Hell Anxiety, Please Help
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30-09-2017, 05:29 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

Only thing that says is that your sense of reasonableness is dull and dim.


(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  (1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.

Can we now? Please proceed. If I apply the principle of indifference and assume a uniform distribution of equiprobability of the major and minor known Gods as per Wikipedia, I can actually do this. It's rather infinitesimal and improbable, now you show me your distribution.

(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  (2) We can make sense of infinite utility.

We can. But I doubt you can. Are you familiar with delta-epsilon proofs and Taylor series?

(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  (3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.

Agreed.

(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  (4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

I deduce you're a fucking idiot.

#sigh
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30-09-2017, 05:29 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
I can't get past #1. That means you don't need to, either.

If there's a god, either a) you and all of us are fucked and going to hell, or b) we're all going to heaven.


If it's a god of cause a, it's a big-ass bad dad god who's not going to love you anyway. There's no way that you've got the right set of rituals and beliefs to placate this god.

If it's a god of case b, it's a nice god who's going to save us all.
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30-09-2017, 05:35 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

(1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.
(2) We can make sense of infinite utility.
(3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.
(4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Rest of the argument here:
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10...chapter-10

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

I can't really speak for the individual points there, but if you're worried you might go to hell, just think of it logically. You endure eternal suffering. For what? What can you do on earth that wouldn't be paid in full after about 10 years max in hell? seems like a convenient explanation for why you should like someone else's fairy tale. Just the overhead alone. For potentially infinite floor space just to house the billions of wrongdoers, eternally. Yes
You know though, I think if there would be a hell, it would be something like your brain's entire knowledge was going to be uploaded when you die to the "stream of consciousness" or some such fantasy idea, but it glitches out and your conscious mind just spins off into eternity without form or reason. Woooooo.
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30-09-2017, 05:57 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

(1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.
(2) We can make sense of infinite utility.
(3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.
(4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Rest of the argument here:
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10...chapter-10

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

Each of these premises needs a large amount of support before we can break them apart, and that thing's behind a subscription wall so I can't see the details. However, this is basically just gussied-up form of Pascal's Wager.

(1) DEFINITELY needs support. For the record, "it's remotely possible" does NOT translate to positive probability. Probability can be tricksy, and there are scenarios in which something is possible but has zero (technically, virtually-zero) probability.

(2) We CANNOT make sense of infinite utility, because our ability to experience utility is limited. We'd also need to account for scenarios in which one experiences infinite punishment for blind faith (say, from a god that wishes to reward rationality and skepticism and punish idiocy), and try to figure out how those potential infinite punishments cancel out the potential infinite rewards. Without some way of actually afixing odds to each scenario (and if so, based on what?) we'd be unable to say whether belief was infinitely preferable or infinitely awful, or if they just cancelled out.

(3) While there are pragmatic grounds for belief revision, those grounds are evidenciary rather than appeals to phantasmal threats or rewards. Again, I can't see the article to see what it presents, but given that its focus is on a version of Pascal's Wager I doubt its focus is on evidence.

(4) Valid formulations are not sound formulations. Also, Pascal's Wager isn't even valid, not even in a one-god format. It's a massive non-sequitur, among other problems. "X is true" does not logically follow from "It might be to your advantage to believe X is true".

Okay, with all that said, none of this is why you are fearing hell. You are fearing hell because the idea was drilled into you in a cultural sense and it still has its hooks in you. With that in mind, let's focus on that side of things and talk about where this hell-belief COMES from and emphasize why believing those sources is laughable.

Let's start with fellow believers who, by and large, rely heavily on faith rather than any evidence as confirmation of their beliefs. Except, faith doesn't confirm ANYTHING. Faith simply reinforces the strength of a belief, with equal reinforcement whether the belief is true or false. Given that believers, by and large, do NOT actually need evidence to believe and tend to actively ignore and avoid evidence against their beliefs. They're essentially playing blindfolded darts with their belief. They MIGHT hit a bullseye, but it's more likely they've thrown their belief-dart in the wrong direction, put out someone's eye, and decided that they've won while deliberately ignoring the screams of pain. Taking their beliefs seriously is risible.

