The defining line between belief and unbelief
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01-04-2015, 06:35 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 06:42 PM by SunnyD1.)
The defining line between belief and unbelief
I often contemplate what makes a believer believe, and an unbeliever not. There are numerous factors, with indoctrination probably the most common. Although, I do think that there is a common factor that makes human beings susceptible to faith, rendering the seemingly irrational completely rational in the eyes of the believer.

I've just got Sartre's Nausea and had been reading up on it first, as I have exams and another essay before I break up for the summer and can actually ENJOY some reading.

Hayden Carruth (at first quoting Karl Jaspers) writes about something summing up my thoughts on the subject. He says, ""The non-rational is found in the opacity of the here and now, ... in the actual empirical existence which is just as it is and not otherwise." Why is it not otherwise? Why is it at all? What is this is-ness? Isn't it simply nothing, or rather Nothingness, the unknowable, indispensable Void What could be more absurd, "non-rational," meaningless? The mind of man, which he did not ask to be given, demands a reason and a meaning—this is its self-defining cause— and yet it finds itself in the midst of a radically meaningless existence. The result: impasse. And nausea".

It's quite the paradox (if I understand what a paradox is)? It is reasonable to assume all humans at some point in their life are met with some kind of existential self awareness. The outcome depends on how somebody deals with this "nausea". Whether it be with reason, emotion or lack of.

I think Hitchens referred to these kind of paradoxes as "universal irony" and he was a believer in a universal irony being something being completely possible without having to take a leap of faith in order to explain an outcome. I.E We have no choice whether or not the have free will does not mean we were given free will.

Although, this itself becomes paradoxical does it not?


P.S Not sure whether to post in the theism/atheism or philosophy section.

Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.
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01-04-2015, 06:52 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2015 07:19 PM by Free.)
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
(01-04-2015 06:35 PM)SunnyD1 Wrote:  I often contemplate what makes a believer believe, and an unbeliever not. There are numerous factors, with indoctrination probably the most common. Although, I do think that there is a common factor that makes human beings susceptible to faith, rendering the seemingly irrational completely rational in the eyes of the believer.

I've just got Sartre's Nausea and had been reading up on it first, as I have exams and another essay before I break up for the summer and can actually ENJOY some reading.

Hayden Carruth (at first quoting Karl Jaspers) writes about something summing up my thoughts on the subject. He says, ""The non-rational is found in the opacity of the here and now, ... in the actual empirical existence which is just as it is and not otherwise." Why is it not otherwise? Why is it at all? What is this is-ness? Isn't it simply nothing, or rather Nothingness, the unknowable, indispensable Void What could be more absurd, "non-rational," meaningless? The mind of man, which he did not ask to be given, demands a reason and a meaning—this is its self-defining cause— and yet it finds itself in the midst of a radically meaningless existence. The result: impasse. And nausea".

It's quite the paradox (if I understand what a paradox is)? It is reasonable to assume all humans at some point in their life are met with some kind of existential self awareness. The outcome depends on how somebody deals with this "nausea". Whether it be with reason, emotion or lack of.

I think Hitchens referred to these kind of paradoxes as "universal irony" and he was a believer in a universal irony being something being completely possible without having to take a leap of faith in order to explain an outcome. I.E We have no choice whether or not the have free will.

Although, this itself becomes paradoxical does it not?


P.S Not sure whether to post in the theism/atheism or philosophy section.

Just one word:

"Fear."

Nobody wants to see the end of life. When you have lost your life, you have lost everything.

Fear of the end of life is what compels people to believe in the concept of an extended life after physical death. Therefore, all religious ideologies which teach of an afterlife are peddling hope upon the fear factor, resulting in many of those who live in fear of death dying with false hopes.

This fear comes from our innate quality to preserve ourselves in life. All sentient life will take any means available to preserve its life, and because humans have higher intelligence and a creative imagination, the innate quality to preserve ourselves compels us to imagine and propagate the concept of an afterlife, despite the fact that our intelligence knows that there is no evidence to support the concept.

Therefore, our innate quality for self preservation generates the emotion of fear, which in turn forces many to believe that life will continue after our physical death.

At least, that's my humble opinion.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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01-04-2015, 08:55 PM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
(01-04-2015 06:35 PM)SunnyD1 Wrote:  I often contemplate what makes a believer believe, and an unbeliever not.
... The mind of man, which he did not ask to be given, demands a reason and a meaning".

Yes and no. Human brains are pattern seeking instruments that evolved to look for patterns. They need to try to make sense of what they observe. Religion provides what appears to be (for most people who really are not interested in looking deeply into origins and complexities of religion) a solution that seems to work for the problem, and makes sense to them. It's a practical solution for lazy minds.

Fear of death doesn't bother everyone, and some willingly endanger their lives for what they consider a worthy cause. Some of those may rationalize that choice by telling themselves they get an eternal reward. But that view is deeply embedded in the way people in Western Culture think today, and it's not always been the case. For example, before the concept of personal immortality arose in Hebrew culture, immortality was seen as granted by the continuation of the family line. Individuals were not seen a paramount as they are in our culture. So in a culture that values individuals as highly as ours, it's not surprising that individual immortality (granted by religion) is seen (by some) as important. In fact, what Evolution may tell us, is that individuals are NOT important.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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01-04-2015, 08:55 PM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
(01-04-2015 06:52 PM)Free Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 06:35 PM)SunnyD1 Wrote:  I often contemplate what makes a believer believe, and an unbeliever not. There are numerous factors, with indoctrination probably the most common. Although, I do think that there is a common factor that makes human beings susceptible to faith, rendering the seemingly irrational completely rational in the eyes of the believer.

