A Logical Look at the Existence (or Non-Existence) of God.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lady Viskor, Nov 22, 2003.

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  1. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    Are you talking about an afterlife? If theism is true, does that also necessitate that there is life after death?

    Theism implies a higher power outside the "naturalistic/materialistic universe." If there is such a higher power, our actions in the "naturalistic/materialistic universe" besides affecting this world, also have some impact effect on the other, with or without the resurrection. However, theism to me also implies the immortality of souls. So yes, I may be using theism in a little bit more narrow way than you. But I think most religions have held in this principle of afterlife or some union with "God" (eg the Hindu concept of Brahmin).


    If you're not talking about an afterlife, then why is the idea of "eternal reverbration" more true of theism than naturalism. In a naturalistic world, our actions affect the future too.

    As I think I alluded to, in a purely naturalistic/materialistc universe the world is a closed system bound by the laws of time and space. So that, our actions with other people only have effects within those constraints.

    With theism and a belief in a higher power, as I have outlined it, the actions continue to reverberate (and are amplified) in eternity due to the immortality of individuals and the interactions between souls.
  2. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    He shows up in the hearts and minds of those who believe in him.

    funny co-incidence, that.


    Oh, I forgot to add something. He is also shown in their actions. So that, when I look at the actions of someone like Mother Theresa, I see the love of God, albeit through a glass darkly.

    And, as I also stated, God is revealed in nature as well. The Romantics understood this.
  3. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    The Romantics also skipped over all kinds of things like swamps, mosquitos, and rotting bones left behind by scavenging animals.


    You see what you want to see in nature.

    When you believe something is true, you act on it. However, those actions do not provide evidence that it is true. They only provide evidence that the people doing the actions think it is true.

    I have no doubt Mother Teresa believed in God. However, that does not qualify as evidence that God exists.
  4. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    The Romantics also skipped over all kinds of things like swamps, mosquitos, and rotting bones left behind by scavenging animals.

    That's not true. Wordsworth has a great poem where he acknowledges the destructive power of the sea (his brother had drowned in a sea storm). In The Prelude he acknowledges that nature can sometimes be mysterious and terrifying. And Coleridge's view of Nature is "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is extremely problematic.

    From a Christian angle (since that's my theistic orientation)...the Christian recognizes that this universe is winding down (waxing old) and awaits with longing the new creation, when nature will be totally aligned with God.

    You see what you want to see in nature.

    And you believe what you want to believe.


    When you believe something is true, you act on it. However, those actions do not provide evidence that it is true. They only provide evidence that the people doing the actions think it is true.

    True. But when a belief produces such strong results in people, it's important I think to come to that belief with reverence, respect, and a willingness to consider it. Social psychology shows that people who are more religiously commited engage in helping actions more often than those who are not.


  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I still don't understand what meaning and purpose a deity adds to life that is not possible in a godless universe.

    I also don't understand why belief in a divine creator implies a belief in the existence of a soul.
  6. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    I still don't understand what meaning and purpose a deity adds to life that is not possible in a godless universe.

    I don't see what's wrong with my first offer. However, I didn't even bring this issue up, it was brought forward by an atheist in a criticism of religion and its sacred texts.

    Let's not forget that many philosophies that have grown out of atheism champion the idea of a meaningless universe.

    As a second offer, theism, in allowing for a deity, allows man to possibly interact or rejoin with that deity, which certainly adds meaning and purpose to life.


    I also don't understand why belief in a divine creator implies a belief in the existence of a soul.

    But going through the major religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism etc..." it seems that this is so.

    Buddhism, as originally defined by Guatuma Buddha, does not recognize a creator, it is an agnostic religion. It also does not recognize a soul.

    In thinking of early theism, at least the kind I have known, it seems that early people, in burying the dead's tools for use on the other side, also believed in immortality.

    Pantheism, I suppose, could be said to not necessarily believe in the existence of souls. However, if nature is divine, then technically we are all a part of something higher.

