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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Martin,
I was reading a fascinating tome which compares Sigmund Freud and CS Lewis head to head. It is written by a Harvard psychiatrist. Its such an enriching read, that I may have to buy this one. What struck me in the chapter which compares Sigmund Freud's religious beliefs to CS Lewis's religious beleifs, was that they were both markedly the same until Lewis hit his mid-30's. Both of them were adamant atheists. CS Lewis reminds me of a young Martin:

"When I was an atheist, if anyone asked me, "Why do you not beleive in God?" my reply would run something like this..." First the starkness of the universe : "the greatest part of it consists of empty space completely dark and unimaginably cold...all the forms of life live only by preying upon one another...The creatures cause pain by being born, and live by inflicting pain and in pain they mostly die." Next, in the "most complex creatures. Man, yet another quality appears, which we call reason, whereby he is enabled to foresee his own pain which henceforth is preceded with acute mental suffering, and to foresee his own death while keenly desiring permanence." This human history is a " record of crime, war, disease, and terror with just sufficient happiness interposed to give...an agonized apprehension of losing it." In short, " If you ask me to believe that this is the work of a benevolent and omnipotent spirit, I reply that all the evidence points in the opposite direction."

Because of his pessimistic view of reality, he suffered from an extreme depression most of his early life :

He had a "settled expectation that everything would do what you did not want it to do. Whatever you wanted to remain straight, would bend; whatever you tried to bend would fly back to the straight; all knots which you wished to be firm would come untied; all knots you wanted to untie would remain firm. It is not possible to put it into language without making it comic, and I have indeed no wish to see it now except as something comic. But it is perhaps just these early experiences which are so fugitive and, to an adult, so grotesque, that give the mind its earliest bias, its habitual sense of what is or is not plausible. "

Lewis realized that through his atheism, he was in reality expressing his own frustration and anger:

"I was at the time living, like so many Atheists...in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained God did not exist. I was also angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world."

After his conversion, the lifting of his depression he attributed to several things. I find most interesting his change of view of people. He no longer considered them temporary aquaintances - since all were given immortal souls, the people he passed by and chatted with on a daily basis were immortals, and not to be snubbed or thought less of.

"There are no ordinary people, " Lewis remarked at an address given at Oxford. He encouraged the audience" to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship." No one ever talks to " a mere mortal...it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors...your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses."

And before his conversion, he often thought the greatest moments of his life would be acheived by doing something great. In this passage, it reminds me of the daydreams of people with DP, who are also of a philosophical ilk :

"Dreams of success, fame, love, and the like....I have had dozens of them...dreams in which I said clever things...fought battles, and generally forced the world to acknowledge what a remarkable person I was."

But he realized that these acheivements became emptier the more were won.

" A proud man is always looking down on things and on people: and of course, as long as you are lookin down, you can no see something above you."
"Pleasure in being praised is not pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her lover, the saved soul to whom Christ says "Well done", are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted, and rightly wanted to please. The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached bottom. "

I thought that some of these quotes were spot on for my life, and for some people on here. I hope they enlighten you as much as they have me, and I hope you all have a great Sunday. God Bless, and

Peace
Homeskooled[/i]
 
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Actually, that was a PBS special awhile back, and I'll put the link to their site below. It has lots of articles about the on camera discussions and the bios of the two fellows, their ideas, concepts, etc. It's an excellent program - if you get a chance to watch it (in re-runs) I highly recommend it!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/why/
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dear Janine,
Haha...that is so true. I dont think anyone expected his photos to look quite so baby-faced. Yes, thats right Martin, I just said you have a baby-face. I took that into account in my post, though, and since Martin is 33 and CS Lewis's atheist writings were done mostly in his 20s, I'm figuring a younger Martin may well have written the same things. Although obviously not as rationally and well researched as CS Lewis. Hee-hee.....I have to go to confession for that bit of elbowing now. Later!

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Why you evil little temptresses... :evil: I am really such a curmudgeon ? At this rate I'll be nurturing a new obsession about it in no time. Sob.

Regards your quotes Homeskooled; I agree, Google is a wonderfull thing. :roll: What would we do without it I ask thee ?

