Is atheism a sign of intellectual weakness?

  • Thread starter amadeus
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  • #36
radagast
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Originally posted by amadeus
I do, and I tried to make it very clear which "part" of it I accepted. That would be the fact that most theists experience doubt while most atheists don't.

Though I do have to mention the caveat that I live in the deep south, my experiences are totally the opposite. Though I have met many thoughtful theists, that I am sure have questioned their faith, the majority of theists I've met have been people that not only haven't questioned the existence of god, but consider that a sin.

For instance, a theist might go through the experience of not having his prayers answered. If he's rational and sane, I'm quite sure that makes him think this prayer business is just a fairytale. Every theist is also an atheist! But most atheists can't contemplate what theism means;

I find that a strange statement, most atheists started as theists. How can we not have contemplated what that means. We went thru a great deal of religious inquiry and soul searching to get to a point were we could accept that we didn't believe in a god anymore.

You are setting up a characture of an atheist, devoid of reality. It seems to be based on the arguments you run into on the web (from what I guess). This will completely skew your view of atheists. Even Megashawn, one of the more over-the-top atheists here has said that with some evidence he would consider that god exists.

they don't go through the experience of faith as often as the theist goes through the experience of doubt. So maybe the theist knows more about the atheist experience than the atheist knows about the theist experience.

We've lived the theist experience. It is what got most of us to being an atheist. That said, how many theists do you know were atheists. I can only count a handful, most on this forum.

That is the part of the argument that makes sense to me. But accepting that it makes sense is not the same thing as accepting it as true.
Unlike many theists, I'm not trying to convince others of the truth of my beliefs (or lack thereof), only to show them that it was arrived at rationally, not because "I'm rebelling against god", "I'm freeing myself to do immoral things", or any number of other strawman characterizations of atheists I've seen over the years.

It's quite ironic that, as far as I can tell, only the few theists who replied understood what I was talking about. The atheists were, without exception, either defending their positions or counter-attacking, both beside the point as far as I'm concerned.
Well, you were not attacking them. As I remember, Royce disagreed with you too.

As an atheist, I'm not trying to force my views on others. I do ask that they are respected. In your posts you continue to use charactures of atheists as examples, examples that are, with little doubt, not exemplary of atheists in general.

I find it extremely ironic that you have a post questioning atheist intellectual capacity, yet continue to resort to strawman argument flaws, even after they have been pointed out.
 
  • #37
Originally posted by Zantra
One point I did want to make is the inconsistency between the different religions. If I were to suddenly accept god, I wouldn't know which way to turn. There is no unity in religion.
But if they are so different why do we call them all "religion"? They must have something in common, otherwise we wouldn't perceive them as being the same thing.

What you're saying is equivalent to saying countries are "inconsistent", that if you were to suddenly accept one country you wouldn't know which to choose. Between America and Armenia, India and Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Brazil, how can you know which country is "true"?

I say you're missing the point.
A lot of religions have some base principals they can agree on, but for the most part are contradictory to each other. I think that is one major flaw in religion that casts doubt. There is no unity, no single, solidifying truth that binds them all together.
Countries are the embodiment of the idea that we can make this world better than it is. We don't know the best way to organize as a society, the issue is far too complex for anyone to understand, but that doesn't prevent people from trying as many ideas as possible, keep the few ones that work and discard the huge pile of garbage.

Religion is no different. First, it's an attempt to build a better world, and the fact that it fails more often than it succeeds doesn't mean we must stop trying. And second, religion is constantly evolving. We have come a long way from the days of altar sacrifices; our understanding of spiritual matters has evolved as much as our understanding of nature. Neither one is complete, but there's no reason to dismiss one in favour of the other.
So in essence they compete against each other, as well as atheism. God cannot be Allah, and Jesus cannot be a disciple, just as Zeus cannot be God. I guess my point is that it would be more believable if there were a single, unifying belief, but there isn't. Too many storytellers make a bad story(it's an analogy).
So just because all religions disagree on some points it means none of them is right on any particular issue? If Christians believe a man can only have one wife and Muslims believe a man can have many wives, are you ready to maintain both Christians and Muslims are mistaken? If a Christian believes we only live once and a Buddhist believes we live many lives, do you really believe they are both wrong?