Then there's the holy scriptures. Not only were they set down by the faithful (which in itself makes them highly suspect for all the above reasons), but they are heavily metaphorical, contain known copy errors, and are dubious even in their original canonization. For just one example, how did the priests who eventually determined canon decide that the Book of Revelation was an actual vision rather than just a wacky dream that John had and MISTOOK for a revelation? There was no method. It was popular and it put butts in the pews and that's the only reason they decided it was real. And the whole of the Bible suffers from those problems. And so do later texts based on Biblical beliefs such as the Koran. All this is laughable as well. It's like a comedy of errors where everyone embraces the WORST POSSIBLE WAY OF FINDING THE TRUTH and then declares it, in all seriousness, to be infallible knowledge. What a pack of clowns!

Then there's the logic test. A being of supposedly perfect justice decides it's perfectly just to burn someone forever for, say, shoplifting? Much less, burn them forever FOR NOT BELIEVING WHEN THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE? The only way to imagine that is to believe that God is deliberately out to malevolently screw us over, in which case, you can't avoid that. Just file that under the "I might be hit by a meteor I never saw coming" folder of things you can't fix but aren't likely and move on with your life.
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30-09-2017, 06:15 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

(1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.
(2) We can make sense of infinite utility.
(3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.
(4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Rest of the argument here:
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10...chapter-10

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

First of, nobody is "dismissing" by pointing out you have nothing to fear.

If you don't fear the Hindu God Brahma punishing you in an afterlife, why would the God's of the Christians, Jews and Muslims frighten you either?

Secondly, "philosophy" cannot replace a lab. You can dream up all sorts of things, but to confirm they are valid, credible fact, only observation, testing and falsification and independent peer review will confirm or deny your postulation.

The motif of good vs evil, reward and punishment is not a patent owned by monotheists or polytheists. The real reason those ideas exist is because babies first experiences after they are born is the regulation of their parents.

The real reason the concepts of religious punishment and reward exist, isn't because a God or gods, or divine world of spirits are pulling human's strings. The real reason those concepts exist is because the majority of our species gets handed those superstitions as kids, long before they can formulate critical thinking skills.

If you can accept the fiction of Star Wars and Yoda vs Darth Vader as fiction, then it should not be a stretch to accept religion as such.

The bottom line is that ideas of god/s/divine/spirits are merely gap answers, a reflection of our own human desires. A psychological misfire. Much in the same way a dog or cat will look in a mirror and mistake it's reflection as being a real and separate entity.

If you don't fear punishment prior to your birth, why would you think some fictional boogieman is going to torture you 5 billion years from now?

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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30-09-2017, 07:41 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

(1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.
(2) We can make sense of infinite utility.
(3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.
(4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Rest of the argument here:
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10...chapter-10

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

1. No. There is no coherent definition of a "deity".
2. Good for us.
3. Incoherent. Beliefs are not based on anything rational. They are the suspension of reason.
4. No we can't. See #1.

The way to stop fearing hell is to find out about where and why humans cooked up the idea. It's not a Biblical idea. The Hebrews did not believe in it.
You might read "The Origins of Satan", (Dr. Elaine Pagels).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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30-09-2017, 08:13 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 05:57 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

I am looking for one person who can explain to me the premises and logic of this argument and provide good, understandable objections. The assumptions seem reasonable to me:

(1) We can assign positive probability to propositions that assert the existence of deities.
(2) We can make sense of infinite utility.
(3) There can be pragmatic grounds for belief revision.
(4) We can provide a valid formulation of the one-god version of the argument.

Rest of the argument here:
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10...chapter-10

Please assume I am new to philosophy and debating atheism. Thank you.

Each of these premises needs a large amount of support before we can break them apart, and that thing's behind a subscription wall so I can't see the details. However, this is basically just gussied-up form of Pascal's Wager.

(1) DEFINITELY needs support. For the record, "it's remotely possible" does NOT translate to positive probability. Probability can be tricksy, and there are scenarios in which something is possible but has zero (technically, virtually-zero) probability.

(2) We CANNOT make sense of infinite utility, because our ability to experience utility is limited. We'd also need to account for scenarios in which one experiences infinite punishment for blind faith (say, from a god that wishes to reward rationality and skepticism and punish idiocy), and try to figure out how those potential infinite punishments cancel out the potential infinite rewards. Without some way of actually afixing odds to each scenario (and if so, based on what?) we'd be unable to say whether belief was infinitely preferable or infinitely awful, or if they just cancelled out.

(3) While there are pragmatic grounds for belief revision, those grounds are evidenciary rather than appeals to phantasmal threats or rewards. Again, I can't see the article to see what it presents, but given that its focus is on a version of Pascal's Wager I doubt its focus is on evidence.