I must say it's a novel approach to paint us atheists as angry, raging cynics, who really, deep down, are little mummy's boys thirsting for a spiritual elixir to fill the void in our soulless lives. I've never heard that one before. You win a small prize for inventiveness. Without question however, everyone on this planet who hasn't got an imaginary friend to look after them is as you describe. Every single one of them. It is impossible to be an atheist and live a happy and fulfilling life. And if, for instance, one of these atheists dares to criticise the imaginary friend and his/her/it's followers, then I for one heartily endorse locking them up in a small room, blasting them with gospel and force feeding them some nonsense from a 2000 year old book, until they get 'better'.

My 'anger' at religion, however, has a slightly more visceral foundation. Much like, I guess, someone who has lost a loved one through lung cancer might despise cigarettes. I.e, I have seen, at first hand, how religion has destroyed the lives of people close to me. Before that, I regarded religion as little more than an irritation in my otherwise dismal, godless life. I wonder, are atheists allowed to show displeasure at anything ? God/s forbid I ever choke on a toffee. The entire confectionary industry will FEEL MY WRATH ! 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll be back later to add more to this, but I think you have an interesting analogy to toffee there Martin. Its not real accurate, though. You see, what if toffee were imaginary, and then you choked on it? Then what would occur? What if they sold Imaginary Toffees by the Imaginary Toffee Company? People were buying their little empty, brown boxes at the checkout counters in England, and putting their fingers in them, pulling out little pieces of nothing which they stuffed down their gullets with expressions like " Thats the dog's bullocks!" and " So sweet and satisfying!". If you choked on this imaginary toffee, what would you do? A) Berate yourself for beleiving in Imaginary Toffee by the Imaginary Toffee Company and laugh hysterically about it B) Berate the "manufacturers" of Imaginary Toffee, or C) Curse that piece of Imaginary Toffee up and down for all the misery it caused in your life. Now, if its imaginary, I'd be choosing A). And if my friends choked on it, I'd tell them to do the same thing, and get their heads checked out. Unless, of course, I had doubts about whether imaginary toffee really didnt exist. Then I would B) Curse the "manufacturers" of Imaginary Toffee or more than likely C) Stare at the brown box "full" of Imaginary Toffees, and curse at it, and stomp on it, and kick it, and whenever people mentioned Imaginary Toffee, instead of laughing about it, I'd feel sore about what it did to me and my friends, and get a little bit heated whenever someone said how sweet it tastes. But , then again, thats just me.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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If you want to see something funny, give an especially sticky toffee to a dog. Hours of fun I can tell you.

Is anything I say accurate Homey ?

Aha, but this toffee wouldn't be imaginary, would it. This toffee belongs to the consensual reality that you, me, and everyone not suffering from a psychotic complaint accepts. There is no 'first' premise here that we have to accept on grounds of 'faith'.

But I an see what you're getting at. You're suggesting that because I do not accept your insistence on blindly accepting your 'first premise' and disregarding reason, then why do I get so angry with religion and toffees, when I don't accept the 'first premise'. Well, it's not 'faith' or toffees, a personal spirital belief, that I'm attacking, it's dogmatic organised religion and all the harm that it causes. I couldn't give a rats scrotum if someone believes in god/s, if fact, if it makes them happy, then super. Great. Fandabadosey.

I'd be interested to know your view on this: The Church (all of them) who condem homosexuality, as an employer and supposed defender of human rights, why should they be allowed to actively discriminate again homosexuals ? Why are they immune from prosecution ? And you must remember, 30% (excluding communist china) of the worlds population are atheist, at the latest reckoning, and a sizeable remained are agnostic or simply don't give a damn...so, as hard as you may find it to believe, a fairly hefty proportion of people don't believe the way you do. So why should we, and everyone else, put up with it ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dear Martin,
Sure your accurate about things. I think you said that China was a communist country. See, I'm not that hard on you.