You are a Westerner (I assume) and that makes you a Christian, like it or not. Christianity is so embedded in the core of our society, so much a part of what we consider right and true, that we tend to see many aspects of Christian doctrine as truisms.
 
  • #38
Pirwzwhomper
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Originally posted by amadeus:
You are a Westerner (I assume) and that makes you a Christian, like it or not. Christianity is so embedded in the core of our society, so much a part of what we consider right and true, that we tend to take it for granted.
Talk about a broad brush!

I live in America, and I am NOT a Christian. I do not hold dear any Christian belief. I do not believe that Jesus was the son of a god. I do not think the bible was inspired by a god. I am offended that you would label me as such.

I do recognize, regrettably, that there are Judeo-Christian symbols aplenty in western society, but that does not make all westerners Christian.

Also, I would like you to say which parts of the "core of our society" are so embedded with Christianity, since that is so important to your claim.
 
  • #39
Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Originally posted by amadeus:
Talk about a broad brush!

I live in America, and I am NOT a Christian. I do not hold dear any Christian belief. I do not believe that Jesus was the son of a god. I do not think the bible was inspired by a god. I am offended that you would label me as such.

I do recognize, regrettably, that there are Judeo-Christian symbols aplenty in western society, but that does not make all westerners Christian.

Also, I would like you to say which parts of the "core of our society" are so embedded with Christianity, since that is so important to your claim.
The problem, I think, is that people who lack confidence in their faith seek outside validation of their faith. They have to think that everyone must agree with them, because their faith isn't strong enough to stand on its own. I am an American, and I am an atheist. I have NO link to Christianity, it is not embedded in me in the least.

That nonsense about Christianity being the core of America is a lie that makes fundamentalists feel better, in a world that is moving beyond their narrow antiquated views.
 
  • #40
Zantra
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Originally posted by amadeus
But if they are so different why do we call them all "religion"? They must have something in common, otherwise we wouldn't perceive them as being the same thing.

That's just it, they aren't viewed as "one thing" They are each viewed seperately and distinctly. Each religion is an island unto itself. And each religion believes that the other one is false. This is the dissention I'm trying to point out

What you're saying is equivalent to saying countries are "inconsistent", that if you were to suddenly accept one country you wouldn't know which to choose. Between America and Armenia, India and Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Brazil, how can you know which country is "true"?

I say you're missing the point.

Countries are the embodiment of the idea that we can make this world better than it is. We don't know the best way to organize as a society, the issue is far too complex for anyone to understand, but that doesn't prevent people from trying as many ideas as possible, keep the few ones that work and discard the huge pile of garbage.

You can't analogize religion with world politics, it just doesn't fly. You're talking about peaceful coexistence. I'm talking about agreeing upon a common ideal to make an overall accepted truth. The fact that there is more than one world religion detracts from it's credebility, plain and simple. Because the logistics are, that obviously everyone cannot be right with opposing viewpoints. So if we are to accept religion as valid, we first have to acknowledge that one religion is right, and everyone else is wrong. But no one will do that. I'm pointing out an obvious, logical flaw that cannot be easily be dismissed.

Religion is no different. First, it's an attempt to build a better world, and the fact that it fails more often than it succeeds doesn't mean we must stop trying. And second, religion is constantly evolving. We have come a long way from the days of altar sacrifices; our understanding of spiritual matters has evolved as much as our understanding of nature. Neither one is complete, but there's no reason to dismiss one in favour of the other. Yes it is a common goal of religion to make the world a better place, but I'm speaking of the lack of unity on the format, not the premise.


So just because all religions disagree on some points it means none of them is right on any particular issue? If Christians believe a man can only have one wife and Muslims believe a man can have many wives, are you ready to maintain both Christians and Muslims are mistaken? If a Christian believes we only live once and a Buddhist believes we live many lives, do you really believe they are both wrong?

Ultimately there is only one wrong and one right when speaking objectively. You're talking in abstract terms that are subjective. You're bringing up social ideals that have nothing to do with the question of weather god exists. I'm not saying religion shouldn't decide it's own moral values distinctly, but I am saying something much more fundamental, as I've already outlined.

You are a Westerner (I assume) and that makes you a Christian, like it or not. Christianity is so embedded in the core of our society, so much a part of what we consider right and true, that we tend to see many aspects of Christian doctrine as truisms.