    So I guess a theist would not have to believe in the immortality of the soul. However, considering that the major religions that hold to theism also acknowledge the soul, I think it is safe to generalize in this area.
  7. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    But when a belief produces such strong results in people, it's important I think to come to that belief with reverence, respect, and a willingness to consider it.

    I'm an atheist, but my belief in karma causes me to constantly measure my actions by both their intent and their result, because I believe the good and ill I do will come back to reward or haunt me. If this causes me to behave as well as a good Christian, then would you consider my belief in karma with "reverence and respect" as well?

    I personally think it's just fantastic when someone's a good person. Whatever helps them be that, I say more power to it. I don't have to believe in it. It could be a delusion they have about how we're all in the Matrix, and I would still respect their belief without believing it myself. Is this how you feel about others'beliefs?

    If you're wondering how an atheist believes in karma - it fits in to my thinking with the idea that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but constantly transforming. I believe deeds are energy, and the energy we put out does not go away, so we have to deal with it sooner or later.
  8. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    I wish to respectfully add one point of correction.

    Buddhism, as originally defined by Guatuma Buddha, does not recognize a creator, it is an agnostic religion. It also does not recognize a soul.

    While it is true that there are no gods in Buddhism (only enlightenment), the latter statement is incorrect. Buddhism, as with many other religions, believe the human spirit exists, and in fact conitinues upon the death of the physical shell. But you don't have to take my word for it. There are many well written resources on all of the varying ideas of Buddhism. There are even many websites on the subject. Here is a quote from religioustolerance.org, a website that provides info on a great many topics, including buddhism:
    Life after death: Almost all religions teach that a person's personality continues after death. In fact, many religious historians believe that this belief was the prime reason that motivated people to originally create religions. Christianity and Buddhism are no exception. However, they conceive of life after death in very different forms:
    • Buddhism teaches that humans are trapped in a repetitive cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. One's goal is to escape from this cycle and reach Nirvana. The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. Suffering ends because desire and craving -- the causes of suffering -- are no more.
    • Christianity has historically taught that everyone has only a single life on earth. After death, an eternal life awaits everyone: either in Heaven or Hell. There is no suffering in Heaven; only joy. Suffering is eternal without any hope of cessation for the inhabitants of Hell.
    As you can see, the two religions may not agree with the outcome of the soul after leaving the body, but they do agree in that we have a soul, or spirit.


  9. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    While Buddhism today may recognize the existence of a soul, I was pretty sure that Buddha himself did not.

    But I will defer.

    Your point about how both religions recognize the soul though, I think adds credence to my generalization on theism. :)


    I'm an atheist, but my belief in karma causes me to constantly measure my actions by both their intent and their result, because I believe the good and ill I do will come back to reward or haunt me. If this causes me to behave as well as a good Christian, then would you consider my belief in karma with "reverence and respect" as well?

    Absolutely.

    I'm reading George Harrison's book right now, and his thoughts on Karma are quite revealing, he even connects them to Jesus Christ!

    As a Christian, I have to agree with the Catholic belief that all religions possess a knowledge of God, and a part of the truth, and so that everyone has a part in God and salvation. So that, I do believe that the Christian doctrine is the fullest expression of God and his love for us, expressed on the cross, but I also recognize the truth present in other religions and beliefs, and have tremendous respect for them.


    If you're wondering how an atheist believes in karma - it fits in to my thinking with the idea that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but constantly transforming. I believe deeds are energy, and the energy we put out does not go away, so we have to deal with it sooner or later.

    Fascinating. :) Do these deeds then survive throughout eternity? I feel that if you believe in karma, something that is not constrained by the material world, you are probably closer to the theist or agnostic camp then the atheist.
  10. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    As a Christian, I have to agree with the Catholic belief that all religions possess a knowledge of God, and a part of the truth, and so that everyone has a part in God and salvation.