Getting mad at organized religion was option B) Cursing the purveyors of Imaginary Toffee. I'm just pointing out that either religion is as obviously ridiculous as you say, or it isnt. If it IS, then you have to ask yourself why you get stuck on it. And if it isnt, then you have to ask yourself how something so imaginary can have such a grasp on people. In all truth, my toffee allegory wasnt very accurate either. You couldnt convince most of the world's population that imaginary, invisible toffees were satisfying, real, or worth buying. Because you dont have an innate need for imaginary toffees. Even Freud saw that people who beleive in God, no matter how misguided, were filling a need. In recent brain imaging which was covered in National Geographic magazine, a control group of people was compared to a Buddhist monk. The doctor noticed that people who rated lowest on depression scales had the most activity in their far left cortex, and people who were unhappy had the most activity in their right. By this standard, the monk after praying had the furthest left scan the doctor had ever seen, making him the happiest man in the world. Again, in a double blind placebo controlled study done 3 years ago, groups of sick people were divided into groups. One group was told they were being prayed for but actually werent. Another was being prayed for and wasnt told. Another was told they were prayed for and were, and the last wasnt prayed for at all and knew it. I beleive that the groups being prayed for had a 20 percent increase in healing time and no deaths. This was conducted at Harvard and later repeated with the same results. Regardless of why these things work, the effects seem to be real. No imaginary toffe at work here. There has never been an agnostic civilization, or an atheist one, and there never will be. For some reason, needs for these things are hard-wired into the human being. Whether you beleive them to be psychological, evolutionary, or truly spritual. This is why atheism has to use theisms arguments against itself - atheism is a void. It doesnt have anything itself to offer. It can only offer discontent with something that exists, and it cant fill the void it leaves behind or that natural urge which people have. It just doesnt satisfy - alot like imaginary toffees.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dear Martin,
How do you mean "discriminate"? If you mean deny employment, then yes, that is illegal. My church organist is gay. To tell you the truth, most church choir directors are. To ordain them? Hmmm....if they arent practicing, probably allowed to get ordained anyways. To marry them? Well, technically, that isnt legal yet. Although most relgions are given exceptions if their religious values conflict with local law. The amish people who live near me do not have to participate in a military draft, go to school, get a Social Security number, or vote. Is that bad? The answer depends on if you agree with the amish. But, then again, most of the atheists I know dont agree with the law of the land either - they tend to be libertarians, who are a bit like anarchists. So I guess if you mean by not marrying them, no, that shouldnt be illegal, and isnt. Its up to the churches and private individuals. I dont think its a very good idea for building a sound social order upon, but that doesnt mean that gays shouldnt participate in things. Some of my best church friends are gay. Which leads me to another point - I think we do "homosexuals" an injustice when we classify them only according to their sexuality. I am not just a "heterosexual". People are the sum of many things, not just their orientation. Later

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Hey Homeskooled,

I'm not denying for a minute that people who are absolutely convinced by their faith, their faith that is outside skepticism, derive comfort and happyness from it. Not at all. And in those cases, I'm glad for them. Sure, maybe even a little jealous. But I am incapable of fooling myself in this respect. I don't believe in the tooth fairy. I don't believe in god. Not because, neccessarily, that I dont want to, but because to me it's ludicrous, crazy, something that flys in the face of reality and evidence. To me, it's more likely that there is a prawn that is Professor of Geology at Cambridge university.

As to why millions of people believe in god, well, as you know there are hundreds of reasons. I don't need to tell you, do I. Even most people who are religious realise that their belief is founded on a 'need', despite the reality. So they shun the reality to retain their faith...blindly accepting your 'first premise' if you like. And if they are comfortable with this bizarre dichotomy, then so be it.
 

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Martin, if those people had not had religion to fall into would they not have chosen an equally faulty crutch?
 

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You've hit the nail on the head Person3. Why do people need this kind of crutch in the first place ? There are crutches all around you, if you look hard enough. No need to look towards 'heaven' for a helping hand. IMHO.

And I'm honoured to be compared with Mr D. Joe. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dear Martin,
I agree. Why settle for belief in God when one can choose other more attractive crutches for their insecurities? Why choose religion, the opiate of the moral but weak, when you can choose atheism, the opiate of the reckless? To be honest, I dont beleive that insecurity is a bad thing. There are good kinds of insecurity. Vulnerablility means that you are still open to having feelings, like loving or being hurt by people you love. I pity the invincible "island" of a person. People choose the crutch which they feel most comfortable with- which makes them feel good. Unfortunately, most people do not choose a crutch because it is logical - they choose it because it fills a need. This can lead to a dishonest crutch, but I tend to beleive that human beings have a natural longing for what is true, and that what is true is also what is good, so this tendency can lead to greater and better things. Life has a way of throwing our mistakes back in our faces until we get it right. I think this is why until we work through an issue, it haunts us for years. Theologically, I'd say its an expression of Natural Law.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Please explain - how is Atheism the opium of the weak, the wreckless ? And how do you define this wrecklessness ? From your assumption that all Atheists are Anarchists ? That's a pretty outrageous generalisation, and even so, is that a bad thing - if you understand anarchy in the philosophical, non-conventional sense. Even I don't make that assumption about the religious, on a personal level.