(4) Valid formulations are not sound formulations. Also, Pascal's Wager isn't even valid, not even in a one-god format. It's a massive non-sequitur, among other problems. "X is true" does not logically follow from "It might be to your advantage to believe X is true".

Okay, with all that said, none of this is why you are fearing hell. You are fearing hell because the idea was drilled into you in a cultural sense and it still has its hooks in you. With that in mind, let's focus on that side of things and talk about where this hell-belief COMES from and emphasize why believing those sources is laughable.

Let's start with fellow believers who, by and large, rely heavily on faith rather than any evidence as confirmation of their beliefs. Except, faith doesn't confirm ANYTHING. Faith simply reinforces the strength of a belief, with equal reinforcement whether the belief is true or false. Given that believers, by and large, do NOT actually need evidence to believe and tend to actively ignore and avoid evidence against their beliefs. They're essentially playing blindfolded darts with their belief. They MIGHT hit a bullseye, but it's more likely they've thrown their belief-dart in the wrong direction, put out someone's eye, and decided that they've won while deliberately ignoring the screams of pain. Taking their beliefs seriously is risible.

Then there's the holy scriptures. Not only were they set down by the faithful (which in itself makes them highly suspect for all the above reasons), but they are heavily metaphorical, contain known copy errors, and are dubious even in their original canonization. For just one example, how did the priests who eventually determined canon decide that the Book of Revelation was an actual vision rather than just a wacky dream that John had and MISTOOK for a revelation? There was no method. It was popular and it put butts in the pews and that's the only reason they decided it was real. And the whole of the Bible suffers from those problems. And so do later texts based on Biblical beliefs such as the Koran. All this is laughable as well. It's like a comedy of errors where everyone embraces the WORST POSSIBLE WAY OF FINDING THE TRUTH and then declares it, in all seriousness, to be infallible knowledge. What a pack of clowns!

Then there's the logic test. A being of supposedly perfect justice decides it's perfectly just to burn someone forever for, say, shoplifting? Much less, burn them forever FOR NOT BELIEVING WHEN THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE? The only way to imagine that is to believe that God is deliberately out to malevolently screw us over, in which case, you can't avoid that. Just file that under the "I might be hit by a meteor I never saw coming" folder of things you can't fix but aren't likely and move on with your life.

As usual, Bowing Tongue

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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30-09-2017, 08:21 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 03:04 PM)SylvanAuctor Wrote:  I have tried to post this argument to several groups on facebook and received no substantive help. The answers I get are either snarky, dismissive, or some basic reassurance that I will get over my fears eventually. The one philosophy major I talked to tried to help, but he could not pull himself far enough out of jargon to be comprehensible to me.

The best way to get over the fear of hell is not to try to think it through philosophically, but to get angry that you were sold such a bill of goods before you had the critical abilities to reject it outright. It simply makes no sense that a perfectly good God, worthy of worship, would torture people forever, no matter how badly they behaved in their lives. And it certainly makes no sense to punish them eternally for simply not believing in God without anything like real proof.

Hell is an invention of religious people to coerce others into being religious. It is not a doctrine handed down from a God who is worthy of worship or belief.
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30-09-2017, 08:22 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 05:17 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  Take solace in the last sentence of the abstract:

"Thus, many versions of the many-gods objection contribute no difficulties for Pascal’s wager beyond those that already plague its classic formulation with just one deity."

So it's still useless, just slightly less flawed if you believe the rest of their word salad.

I always liked Guy P. Harrison's take on this: There are so many gods throughout time--if you wanted to be abdundantly sure that you are covered, then to be safe you should worship all of them. But in doing so, it would literally take up every ounce of your time and even still you wouldn't be able to get to them all just due to the sheer number of gods that have been created over time.

The choice comes down to either spending all of your time worshiping all of these gods to be sure you are covered or deciding to follow what we do know, what is evidence-based and not pinning your life philosophy on faith alone. The outcome of all of that is simple: Spend your one and only life worshiping millions of gods, of which there is no evidence, or make your own choices based on evidence-based principles.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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30-09-2017, 08:48 PM
RE: Hell Anxiety, Please Help
(30-09-2017 08:22 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I always liked Guy P. Harrison's take on this: There are so many gods throughout time--if you wanted to be abdundantly sure that you are covered, then to be safe you should worship all of them. But in doing so, it would literally take up every ounce of your time and even still you wouldn't be able to get to them all just due to the sheer number of gods that have been created over time.

Pick a god, any god...

I love this site, think of it as a buffet of mysticism. Smile

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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