    Do you say this as a Christian who believes in your god, or do you say this as a Christian who has studying and come to a deep understanding of all other religions?

    Do you see the difference, and the point I'm making?

  11. Darth Zykalus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 1998
    star 2
    You don't approach the sacred in the same way you approach the mundane.
    It was Darth Brooks who propose I should take the same approach, that's why I wanted to know.


    I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here, but the "aliens not God" argument seems very specious.
    What I am trying to say is when a event is associate to a miracle, it is because we can't explain it. By no means a miracle is a proof of a deity.


    What? Lenses in OT times? The people who claimed to see God did not just see a hazy or vague light, but clear, distinct, and complex visions.
    For the lens, I was refering to many many pictures taken... The point was basically when you see something, the mind associates to something/someone, a preconceive notion. When someone had a vision of God, what was the process to determine that it was indeed God they saw ?

    God is not a man, he is Spirit (well, except for Christ).
    Ok, so what does this spirit looks like.

    The idea of God as a bearded man is a pop culture image, totally divorced from the God of Christianity and other religions, akin to pictures of the devil as red with horns and bearing a pitchfork.
    I know, I was asking since people saw God, was it true that he looked like this. You say no, so, what does he looks like ?

    He shows up in the hearts and minds of those who believe in him.
    So you have to believe in him before he shows up, you have to have a preconception of God.

    And besides that, God is believed not only to have created the universe, but to sustain it and hold it together.
    How does he do that, how can we observe that it is God indeed who hold the universe together.

    So that, while the atheist can look at winter turning to spring and see the source of the Christian "myth" of the resurrection of the dead, the Christian can see in the seasons the Truth of Jesus, that life follows death. (If winter comes, can spring be far behind?)
    I see winter becoming spring, that is all. I don't see any myth. Everyone can see what they want in everything. It is no proof of a deity but an interpretation. As far as I know, nothing dies during winter, except what dies during that seasons, and what dies do not comes back during spring. Now if you choose to go with symbols, fine by me, but science does not work on those symbols.


    By the same token, love, in all its different shapes and forms, gives us the picture of the loving God who gives life.
    Well I feel love, I love many people, differently and I do not see a picture of a loving God.

    God is a spiritual thing, it is something personal and
    I respect that. But the point is, the path taken to find God is not something we can all experiment. There is no scientific approach to God. I don't see God, I have no evidence but people's beliefs. I reject that evidence because it is not verifiable. You said it, you have to believe in him for he to show up to you.
  12. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    As a Christian, I have to agree with the Catholic belief that all religions possess a knowledge of God, and a part of the truth, and so that everyone has a part in God and salvation.

    I agree with this idea. That is to say, I believe life itself contains whatever truth there is, and anyone may encounter it, and any redemption or enlightenment required may take place. In Christian terms, I've heard it put this way: while not everyone will be positively exposed to the religion and have the chance to join a church and all that, the Holy Spirit can affect anyone, anywhere, in any way without them even realizing what is affecting them - in other words, a person could be "saved" without even realizing it. This is why it is incorrect when some Christians claim that Jews are going to hell.

    Do these deeds then survive throughout eternity? I feel that if you believe in karma, something that is not constrained by the material world, you are probably closer to the theist or agnostic camp then the atheist.

    Well, energy is never destroyed, so yes, they survive throughout eternity, whatever that is. I tried to explain this earlier, and it caused some confusion, but: atheists can have beliefs about things current science does not measure. My "spiritual" speculations are all things I speculate COULD be proven as science if only we had the capacity to do so. More than a few things have happened to me or around me that are supposed to be impossible. Rather than deny the evidence of my own senses, I accept that there is more out there than we're aware of. I just don't "believe" I know what it is, exactly, and therefore I can't "believe" in a god. I don't believe that I know there IS no god. So in that sense, you might call me agnostic. Doesn't matter what you call me, as long as you're able to understand my ramblings. :)

  13. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    Do you say this as a Christian who believes in your god, or do you say this as a Christian who has studying and come to a deep understanding of all other religions?

