To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
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11-01-2017, 10:59 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 05:46 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  
(10-01-2017 08:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  Atheism is a lack of belief in theistic claims - it makes no claims, there is nothing to be 'made-up'.
Your statement was and is idiotic.

I have enjoyed reading Austin Cline's site (atheism.about.com). He has helped me understand atheism much clearer, even though I have read up on the subject.

I am going to fall back on Ecclesiastes ("The Teacher") 3:18-21. He may have been one of the first atheists to be copied. Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 sums up human existence, thought, word, and deed. Meaningless in the long run.

Within a person's lifetime, things are important. Outside that lifetime, things were not important. They fade away. They are forgotten. We remember people and their deeds to either emulate or shy away from. But in the end, humanity has been traveling on this wave of highs and lows for many, many thousands of years.

Then we have the Buddhist concept of eternalism and nihilism.

Eternalism is easiest to understand because it recognizes that nothing in this world is permanent. Within this framework, nothing has meaning, no worthwhile goals or useful morals exists.

At the same time, Buddhism sees spiritual goals as worthwhile. While mundane things, such as religion, philosophy, psychology, and any knowledge we pick up on the way through life holds no real value. It might to the individual, I grant you. But in the grand scheme of things, these things get us nowhere. In fact, if we are reincarnated, we have to learn the damn things all over again!

Spiritual goals are recognized as being meaningful. If one uses the tools at hand, such as philosophy and psychology, as a means to understand and achieve spiritual goals, that is deemed good. But in the end, once a certain enlightenment has been achieved, then even these tools are abandoned along the wayside.

Hence, my statement. To you, atheism is something you probably hold dear.

No, I isn't. It isn't something that is held - it is the lack of belief in unevidenced claims.

It is incredible that you have been 'reading up on atheism' and yet you don't understand it.

Quote:To me, at my stage in life, it and all the others are merely constructs to organize daily life while at the same time realizing such things don't really matter as one tries to attain spiritual levels deemed desired by the individual.

Personally, I tire of being on the Wheel of Life forever and ever.

What does that mean? You have one, singular, finite life. Yet you waste it on theology - an empty subject.

Quote:Our ancient ancestors believed that the gods (who are depicted as extraterrestrials by some) would rescue them and take them to an abode in the stars. Well, that didn't happen: at least no one came back to tell us that it really happened. So theism doesn't work for me.

Austin Cline wrote: "Atheism is not only compatible with the adoption of a public, organized religious belief system, it is also compatible with the adoption of a very personal and private religious faith.

"On the other hand, if spirituality is treated as 'something else,' something fundamentally different from religion, then the question becomes harder to answer.

"Spirituality seems to be one of those words which has as many definitions as it does people trying to define it. Often, it is used in conjunction with theism because people's spirituality is 'God-centered.'" [Note: mine is not.]

He goes on to say: "For some people, it involves a variety of very personal things like self-realization, philosophical searching, etc. . . All of these and similar senses of 'spirituality' are entirely compatible with atheism."

Personally, atheism doesn't fit me. Different strokes for different folks. The key word I find here is "personal." Whatever is in my head has been basically formed--made up, if you will--based on observation, accumulation of knowledge, and internalization.

There is a part of me, however, that keeps bringing up the nagging question: "Where is the validity, the worth in all this?" Vanity, vanity. All is vanity.

The validity, the worth of what? Of life? Make your own meaning.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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11-01-2017, 11:00 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 09:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:37 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  It could be that natural selection favored collaboration for the good of the herd and altruism evolved as a natural extension from that. The fact that it makes people feel good is merely the evolutionary reinforcement mechanism. Don't see why you think altruism doesn't exist.

Reality-motivations are complex.
Hitchhiking on Psychology, no one does anything for only 1 simple reason.

I completely agree. I feel thought that we humans would prefer to keep things as simple as possible and therefore only focus on the "one."
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12-01-2017, 12:22 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 05:05 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Yes, I am a theologian. Fifty years or so now.

I am beginning to form a picture of a number of posters here. Rightly or wrongly, my picture is that many have built a strawman out of what religion is, what theism is, and what a theologian is. It appears to me that few are willing to step out of that box and, at least for a moment, embrace what another person might say, even if it does not fit in that box.
I would like to award you a prize, you are the very FIRST person who's ever come here for five minutes and told us what we think Rolleyes

Here's your opportunity though. Please tell me what strawmen you think we subscribe to regarding religion, theism and theologians? Bear in mind that large numbers of us were previously religious, you're not preaching to the last remaining lucky bastard on the planet who's never heard of Jesus Christ.

Quote:By definition, theology breaks down into the study of God and religious beliefs. Let me take the latter half: religious beliefs. Not all religious beliefs center around a deity. Buddhism and Taoism are classic examples. I, myself, lean heavily towards Buddhist thought if push comes to shove.