You are an easterner (I assume) I guess that makes you a zen Buddhist who walks around praciticing Karate and catching flys with chopsticks? That's the equivalent of what you just said. Yes I am a westerner, no I do not espouse the beliefs of Christianity. You didn't read very closely. The first sentence in my post SAYS I'm AGNOSTIC. Making prejudiced attacks on me will get you nowhere.
 
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  • #41
Originally posted by Zero
The problem, I think, is that people who lack confidence in their faith seek outside validation of their faith. They have to think that everyone must agree with them, because their faith isn't strong enough to stand on its own. I am an American, and I am an atheist. I have NO link to Christianity, it is not embedded in me in the least.

That nonsense about Christianity being the core of America is a lie that makes fundamentalists feel better, in a world that is moving beyond their narrow antiquated views.
Sheesh! This is getting fun!

First, I'm not a fundamentalist Christian.

Second, I'm Catholic but I haven't been to a church in years. I don't even own a bible.

Third, you don't have to be American to speak English. Bad assumption! I live some 10,000 kilometres from the US. Thank God.

You are obviously not interested in understanding what I'm trying to say. You "know" I'm an American fundamentalist trying to assert that the United States is a fundamentally Christian nation.

Yet, you have my sympathy. The little knowledge I have of American society makes it really appear like you guys have far too many uneducated religious fanatics than it would be reasonable for such a wealthy nation. Keep up the good fight; when your society reaches the level of civilization my own has then we can talk.
 
  • #42
radagast
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Originally posted by amadeus
You are a Westerner (I assume) and that makes you a Christian, like it or not. Christianity is so embedded in the core of our society, so much a part of what we consider right and true, that we tend to see many aspects of Christian doctrine as truisms.

Christianity, without doubt, has had a profound influence on our culture. But there's a big difference between cultural influence and being Christian. Christians are defined by a belief in Christ as the son of god and savior, not where you were born or what your culture is.

I don't believe that Christ was the son of god, therefore I'm not a Christian. I do follow the teachings of Gautama Buddha, therefore I am a Buddhist. I don't believe that (a) god exists, therefore I'm an atheist. All of these are belief or practice oriented, not culturally dictated.

I am a westerner and that there are many aspects of the Christian doctrine inculcated into our culture I would not deny, but that is not in question. The question is if I believed in the divinity of Christ, therefore I'm not a Christian.
 
  • #43
Originally posted by amadeus
Sheesh! This is getting fun!

First, I'm not a fundamentalist Christian.

Second, I'm Catholic but I haven't been to a church in years. I don't even own a bible.

Third, you don't have to be American to speak English. Bad assumption! I live some 10,000 kilometres from the US. Thank God.

You are obviously not interested in understanding what I'm trying to say. You "know" I'm an American fundamentalist trying to assert that the United States is a fundamentally Christian nation.

Yet, you have my sympathy. The little knowledge I have of American society makes it really appear like you guys have far too many uneducated religious fanatics than it would be reasonable for such a wealthy nation. Keep up the good fight; when your society reaches the level of civilization my own has then we can talk.

That wasn't directed at you...it waqs just a general comment towards the most fanatical elements. Otherwise, I think religious belief is 'mostly harmless'.
 
  • #44
Zantra
781
3
Originally posted by amadeus
Sheesh! This is getting fun!

First, I'm not a fundamentalist Christian.

Second, I'm Catholic but I haven't been to a church in years. I don't even own a bible.

Third, you don't have to be American to speak English. Bad assumption! I live some 10,000 kilometres from the US. Thank God.

You are obviously not interested in understanding what I'm trying to say. You "know" I'm an American fundamentalist trying to assert that the United States is a fundamentally Christian nation.

Yet, you have my sympathy. The little knowledge I have of American society makes it really appear like you guys have far too many uneducated religious fanatics than it would be reasonable for such a wealthy nation. Keep up the good fight; when your society reaches the level of civilization my own has then we can talk.

Oh well then please enlighten us the location of your FAR superior nation so I can become a citizen there as soon as poosible. I realize now that the US is a festering Cesspool and your oh so divine words have moved me to abandon my nation for the place where they actually know what's going on.:wink:

We are interested in what you have to say. We are NOT however interested in your arrogance and condescension. Check it at the door and continue with useful dicussion.