    Do you see the difference, and the point I'm making?


    I'm a Christian who believes in my God and in the revelation of the Church, but I'm also a student of other faiths, because I believe all religion represents mankinds longing and searching for God. I don't know how else to say it.

    What I am trying to say is when a event is associate to a miracle, it is because we can't explain it.

    I don't know who "you" necessarily is, but believers explain miracles by attributin them to God and giving him the glory.


    For the lens, I was refering to many many pictures taken...

    I still do not see how this relates to the OT.

    The point was basically when you see something, the mind associates to something/someone, a preconceive notion. When someone had a vision of God, what was the process to determine that it was indeed God they saw?

    Because usually the vision usually declared itself to the person (let's just call him the prophet) and what he/she had to say matched up with that person's faith.


    Ok, so what does this spirit looks like.

    Well, if you're talking about Christ, nobody knows, but he was a Jewish man, in his 30's, and not especially handsome or strong.

    As for the Father, no one has seen the Father but the Son.

    I know, I was asking since people saw God, was it true that he looked like this. You say no, so, what does he looks like?

    Read the Bible and find out. If you're going to critisize the Judeo-Christian image of God, you should know what that image God is.


    So you have to believe in him before he shows up, you have to have a preconception of God.

    He has shown up to people who didn't believe him, but that is usually rare. He is also revealed in nature.

    But to answer your real question, God does not force himself on anyone, only those who accept him.

    Besides, how did the first man who believed in God have a preconception of him?


    How does he do that, how can we observe that it is God indeed who hold the universe together.

    Thinking about it in this way has made sense to lots of people, including physicists-

    Prior to the Big Bang the laws of space and time were not as we know them now, and there were other dimensions besides the ones we live in. The belief in a Prime Mover, as opposed to a natually occuring universe (or actually series of universes) is really not that farfetched, especially when you consider that the universes' "specs" seem to be essential for life, and that if they were different life could not exist.

    As a side-not, the Bible speaks about God stretching out the universe, and this is exactly what is happening.

    I see winter becoming spring, that is all. I don't see any myth.

    I was only speaking about a criticism of Christianity that sometimes comes from atheists.


    As far as I know, nothing dies during winter, except what dies during that seasons, and what dies do not comes back during spring.

    Leaves on trees die, animals hibernate, birds return to their original habits, the land is no longer covered with snow etc... The sudden return of animals and plants after winter would certainly seem like a rebirth to an ancient, and probably would seems so to some today.

    Well I feel love, I love many people, differently and I do not see a picture of a loving God.

    But in a Godless universe what is love beside a chemical reaction? The loves between father and child, mother and child, brother and brother, and even husband and wife (including the erotic aspects of that relationship) provide clues to what the God who created and maintains this universe is like, especially since these loves are what we especially cherish and yearn for.

    It is no wonder that in Genesis God refers to himself as El Shaddai, El meaning "strong one" and Shaddai meaning noursisher (Shad draws on the wor
  14. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    In Christian terms, I've heard it put this way: while not everyone will be positively exposed to the religion and have the chance to join a church and all that, the Holy Spirit can affect anyone, anywhere, in any way without them even realizing what is affecting them - in other words, a person could be "saved" without even realizing it. This is why it is incorrect when some Christians claim that Jews are going to hell.

    Exactly. When his disciples asked Jesus how anyone could possibly reach the kingdom of God he said that "with God, all things are possible." The Jews are God's chosen people, who he will never abandon. Some Christians have tried to argue that the Church has taken the place of God's covenant with the Jewish people but this is utter nonsense, since scripture repeatedly speaks of the Jewish Remnant.

    God's grace is sufficient for anyone.

