To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
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13-01-2017, 10:20 AM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 09:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Reality-motivations are complex. Hitchhiking on Psychology, no one does anything for only 1 simple reason.

(11-01-2017 11:00 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  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."

I don't think it's entirely a conscious process, and although one might like to keep things simple there's usually something else going on in the background.

Personally I like having backup motivations, multiple reasons for doing things, as it adds an extra kick when I'm trying to get something done.

I'm sorry, but your beliefs are much too silly to take seriously. Got anything else we can discuss?
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13-01-2017, 12:02 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(13-01-2017 09:46 AM)Impulse Wrote:  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.
The same mirror neuron faculty that allows us to have empathy for others allows us to have empathy for our future self, to make present sacrifices so our future self will enjoy some greater good (in this example, the satisfaction and possible hero status of saving the poor doggie). But even those things are not pure self-interest. The satisfaction is in reducing suffering in the world, which a sociopath would be indifferent to unless it was his own suffering. Even the prospect of hero-worship is just seeking reassurance and validation (social reciprocity, independent verification) that you have in fact made that difference. There is no simplistic, pure element of self-interest in this scenario. So you are both right and wrong at the same time.
(13-01-2017 09:46 AM)Impulse Wrote:  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.
An arguably useful distinction but also highly subjective. I don't know how you'd measure it without bias or in fact without making a lot of unwarranted assumptions.
(13-01-2017 09:46 AM)Impulse Wrote:  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.
Even when it's about their well-being you can end up with feelings that if expressed might be seen by others to be self-absorbed. I wanted the best for my children but despite my best efforts their lives have been difficult and one of them is in fact dead. As such, if I had understood the flaky connection between intent / effort and outcomes, and the probability of bad things happening even in a loving and nurturing environment, I would not have sired them. I don't feel it was fair to them OR me. Some people would regard this as a ghastly thing to say, similar to how they often react to antinatalists; others understand that I can say it with no less regard for my children's best interests / well being and no less love for them.

Similarly I don't see that I've moved the needle for my wives and would be very unlikely to remarry a fourth time if I found myself in that scenario. My first wife's mental health was and is such that she's still in the nuthatch and basically S.O.L. as far as any kind of life you or I would want. My second wife is in the grave and definitely S.O.L. because of the illness whereof she died. My third wife has her own set of issues, much of it ultimately rooted in her dysfunctional family of origin, and is yet more proof that even someone like myself from a reasonably functional family of origin can't really erase or fix that, particularly not FOR them. As a result of all this I have come to the place where I am conditioned to see any potential life partner as more a bundle of neuroses, hot buttons, hangups and questionable habits and emotional cross-currents and undertows to navigate, than as a pleasant person to pass my days with. And yes I know I suck just as much in my own way, which tells me I'm part of the problem rather than part of whatever solution there may be. So it is arguable that I would have anything really to offer another person anyway.

Does this mean I want to be alone enough to go through the emotional agony of breaking a pair-bond? No. Does this mean I wouldn't take a bullet for my wife? No. Does it mean I have just given up and become indifferent? No. Mostly it must means I'm much more realistic in what to expect from relationships, plus I'm just old; I've seen too much and lost too much.

You can make the argument that these judgments about relationships are negative or self-absorbed, or equally you could say that they are realistic and balanced. [shrug].
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13-01-2017, 12:54 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
I should have been more clear. When I was trying to describe an instinct to act in a certain way (any certain way), I mean that our neural pathways are evolved to give us an endocrine system "reward" for following that instinct. The most common of those rewards is dopamine, which is why a brain reacts the same way to a great meal as it does to sniffing cocaine.

Animals don't have sex to make babies, they have sex because their brains tell them it is what they want to do, and it feels good when they do it. But they have that biological "urge" and pleasure because the ones that do have them have more babies. Again, the scientific principle of "duuhhh". Tongue

Humans (and other social animals), get rewarded for obedience to the social program--many of them learned ones, even in the animal kingdom--and activities that support the family group. It simply feels good to do things which benefit the family/tribe/herd, even when it may in objective fact be detrimental to the individual, such as the lookout in my example.