EDIT: I won't dispute the excessive fanatics part- Blame Jim and Tammy Baker:wink:
 
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  • #45
radagast
484
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Originally posted by amadeus
Yet, you have my sympathy. The little knowledge I have of American society makes it really appear like you guys have far too many uneducated religious fanatics than it would be reasonable for such a wealthy nation.

Finally, something we can agree on! YES! We have far more uneducated and educated religious fanatics than would be reasonable for any nation.
 
  • #46
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zantra
One point I did want to make is the inconsistency between the different religions. If I were to suddenly accept god, I wouldn't know which way to turn. There is no unity in religion. A lot of religions have some base principals they can agree on, but for the most part are contradictory to each other. I think that is one major flaw in religion that casts doubt. There is no unity, no single, solidifying truth that binds them all together. So in essence they compete against each other, as well as atheism. God cannot be Allah, and Jesus cannot be a disciple, just as Zeus cannot be God. I guess my point is that it would be more believable if there were a single, unifying belief, but there isn't. Too many storytellers make a bad story(it's an analogy).

Actually there is a common thread running through all religions and spiritual practices, namely the conception of the spiritual experience itself. This universal 'truth' is denoted as the perennial philosophy. Here's a good link: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/mys/prenphil.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #47
radagast
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Actually there is a common thread running through all religions and spiritual practices, namely the conception of the spiritual experience itself.

I would agree. While there may be many religious folk who haven't experienced a spiritual experience, I've not run into a single religion that doesn't have the spiritual experience at the core of it's beliefs/practices.
 
  • #48
Originally posted by amadeus
I recently read an argument that atheists are fools, not for disbelieving in God, but for believing too much in themselves. The writer argues that what makes theists superior to atheists is not their faith, but in fact their doubt. I can't speak for every theist, but it's certainly my case that my faith in God goes hand in hand with a lot of skepticism. My belief in God is accompanied by the dreadful suspicion that I may, after all, be deluding myself. I think the same is true of most, perhaps all theists.

Hey amadeus... howz it goin buddy,

Anyway,

"My belief in God is accompanied by the dreadful suspicion that I may, after all, be deluding myself. I think the same is true of most, perhaps all theists." - amadeus

First of all, How can you believe in God when you have a "dreadful suspicion"? Let us be frank, you don't believe in God, and you never have. Your faith is only "faith" because you say it is. I'm sure you have had true faith in something, in turn, you'd either react or not react because of it. A lot of people who say they "believe" do this crap... especially in this day and age, but in reality, you believe nothing and you are always doubting. Not "all theists" are like yourself, as you intend to imply. The apostle Paul had real faith, and he also preached about those people who deceive themselves and others concerning the faith, being that they have none. Moses, Abraham, Isaac, David, "Blind" Barnabeus, "The woman" with the blood illness, etc. They all had faith; therefore, there lives are testimony of that faith. Now, since the idiots of "generation X" followed in there fathers' footsteps of apostacy, nobody knows what to believe... which has suppressed faith in God. Philosophy and science has now mingled themselves with religion, why? Because of the lack of faith... atheist are created everyday because of the need for concrete logic as opposed to real faith. All through Biblical history this behavior is displayed by the multitudes... howbeit, only a few had the faith, and God recognized them. Even today, there are real christians who have this same faith, but they are consider the outcast or "holy rollers"... and usually their churches are small and they dress differently than everyone else. Granted, there are vain christians amongst them, but who can track them?

For all you Bible "scholars":

Colossians 2: 8-10
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [9] For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power."

Further, it is funny how NOT ONE SINGLE prophecy has failed in the Bible. These things true theist ponder upon, by faith. And yes, it is scary to know the truth... especially when 99% of the people you encounter don't.
 
  • #49
FZ+
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Just goes to show, there's an exception to every rule.
 
  • #50
Pirwzwhomper
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posted by hypnagogue
Actually there is a common thread running through all religions and spiritual practices, namely the conception of the spiritual experience itself.
Spiritual Experience is a very vague topic. Just sitting there could be a spiritual experience. Seeing an eagle flying overhead could be a spiritual experience. Reading the relgious scriptures of a certain practice could be called a spiritual experience. Tripping over a rock could be a spiritual experience. Eating you favorite flavor Combos could be a spiritual experience. What couldn't be said to be a spiritual experience? There is no way to discern what is and what is not a spiritual experience. It is solely up to the person to decide, and that makes it a subjective topic as well as vague.
 