Personally, I feel that all theistic religions consist mostly--95% at least--of silly nonsense. They have lost their salt and their purpose with me. Buddhism has clarified for me a much greater understanding of the world and all the silly nonsense we humans put into the world.
Bhuddism as a life philosophy I think is quite interesting. I feel no desire to elevate it to anything other than some interesting ideas though - there's no need that I can see to follow it as a religion. If religion is 95% bullshit a. why is it of any value? b. how do you tell which bits are bullshit?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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12-01-2017, 02:26 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 04:47 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Of course, I do practice a "ME-ism." It is the recognition of when I am doing it that I attempt to change.

What does this mean? Do you mean when you try to change a lightbulb you cannot because you are too busy trying to ride a bike?

It's the word "Change" that gets me.

As an actual martial arts master and having had a professional music background, I would think Develop may be a better word?

You say you are a theologian? Does this field not require the ability to give meaning to ideas through language?


I am not an authority on mythology. That someone walks away from my post with that impression to me is funny.

Yeah, I've not had this experience.

I agree with you regarding your comment on psychology. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are my favorite targets.

Targets? In what regard?

I know a bit about psychology and love to use it against those who are the most obnoxious.

I don't believe you to be correct.

But even given the foibles of practitioners, I still feel there is useful validity in examining and applying concepts and theories within a society.

What do you later claim to be, a theologian? And you mention foibles?

Seriously?


Hitchhiking on psychology, I do not believe altruism exists. People might feel that they are being altruistic, but I support the idea that people do things that will make themselves feel good.

Interesting share.

But the point is they either chose to do so because of some psychological impulse or societal impulse. That's just my opinion from observation over the 67 years. [shrug shoulders]

If you are being honest, you are showing much of who you are. That is fine. I would recommend you do not project your way of being onto others.

If you are as self centred and selfish as you claim, in all honesty one can only speak for oneself.


Yes, I am a theologian. Fifty years or so now.

Right.

I am beginning to form a picture of a number of posters here.

Projecting again?

Rightly or wrongly, my picture is that many have built a strawman out of what religion is, what theism is, and what a theologian is. It appears to me that few are willing to step out of that box and, at least for a moment, embrace what another person might say, even if it does not fit in that box.

Often the Irony is all too much. Blink

I feel thought that we humans would prefer to keep things as simple as possible and therefore only focus on the "one."

Another interesting share.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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12-01-2017, 08:41 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 05:05 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Yes, I am a theologian. Fifty years or so now.
I am no theologian but in my youth I spent a year formally studying theology (or more exactly, my sect's particular theology), which is roughly one year more than most people have devoted to it. You will find a surprising number of people in the atheist camp who were once exceedingly devout theists.
(11-01-2017 05:05 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  I am beginning to form a picture of a number of posters here. Rightly or wrongly, my picture is that many have built a strawman out of what religion is, what theism is, and what a theologian is. It appears to me that few are willing to step out of that box and, at least for a moment, embrace what another person might say, even if it does not fit in that box.
I "embrace" what you say in the sense that I credit you with believing what you say you believe and genuinely holding the views that you espouse. I do not "embrace" it in the kum-by-ah sense of "your beliefs and views are just as legitimate as mine or anyone else's". You have as much RIGHT to them as anyone else or as you have to any random views; you are entitled to your own beliefs. However you are not entitled to your own facts.
(11-01-2017 05:05 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  By definition, theology breaks down into the study of God and religious beliefs. Let me take the latter half: religious beliefs. Not all religious beliefs center around a deity. Buddhism and Taoism are classic examples. I, myself, lean heavily towards Buddhist thought if push comes to shove.

Personally, I feel that all theistic religions consist mostly--95% at least--of silly nonsense. They have lost their salt and their purpose with me. Buddhism has clarified for me a much greater understanding of the world and all the silly nonsense we humans put into the world.
The study of god is in fact the study of ideas about god. You can't study god because he is not part of the natural world. The supernatural is by definition something you can't make assertions about; you don't have access to it and the instant you do, it isn't supernatural anymore -- or else, you aren't natural anymore and would vanish from the natural world yourself.

As for the study of religious beliefs, you are correct, religion does not require theism. Religion is a formalized set of beliefs and prescribed rituals with the intent being to in some way transcend the human condition. I share your interest in Buddhist concepts, particularly its core ideas apart from its cosmology, afterlife concepts, rituals and clergy. I don't object inherently to the use of symbolism and metaphor. The human mind deals in symbols and it's subjectively helpful sometimes to approach it symbolically.

None of this changes the fact that I am not free to believe whatever enters my head. I am compelled by evidence for a thing to believe it likely to be true. I am compelled by evidence against, or lack of evidence for, a thing, not to afford belief to that thing because it is unlikely to be true. Atheism is not a belief position in itself so much as a result of an approach to reality that involves decent evidentiary and logical standards and a deep respect for those standards. Atheism simply is the result of the epistemology I follow. I came to that after rejecting the failed epistemology of religious faith. I first suspected that epistemology to be failed when it failed to either predict or explain outcomes in experienced reality. I embrace my current epistemology because it is infinitely more capable in those regards.
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12-01-2017, 09:07 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 04:47 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Hitchhiking on psychology, I do not believe altruism exists. People might feel that they are being altruistic, but I support the idea that people do things that will make themselves feel good. Lines from Frasier (The Good Son):

Frasier: I'm just trying to do the right thing, here. I'm trying to be The Good Son.
Martin: Oh, don't worry, son. After I'm gone you can live guilt-free knowing you've done right by your papa.
Frasier: You think that's what this is about?
Guilt?
Martin: Isn't it?
Frasier: Of course it is! But the point is, I did it! I took you in! And I've got
news for you - I wanted to do it!

