on non-belief

Tao_Equus

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Atheism until very recently was considered a slur or insult by the many on the very few. And up till little more than a century ago to be a vocal atheist was palpably dangerous. It remains so in some places. Thanks to the religions and their fervour in burning books, and their authors, the record shows very few historical accounts until very recently where anybody openly doubted.

There are a couple of references in Vedic records to a group of monks who preached an atheist reality, but nothing actually from them. And that is the only pre-Greek attempt of the kind of reasoning that eventually led to atheism.

Plato, though some argue it was Democritus, was contestably the first true atheist and atheisms first martyr. None of his actual work survives because it has all been destroyed by over 2000 years of fanatical book burners. The legend of his trial is a remarkable tale of pure courage where the plainest, most incontrovertible logic is defended to the last. Yet even here religionists are want to claim him as a believer at the end and twist his arguments to fit their pathological need. Yet that ultimate truth remains, he dies saying there are no meaningful 'gods'. That they cannot be observed in nature. For the next 2000 years the various religious hegemony's would keep an iron grip on the interpretation and distribution of knowledge. Yet there has been an unbroken line of mavericks and free thinkers that with the odds stacked against them have kept the truth from being entirely extinguished. Up until a little over 150 years ago the brutal iron rod of religious coercion ritually murdered anyone accused of heresy but "the enlightenment" was inevitable. Man has an innate need to know the truth, and some amongst them demand the real truths.

Without shadow of doubt there is a profound link between the blossoming of science in Europe and the birth of modern secular non-belief. And it was heralded in by popular uprisings against the kings and bishops. And the fragmentation of Christianity and retreat of Islam. So a kind of lull was created where scientific endeavour could flourish and the logic of its method be turned full gaze on the big questions.

With Spinoza, Hume, Descartes, Darwin, Einstein and very many more names of the greatest thinkers in our collective written history we are given the possibility to look at a whole new canvas. One that is testable, reasoned and actually works. And so we have seen a golden age driven by the scientific method. That gives us, as a species, a new capacity in technological advancement that redefines what it is to be human. What we have found is something far more complex than the black and white doctrines of the medieval battlefield. Yet medieval style warlords continue to vie with each other just as they always have. And their loyal lieutenants in the international maleducation programs called religions do their thing, thanks to the population growth, to more people than ever before.

If atheism is a battle for reason to be the dominant paradigm then this golden age has still been as yet a simple scouting mission, a head raised above the parapet. With the cancerous spread of deference of ultimate justice to a superstition people will remain disempowered and at the mercy of those who seek power from such ignorance. Around the world Bishops and Priests, Imams and Witch Doctors collect their congregations and sell them to gangsters. It is not abating but increases with the population. The age of reason has most definitely not arrived.

But surely it is inevitable? Surely the cat is out of the bag now. Certainly in Europe the majority of people under 40 are essentially atheist. But they are not evangelising it. Europe is also the safest region on Earth to be born. No accident I think. But even here the religions are desperate and determined to wrest back some control. And it is here that a quiet battle rages. In the US the battle seems almost lost, even though the American Revolution was justified with and enshrined in a secular constitution. Very sad. Now every banknote carries the legend "In God We Trust". Yet the irony seems wholly lost.

I think reason has to win through. It is inevitable if we are to survive. The internet, as it is at the moment, allows it to flourish. Yet hegemony remains all powerful. Any real progress is still centuries off. And that is sad.
 
With Spinoza, Hume, Descartes, Darwin, Einstein and very many more names of the greatest thinkers in our collective written history we are given the possibility to look at a whole new canvas.]
But they weren't athiests ... so you've rather shot your own argument down.

And so we have seen a golden age driven by the scientific method.
Yes. The Industrial Revolution. Trench warfare. Machine gun. Poison gas. Atomic, Biological, Chemical warfare. Identity theft. Industrial disease. Thalidomide. Suicide rates in the young beyond all measure as they aspire to the impossible narcistic dream of your golden age.

In less than 300 years, you're in place to kill the planet. And still denying it. Good going.

That gives us, as a species, a new capacity in technological advancement that redefines what it is to be human.
Yes. Unhappy.