  • #51
Zantra
781
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Actually there is a common thread running through all religions and spiritual practices, namely the conception of the spiritual experience itself. This universal 'truth' is denoted as the perennial philosophy. Here's a good link: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/mys/prenphil.htm [Broken]

Agreed, but the most important point, and the one that I'm referring to, is the lack of agreement on God, Allah, Zeus, or whoever your "supreme being" is. Unless we're saying that they are all sitting up in heaven waiting?
 
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  • #52
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zantra
Agreed, but the most important point, and the one that I'm referring to, is the lack of agreement on God, Allah, Zeus, or whoever your "supreme being" is. Unless we're saying that they are all sitting up in heaven waiting?

As I see it, God, Allah, and Zeus are names and explanations for the spiritual experience compiled by their respective historical cultures. That is, they are of secondary importance to the spiritual experience when it comes to establishing a religion; they are after-the-fact creations that follow from some visionary's subjective enlightenment. However, over time, the distinction dissolves, and religious groups equate the explanation with the phenomenon-- hence the dogmatic attitude that 'my God' is the right one. (Actually, the traces of this attitude can be found in the spiritual experience itself, wherein the experiencer has intense feelings of unitary oneness and universal interconnectedness-- there appears to be only one true Thing, and that Thing is later reconciled to be God. Thus, after a religious faction has attached its mythological elements to the founding spiritual insight, those attachments come to take on the same flavor-- they are the only One, they are the right one. However, it looks to me as if this is really just one big confusion arising between those who have had the experience and those who have not and strive to understand it in terms of their mythologies.)

I think it is preferable to view the specific and distinct metaphysical claims of religions as cultural phenomena, but the underlying substance that can be seen to be common across religions as the true teachings of that religion-- since that common ground is more or less an unmistakable description of the spiritual experience. Of course, this is not the angle you will get from theists, so I see where the problem arises. But I advise trying to look past God vs. Allah vs. Thor and instead trying to recognize the founding, underlying spiritual principles.
 
  • #53
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Spiritual Experience is a very vague topic. Just sitting there could be a spiritual experience. Seeing an eagle flying overhead could be a spiritual experience. Reading the relgious scriptures of a certain practice could be called a spiritual experience. Tripping over a rock could be a spiritual experience. Eating you favorite flavor Combos could be a spiritual experience. What couldn't be said to be a spiritual experience? There is no way to discern what is and what is not a spiritual experience. It is solely up to the person to decide, and that makes it a subjective topic as well as vague.

I am speaking of the unitive, mystic spiritual experience. This experience is certainly subjective, and exceedingly difficult to communicate. But it is not arbitrary either. Here's a good link describing what it is like:

http://www.csp.org/experience/docs/noetic_gnosis.html
 
  • #54
Zantra
781
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
As I see it, God, Allah, and Zeus are names and explanations for the spiritual experience compiled by their respective historical cultures. That is, they are of secondary importance to the spiritual experience when it comes to establishing a religion; they are after-the-fact creations that follow from some visionary's subjective enlightenment. However, over time, the distinction dissolves, and religious groups equate the explanation with the phenomenon-- hence the dogmatic attitude that 'my God' is the right one. (Actually, the traces of this attitude can be found in the spiritual experience itself, wherein the experiencer has intense feelings of unitary oneness and universal interconnectedness-- there appears to be only one true Thing, and that Thing is later reconciled to be God. Thus, after a religious faction has attached its mythological elements to the founding spiritual insight, those attachments come to take on the same flavor-- they are the only One, they are the right one. However, it looks to me as if this is really just one big confusion arising between those who have had the experience and those who have not and strive to understand it in terms of their mythologies.)

I think it is preferable to view the specific and distinct metaphysical claims of religions as cultural phenomena, but the underlying substance that can be seen to be common across religions as the true teachings of that religion-- since that common ground is more or less an unmistakable description of the spiritual experience. Of course, this is not the angle you will get from theists, so I see where the problem arises. But I advise trying to look past God vs. Allah vs. Thor and instead trying to recognize the founding, underlying spiritual principles.

