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The Virtues of Religious Faith

 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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28 September 2012 18:25
 
Brick Bungalow - 28 September 2012 03:54 PM

It’s puzzling to me that religious people and their sympathizers persistently criticize their secular counterparts for unreasonable certainty or faith. As if one needed faith to neglect subscription to some claim.

First, because the secular people I interact with virtually never describe themselves this way. Nor do they behave as if they are certain. People who grasp skepticism in an intellectually honest way are self critical FIRST.

Second… isn’t faith a good according the faithful? Does faith immediately turn from virtue to vice when it services a different idea? If that’s true than faith really isn’t a good in and of itself. It’s simply a matter of picking the right narrative.

There is blind emotional faith IN someone or something which is obvious in the world. Then there is conscious faith which is a human attribute most have only in potential. They are not the same.

 
goodgraydrab
 
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28 September 2012 18:28
 
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 04:09 PM

Nothing is more insulting than realism.

That’s why you’ve chosen to abandon it.

 
 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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28 September 2012 18:33
 
Answerer - 28 September 2012 03:20 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM

Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

I know you think you’ve said something profound here, but I think you’ve only managed to confirm the adage believing in believing as one of your characteristics. While you attempt to portray an idealized vision of human behavior, your fear and contempt of/for humanity just keeps shining through. That perceived minority is probably not as small as you think. Your tactics are no different than the other theistic ones because it’s all you have left (eg, disparage science and reason in an attempt to equalize your deficiencies, etc). All you and the other anti-atheists here can do is try to pawn off your beliefs as better than others’ beliefs, while ignoring the distinction between belief and knowledge and failing to accept it as such. Secularism is a powerful tool that helps guard against the reign of blind belief such as yours. Religion and philosophy doesn’t require the strong objective criteria that science demands, that’s why it’s your chosen favored genre in which to speak. It allows you the illusion that you’re getting away with something on equal terms.

It is you who disparages science since you are making an all purpose idol out of a tool.

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” - Abraham Maslow

You consider science to be the hammer. The trouble is that the universe isn’t a nail

 
Jb8989
 
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28 September 2012 18:42
 
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 04:33 PM
Answerer - 28 September 2012 03:20 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM

Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

I know you think you’ve said something profound here, but I think you’ve only managed to confirm the adage believing in believing as one of your characteristics. While you attempt to portray an idealized vision of human behavior, your fear and contempt of/for humanity just keeps shining through. That perceived minority is probably not as small as you think. Your tactics are no different than the other theistic ones because it’s all you have left (eg, disparage science and reason in an attempt to equalize your deficiencies, etc). All you and the other anti-atheists here can do is try to pawn off your beliefs as better than others’ beliefs, while ignoring the distinction between belief and knowledge and failing to accept it as such. Secularism is a powerful tool that helps guard against the reign of blind belief such as yours. Religion and philosophy doesn’t require the strong objective criteria that science demands, that’s why it’s your chosen favored genre in which to speak. It allows you the illusion that you’re getting away with something on equal terms.

It is you who disparages science since you are making an all purpose idol out of a tool.

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” - Abraham Maslow

You consider science to be the hammer. The trouble is that the universe isn’t a nail

This coming from the guy who failed to understand and articulate the human condition when he first arrived, and has since Incorporated it as a focal point of persuasion.

Try focusing and formulating your own arguments instead circumventing and subverting ours. I think this will increase your fallacy awareness.

 
 
goodgraydrab
 
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28 September 2012 18:54
 
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 04:33 PM

It is you who disparages science since you are making an all purpose idol out of a tool.

...

You consider science to be the hammer. The trouble is that the universe isn’t a nail

No, I see myself as my own Carpenter, I don’t surrender my integrity to worship yours.

 
 
santhosh
 
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28 September 2012 20:27
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:14 by santhosh]
 
goodgraydrab
 
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28 September 2012 20:36
 
stardust91977 - 28 September 2012 06:27 PM

So why don’t you go ahead and tell me what it is you think I haven’t learned about the human condition, Nick.. supposing as you do, that you know me simply because I’m an atheist.

That should shut him up! It will certainly temper my comments. I have a whole newfound perception and deep respect for you, star, any menial disagreements aside.

 
 
Nick_A
 
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28 September 2012 22:04
 
stardust91977 - 28 September 2012 06:27 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 04:20 PM
stardust91977 - 28 September 2012 04:02 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 04:20 PM

Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

Nick,

Talk about blind belief. You insist that someone from beyond space-time and all things is the author of the laws of nature. You say that you have studied the human condition in the world and yourself and realized that it is a mass of contradictions and chaos as though the rest of us have missed that fact.  You ignorantly suggest that the human condition is abnormal and that only blind belief could adopt such an attitude.