Thomas
 
A big problem with early manuscripts is that there were very few copies - therefore often there would have been no need for organised destruction of any because of their lack of availability in the first place.

With the fall of the ancient world, the means to distribute literature in the west became very limited. As always, only those works where there was a vested interest in distributing them came into play, so with the early Christian church, it is arguable that they sought to prioritise copying of those works which covered Christian interests or subjects.

The irony is, that the scientific revolution wasn't fuelled by a spontaneous rebellion against Christianity, as much as tied in to events centered on the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

When that happened, there was an influx to the west of refugees, scholars, academics, and philanthropists, who took to Western Europe a whole slew of ancient Graeco-Roman literature, as well as a catalogue of scientific knowledge collated and advanced under Islam - all of which had suffered only limited availability in Europe previously, not least because of prejudices against the Orthodox Greeks and Muslim Turks.

So the Renaissance and Enlightenment came from greater exposure to cosmopolitan ideas seeded in the convergence of major religious ideals.

Just my theory, anyway. :)
 
We are in the "End Times" stage of many world religions as they fail to comprehend or provide meaning for living in the modern world. This is a natural environment for both new religious ideas to come forth and non-religion too, both avenues of human expression vying for being the dominant paradigm of human mentality. The atheist position seems to reappear in history loaded with the same problems as the established religions they so highly criticize, e.g the call for Reason actually produced highly unreasonable people as heads of government, e.g. in France, who tend to want to kill those who oppose them, e.g. the Soviets and the Chinese. These atheist characters tend to scare the bejesus out of theists and for good reason.

As the old religions lose value, atheism seems a logical choice but that is only because spiritual regeneration has not arrived for these people looking for a structured way of seeing the world. But that's not the case anymore. A brand new Christian vision has come into being that now bridges science, humanity and God, the vision contained in the Gospel of Humanity.
 
But they weren't athiests ... so you've rather shot your own argument down.
They were all as atheist as I am. And almost all of them expressed some perplexity or disgust that the establishment that tried so hard to silence or humiliate them would on failing to claim them in life, do so on death. As in Darwins being buried against his express wishes in a church. I have read their books, not just their misquotes in some doctrinal garbage. I claim them as atheists with EVERY justification. And they themselves always rejected your claim.


Yes. The Industrial Revolution. Trench warfare. Machine gun. Poison gas. Atomic, Biological, Chemical warfare. Identity theft. Industrial disease. Thalidomide. Suicide rates in the young beyond all measure as they aspire to the impossible narcistic dream of your golden age.
The relgio-political powerhouses were going to ignore the ability of science to create more effective missery? No chance, some of the earliest 'machines' in our museums are the torture and warfare instruments of Catholic 'enlightenment'. And I have to laugh at your use of the word narcisistic when nothing is more narcissist than believing you know gods will.

I am getting used to being dissapointed by you Thomas. You can write off pages of utterly meaningless interpretations of wholly irrellevant texts yet you never meet the real challenge. That religion can be extremely viscious and cruel and that many millions have died in the past century with the full collusion of the Catholic Church. So your one line innacurate and misleading diversions from facts do frustrate me. The only saving amusement is watching you squirm within the limitations of what you are allowed to say.
 
A big problem with early manuscripts is that there were very few copies - therefore often there would have been no need for organised destruction of any because of their lack of availability in the first place.

With the fall of the ancient world, the means to distribute literature in the west became very limited. As always, only those works where there was a vested interest in distributing them came into play, so with the early Christian church, it is arguable that they sought to prioritise copying of those works which covered Christian interests or subjects.

The irony is, that the scientific revolution wasn't fuelled by a spontaneous rebellion against Christianity, as much as tied in to events centered on the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

When that happened, there was an influx to the west of refugees, scholars, academics, and philanthropists, who took to Western Europe a whole slew of ancient Graeco-Roman literature, as well as a catalogue of scientific knowledge collated and advanced under Islam - all of which had suffered only limited availability in Europe previously, not least because of prejudices against the Orthodox Greeks and Muslim Turks.

So the Renaissance and Enlightenment came from greater exposure to cosmopolitan ideas seeded in the convergence of major religious ideals.