Oh I agree with the base fundamental beliefs that all religions represent. Do no harm to others, treat others with respect, etc. Those are beliefs that are integral to society. I think they are a necessity regardless of religion. As for the spirituality, That's something that can be practiced regardless of religion, or even if you don't have a religion you ascribe to. But as to the issue of a supreme being, I don't believe we can know for sure, and the fact that there is more than one explanation detracts from it's credibility
 
  • #55
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Opinion
Further, it is funny how NOT ONE SINGLE prophecy has failed in the Bible. These things true theist ponder upon, by faith. And yes, it is scary to know the truth... especially when 99% of the people you encounter don't.
Prophecy is a piece of cake when a prophecy isn't required to be a prediction or when its so general as to be meaningless.

As for the main point of the thread, I disagree. In my experience, those who are overly religious are more closed minded than those who are not. Religion synonomous with dogma.
Agreed, but the most important point, and the one that I'm referring to, is the lack of agreement on God, Allah, Zeus, or whoever your "supreme being" is.
I don't see the problem there, Zantra. Allah, literally translated means "God." So the passage reads "There is one god and his name is God." Why is it such a stretch to believe that all monotheistic religions worship the same God but call him by different (barely) names? Shouldn't that be self evident?

I think as a Christian, I am unusually tolerant of other religions. I find most overly religious people (despite what their scriptures teach) to be intolerant of others with dissimilar beliefs. The easiest way to attack someone of another religion is based on the identity of God. Otherwise we're just arguing the specifics of how to worship him, and it isn't easy to show one way is better than another.
 
  • #56
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zantra
Oh I agree with the base fundamental beliefs that all religions represent. Do no harm to others, treat others with respect, etc. Those are beliefs that are integral to society. I think they are a necessity regardless of religion. As for the spirituality, That's something that can be practiced regardless of religion, or even if you don't have a religion you ascribe to. But as to the issue of a supreme being, I don't believe we can know for sure, and the fact that there is more than one explanation detracts from it's credibility

I'm not arguing for the existence of God here, but consider an analogy. There are a whole lot of interpretations as to the physical meaning behind the mathematics of quantum mechanics, and it is unclear if we will ever know for sure which, if any, is the 'correct' one. Does this detract from the credibility of quantum mechanics? A typical answer is that quantum mechanics can be verified objectively, regardless of how we interpret the data. A mystic, on the other hand, will tell you that 'God' can be verified subjectively, regardless of how we interpret the spiritual experience.
 
  • #57
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Spiritual Experience is a very vague topic. Just sitting there could be a spiritual experience. Seeing an eagle flying overhead could be a spiritual experience. Reading the relgious scriptures of a certain practice could be called a spiritual experience. Tripping over a rock could be a spiritual experience. Eating you favorite flavor Combos could be a spiritual experience. What couldn't be said to be a spiritual experience? There is no way to discern what is and what is not a spiritual experience. It is solely up to the person to decide, and that makes it a subjective topic as well as vague.
Well, I guess it all depends on whether you're "spiritual" or not. :wink:
 
  • #58
radagast
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Originally posted by Opinion
Further, it is funny how NOT ONE SINGLE prophecy has failed in the Bible. These things true theist ponder upon, by faith. And yes, it is scary to know the truth... especially when 99% of the people you encounter don't.

Neither has Nostradamuse's prophecies. Funny, when you can interpret something literally or metaphorically, then judging prophecy is a whole lot easier. If one interpretation fails, then we can all say it was just the interpretation in error, not the bible.

I seem to remember several 'interpretations' that had people selling all their property and retreating to some field or mountain top for the 'rapture'. But, as I said, that was their interpretation at fault, not the bible.

This also avoids/ignores the aspect raised by the linguistic studies that showed many of the prophecies mentioned in the bible, were made 'after' the event prophecied, according to the linguistic usages of the respective passages. Obviously this research was performed on the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic.
 
  • #59
Pirwzwhomper
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posted by Iacchus32
Well, I guess it all depends on whether you're "spiritual" or not.
I guess it does.
 
  • #60
radagast
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Spiritual Experience is a very vague topic. Just sitting there could be a spiritual experience. Seeing an eagle flying overhead could be a spiritual experience. Reading the relgious scriptures of a certain practice could be called a spiritual experience. Tripping over a rock could be a spiritual experience. Eating you favorite flavor Combos could be a spiritual experience. What couldn't be said to be a spiritual experience? There is no way to discern what is and what is not a spiritual experience. It is solely up to the person to decide, and that makes it a subjective topic as well as vague.