    I just don't "believe" I know what it is, exactly, and therefore I can't "believe" in a god. I don't believe that I know there IS no god. So in that sense, you might call me agnostic.

    Yeah, I think that's probably right.

    Doesn't matter what you call me, as long as you're able to understand my ramblings.

    I understand totally.

    It's been a pleasure talking with you. :)

  15. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    I found this in excrept from Jean-Paul Sartre in a capsule on existentialism in my Western History book yesterday and I thought I would share it with you (bolding is my own):

    Dostoievsky said, ?If God didn?t exist, everything would be possible.? That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. He can?t start making excuses for himself.

    If existence really does precede essence, there is no explaining things away by reference to a fixed and given human nature. In other words, there is no determinism, man is free, man is freedom. On the other hand, if God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct. So, in the bright realm of values, we have no excuse behind us, nor justification before us. We are alone with no excuses.

    That is the idea I shall try to convey when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet in other respects is free; because, once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. The existentialist does not believe in the power of passion. He will never agree that a sweeping passion is a ravaging torrent which fatally leads a man to certain acts and is therefore an excuse. He thinks that man is responsible for his passion.

    The existentialist does not think that man is going to help himself by finding in the world some omen by which to orient himself. Because he thinks that man will interpret the omen to suit himself. Therefore, he thinks that man, with no support and no aid, is condemned every moment to invent man?.

    There can be no other truth to take off from than this: I think; therefore, I exist There we have the absolute truth of consciousness becoming aware of itself. Every theory which takes man out of the moment in which he becomes aware of himself is, at its very beginning, a theory which confounds truth, for outside the Cartesian cogito, all views are only probable, and a doctrine of probability which is not bound to a truth dissolves into thin air. In order to describe the probable, you must have a firm hold on the true. Therefore, before there can be any truth whatsoever, there must be an absolute truth; and this one is simple and easily arrived at; it?s on everyone?s doorstep; it?s a matter of grasping it directly.

    Secondly, this theory is the only one which gives man dignity, the only one which does not reduce him to an object. The effect of all materialism is to treat all men, including the one philosophizing, as objects, that is, as an ensemble of determined reactions in no way distinguished from the ensemble of phenomena which constitute a table or a chair or a stone. We definitely wish to establish the human realm as an ensemble of values distinct from the material realm?.

    Moreover, to say that we invent values means nothing else but this: life has no meaning a priori. Before you come alive, life is nothing; its? up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing else but the meaning you choose. In that way, you see, there is a possibility of creating a human community.



    I had been thinking about my philosophy in life a couple (as my Catholic faith evaporated more than a year ago) and in particular, I was thinking "what is my meaning in life" in order that I should find what I should do with it. Then I read this passage yesterday, and I was like "Holy ****, that's it"

    I just thought I would share that with all of you as an athiest worldview that is an alternative to a worldview centered on God.
  16. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    But in a Godless universe what is love beside a chemical reaction?

    Well, what does it NEED to be other than that? I understand that if you think God was aiming for something more than that, then knowing him will lead you to understand it. But what if we found we were in a godless universe, and there was no point to our existence - we just live, make more of ourselves, become worm food, etc. in a painful repeating cycle? But THEN...what if WE decided to inject more meaning into our existence ourselves? What if we decided somehow, anyhow, we were going to redeem this painful existence and make it worthwhile?

    That scenario seems as meaningful and miraculous to me as a theistic one, one where a deity gives us our purpose. Then again, if I were theist, I would be a pantheist, believing all of nature is God, and therefore we are all like cells in a God-body, and when we take charge of our destinies, we are not playing God but rather fulfilling our duties as a part of God.

    I'm just throwing this out there as yet another way to look at things. :)

    Moreover, to say that we invent values means nothing else but this: life has no meaning a priori. Before you come alive, life is nothing; its? up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing else but the meaning you choose. In that way, you see, there is a possibility of creating a human community.