I've just got Sartre's Nausea and had been reading up on it first, as I have exams and another essay before I break up for the summer and can actually ENJOY some reading.

Hayden Carruth (at first quoting Karl Jaspers) writes about something summing up my thoughts on the subject. He says, ""The non-rational is found in the opacity of the here and now, ... in the actual empirical existence which is just as it is and not otherwise." Why is it not otherwise? Why is it at all? What is this is-ness? Isn't it simply nothing, or rather Nothingness, the unknowable, indispensable Void What could be more absurd, "non-rational," meaningless? The mind of man, which he did not ask to be given, demands a reason and a meaning—this is its self-defining cause— and yet it finds itself in the midst of a radically meaningless existence. The result: impasse. And nausea".

It's quite the paradox (if I understand what a paradox is)? It is reasonable to assume all humans at some point in their life are met with some kind of existential self awareness. The outcome depends on how somebody deals with this "nausea". Whether it be with reason, emotion or lack of.

I think Hitchens referred to these kind of paradoxes as "universal irony" and he was a believer in a universal irony being something being completely possible without having to take a leap of faith in order to explain an outcome. I.E We have no choice whether or not the have free will.

Although, this itself becomes paradoxical does it not?


P.S Not sure whether to post in the theism/atheism or philosophy section.

Just one word:

"Fear."

Nobody wants to see the end of life. When you have lost your life, you have lost everything.

Fear of the end of life is what compels people to believe in the concept of an extended life after physical death. Therefore, all religious ideologies which teach of an afterlife are peddling hope upon the fear factor, resulting in many of those who live in fear of death dying with false hopes.

This fear comes from our innate quality to preserve ourselves in life. All sentient life will take any means available to preserve its life, and because humans have higher intelligence and a creative imagination, the innate quality to preserve ourselves compels us to imagine and propagate the concept of an afterlife, despite the fact that our intelligence knows that there is no evidence to support the concept.

Therefore, our innate quality for self preservation generates the emotion of fear, which in turn forces many to believe that life will continue after our physical death.

At least, that's my humble opinion.

Fear is a powerful reason, I also think it can be a desire to believe you are connected to something bigger than yourself, and there is an inherent purpose in that realization. It's very hard to accept one's insignificance in relation to the universe, for some reason thinking it's never going to end makes one feel bigger than they really are, that their life is more significant than it is.
Though the idea of living in an eternity of subjugation to a being of immense power does not sound appealing, desirable or meaningful to me, it's simply dodging an honest realization of our mortality.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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02-04-2015, 04:02 AM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
I've been trying to reply with you all since 2 in the morning but I think I agree with everything you've all said. I've had the same thoughts as what has been put forward I just found this quote on Nausea a kind of "summing up" of the susceptible aspect of humans that leads to belief and then a temporary world where all their efforts are not in vain as they will be bathing in a river of gravy, yorkshire puddings and slightly over burnt parsnips. Well that's my heaven.

Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.
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02-04-2015, 07:11 PM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
Science holds that evolution all but totally explains our existential position and the angst felt in contemplating death and other issues.
Conversely religions hold all manner of creeds that fail to satiate deep human thinking.
We are left in limbo to some extent pondering infinite intangibles, or totally accepting the high probabilities afforded by the scientific method.
It is easier not to think too much and engage what life has to offer.
Thinking outside the box can be very frustrating ,even depressing.
Look what too much questioning caused happen to Socrates.
Still a bit of ponderous reflection may help a sane balanced mix....
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03-04-2015, 07:48 AM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
I would say the defining line isn't so much a line as it is a sphere.

Imagine that religion is a sphere wrapped up as a gift with fancy wrapping paper and frilly bow.

Its the size of a basketball and you love basketball, but because it's an unopened gift, you don't examine it very thoroughly except just a glance at Its shape.

Everything else in life you might put under a microscope, but this gift you can't open until you die. You are fairly certain that you know what the gift is. You believe with all your heart it's a basketball, but societal pressure (other religious nuts) prevent you from examining the gift or even opening it to find out exactly what it is.

So in essence religion borrows the idea that some things in life should not be examined too closely or it will ruin the surprise.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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03-04-2015, 08:49 AM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
You guys over think things. Religion is stupid. The non religious know it, believers don't.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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03-04-2015, 12:22 PM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
(03-04-2015 08:49 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  You guys over think things. Religion is stupid. The non religious know it, believers don't.

No such thing as over-thinking... you almost sound religious Wink

Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.
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03-04-2015, 12:51 PM
RE: The defining line between belief and unbelief
(03-04-2015 12:22 PM)SunnyD1 Wrote:  
(03-04-2015 08:49 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  You guys over think things. Religion is stupid. The non religious know it, believers don't.

No such thing as over-thinking... you almost sound religious Wink


Over thinking doesn't mean NOT thinking. Overthinking is coming to the same conclusion endlessly and splitting hairs on that same conclusion time and time again and still ending up with the same conclusion.

Religion is stupid shit. Nothing else to add.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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