If you've never experienced a profound spiritual experience (which is how I interpret the way spiritual experience is spoken of here), then I can see how you would say it is vague. Of people I've spoken to, who've had a strong spiritual experience, none would consider 'vague' to be used in the same lexicon as in describing the experience.

While I'm not Christian/Jewish/Muslim, I can understand what they are talking about when speaking of the spiritual experiences they've had. Though the interpretations are different, the experiences are amazingly similar.
 
  • #61
Pirwzwhomper
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So could one possibly equate a spiritual experience with an epiphany of their own spiritual beliefs?

By epiphany, I mean in the term of definition 3a on dictionary.com:
"A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something."
 
  • #62
radagast
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
So could one possibly equate a spiritual experience with an epiphany of their own spiritual beliefs?

By epiphany, I mean in the term of definition 3a on dictionary.com:
"A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something."

The spiritual experience is a profound and powerful experience, that could easily be seen as an endorsement that what you believe is true, assuming what you're practicing (christian prayer, buddhist meditation, judaic meditation) at the approximate time of the spiritual experience.

There is no loud, booming voice saying, "Yep Pirwz, you are correct. I am Zeus and I like what you're doing". However, when a life-changing experience smacks you between the eyes, when everything and everyone appears different, fresh, and alive, when you are patently amazed the everybody outside your skin wasn't aware that this amazing thing has happened, it's easy to start attaching meaning to it that wasn't part of the experience.
 
  • #63
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
So could one possibly equate a spiritual experience with an epiphany of their own spiritual beliefs?

By epiphany, I mean in the term of definition 3a on dictionary.com:
"A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something."

Pirwzwhomper,

If you haven't read the link I posted yet, I suggest you take a look... It gives a pretty clear description of the 'spiritual experience' as I was using the phrase-- there is clearly something of a core experience going on here, something that, as Radagast noted, isn't vague at all if you have actually experienced it:

http://www.csp.org/experience/docs/noetic_gnosis.html

Profound spiritual experiences are typically responsible for starting religious institutions, insofar as most religions are based on the teachings of spiritual masters who presumably possessed an elevated spiritual awareness-- for instance, although I'm not aware of the Bible alluding to any such particular experience for Jesus, the paradigm he espouses in the Bible is roughly indicative of the way one tends to think and feel during such an experience; and I believe that Islam actually was constructed based on a particular vision (spiritual experience) of its founder, Muhammad. So you can imagine that if whole religions can be created from a spiritual experience, it is no small matter for a practicing member of a religion to identify his/her experience with the teachings of his/her religion. However, there is nothing in the experience itself which lends itself to one religion's teachings any more than another's.
 
  • #64
Pirwzwhomper
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Hmm. Sounds like a bunch of crap, IMHO. But then, one has to believe in the spiritual first.
 
  • #65
Messiah
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Originally posted by amadeus
I recently read an argument that atheists are fools, not for disbelieving in God, but for believing too much in themselves...
-snip-
Atheism, on the contrary, seems a close-minded position. The atheist sees himself as the master of a universe in which he is the sole bearer of truth. In the atheist's mind there is no doubt, no sense of insecurity, no possibility that he might be wrong without realizing it. Unlike most people, the atheist is not bothered by the fact that his feeling of certainty is not shared by the absolute majority of people around him;
-snip-



Conventional wisdom has concluded the Universe must have come from somewhere, and the idea that it was ushered into existence by some primordial nascent event appeals seductively to human intuition. The very process of thought is governed by cause and effect, so scholars instinctively employ that principle in their quest to solve the ultimate mystery of the Universe. Proponents of 'Big Bang' espouse a theory of singularity which envisions a Universe cast from the bowels of a spontaneous cosmic eruption. Many contemporary religions believe a devine act of creation gave birth to the infinite cosmos. Both science and theology portray a source of creation - a spawning force of natural or supernatural origin. From cosmologists to clergy, the presumption that the Universe began is quietly accepted without question.

