Discussion in 'Community' started by Jabba-wocky, Aug 1, 2013.
this is a matter of some (rather interesting) debate, actually
FFS people, are you all idiots or just really, really stupid?
The point of this thread was to avoid the pointless pissing contest of atheists v god, with its hilarious sideshows of "Science knows all!" "OK, so explain the science", "Well, all the sciences happen".
The Atheist/Theist Thunderdome exists for the sole purpose of measuring who has the biggest wang.
Honestly. Sometimes I feel you want me to be on my high horse all the damn time.
for more introspective fare of the same flavour as ender's post, i now present a passage from vanessa vaselka's 2013 short story "Christopher Hitchens". enjoy
ender, biggest wang isn't even a viable contest on these boards AND YOU KNOW IT.
Saying "after MASTERPEEN" was redundant and YOU know it.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich basically posits that exact thing. It's a really wonderful short story.
love me some tolstoy.
@Jabbadabbado if you like vanessa vaselka's writing you should read her novel, Zazen
i havent gotten to it myself yet, but ive only heard great things and i think if you and i collaborated on a novel, the result would probably be themeatically similar. one reviewer described the novel as "a sustained panic-attack"
love the flow. got a copy of Zazen and will read it tonight
wow that was fast! kindle? lemme know how it is, i need to get around to it soon. i dont have an e-reader and i prefer paper books still besides, so id have to order it online (i never see it when im browsing bookstores)
Right out of the gate exquisite passages like this:
Just had an interesting thought. What we have here is like a blind man saying that there is no such thing as light, or a deaf man saying there is no such thing as sound. Some people are spiritually aware and they know that spiritual things are real. As for those who are spiritually unaware, is it because they simply lack that spiritual sense, or are they subconsciously denying the spiritual evidence for some reason?
I'd say your assumptions are indicative of a highly lazy metaphysics and an unjustified presupposition of automatic correctness but, hey, whatever floats your boat.
yeah, thats a pretty impressively false dichotomy you've set up there,
But Sarge, that comment requires a certain level of assumptions to be true and all that serves to do is underscore a misunderstanding of the bit you quoted.
i.e your question requires God to be real, and faith to be valid, in order for the irreligious among us to be either unaware or in denial.
My counterpoint would be that you either have faith, or you don't, and those who have faith accept a number of things as given. I would then point to a combination of neurological, sociological and psychological needs that religion addresses - basically to the effect that religion is a placebo effect.
Since neither can be proven, we cannot make assumptions about normative values and non-normative values.
Ramza, stop being condescending.
I think you can extrapolate a couple of interesting points from what he said. There's something there; I mean, it's certainly true that s ome of the people who criticize faith have never tried it. Personally, I've tried not believing and it didn't work for me at all. There's maybe some meat for a discussion there on the difference in having genuinely had faith and lost it versus simply never having it in the first place. I would imagine that the perspectives would be at least a little different. I'm sure we have at least one atheist of each kind here, so that might be an interesting thing to discuss.
Secondly, I think it's interesting to consider whether some people are born more susceptible to "spiritual" experiences than others. I think that's certainly true, right? I've always wondered if my Native American heritage contributed in some way to my openness to mysticism and spiritual experience. I'm sure it did, in fact. This isn't anything hard and fast, of course. Everyone's different and there's the whole nurture side of things. But I do find it really interesting to think about how much of a person's facility/affinity for spiritual things is built into their genetic/chemical/biological makeup at birth.
EDIT: Hmm, thought I was in the Thunderdome. I guess this thread is for discussion specifically related to Christianity and both of those issues are a lot more general, ie, differing experiences among atheists & natural predisposition to spirituality.
Sorry, I'll attempt to respond more politely the next time someone asserts that I suffer from a mental handicap?
Being accused of being mentally disturbed in a religious debate is kind of a badge of honor around here. A poster flat out said he thought I had undiagnosed schizophrenia one time.
Honesty compels me to admit that I did not respond with grace and humility.
I'm aware of that and I think it's a lame, lazy form of argumentation in these kinds of discussions. Consequently I feel that correspondingly biting replies are justified. I call this the "Make the whole world blind out of spite" approach to formulating responses.
I agree with you, actually - I do think there's probably an interesting talk to be had about the broader role of neuroscience in questions of spirituality or a lack thereof. Though I suspect the papers would be difficult and the results indicative of horrifying similarity.
Maybe worth it for the bit where we all get to sinisterly post
for me it was more just that there's so many flaws in sarge's argument that i simply wouldnt have any idea where to start.
perhaps the most interesting flaw is the assumption that "strong" "atheists" lack the ability to experience the feelings labeled "spiritual" by other people. now, i am fully aware of scientific research which has mapped the parts of the brain which are activated during "religious experiences" and there are indeed other ways to unlock those areas of the brain. more importantly, however, i believe i am fully capable of feeling the numinous, "spiritual", i daresay i am more capable of it than most people
i feel it when im out in nature backpacking or climbing or skiiing or swimming. good examples of this would include the feeling of rapture and wonder when im alone on a snow-covered mountainside in the dead of winter. or the "smallness" and contrasting, ineffable connectedness i feel looking at the stars at night. or the arresting otherworldliness i feel when im scuba diving and i pause to look up at the play of light on the surface of the water
when my writing or my speaking or my dancing flows and jumps in ways that are out of my control, i feel it then, too
large communal gatherings can do it for me as well. a particularly overwhelming example of this was when i was at a "sunday celebration" service at (unorthodox, quasi-methodist) Glide Church in San Francisco. i was there with a group of anthropology and public health students. we went there on a day off from a service-learning programme, as we had heard the services are notorious for the quality of their singing and the overall experience. to this day i have to say it was the most diverse crowd, in all senses of the term, i can ever recall having been a part of. and the joy and collective emotion was quite overwhelming to the point that my best friend began to shed tears. on seeing this, i too became swept up in the tide of emotion i had hardly been able to contain up to then, and i cried as well
all this to say that "spiritual" feeling can encompass a mind-boggling variety of feelings and experiences, even without invoking mental illness or drug abuse, so there's really an astounding arrogance in assuming the religious have a monopoly on that side of life. religion is merely a systematization of life that tends to hegemonize, among other aspects of a person's existence, those feelings
Exactly.... 'spiritual' doesn't always mean 'religious.' Not believing in a god doesn't make a person spiritually vacant. For me, music takes me to a spiritual place.
music and some giggle bush, man.
Maybe he was saying that some people are tone-deaf then? I don't know.
I'm kind of the opposite in that I have tried belief in a specific god and a specific religion and it didn't work for me at all. And my parents are not hellfire-and-damnation fundamentalists. Their description of their faith is similar to yours and Ghost's, and I respect it, I just haven't been able to share it. It's the my-way-or-the-highway fundamentalism that involves checking your brain at the door and never questioning God that I can't respect.
All that said, I don't consider myself an atheist. I am absolutely willing to believe there is someone or something out there, and my own spiritual experiences happen close to the way harpua and Rogue_Ten described. When I'm running on the greenway, when I'm hiking, when I'm out in the water on a kayak or a boat, when I'm watching snow fall.
There have also been a few times in my life when I've met someone and felt a connection that I couldn't explain, without using the term "soul mate" because the term is kind of corny and no connection is that perfect, but at the same time I'd describe it as spiritual.
No specific God has to be involved here and no one's pathway to spirituality has to be "wrong".