Just my theory, anyway. :)

Yup, yet the opposition to the kind of inquiry re-discovered in Europe was extreme. The CC especially had a stranglehold on the distribution and availability of texts. But individuals and sometimes networks of mavericks within the church and its orders recognised the value of the Greek thinkers and expanded slowly upon them. Any "free thinker" was almost obliged to take the robes of observance to gain access to these hugely valuable texts, there was no other way. So it is impossible for us to know who really thought what. The truth remains for most of the last 2000 years it has been extremely dangerous to declare yourself a non-believer.
 
We are in the "End Times" stage of many world religions as they fail to comprehend or provide meaning for living in the modern world. This is a natural environment for both new religious ideas to come forth and non-religion too, both avenues of human expression vying for being the dominant paradigm of human mentality. The atheist position seems to reappear in history loaded with the same problems as the established religions they so highly criticize, e.g the call for Reason actually produced highly unreasonable people as heads of government, e.g. in France, who tend to want to kill those who oppose them, e.g. the Soviets and the Chinese. These atheist characters tend to scare the bejesus out of theists and for good reason.

As the old religions lose value, atheism seems a logical choice but that is only because spiritual regeneration has not arrived for these people looking for a structured way of seeing the world. But that's not the case anymore. A brand new Christian vision has come into being that now bridges science, humanity and God, the vision contained in the Gospel of Humanity.

Was kind of with you up until you got to the plug. I think the last thing we need is yet another vying Republic of God.
 
They were all as atheist as I am.
Well they all believed in God, so by definition, they were not athiests, were they? How they believed in God is not the question. I don't think they would consider themselves athiest.

No chance, some of the earliest 'machines' in our museums are the torture and warfare instruments of Catholic 'enlightenment'.
OK. So then you are as bad as us, in fact worse, for you are without excuse. You're supposedly the enlightened ones, remember? I'm the superstitious one. You simply threw out God, but continue to make ever-more sophisticated machines of torture and warfare to advance your own 'enlightenment', so 'let he who is without sin', or pots and kettles, or those who live in glass houses ...

And I have to laugh at your use of the word narcisistic when nothing is more narcissist than believing you know gods will.
And I laugh at the fact you will get apoplectic at the very suggestion of 'infallibility' in Catholicism, yet you assume your own as a given. There is no room at all for the fact that you might be wrong?

yet you never meet the real challenge.
Surely the real challenge is to love they neighbour.

We might not do it, but at least we got to the idea of it ... you however see your neighbour as a means of economic advantage, and love as a matter of pragmatism or pornography — either way it's reduced to a trading value, like everything else.

I see nothing in your enlightenment credo that supercedes mine ... I see the same old hypocrisies posturing in a new suit ...

I have never denied the faults of the Catholic Church, although I do defend her from trumped up and ill-founded accusations.

But squirm! Dear chap, you over-estimate yourself.

Here's a thought ... if one took the Catholic Church away, the evidence suggests those injustices would still remain ... so tell me, is it us infecting your society, or its it your society infecting mine?

Thomas
 
Well they all believed in God, so by definition, they were not athiests, were they? How they believed in God is not the question. I don't think they would consider themselves athiest.


OK. So then you are as bad as us, in fact worse, for you are without excuse. You're supposedly the enlightened ones, remember? I'm the superstitious one. You simply threw out God, but continue to make ever-more sophisticated machines of torture and warfare to advance your own 'enlightenment', so 'let he who is without sin', or pots and kettles, or those who live in glass houses ...


And I laugh at the fact you will get apoplectic at the very suggestion of 'infallibility' in Catholicism, yet you assume your own as a given. There is no room at all for the fact that you might be wrong?


Surely the real challenge is to love they neighbour.

We might not do it, but at least we got to the idea of it ... you however see your neighbour as a means of economic advantage, and love as a matter of pragmatism or pornography — either way it's reduced to a trading value, like everything else.

I see nothing in your enlightenment credo that supercedes mine ... I see the same old hypocrisies posturing in a new suit ...

I have never denied the faults of the Catholic Church, although I do defend her from trumped up and ill-founded accusations.

But squirm! Dear chap, you over-estimate yourself.

Here's a thought ... if one took the Catholic Church away, the evidence suggests those injustices would still remain ... so tell me, is it us infecting your society, or its it your society infecting mine?