Or we do things out of a sense of obligation. I'll be the first one to pat someone on the back for sacrificing things in life so that they could help and support others. But the point is they either chose to do so because of some psychological impulse or societal impulse. That's just my opinion from observation over the 67 years. [shrug shoulders]
Never was it more clear to me than when I became a parent 15 years ago that true altruism exists. I would do anything for my kids simply because I love them and care about their well-being. Does it make me feel good to help them? Of course. Would I feel guilty not helping them? Sure. But both of those are because I love them and care about their well-being. They are a result - a byproduct, not the reason.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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12-01-2017, 02:06 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
With regard to altruism, I don't think caring for one's children (the direct products of one's own DNA) qualifies as altruism, in the strictest sense of being done without regard for one's own interests. It's simply an evolutionary instinct that comes from the scientific principle of "duhhh". Tongue

That said, I would note that humans are altruistic even in cases where our direct interests are overtly compromised, such as the hundreds people who dive into freezing or rushing water to save a dog:





Why do we have an instinct that drives us to do things such as this? The answer is not spiritual but biological. We are a social species, and like all social species, having an instinct for self-sacrifice for the good of others is beneficial to the group, and therefore helps our own genes propagate despite the detriment to our own lives.

The evolutionary biology term for what drives this factor (which seems otherwise to fly in the face of Natural Selection) is "kin selection". I like to use the example of meerkats or gophers: one or a few individuals sit high up while the group is out foraging, including the family of the individual(s), keeping watch out for predators like hawks and snakes, and gives an alarm signal when one is sighted. This alarm gives the group time to dash for their safe-holes before the predator can strike... but it greatly reduces the chance of survival for the lookout. And yet, because more of his/her genes are found in the individuals saved (cousins, siblings, children, etc) than are lost with the death of that individual, the evolutionary selection pressure is actually in favor of altruistic behavior in social species.

We, too, evolved from shrewlike creatures that survived the Age of Dinosaurs by hiding in such a manner. We have been social animals for most of our evolutionary history as mammals. We are the most advanced, most social, of the social animals. Rather than conflicting with naturalistic evolutionary theory, our "altruistic" instinct/behavior is what we should expect to see. In us, it is so strong that we risk our own lives to save stray dogs.

Sadly, that does not stop people from coming here to tell us that without a space wizard telling us to be good, we'd never be altruistic. It boggles my mind.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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12-01-2017, 03:56 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 09:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 08:37 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  It could be that natural selection favored collaboration for the good of the herd and altruism evolved as a natural extension from that. The fact that it makes people feel good is merely the evolutionary reinforcement mechanism. Don't see why you think altruism doesn't exist.

Reality-motivations are complex.
Hitchhiking on Psychology, no one does anything for only 1 simple reason.

True, but I do know a few who act completely without any reason. At least none readily identifiable.

#sigh
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12-01-2017, 04:00 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 10:58 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Short answer, I guess: I have been influenced by psychology and by Buddhist meditation to see that I really am a ME person, and everything I do is from a cause-and-effect phenomenon.

Causation is suspect. "Induction is the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy." - C.D. Broad

#sigh
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13-01-2017, 09:46 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(12-01-2017 02:06 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  With regard to altruism, I don't think caring for one's children (the direct products of one's own DNA) qualifies as altruism, in the strictest sense of being done without regard for one's own interests. It's simply an evolutionary instinct that comes from the scientific principle of "duhhh". Tongue
With all due respect, I don't agree. Altruism is a tricky concept because there is probably never an instance of an altruistic action that is not also accompanied by some level of personal satisfaction. Even in the example you gave of sacrificing one's life to save a stray dog, at some level the person is rewarded because they view it as the morally right thing to do or their emotional distress is relieved (even if only for the few seconds before they die). It makes it very difficult to distinguish whether any action is purely altruistic; and thus we have the debate.

In my view, the question isn't really about pure altruism, but primary altruism because I think it's impossible to say that "feeling good" ever has nothing to do with the reasons for an action when it probably always accompanies it regardless. But, if altruism is 99% the motivator and feeling good is 1%, that's still a truly altruistic action.

I brought my children up because my altruism is strongest with them compared with almost anyone else. My wife would be another equally strong one. I know if I could save their lives by sacrificing mine and it was the only way, I wouldn't even hesitate or think about it. For me, it also has zero to do with a biological link because my children are adopted. And, of course, my wife is not biologically related either. But I'm not sure a DNA link really matters. Once they are physically separate entities (i.e., born), I don't see why they should have a special category with the parent when it comes to "true altruism" (or is it True Altruism™? Tongue ) It all simply comes down to how much of the motivation is simply about their well-being.

I did agree with the rest of your post though.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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