Dude, listen. If you’re going to suppose to speak for or down to this secularist or about secularists, you’d better be finding something more to bring to the table than your idols. I’m not just talking about objectively verifiable evidence, but spriitual evidence that does more than reek of superstition.

Start with square one. How do you define the human condition? Maya Angelou may describe its effects here but what creates it and why does it follow the path of “darkness into darkness and that darkness carpeted” rather than seeing the light? She wrote:

“I am always talking about the human condition and about American society in particular: what it is like to be human, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on from darkness into darkness and that darkness carpeted”

For some reason I keep thinking you’re going to prove more challenging that this.

You answered my inquiry by firing back questions and yet another quote instead of simply spelling out why you think that your world view should be taken any more seriously than a secularists world view.  I’ve tried to get at this before in another thread, but you dodged there too. So I’m not going to ask again, assuming that you haven’t yet spiritually matured enough to provide a straightforward response. If I’m wrong prove it.

Besides, what I’m really curious about is that you say you’ve studied the human condition from the inside and the outside and seem to think that you understand it better than any non-theist could.  Now, I’m just a woman who has survived child abuse, neglect, losing her only son, and being beaten nearly to death. Since the age of 8 I’ve been having transcendent experiences that most theists would insist was God “himself” speaking to me. From adulthood on, all I’ve done is cared for for hundreds of neglected, abused, seriously ill and dying people in posh places like the private residences of the rich, and disgusting, nauseating places like the slums and garbage heaps of Mexico. I’m well read in regards to science, including cognitive neuroscience, human anat and pys, evolution, and physics, but am no expert, only far enough along to get it and then some. I’ve had extensive cross-cultural training and have traveled broadly, meeting people from places as diverse as Paris and stone-age villages in New Guinea and getting to know them, not just care for them.

So why don’t you go ahead and tell me what it is you think I haven’t learned about the human condition, Nick.. supposing as you do, that you know me simply because I’m an atheist.


You answered my inquiry by firing back questions and yet another quote instead of simply spelling out why you think that your world view should be taken any more seriously than a secularists world view.  I’ve tried to get at this before in another thread, but you dodged there too. So I’m not going to ask again, assuming that you haven’t yet spiritually matured enough to provide a straightforward response. If I’m wrong prove it.

The difference betrween the secularist’s world view and those of one like me with esoteric (inner) interests is that the secularist is concerned with what we DO while those like me are concerned with what we ARE in relation to the conscious potential for human “being.”

From this perspective, what happens in the world is just a natural result of what we ARE which can be described as the human condition. Where secularism seeks change through psychological conditioning, the esoteric paths seek change through CONSCIOUSLY revealing the human condition indicating objective human meaning and purpose in relation to universal laws

Over the weekend I’m going to initiate a thread called “The Human Condition” Join me there and perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

You’ve had a tough life. My concern is why it must be so. Why should you be beaten? Is this something naturally human or a result of a kind of conditioning explainable by the human condition?

I believe that if the human condition were taken seriously in society and the simple efforts to cope with it were practiced, everything would be different. I know it is impossible on a large scale so the methods are only for the few open to them who have the need and courage to consciously “know thyself.”

You are a brave woman. Many would not have been capable of what you’ve done. However if the human condition is the source of madness in the world that denies the normal human experience of objective conscience, isn’t it reasonable to try and understand what it is and how to deal with it?

 
saralynn
 
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28 September 2012 23:19
 

SX: It’s not the beauty of what people choose to label “Religious Faith” that we’re rejecting (partly at least because they provide True Faithâ„¢ cover and false honor/virtue/merit). Quite the contrary. It’s the relabeling of those things to put them into an unfortunate box that distracts from them and serves no apparent purpose other than to confuse things and add some cultural window dressing that we don’t find attractive because of its associations with lots of various nastiness. At least I’d argue that’s what’s going on a lot of the time, rather than what you describe.

I know that a rose is a rose and beauty is beauty; however I am talking about the specific message of Christianity, which is in direct contrast to the values of our culture.  Peace instead of war; charity instead of greed, humility instead of arrogance, cooperation instead of competition,  truth instead of deception,  confession instead of justification,  simplicity instead of sophistication, hope instead of cynicism.
 
Day after day, people are exposed to violent movies, dehumanized sex, a corrupt political system, coarse language reflecting coarse thoughts,, cut throat completion, vulgar excesses and unbridled narcissism.

At least, for an hour or so a week, people hear about a man who wooed people to goodness and told them that the world could be transformed by the power of love, compassion and goodness.  No he wasn’t perfect; no he wasn’t the son of God, but he told of a world that could be rather than what it is.  So have other great, as well as unrecognized spiritual leaders throughout history.