Thomas
My society!! lol, why can you not get past the idea of linking me to some formal movement that rolls out a machinery of war? I am not a rival church and just because you make a distinction between political and religious power does not mean that there is one on any level. They walk hand in hand when it suits them and according to the dynamics of shifting power. I on the other hand represent no system, no ideology, doctrine or dogma. I am merely a commentator who has seen enough FACT to be able to tell a bull from its bullsh*t. You cannot reduce me on fact. The Facts stand for themselves. I do not own them, and I make no effort to pervert them. And I will use them as they stand. Not using the twisted righteousness of a wholly corrupt school of lie and deception.

Hutu catholic brotherly love is awesome aint it.
 
Tao

I think reason has to win through. It is inevitable if we are to survive. The internet, as it is at the moment, allows it to flourish. Yet hegemony remains all powerful. Any real progress is still centuries off. And that is sad.

Quite true. Reason will win and the most skilled at reason will eliminate those less so. "The Art of War" will be appreciated by those with the high reasonling skills and carry out the program insuring their victory. Once those having denied reason are eliminated we will have peace. Simple enough

The Art of War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
I think Tao makes alot of sense although I know can push your argument hard sometimes. I know there has been good and bad atheists in the past but Tao’s form comes from nurturing the human condition (humanist atheist) and im starting to think that maybe atheism can do this better than any other form of belief system. Being an Atheist doesn't necessarily mean you should dismiss the paranormal does it? Or is that crossing onto agnosticism?
 
I can see the wonders of atheism but I just don't understand the stuborness to reject anything supernatural which you can't even prove there isn't. This is why I could never step over the Agnostic line and into Atheism.
 
I on the other hand represent no system, no ideology, doctrine or dogma.
Then you represent nothing. So your just a noise.

I am merely a commentator who has seen enough FACT to be able to tell a bull from its bullsh*t. You cannot reduce me on fact. The Facts stand for themselves. I do not own them, and I make no effort to pervert them. And I will use them as they stand.
So you are a user, who takes responsibility for nothing, but assumes the right to criticise everything. You contribute nothing ...

Not using the twisted righteousness of a wholly corrupt school of lie and deception.
You surely occupy an enviable position ... you add not a jot to the common good of humanity, yet you claim every right and good as if it were your own, every good is yours if you want it, every bad is someone else's fault ...

You produce nothing, but consume what you will, you contribute nothing, but take what you like, and you heckle others from your ivory tower for not sharing your utterly selfish and self-serving agenda, but for being down here in the dirt, actually making an effort.

Frankly, I'd still rather put my faith in someone who tries and gets it wrong, than in someone who does nothing but points out everyone else's faults.

Thomas
 
Frankly, I'd still rather put my faith in someone who tries and gets it wrong, than in someone who does nothing but points out everyone else's faults.

Thomas
Namaste Thomas,

Appears time to take a look at the meditation thread my brother.

Here is me not trying to understand. (but most probably will be accused of RC bashing) Jim Jones or Tao...which meets your thesis? Mee or Dawkins? Spong or Ehrman?
 
Yes. The Industrial Revolution. Trench warfare. Machine gun. Poison gas. Atomic, Biological, Chemical warfare. Identity theft. Industrial disease. Thalidomide.

And yet science brought about medical revolutions that have crashed infant mortality rates, crippled once common diseases, and healed billions.

You mention warfare, Thomas, but how ironic that Christianity - a religion based on peace - should have chaplains in armies around the world, to bless those very weapons and their bearers?
 
As far as I understood it from previous conversation in my "Smorgasbord Religion" thread, Tao is more agnostic than atheist, more subjectivist than objectivist. But he prefers to put on atheist, objectivist clothing. Perhaps for its greater shock value, so it is more antithetical to established religion. I don't know.

At the end of the day, I just don't get why people presume that everyone in the world has to agree with their own views. I don't care if you're an atheist, a Hindu, or a shaman out in the rain forest of Brazil... all I ask is respect for my views and I offer respect for yours. I think the debates and all are nice if we really listen to one another, because resulting doubt creates a level of honesty in one's individual perspectives that tests one's own worldview.