    Oh, hey, this is what I was trying to say. Cool! So I was Sartre in a past life. :D Just kidding.

    Seriously though, I do prefer to believe this is a pointless, pain-filled existence with no reward at the end. Because within that barren context, I believe if we collectively determine to imbue it with REAL meaning instead of deluding ourselves into believing it already has meaning, we can change the fundamental nature of life itself. In a way, this would fulfill the Buddha's promise that the illusory world will be stripped away, and fulfill the New Testament promise of a "new heavens and a new earth".

    It's been a pleasure talking with you.

    You, too. It's great that you don't take every non-Biblical thought offered as blasphemy, LOL. Unfortunately, some theists around here do. I'm not naming names. We all know who they are. /shiftyeyes.

    But when everyone comes at this stuff without fear and defensiveness, you find you have more in common than you imagined, without shifting any of your perceptions, and it's very exciting.
  17. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    The effect of all materialism is to treat all men, including the one philosophizing, as objects, that is, as an ensemble of determined reactions in no way distinguished from the ensemble of phenomena which constitute a table or a chair or a stone. We definitely wish to establish the human realm as an ensemble of values distinct from the material realm?

    This is the part I really like, Tree. ;)

    Dosteovsky's The Brother's Karamazov, where that quote comes from, is one of my favorite novels. Dosteovsky himself was a devout Christian, and not only set the stage for Satre's atheistic existentialism, but also Christian existentialism.

    Seriously though, I do prefer to believe this is a pointless, pain-filled existence with no reward at the end. Because within that barren context, I believe if we collectively determine to imbue it with REAL meaning instead of deluding ourselves into believing it already has meaning, we can change the fundamental nature of life itself. In a way, this would fulfill the Buddha's promise that the illusory world will be stripped away, and fulfill the New Testament promise of a "new heavens and a new earth".

    A Christian existentialist would say, live as if there is no God, pray as if there is. ;) :)

    You, too. It's great that you don't take every non-Biblical thought offered as blasphemy

    Well, just for the record, blasphemy is not disagreeing with the Bible or religion. Blasphemy is showing disrespect or contempt God or religion and/or abusing religion. Therefore, a Christian can be just as much a blasphemer as an atheist. In fact, the people who ran the Inquistion were blasphemers.


    The discussion on love is probably something best left for another thread or day, as that's been written about since time began. :p

  18. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    christian existientialism? i didn't know this existed.

    as far as existientialism goes... the end result is to create ones own meaning and whatever, sure, but really, how is that "personal meaning/revelation" any better than the theist "personal meaning/revelation" concerning god? to me existientialism is attempting to combat the percieved negativity of nihilism with some kind of false theist-like meaning for each individual. surely existientialism must accept the meaningless thought of any individual, though.
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    My only real quarrel with existentialism as expressed through Sartre and Camus is the way it tends to pit the individual against the meaningless world. We're all in this alone, and each isolated intellect need only take responsibility for its own meaning.

    I tend to think that, since as individuals we all die, the best place to look for meaning, if you need to look for meaning, is human life in the aggregate. Human nature itself creates meaning for us in the aggregate, if not as individuals. We're driven to form groups. We're hardwired to seek knowledge. The human project, as I see it, is to evolve as a society and advance human knowledge. Who knows where this can take the human species. So long as we have the potential to achieve better societies and expand our knowledge, then there is a spark of hope that "meaninglessness" and "absurdity" are only intellectual obstacles toward true meaning and better knowledge.

    Immortality and divine omiscience are two big concepts of world religions, though as TreeCave points out not absolutely pervasive. The reason they're there, I believe, is as long range objectives for the human project. The longer we can survive as a species, the closer we can come to an absolute knowledge of the universe. Surviving as a species depends on knowledge but also the ability to create societies that promote survival and knowledge.

    But of course a strict existentialist would hotly dispute the idea that finding meaning might involve "letting go" of the need for individual meaning and placing the locus of meaning in existence within the "human project" as a whole.
  20. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    surely existientialism must accept the meaningless thought of any individual, though.

