrequently and post on threads that interest me. I also sorta like a few of the posters here. ;)
I don't know if anybody else has mentioned it, but I didn't want to let that wonderful post pass without letting you know I think it is beautiful . . . TODAY.All the Best!--Consiglieri
Thank you. :P
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BarrelO'Mangoes',

I understand, the concept of not wanting to exist for eternity if I was stuck with this mortal body and my imperfect mind. But, if you don't mind me asking...... Assuming the Christian belief that immortality in a glorified state is not only possible, but also plausible.

Why would you not want that, as opposed to non-existence?

I suppose you could say .... Christianity isn't real and more than God is. But, If you could assume, for the sake of perspective, that it was.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

I'll step in here because I have the same outlook on this as BarrelO'Mangoes'. Concepts of eternal life sound like eternal tedium to me. No matter how flowery people try to make the eternities sound, in the end it still just sounds, well, boring. Since god is all knowing and all creative, you have to assume a finite creation and a finite amount of knowledge. How many times could I re-read The Great Gatsby, re-listen to Armed Forces by Elvis Costello, sunbathe in Bali, ski Whistler, go bungee jumping, etc. before it got, well, stale? Eventually I would have experienced everything, learned everything etc., and I still have eternity to go. Frankly I'd yearn for my own extiction after about 10,000,000 years of that.

In other words, a sunset is special because it comes for a short time, is beautiful, and is gone. The seasons are magical to a large degree because they end, and because we are powerless to stop their march. Would the Japanese love their cherry blossoms so much if they stayed on the trees all year long? I'll leave life possibly wanting more of it but hopefully contented that I've enjoyed the small taste I was given.

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I'll step in here because I have the same outlook on this as BarrelO'Mangoes'. Concepts of eternal life sound like eternal tedium to me. No matter how flowery people try to make the eternities sound, in the end it still just sounds, well, boring. Since god is all knowing and all creative, you have to assume a finite creation and a finite amount of knowledge. How many times could I re-read The Great Gatsby, re-listen to Armed Forces by Elvis Costello, sunbathe in Bali, ski Whistler, go bungee jumping, etc. before it got, well, stale? Eventually I would have experienced everything, learned everything etc., and I still have eternity to go. Frankly I'd yearn for my own extiction after about 10,000,000 years of that.

Hey Spinner,

I won't bore you with trying to dress up the afterlife, though I would posit.... that your outlook comes naturally from an embracing in your belief.

In other words, a sunset is special because it comes for a short time, is beautiful, and is gone.

But it rises again tomorrow as it has risen for ages before. Is it less special to the man who has seen 10,000 sunrises?

The seasons are magical to a large degree because they end, and because we are powerless to stop their march.

But they return again and again as they always have, each time a little different than the time before.

Would the Japanese love their cherry blossoms so much if they stayed on the trees all year long?

This got me thinking about the end of "The Last Samurai"....great movie.

Would the Japanese love their cherry blossoms if the didn't return year after year after year as they have for ages?

I'll leave life possibly wanting more of it but hopefully contented that I've enjoyed the small taste I was given.

Don't get me wrong, I agree the we should live life to the fullest and where you might put skiing Whistler or The Great Gatsby...I might replace them with the perfect wave and a surfboard on Tamarindo Beach..... or a Cuban Montecristo #8....sitting with my spouse in a hot tub on deck in snow fall....or a really great jam with my other band mates. 'Perfect moments' are fleeting, but we will have other perfect moments. I am glad that my moments do not end with my mortal body....I will press on, and it is my hope that you will to.

Mudcat

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I'll step in here because I have the same outlook on this as BarrelO'Mangoes'. Concepts of eternal life sound like eternal tedium to me. No matter how flowery people try to make the eternities sound, in the end it still just sounds, well, boring. Since god is all knowing and all creative, you have to assume a finite creation and a finite amount of knowledge. How many times could I re-read The Great Gatsby, re-listen to Armed Forces by Elvis Costello, sunbathe in Bali, ski Whistler, go bungee jumping, etc. before it got, well, stale? Eventually I would have experienced everything, learned everything etc., and I still have eternity to go. Frankly I'd yearn for my own extiction after about 10,000,000 years of that.