This ritual of gathering together in praise of virtue is becoming an anachronism.  This fact saddens me, but makes atheists elated.  I understand their glee, but they can’t seem to understand my sorrow.  This is a bit depressing.  It seems to confirm my fears.

 
santhosh
 
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29 September 2012 00:26
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:09 by santhosh]
 
goodgraydrab
 
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29 September 2012 02:07
 
stardust91977 - 28 September 2012 10:26 PM

Frankly, respect isn’t what I was going for, rather, a show of pure spiritual power so that he’ll understand that he’s not talking to some 98lb spiritual weakling who he can subdue with a quote or overcome by insisting that he’s studied the human condtion inside and out and knows all about what I or anyone else should believe in regards to the godhead.

You should feel free to say whatever you need to say, Answerer. This place is and should be somewhere atheists can vent and explore ideas. I sincerely hope that you will forgive me if I left you feeling as though this isn’t a safe place for you to do that.

I know you werent, but that’s what you got. I’m okay, nobody has stopped me yet. I just understand you better.

I think N/A missed the mark and may be more out of touch with reality than I previously thought. This is quite bizarre.

Nick_A - 28 September 2012 08:04 PM

The difference betrween the secularist’s world view and those of one like me with esoteric (inner) interests is that the secularist is concerned with what we DO while those like me are concerned with what we ARE in relation to the conscious potential for human “being.”

From this perspective, what happens in the world is just a natural result of what we ARE which can be described as the human condition. Where secularism seeks change through psychological conditioning, the esoteric paths seek change through CONSCIOUSLY revealing the human condition indicating objective human meaning and purpose in relation to universal laws

...

I believe that if the human condition were taken seriously in society and the simple efforts to cope with it were practiced, everything would be different. I know it is impossible on a large scale so the methods are only for the few open to them who have the need and courage to consciously “know thyself.”

You are a brave woman. Many would not have been capable of what you’ve done. However if the human condition is the source of madness in the world that denies the normal human experience of objective conscience, isn’t it reasonable to try and understand what it is and how to deal with it?

 
 
santhosh
 
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29 September 2012 06:26
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:07 by santhosh]
 
burt
 
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29 September 2012 07:31
 
stardust91977 - 29 September 2012 04:26 AM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 08:04 PM

The difference between the secularist’s world view and those of one like me with esoteric (inner) interests is that the secularist is concerned with what we DO while those like me are concerned with what we ARE in relation to the conscious potential for human “being.”

So you’re implying here that secularists are different from you in that we don’t have esoteric interests and are more concerned with what we do than what we are or might become? Have I understood you correctly? If so, how I am I supposed to proceed with “From that perspective..”, as you do below, when your perspective is already skewed by a stereotype that unecessarily forces us apart?

Nick_A - 28 September 2012 08:04 PM

From this perspective, what happens in the world is just a natural result of what we ARE which can be described as the human condition. Where secularism seeks change through psychological conditioning, the esoteric paths seek change through CONSCIOUSLY revealing the human condition indicating objective human meaning and purpose in relation to universal laws

Over the weekend I’m going to initiate a thread called “The Human Condition” Join me there and perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

Actually, I’m well-read enough, including your own posts, to already know what you mean, and I disagree. First, because the human condition appears to be a natural result of what the energy and forces of nature are doing.. the way they are expressed in, through, and around us. Second, you assume that secularism isn’t spiritually motivated, as though reason isn’t a manifestation of the human spirit, or as though wisdom, reason, and consciousness cannot or do not fit together unless one is a theist. You poo-poo seeking change through psychological conditioning, as though those who choose esoteric paths aren’t being psychologically conditioned themselves.  To top it all off, you’re assuming objective meaning and purpose in the universe where there doesn’t appear to be any.

The thing is, my spirituality isn’t confining and what you’re doing appears from here to be standing in the door of your cave insisting that I’ve erred by not coming inside to live with you and your ideals, or taking a copy of them to some other cave and living with them there (as idols!) No and no and no. A googolplex of no’s. You’re seeing lines in the sand where all I see is sand. Besides, it smells like bat shit in caves. Why don’t you come out here under all that is and unshackle God and man from your ego instead?  Then we can really talk about the human condition.

Nick_A - 28 September 2012 08:04 PM

You’ve had a tough life. My concern is why it must be so. Why should you be beaten? Is this something naturally human or a result of a kind of conditioning explainable by the human condition?

I believe that if the human condition were taken seriously in society and the simple efforts to cope with it were practiced, everything would be different. I know it is impossible on a large scale so the methods are only for the few open to them who have the need and courage to consciously “know thyself.”

You are a brave woman. Many would not have been capable of what you’ve done. However if the human condition is the source of madness in the world that denies the normal human experience of objective conscience, isn’t it reasonable to try and understand what it is and how to deal with it?