    :confused:

    I am not sure what you mean there.

    As for Christian existentialism, check out Søren Kierkegaard
  21. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    I think I finally am a little closer to what has been bothering me about God for the longest time. I just wish I had a spell checker here...

    Lets say there is no god/God. There is no purpose to our lives aside from what we make, and there is no overall or (for some) satisfying reason for those purposes we make for oursleves.

    How is that diffrent for God from His point of view? Yes, I am asking to know and understand the mind of God at least as well as we can, in theory, understand the mind of another person, so I ask, what from God's point of view is His purpose and why is it a real purpose unlike a purpose that we may make for ourselves?

    I could ask the same thing about morals. God created everything good and then it went bad, but He could have created things diffrently and still call them good, or why couldn't He? To me, religious morals are subjective to God just as without God morals are subjective to us.


    Love? Sure it is a chemical reaction, but it is also feelings and emotions and other things. Think of a photograph. Sure, it is just a bunch of silver chemicals, but it is also an immage. Think of the Bible. Yes it is only wood pulp and ink and glue, but it is also the messages and words of God (if you believe that). So love can be just chemical reactions, and it can be more.
  22. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    but really, how is that "personal meaning/revelation" any better than the theist "personal meaning/revelation" concerning god?

    It's not. That's why I emphasized the importance in a COLLECTIVE effort to imbue existence with purpose.

    We function like colonies of bacteria. We form clumps of society, communicate and learn within those societies, and with neighboring societies. When bacteria function collectively, they have actually been shown to manifest levels of intelligence comparable to rats. When you consider how microscopic they are individually, it's kind of amazing. I think we can work that way, collectively, on an existential level.

    What I'm saying is a lot like what Jabba is saying.

    So love can be just chemical reactions, and it can be more.

    Okay; what MORE does it need to be? What is so dissatisfying about the idea that we have tiny chemicals working together to persuade big huge animals like us to do their bidding? It's terrifying, but surely it's just as amazing as any mystical idea you could attach. Furthermore - and this is key - it is inspiration; if tiny neurotransmitters and hormones can collectively force us to think more clearly, think less clearly, do something we didn't intend to, etc., this implies that we can collectively restructure the universe we live in, the body to which we are cells. Or at least redirect it as we see fit.
  23. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    I have to agree with some of what Jabba is saying, and also spin into something else. I think it's one of the main problems of the modern period that people are less tied to their communities, more isolated, and more alienated.

    Not per se that individualism is bad, but it can lead to being locked in a subjective worldview. That's probably one of the best things about Blake, while he seriously questions Orthodox Christianty, he equally questions the narrow subjectivity of the individual that he saw replacing it.

    From a religous point of view, there is a lot of value to communal aspects of religion and tradition, it helps to not only bind the living with the living, but also the living with the dead. Early Christianity, to generalize, was very communal, and I think it's one of the bad effects of the Reformation that the empahsis became placed more and more on the individual and his individual interpretation of scripture.


    EDIT: I was going to bring up Soren too.
  24. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I definitely think we're increasingly isolated and acommunal, and this is a bad thing. But I never ever would have connected it to the Reformation. I connected it to the Industrial Revolution, and the corporate need for employees with small family units (the overly hallowed "nuclear family") that could pack up at a moment's notice and move 3,000 miles to a new job. But your idea is interesting too. Could be these are just two of many factors. But yeah, I think multi-generational households and communities where people actually know each other are essential to well-being on an individual level and as a society.
  25. Spike_Spiegal Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2002
    star 5
    I meant spiritually disconnected in referring to the Reformation. Protestantism did place a larger burden on the individual I believe. And I think some hold that this greater emphasis on the individual was translated to other parts of society as well. But it was probably just a part of a general movement towards this idea of the individual, and not a cause.
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