A favorite quote of mine: ""There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want to 'spend eternity playing harps'. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them." --C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In other words, if you think you will get bored in heaven over the course of eternity then you don't really understand what heaven is. The LDS concept of eternal progression might be a help there.

Finite knowledge? If the universe is infinite, and has lasted from an infinite time in the past to an infinite time in the future. then knowledge of it cannot be finite by definition.

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From time to time I watch Robot Wars on TV, and I have yet to experience any sense of moral outrage when a hammer blade drives through an opponents chassi and kills it dead.

I experience something quite different when I see similar things occur human to human.

Why do you suppose that is?

Am I alone in thinking this way?

Could it be that we all (with the exception of pathological killers) actual view humankind as more than just a purely bio-mechanical entity?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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From time to time I watch Robot Wars on TV, and I have yet to experience any sense of moral outrage when a hammer blade drives through an opponents chassi and kills it dead.
Uhmmm, Wade, the robots were never alive to begin with, and with a little elbow grease and some new screws would be "alive" again. ;)

If you felt any moral outrage at the mechanical failure of a machine I would hate to see you break down in tears and grief if you were to ever cross paths with a car wrecking yard. :P

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Could it be that we all (with the exception of pathological killers) actual view humankind as more than just a purely bio-mechanical entity?

... even when some of us espouse a philosophy in which humankind are exactly no more than just purely bio-mechanical entities?

Just to make the point explicit.

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... even when some of us espouse a philosophy in which humankind are exactly no more than just purely bio-mechanical entities?

Just to make the point explicit.

Log, you are espousing that atheists view life as "purely bio-mechanical entities". None of the atheists here have. You're projecting how you would view life if an atheist and nothing more.

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Log you are espousing that atheists view life as "purely bio-mechanical entities". None of the atheists here have. Your projecting how you would view life if an atheist and nothing more.

Well, then it's time you became a little more forthright and tell us exactly what else humankind is, then, according to your atheistic philosophy. If mankind is more than matter in motion according to your atheistic philosophy, what else is it, and where does it come from?

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Uhmmm, Wade, the robots were never alive to begin with, and with a little elbow grease and some new screws would be "alive" again. :P

I think you have touched on the key. But, to your unbelieving mind, what do you mean by "alive". What, to you, makes the difference between a human and a robot in terms of being alive? Is there something beyond bio-mechanics that constituties "life"?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I think you have touched on the key. But, to your unbelieving mind, what do you mean by "alive". What, to you, makes the difference between a human and a robot in terms of being alive? Is there something beyond bio-mechanics that constituties "life"?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

What do you mean by "alive"? It was your observation not mine. If there is something beyond the bio-mechanics that constitute life, it is not of a quality that can be tested in any debateable way. So, I am not sure how any converstation could proceed. What should we call that non-material life? Spirit, consciousness, ether? How can we get beyond word symbols to what it actually might be?

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If there is something beyond the bio-mechanics that constitute life, it is not of a quality that can be tested in any debateable way. So, I am not sure how any converstation could proceed. What should we call that non-material life? Spirit, consciousness, ether? How can we get beyond word symbols to what it actually might be?

I am not looking to test or debate. I am just trying to better understand your way of thinking. What is your notion of "life"--human life in particular?

And, do you ascribe greater meaning to "living" entities than you do to non-living entities like robots? If so, why?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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From time to time I watch Robot Wars on TV, and I have yet to experience any sense of moral outrage when a hammer blade drives through an opponents chassi and kills it dead.

I experience something quite different when I see similar things occur human to human.

Why do you suppose that is?

Am I alone in thinking this way?

Could it be that we all (with the exception of pathological killers) actual view humankind as more than just a purely bio-mechanical entity?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

If you believe in an after life that is so wonderful.... why are you so sad when one dies?

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