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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What Am I Missing?

Interesting exchange with my friend Jim in the Moot to the atheism/nihilism post below:

expecting people to do without the comforts (if not the threats) of traditional religion (or for that matter, for some who would otherwise declare themselves to be atheists, to do without the comforts of the techno-religion of >Hism) is to expect them to swallow a bitter pill, to adopt a pretty austere world view.

I honestly don't get this, logically or emotionally. I mean, all the substantial supports associated with faith are really happening at the level of interpersonal support and aesthetic edification anyway. The atheist isn't missing out on any of that stuff, they just see it differently. I don't doubt the reality or validity of the experience you are testifying to, it's just that I really truly don't personally get it at all.


Anonymous said...

"If Religion were not at the core of Reality, we would have to invent it anyway." - F. Herbert, R. Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, "Missionaria Protective", Orange Catholic Bible

Dale Carrico said...

Yeah, people need to believe in stuff. That they have to believe in a creator god, a loving sky-parent, a posthumous judgment that revenges mundane inequities, an actually eventually or even logically necessary reconciliation of fact with value or ignorance with knowledge else be a nihilist or some kind of a tough-guy simply does not follow for me. You do know that a short blank assertion by a fictional character embedded in a social form in a fictional world isn't exactly an argument? The Bene Gesserit (and the Jesuits on whom they were modeled) have more elaborated positions on these questions.

jimf said...

> [A]ll the substantial supports associated with faith
> are really happening at the level of interpersonal support
> and aesthetic edification anyway.

They are for some people, I suppose. But even for those
who are that lucky, only for a while (longer or shorter,
as the case may be).

I'm not saying this to advocate for belief in an imaginary
friend or parent in the sky, of course -- whether or not
one's real friends or parents have abandoned, rejected,
or otherwise disappointed one.

> I honestly don't get this, logically or emotionally.

Oh I get it, emotionally. It's just that that's not enough
to permit me the luxury of a willing suspension of

I don't think people are really "wired" for nihilism,
either. But neither do I think that grown-ups should
any longer have to be bribed with immortality, or eternity,
to be persuaded to behave themselves.

Black guy from the future past said...

People who say this (religion is necessary or "good") are truly deluded. I gave up religion many years ago and I do not miss it not one bit. There was nothing comforting or pleasing about any of it. In fact, religion is a selfish human response. We pander to a deity to get results in this world. Nobody gives a damn about "God", they only care about what this "God" can personally do for them. Even while "praying for others" this selfishness remains, as if to denote that because of their "devotion" and "prayer", they are responsible for all the good happening in the world. What a load of hypocritical bull. That's what "faith" is. A self-serving load of delusional hypocritical bull. Perhaps, you could find some good friends in a church or temple or mosque, but you could do the same at a library, museum, or a strip club for that matter. That's the only thing I could see about faith. Congregating at place of worship to meet other human beings. Of course those human beings would be just as delusional as the one going to the house of worship in the first place. At least in the other places I mentioned there is greater opportunity for variety and differences of values and opinions, to say the least.

So no Dale. To answer your question, you are not missing out on anything. Believe me. I used to go to church and I used to believe in "god", or more specifically, I used to believe that "god" could do something for me, or anybody for that matter. My god, was I wrong.

jollyspaniard said...

I don't buy this argument either as would anyone living in Northern or Western Europe for a spell. Athiesm isn't a strain for those living there, religion just drops off naturally under the right conditions. These aren't people swallowing bitter pills. And the worldview of these people isn't austere especially compared to the seriously and dogmaticaly religious.

We've got secular marriages, secular codes of ethics, secular dietary and hygeine practices which even the most pious prefer to the ones in their dusty old texts. And we also have secular sense of wonder, not that religion is about sense of wonder in my view. These things aren't just viable alternatives they are preferable ones to majorities of people

What religions provide is a stable framework for a society that is independent of the whims of any paticular monarch. That was a useful bit of cultural technology but underlying conditions have changed.

Dale Carrico said...

I like your flavor of jollity jolly.