But beyond that, it's just all pointless. Everyone just postures trying to win converts, to shore up their social position and feel better about themselves. Everyone looks for the "I agree!" or "You're right!" so they feel justified. LOL, Everyone tries to claim the "famous" and "good" people for their own so they have their own shiny examples of humanity at its finest. Somehow we hold these people up as incapable of the same dumb mistakes that we ourselves make due to their brilliance or compassionate acts, and they shore up our own position like pawns, mute before our maneuvering since most of the time they are conveniently dead.

And none of it matters. No matter how much agreement anyone racks up or how many famous, nifty people someone has in "their" camp... it's all utterly worthless outside of giving a sense of social belonging and a false sense of control and security.

The universe and God are what they are, and all of us are so limited it's unlikely any of us, whether operating from inspiriation or reason, intuition or data, has a clue. Meanwhile, life slips by and we waste it in indignation- righteous or rational. We ignore the basic underlying problem...

Being human, stuck with blindly trying to fill up our social and control needs. Through religion, through government, through science... pick our favorite. Then justify it, put down the others, form a little club. Eh, we're in good company... with all the other people in the world. We continue on our merry way of divisions, fears, hatred of each other- justifying them however we so choose- and completely ignoring the opportunity to rise above.
 
As far as I understood it from previous conversation in my "Smorgasbord Religion" thread, Tao is more agnostic than atheist, more subjectivist than objectivist. But he prefers to put on atheist, objectivist clothing. Perhaps for its greater shock value, so it is more antithetical to established religion. I don't know.

At the end of the day, I just don't get why people presume that everyone in the world has to agree with their own views. I don't care if you're an atheist, a Hindu, or a shaman out in the rain forest of Brazil... all I ask is respect for my views and I offer respect for yours. I think the debates and all are nice if we really listen to one another, because resulting doubt creates a level of honesty in one's individual perspectives that tests one's own worldview.

But beyond that, it's just all pointless. Everyone just postures trying to win converts, to shore up their social position and feel better about themselves. Everyone looks for the "I agree!" or "You're right!" so they feel justified. LOL, Everyone tries to claim the "famous" and "good" people for their own so they have their own shiny examples of humanity at its finest. Somehow we hold these people up as incapable of the same dumb mistakes that we ourselves make due to their brilliance or compassionate acts, and they shore up our own position like pawns, mute before our maneuvering since most of the time they are conveniently dead.

And none of it matters. No matter how much agreement anyone racks up or how many famous, nifty people someone has in "their" camp... it's all utterly worthless outside of giving a sense of social belonging and a false sense of control and security.

The universe and God are what they are, and all of us are so limited it's unlikely any of us, whether operating from inspiriation or reason, intuition or data, has a clue. Meanwhile, life slips by and we waste it in indignation- righteous or rational. We ignore the basic underlying problem...

Being human, stuck with blindly trying to fill up our social and control needs. Through religion, through government, through science... pick our favorite. Then justify it, put down the others, form a little club. Eh, we're in good company... with all the other people in the world. We continue on our merry way of divisions, fears, hatred of each other- justifying them however we so choose- and completely ignoring the opportunity to rise above.


I think its ok to get converts as long as you do it as passive, friendly and humanly as possible. There used to be pagan religions that sacrificed people, Christianitys protelyzing pretty much abolished this and caused alot of postive social reform much afterwards and still on going today. Our actions are based on what we believe and as you mention our world view. If you happen to have a good one, protelyzing can be seen as a form of charity to me.
 
Well that was an interesting post coming from you lol....

I am feeling feisty this morning. LOL :p

I think I'm just fed up with all the labels and blame. Let's blame the Catholic church. No wait, the Muslims. No wait, let's blame the atheists. The Pagans. Blah blah blah.

At the end of the day, what's the point? People continue to be what they are. Some of them in all religions and non-religions are nice and help out and have concern about being goodness and truth and beauty. And others are biting and greedy and have concern about getting all they can no matter its expense to others. The common denominator is people and their individual choices. In practically any religion or non-religion, people can grow their capacity for love and compassion and wonder- all the highest potentials of humanity. And in practically any of them, people can justify horrific things.

People are people are people. The labels and groupings and whatnot mean nothing until instantiated by the individual and his or her goals and desires.
 
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