Atheists, by definition, do not NEED a supernatural power to provide them with a crutch. And again, by definition, because of this they are strong in their unbelief. They don't need an imaginary friend to look after them and assure them that everything will turn out ok. They accept the universe for the pityless indifference displays, and look inside theselves, and sometimes more importantly, around to fellow man for help. Sure, we all need crutches from time to time, but to allow ourselves to fool ourselves into a lifelong submission (or whatever it is) to an unknowable god/s seems straightforwadly and entirely weak. It's deemeaning.

And this natural human longing for 'truth' that you mention. You seem unable to accept any truth other than your own first premise, which is based on blind acceptance of YOUR belief, YOUR faith. This is the truth ? There is as much truth in that as there is that David Koresh was god. Your use of the word 'truth' is an astonising assumption that the black box of your religion, the black box that you cannot and are unable or unwilling to negotiate, is the universal truth.

Pop-religion, the unseemly amalglimation of eastern mysticism is the latest 'faith' in vogue at the moment, or other such nonsense as Kaballha or Scientology, so it's seems. Does it make you wonder why ? More and more people are shaking their heads in disgust and walking away from the conventional 'western' religions, sensing the absurdity they dictate, and the bloodshed they have, and continue to have, caused. If religion were anything else than the 'sacred' taboo that it unfortunately continues to be, it would be a class A drug. Think about it.

To quote Hardy again...'Religion, after two thousand years of opportunity, I'm afraid it's time is up.' You know it, I know it, in spite of yourself. Save occassional tragedies such as 9/11 and the Tsunami, when the screaming hoards (somewhat understandably) rush for the bible or the koran, people are not as blinkered as you imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dear Martin,
As I said above, everyone needs a crutch. Human beings are needy, insecure creatures. There isnt anything wrong with that. Sociopathology and narcissism occur when you lack them. Its just a question of whether you've chosen the right crutch, or if there even IS a right crutch.

I imagine you view the atheist as Neitsche's ( thats got to be the wrong spelling) quintessential "superman" - words he penned as he was succumbing to the ravages of his diseases, alone in his attic apartment. Its interesting to note that he penned the term "survival of the fittest" and not Darwin, as is commonly thought. Atheists, by definition, do not BELIEVE in a supernatural power to provide them with a crutch - whether they NEED one is a different argument. I'm looking through your posts - you've used the words cruel and pityless to describe both God and the world. But when you describe God you also use words like eternal punishment, anger, judgement, and revenge. I dont truly beleive that you see the world as pitiless and cruel - these are some of the reasons you've given for disbeleiving in God. But I beleive, and this goes back to my previous post, that the world is LESS pitiless and cruel to you than God. In other words, you find your solace and comfort in the fact that no matter how wreckless your life is, at least you do not have to contend with a God who deals out eternal punishment, anger, or judgement. Of the two crutches you can choose, this provides the most comfort and the most logical rationalizations. Indifference is the laudanum which dulls your pain, and a belief that things are meant to get better is the opium of the theist. We are all weak, so I dont accept that as an argument to disqualify a philosophy. The question is which drug is the placebo, and which is the real deal?