The existence of nothing ostensibly requires no justification, so most theories of Universal origin begin with a primal void. At the 'beginning of time' a transformation must have taken place, and the physical manifestation of the cosmos resulted. But creation would require a creator - the very presence of which would violate the original contention that nothing existed. Even if that inconsistency is ignored, whatever sired the Universe must, too, have been created by some predecessor which, in turn, must have been predated by a limitless procession of ancestry. The endless cycle of chicken-and-the-egg redundancy which results from a cause and effect approach to the enigma of existence implies no logical 'beginning'.

Supernatural versions of creation sidestep the issue of redundancy with the assertion that whatever created the Universe was not subject to the laws of nature. Of course, when the laws of nature are discarded anything is possible, even the absurd. If immunity could be alleged on one occasion, why could it not be invoked for every natural occurrence. To claim exemption from the laws of nature is to refute logic, itself.

Before something can change - act or be acted upon - it must first exist. The process of 'change' is always explained in terms of cause and effect - action and reaction. Conditions - or states of being - change during the process of cause and effect, but existence is not a condition or a state of being, it is being, itself. And if being is required in order for change to occur then cause and effect is a function of the phenomenon of existence. This is the very antithesis of the premise that existence is the product of a process - a manifestation or transformation commonly called creation.

If it is not logical to believe that the Universe began, how would it be logical to believe there was a creator?


Theory of Reciprocity
 
  • #66
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Hmm. Sounds like a bunch of crap, IMHO. But then, one has to believe in the spiritual first.

Again, it might sound like a bunch of crap if you don't have some first-hand verification of the experience. Having the experience is not predicated on a belief system-- you don't have to believe that there is some 'spiritual essense' to have a spiritual experience. I'm not claiming that you necessarily are 'claimed' or 'possessed' of some numinous essense during the spiritual experience-- only that it is a mode of perception, thought, and consciousness that is distinct from your everyday experience of consciousness. Alternative modes of consciousness undoubtedy exist; if you are skeptical, ask a schizophrenic or a drug user. The spiritual experience is just one such alternative mode of consciousness.
 
  • #67
Zantra
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
I'm not arguing for the existence of God here, but consider an analogy. There are a whole lot of interpretations as to the physical meaning behind the mathematics of quantum mechanics, and it is unclear if we will ever know for sure which, if any, is the 'correct' one. Does this detract from the credibility of quantum mechanics? A typical answer is that quantum mechanics can be verified objectively, regardless of how we interpret the data. A mystic, on the other hand, will tell you that 'God' can be verified subjectively, regardless of how we interpret the spiritual experience.

Do I have all the answers? No. That is why I'm agnostic and not atheistic. :wink: Like I mentioned in another post, existence is subjective and in the eye of the believer. You can't prove God exists anymore than I can prove the universe is infinite. We must each find the truth within ourselves.
 
  • #68
Pirwzwhomper
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loss of words

*Its one of those nights in which I can never find the words to get my idea onto paper, allow me time to think a while on it. I just felt that I had to post something.*
 
  • #69
radagast
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Originally posted by Pirwzwhomper
Hmm. Sounds like a bunch of crap, IMHO. But then, one has to believe in the spiritual first.

Believe in the spiritual? You don't have to believe crap. Experiencing it tends to be quite good at convincing.

We are not talking (at least I'm not) a supernatural event or experience - we are talking of a different state of consciousness.

You accept other states of consciousness, right?

Do you equally dismiss quantum mechanics, relativity, or playing the Oboe, just because it's outside your current experience base?
 
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  • #70
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Zantra
Do I have all the answers? No. That is why I'm agnostic and not atheistic. :wink: Like I mentioned in another post, existence is subjective and in the eye of the believer. You can't prove God exists anymore than I can prove the universe is infinite. We must each find the truth within ourselves.

Well, I think there are two ways to conceive of 'God.' There is the traditional way, which treats God as some objective mythological object. As I have said before, I think this paradigm of God has been created in an attempt to make sense of the spiritual experience and integrate it into everyday life. Such a treatment defeats the point of what I was trying to get across before-- for a mystic, 'God' primarily exists or is accessed through a specific state of consciousness. Thus, comparing a conception of 'God' in this sense to the conception of an infinite universe is comparing apples and oranges-- one is verified subjectively, the other objectively. Thus, while the mythological 'God' object is by definition quite beyond reach, the experiential 'God' is indeed verified by the appropriate state of consciousness.
 

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