Saving a dog feels good because it is validation of the empathy pathway that we have evolved (and which sociopaths, as pointed out, do not develop), even when applied to non-humans.

"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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15-01-2017, 09:29 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(11-01-2017 10:59 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 05:46 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  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.

The point that you believe in only one life differs from mine. Can't prove it, but, unfortunately, I believe I'll be back again.
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15-01-2017, 09:32 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(15-01-2017 09:29 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  The point that you believe in only one life differs from mine. Can't prove it, but, unfortunately, I believe I'll be back again.

What made you believe this way, if you don't mind my asking?

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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15-01-2017, 09:32 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(12-01-2017 12:22 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(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.

Simply a first impression. Like I wrote: rightly or wrongly. No preaching intended.
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15-01-2017, 09:36 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(15-01-2017 09:32 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  
(12-01-2017 12:22 AM)morondog Wrote:  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.

Simply a first impression. Like I wrote: rightly or wrongly. No preaching intended.

Dodgy So you reserve the right to make such a statement but not back it up. Look, I'm not a fan of preachers (ETA: I appreciate that you say you're not here to preach), but if you're gonna tell me I believe in strawmen I'd like to know precisely which. You must have had *some* idea of what you meant when you uttered those words surely?

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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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15-01-2017, 09:40 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(15-01-2017 09:32 PM)Banjo Wrote:  
(15-01-2017 09:29 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  The point that you believe in only one life differs from mine. Can't prove it, but, unfortunately, I believe I'll be back again.

What made you believe this way, if you don't mind my asking?

Thought I had mentioned it before, but I'll repeat it.

I dated a woman, and we accidentally bumped the back of our wrists. It was like time stood still: I "saw" several visions of the two of us in what I can only inadequately describe as past lives. We were young, married, had either children or one on the way. Three different lifetimes. And in one lifetime, I was the wife. We were massacred by an invading army or group all three times. And judging from what I remember of the environment, we were Asian and possibly living in the area now known as the Heilungjang Province.

Each of us have experienced deja vu. What if deja vu is more than the scientific explanation of one part of the brain catching up with the other parts of the brain. When I first visited and lived in Korea, I could not help but feel somewhere deep down inside that I have been here before. Many times before.
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15-01-2017, 09:46 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(15-01-2017 09:36 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(15-01-2017 09:32 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  Simply a first impression. Like I wrote: rightly or wrongly. No preaching intended.

Dodgy So you reserve the right to make such a statement but not back it up. Look, I'm not a fan of preachers (ETA: I appreciate that you say you're not here to preach), but if you're gonna tell me I believe in strawmen I'd like to know precisely which. You must have had *some* idea of what you meant when you uttered those words surely?

Allow me to quibble. By statement, I believe you are inferring that I made a declaration. I described my impression. As to the "strawman," I would kindly ask you to review the comments I received upon my first post, which was to a poster who I believed was a theist. That post, by the way, was not directed at anyone else in particular.

I hope that you will appreciate my confusion with the bombardment of replies along with the nitpicking of each sentence. I mean, who does that? Here, I guess. Sentences are supposed to be supportive of the paragraph which is supposed to convey a single thought or idea.

Yes, I am aware that many atheists were once theists. I wasn't born yesterday. In fact, many theologians end up being more atheistic.

Point to include: I wasn't the first poster to use the words "preaching" and "sermonizing." Curious, no?
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15-01-2017, 10:25 PM
RE: To theists only: is it reasonable for a theist to sin?
(15-01-2017 09:29 PM)Wallisddj Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 10:59 PM)Chas Wrote:  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.


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


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

The point that you believe in only one life differs from mine. Can't prove it, but, unfortunately, I believe I'll be back again.

Based on nothing but wishful thinking. Sad, really. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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