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dear Martin,
Ah, I see you've edited your post. Pop religion? I like that...I think I'm rubbing off on you. Yes, I think New Age religion takes philosophy and just wholeheartedly chucks it out the window. There isnt even a rationalization for why crystals are supposed to heal people - they just have energy. Who told them it does? They dont know. I dont even think you can call it a belief system - it has nothing systematic in it. I think that eastern religions ideas of prayer are excellent - churches of the Catholic Eastern rite, and books of St. John of the Cross, both exemplify constructive east-west crossovers - but if your going to beleive something, at least dont believe in it because its fashionable. Of all the reasons to beleive, that has to be the most shallow. I honestly think that Hardy is spitting in the wind. Like I've said before, not only do tests show that belief in God is incredibly healthy and prolongs ones life, its actually hardwired into the brain. The only atheistic argument I can think of to counteract this is that we may one day evolve out of a need for these thought patterns. Its possible, but if history is a good track record to run on, not likely.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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I imagine you view the atheist as Neitsche's ( thats got to be the wrong spelling) quintessential "superman" - words he penned as he was succumbing to the ravages of his diseases, alone in his attic apartment
Here we go again, have you any generalisations left ?. All atheists are immoral nazis's who detest the weak and yearn for a super-race of men who strive for perfection, is that right. Thus Spoke Zarathustra eh ? If you remember, although Zarathustra said that 'God is dead', he also said that he loved 'all men'. Before Neiztche went insane (another consequence of Atheism, I imagine !), his intentions were the advancement of humanist nature, not the destruction of it. He saw religion as a hindrance to the undeniable abominations of the prevailing dogma.

I dont truly beleive that you see the world as pitiless and cruel
Correct. The world is utterly indifferent to us.

In other words, you find your solace and comfort in the fact that no matter how wreckless your life is, at least you do not have to contend with a God who deals out eternal punishment, anger, or judgement.
So, I actually choose not to believe because then I wouldn't have to account for my 'sins', is that it ? Is that why you think I'm an atheist ? Quite insulting, but I'm used to it, other most other forms of piety.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Dear Martin,
If you are implying that Nietzsche advocated immorality or Nazism, you would be misreading him. He did, however, advocate the self-reliant man as the perfect man. Actually, his insanity was a by-product of atheism's toxic negative energy effects on his brain and the karmic.....Just kidding.

I cant answer as to why you dont beleive, Martin. In my mind, you have mixed motives. Which isnt unusual - very few times do humans have "pure" motives for doing something. Even parents care for their children because they get something back from it. I think you have a genuinely hard time beleiving, but as I've said in a previous argument, your rationalizations seem to have been arrived at reductively, not deductively. You chose what you are comfortable with, and have justifications for doing so. But the fact that you would rather get your privates caught in your zipper than spend an afterlife with the Divine, tells me you DO have a hierarchy which places atheism as more comfortable and better for you than religion. You may not have chosen atheism because the afterlife scares you, but it might be a nice by-product. I dont know. As some other observant soul said on here, atheism gets you through your day.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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If you are implying that Nietzsche advocated immorality or Nazism, you would be misreading him.
No, I wasn't implying that at all, I thought you were ! :D It was the Nazi's and other unsavoury types who twisted his work.

I cant answer as to why you dont beleive, Martin
This is a loaded question, and unfortunately tinged with pious sympathy. It implies that I am spiritually defunct, that my unbelief is inherently at fault, as I suppose you believe. But I never asked for answers as to why I don't believe. I don't believe in your or any other gods because, and I'm going to say this for the final time, because I SEE NO REASON OR EVIDENCE to believe in them. It's like asking me to believe in sincere, intelligent evangelists.

your rationalizations seem to have been arrived at reductively, not deductively.
This is quite a bold statement, considering that your conclusions are based on a black box, your first premise that must be accepted without scrutiny. Anyway, I'd like some examples of my reductive method. And please remember, I have never believed in god, even when I was a child. It just seemed ridiculous to me. I may at some point have been agnostic, before I (attempted to, at least) read about Evolution, Cosmology, Google Philosophy, Geology, Biology, Physics and such. There is nothing left in defence of religion except subjective experience.

But the fact that you would rather get your privates caught in your zipper than spend an afterlife with the Divine
When I said that - I meant that if there is an afterlife, and the afterlife is the product of the nasty, vengeful god depicted in the bible, forever with the threat of going to hell if you step out of line, then I'd rather not bother, thanks all the same.

As some other observant soul said on here, atheism gets you through your day.
I'm afraid that observant soul (?) was wrong. My atheism is a lack of belief in god/s, which despite what you think does not give me carte blanche to live an immoral life. It's quite funny that you think my recklessness is due to the fact that I think I won't have to face the big man when I die. Are there no reckless religio ? :D I forget that the religious have all the answers, but oh...if only it were that simple.
 
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