Why shouldn’t I be beaten? Time and circumstance landed me in the midst of a madman. Yes, it was natural, and yes it was a result of conditioning and is explainable by the human condition, which is, after all, a natural one. The esoteric isn’t required to determine why someone beats another or how someone survives such blows. I can explain it to you in terms of energy and forces of nature acting on mind and body using physics and psychology. However, based on personal experience, I do believe that that the esoteric can help individuals delve beneath the mundane and the profane as a means of knowing and improving themselves and the world.  However, my subjective experiences and opinions don’t dictate reality for everyone else and neither do yours, so we need more to go on than us, more than the multitudes who agree with us. It’s just not enough.

I’m totally impressed by this response stardust, shows real grit.  One thought, the universe itself appears meaningless but is it so?  Isn’t the universe, and the variety of things in it, what we invest with meaning in one way or another.  One person might find meaning in the social prestige they gain from driving a new BMW, another person might find meaning in an icon or prayer.  Somebody else could find meaning in other people.  Stripping away the layers of attachment to appearances, I think something does remain but it is personal and unique while at the same time being universal.

 
goodgraydrab
 
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29 September 2012 15:38
 
burt - 29 September 2012 05:31 AM

I’m totally impressed by this response stardust, shows real grit.  One thought, the universe itself appears meaningless but is it so?  Isn’t the universe, and the variety of things in it, what we invest with meaning in one way or another.  One person might find meaning in the social prestige they gain from driving a new BMW, another person might find meaning in an icon or prayer.  Somebody else could find meaning in other people.  Stripping away the layers of attachment to appearances, I think something does remain but it is personal and unique while at the same time being universal.

Yes, burt, but the quality is within us, and only with us.

 
 
Nick_A
 
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29 September 2012 15:48
 

Star

So you’re implying here that secularists are different from you in that we don’t have esoteric interests and are more concerned with what we do than what we are or might become? Have I understood you correctly? If so, how I am I supposed to proceed with “From that perspective..”, as you do below, when your perspective is already skewed by a stereotype that unnecessarily forces us apart?

Esoteric interest refers to the workings of the “inner man” as compared to our exoteric concerned for what we DO in the externl world. Both the inner and outer man are concerned for what they ARE and DO. They just define them differently coming from different perspectives with a different priorities. Are you suggesting that the inner (esoteric) man must by definition be separate from the outer (exoteric) man or can the outer man come to reflect the potential for the conscious life of the inner man as suggested by Socrates?

“May the outward and inward man be at one.” Socrates


Actually, I’m well-read enough, including your own posts, to already know what you mean, and I disagree. First, because the human condition appears to be a natural result of what the energy and forces of nature are doing.. the way they are expressed in, through, and around us.


I agree. We are creatures of reaction reacting to the energies created by universal laws manifesting on earth through nature. Living like this limioted to reactive consciousness makes it difficult to appreciate objective universal purpose.

Second, you assume that secularism isn’t spiritually motivated, as though reason isn’t a manifestation of the human spirit, or as though wisdom, reason, and consciousness cannot or do not fit together unless one is a theist.


It may initially be spiritually motivated but quickly degenerates into the natural result of the human condition sacrificing the inner awareness of the big picture in favor of self centered egoism sustained by imagination.

I haven’t referred to beliefs in relation to a personal god but just the necessity for conscious attention and detachment in order to awaken from imagination. Society struggles against it since awakening to reality means the death of the imagination which sustains the Great Beast society has become.

The thing is, my spirituality isn’t confining and what you’re doing appears from here to be standing in the door of your cave insisting that I’ve erred by not coming inside to live with you and your ideals, or taking a copy of them to some other cave and living with them there (as idols!) No and no and no. A googolplex of no’s. You’re seeing lines in the sand where all I see is sand. Besides, it smells like bat shit in caves. Why don’t you come out here under all that is and unshackle God and man from your ego instead?  Then we can really talk about the human condition


Plato’s Cave by definition is the world of imagination. How am I inviting you into it by stressing the value conscious attention and detachment can offer?

Julia Haslett during a very down period of her life after her brother’s suicide was struggling with the human condition. Why do these things have to happen? She questioned if she should be a filmmaker and make cold documentary’s on human suffering? These are good questions.

Then she discovered Simone Weil and a simple sentence from her changed her life. She discovered conscious attention and began to see how our lack of the ability for conscious attention is chiefly responsible for the majority of suffering in the world. This is too easy so it can’t be true. She created her documentary on Simone to better understand this question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOCE_d2R5lw

But IMO it is that easy. I know the Beast must struggle against it since its life sustained through imagination depends on ignorance. Yet it is obvious how valuable this perspective is for those who need it. So even though the Beast growls, I will try to join with others furthering the efforts of what those like Simone and others have allowed some in the West to remember:  the value of conscious attention and detachment which can reconcile the inner and outer man.

[ Edited: 29 September 2012 15:52 by Nick_A]
 
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