For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
equippedcat responding to a post by hessianwithteeth – “It still seems to me that using atheist for those who believe there are no gods and nontheist for those who don’t have any god beliefs would make things much clearer for everyone.”
Yes! I’ve also started using the term ‘non-theist’ as counterpoint to ‘theist’. It reflects the underlying structural context of thought and habit.
The term atheist for me, is someone who holds a “belief” that there is no God. This would actually represent someone who “believes in God enough to resist the idea. (Usually thinking that it would mean they were stupid, like those crazy …ians, or …ists.)
They are basically conflicted but not sufficiently curious enough, to sort out the relative from the universal aspects of reality.
I’m saying that God is Reality, NOT our moment by moment conception of what is real.
As for belief or non-belief in “gods”, this is a primitive variation on the same condition. It highlights even more, the issue of mistaking conception for fact.
People are inclined to buy into ideas whole hog, or build up walls to keep them out. Neither habit represents the Freedom of direct experience.
As for religion; Like all human endeavours, it’s a mixed bag. I find it foolish to write off it’s potential. There have been countless examples of successful transcendence and authentic Good arising from it’s womb.
It makes me happy though, when it doesn’t inspire, worship or require Armageddon.
(Responding to “More questions for Atheists” posted by hessianwithteeth. You will want his list viewable alongside the following, for it to make sense.)
1. An honest definition of God would have to center on the a priori nature of God, on the infinitude of singularity, on existence itself.
2. An intelligent designer, requires something outside its Self to design upon. How does this resolve to the infinitude of singularity? Does this suggest a paradox? Does the ‘existence’ of this paradox in any way negate God?
3. Infinitude as cause of finitude? How can that be? Emergent characteristic of infinite potential perhaps? Who is it that asks? Upon what is the self resting when it asks?
4. How would this ‘functioning of the brain’, that doesn’t really exist as mind, ‘test’ for the ‘existence’ of Entirety? All that is, is not, or might be?
5. Why would I believe in the Sun? What is the Sun anyway? What is the evidence that the Sun exists? Sure the Sun might exist, but why should I believe that it is actually the Sun?
6. How do I know that there is no way to know something? If a universe-of-things results from no-thing, how is that different from me typing these words?
7. As for ‘something always existing’; that requires the pre-existence of time.
8. How does DNA work? Where does instinctual knowledge reside?
9. What is time? Where does time exist? Is there actually anything other than now?
10. Anything wrong? Hell yes! May I suggest that the objective aspect of morality is a quality that we as humans bring, (or more likely fail to bring), to the game. Not, some special manifestation or category of behaviour.
11. Like the above ‘special quality’, perhaps the key is Quality. But what is that? (suggestions for likely characteristics: honesty, authenticity, compassion, humility, goodwill.) Are there limits on the cultivation of Quality?
12. What does this word super mean? Like the word ‘designer’ it implies something other that what is. Therefore it is only imagined within Nature. Since there is only Nature, it is sufficient. Remember Singularity. Infinitude of potential. The awakening of Awareness. I AM THAT I AM. (in case you haven’t been tracking this closely.)
13. Primordial cause is Infinitude. One universe of many is not Universe. Or else we need another term. Entirety. Allah, Ishvara, Yahweh. Pick one if you need to but better, just go and see.
14. The ‘infinitude’ of a mathematical set is only a pseudo infinitude. So that must not be what we are talking about. Right?
15. Why go off the rails at this point? Let’s ponder the possibility that evolution is not a random process but rather a process of ‘Self discovery’. That consciousness is integral to existence. That there is innate meaning to Life. That the miraculous is omnipresent and therefore invisible.
hessianwithteeth – “ ‘God’ which ever one(s) we are talking about is no more then a character in a story to me than Harry Potter.”
This common refrain, — “which ever one(s) we are talking about”–, illustrates the point I’m hoping to make.
Most people including most atheists, are limited by the familiar orbit of prevailing concepts. Both their own, and those of their times.
I often remind people of the Zen adage “the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon”.
The “god(s)” that atheists choose not to believe in, are no more or less “real” than the Baptist’s “God”.
None of this negates God. By assuming that my views are “new age” you are attempting to catalog them. Yes, they are views, but they are purposefully open ended. They are also quite old school.
I call “Reality” God because this is what it is. But be careful how you catalog “Reality”. It is a life time of work just to learn not to do that.
For instance: Is there an assumption that your imagining of Harry Potter, is somehow other than “Reality”?
I would say that a “reality” that excludes imagination is not absolute “Reality”. This is the way to contemplate God. Anything else is just political fussiness.
equippedcat – “Most people who truly believe there is no God have assembled enough evidence to not only support their belief, but argue that belief.”
I would be interested in an example of what that proof might actually consist of.
But, my point would be, that whatever they feel they have disproved or simply don’t believe in, is a conceptualization.
The most they could hope for, is to prove that there is a more satisfying conceptualization.
This is a process that both the theist and non-theist engages in all the time. It is the foundation of evolution.
Being relative to time, place and purpose, the proof itself cannot be absolute. Only God is proof of God. This is why we pursue direct experience, whether we call it science, prayer or meditation.
equippedcat – “There has to be some evidence they accept, otherwise they could not hold the belief. Note that often the evidence is directed against the Christian God, since that is the one some find most obnoxious.”
All of which generally points, more to attitude and rationalization than to reason.
One thing that would help expand the conversation, is for all parties to weed out the term “supernatural” from their vocabulary.
That word, is really just a flat-landian hack. We get confused by the unexpected. Our latent hubris thinks it knows how things are supposed to be.
The body of God is Nature. Expressed to the nth degree. “Supernatural” implies something outside of that. An absurdity.
Also, so we don’t find ourselves bogged down in another common disconnect; Consciousness of Self is absolutely inherent in nature.
The origin and the manifestation ever present. Here and Now. Seamless. It’s essence is Infinitude.
As humans, we get to choose how we relate to this. We can petition for better understanding; both of the whole and of the parts.
equippedcat – “It is true that the word and nature of the Supernatural causes friction between those who believe it and those who don’t. I fear that removing the word and concept would be more of a problem. If God inhabits the same realm that is home to Science, then the argument that Science cannot detect God, and can explain ‘everything’ without resorting to Him gains a lot more weight. Plus that argument that the description of God is ‘impossible’ because it violate the physical laws of this realm.”
Thank you for your reply. Though you have articulated the status quo that my premise would dissolve.
I’ll leave these two views for others to ponder.
(Responding to a reasonable critique by hessianwithteeth. You can see it here.)
If you assume Zen is complex, there is already a breakdown in our communication.
Perhaps consider, that what your are calling ‘assertions’, are lenses that I’m offering for you to try on.
If the initial statement is not accepted, at least as hypothesis, then every following statement will be seen as garbage.
Do you want me to try again? Or are your rules written in stone?
(Note: Just so we don’t confuse ourselves, I am not advocating Zen particularly. Just it’s effect. The thread of Gold that runs through mature religion and philosophy. Also, in my opinion, the ripened potential of science.)
hessianwithteeth – “My rules are not set in stone, it may seem that way, but I demand justification to change my view. What that justification is depends on what is being argued or discussed.
From what you’ve said across this blog so far I have some inkling to what you think, but your speaking a diffrent language (so to speak) so I can’t pick what your saying out from your words. There are under lying assumptions which I am unaware of and without some insight into those it would be hubris for me to go any further then I have.”
An “inkling” is good. My style requires it. Like flint and steel.
I have appreciated the opportunity to lay down a few riffs and might check in again down the road.