Author Topic: Goodbye...  (Read 12845 times)

Lord J Esq

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2018, 09:48:54 pm »
I can share here...

So since returning from Japan last year I've been trying to figure out... how can I leverage the passion I feel towards Japanese culture into a business model? I'm not a weeaboo or otaku, I simply find the place and people fascinating. I have since I was a kid. A few years back I found a journal from when I was 8 and I said I wanted to live in Japan.
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I've always wanted to live in Japan too, even before passing through the main gateway (of video games, anime, manga, and trading card games) that causes this desire in most such people. I remember watching a documentary on The Travel Channel a very long time ago (back when those cable channels still had educational value) about a Western Japanese person going on a pilgrimage of sorts in Japan, starting in the city and gradually moving toward her ancestral home region, before finally finishing up at a shrine in the mountains.

From there, anime definitely got me into Japanese culture in a big way, and later on I began to absorb the fact that many of the video games I loved had a Japanese provenance as well.

Alas, as I've gotten older I've more or less become resigned to the fact that it's never going to happen, and I take vicarious pleasure in watching authentic channels like Rachel and Jun and Abroad in Japan featuring those who made it there as permanent residents.

Perhaps the contrast against what I was learning and my grandfather's leanings made me dig deeper and recognize the right and wrong of reality?

I think other people's bigotry, when we aren't already absorbed into it ourselves, definitely heightens our awareness of the irrationality of such things.

One of my old college buddies and I were hiking one day and I told him my intent to go backpacking in Japan, alone if necessary, and it turns out he was doing the exact same planning.

So we ended up going together and have been toying with business venture ideas since we've come back. Import/export, healthcare translating services, some kind of consulting, etc.

Nice!

Then it dawned on me... I fucking love shinto shrines. There's something about the harmony in nature and the fact that they're hidden everywhere. Sanctuaries. In the middle of isolated mountains or in the middle of a major city like Tokyo. When I was in Japan, I hit up every shinto shrine I came across and loved performing the shinto ceremonies, despite my lack of belief in shinto deities.

I could go on about this for way longer than I have time for!

If you remember from back in the day, I was (and still am) pretty hardcore anti-religious. The thought of a person giving up their critical thinking in exchange for a system of beliefs that guarantees to them they're right and others are wrong just repulses me on so many levels.

Since my old days at the Compendium, I've come to understand Shinto a lot better, and there are many respects in which it doesn't fit my older definition of "religion," despite its invocation of divinity and its strong spiritual aspect. In particular, for most people there doesn't seem to be any code of objective morality or universal commandments associated with it. It doesn't really fit the Western conceptualization of religion the way every other major Eastern religion (and each Western one) does. It is seemingly unique in the world, among popular religions, in its lack of forceful objective declarations.

That makes it a lot less threatening than virtually every other large religion.

On top of that, Shinto is predicated upon a different human need than most religions are. Most religions arise out of the dual nature of people's need for order: leaders' need to control their populations, and the public's need for leadership, structure, and guidance in their lives. Shinto isn't about that. With the caveat that my understanding is still rather limited and incomplete, Shinto appears to be predicated on recognizing that the world is beautiful and humans need to have things to care about.

That is more than simply a thing I can tolerate. That's something I personally agree with!

And so, while I am not a Shintoist by any means, I tend to have warm attitudes toward Shinto expressions and interpretations.

To me, Shinto shrines are the lowest and least appealing aspect of Shinto, because they formalize something that needs no formality and shouldn't be formalized in the first place. Nevertheless, as far as houses of worship go, they are by far the most appealing and least off-putting I have ever considered. And it appeals to me that they aren't about themselves, the way churches are. They're about whatever setting they're situated in. I like that.

There are three shinto shrines in the United States. Two in Hawaii and one in Washington.

I didn't know that! Apparently the Washington one is very close to me. I will have to check it out!

Obviously, I'm not a shinto priest, nor do I abide by shinto tradition. But how cool would it be to have a shinto shrine somewhere on the east coast - literally on the opposite side of the world from Japan? I mean, there's enough of a legitimate Japanese population in Nashville to justify a weekend festival, perhaps there's enough to justify a shinto shrine that can act as both a legit place of worship as well as a regional attraction?

This is totally a long shot and highly unrealistic. Nor do I have any sort of long-term plan on how I would even be involved outside of the initial kickoff. But my thoughts are a shinto shrine in Nashville or somewhere else on the east coast.

Obviously, it would be handled as a non-profit and would need to be maintained by a legit shinto priest. There are likely cultural grants that could help acquire the necessary land and building efforts, as well as fundraising efforts. The shrine, once up and running, could be self-maintaining just like those in Japan; the sell of trinkets, fortunes, and blessings could help with the shrine costs and the priest would likely live on the premises and help with operations.

This could provide a backbone of the Japanese regional community, act as a tourist destination, and provide a venue for ceremonies, festivals, and even weddings.

I'm starting a little research now to see if it would even be feasible. Not looking good, but it's worth looking into if it's something I'm passionate about. Like I said, I'm not even sure how I would fit in outside of kicking off the efforts and helping coordinate, but it's a thought I'm currently trying to wrap my mind around.

That is an awesome ambition!

May I make the suggestion that, if you want to succeed in it, you start small and immediate rather than grandiose? You should dive into further studies of Shinto itself, as well as Japanese and Japanese-American culture, to better understand why these shrines exist and how they are utilized, and what the people who visit them think about them.

Then, instead of planning a major construction, think about alternative (cheaper and easier) ways to achieve your core goals embedded inside the vision. You may discover that what you want isn't a Shinto shrine per se, but something else--something more achievable--that merely accompanies these sites.

You will need collaborators and capital. Don't go it alone! In the meantime, draw up a projection of cost estimates and begin researching the legal details associated with land development and construction, operation of the facility, and taxation and bonding and licensing. Get a realistic sense of achievement milestones by which you can mark your progress.

You can get there--but only with serious dedication!

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2018, 12:27:27 am »
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Alas, as I've gotten older I've more or less become resigned to the fact that it's never going to happen, and I take vicarious pleasure in watching authentic channels like Rachel and Jun and Abroad in Japan featuring those who made it there as permanent residents.

I've been there and still do this. In fact, I still regularly go back and watch old softypapa videos -- he was an American living in Shizuoka with his Japanese wife and daughter. He was ~45-ish and had a very Jack Kerouac-ian independent streak. He regularly went on hikes in the Japanese alps, would record random things, and often detailed his philosophical musings while he stumbled upon old, abandoned tea farms and the like. He moved back to the states in 2013 or 2014 and now explores the deserts of California, finding mines and stuff. If you haven't checked him out, I recommend him. It's a much more nuanced approach to Japan than Jun and Rachel (I love Jun's cooking channel) and Abroad in Japan (still waiting on that Natsuke movie to come out).

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If you remember from back in the day, I was (and still am) pretty hardcore anti-religious. The thought of a person giving up their critical thinking in exchange for a system of beliefs that guarantees to them they're right and others are wrong just repulses me on so many levels.

Oh, I remember. I stayed out of those conversations, though. Rhetoric was never my forte. What I believed then also does not align with what I believe now. Which is to say, I believe in nothing. This is it. It's comforting to come to that religion. Despite this, I still have an innate core of spirituality, which I now believe comes from probably millions of years of evolution in communion with nature. This is why nature is where I end up feeling the most spiritual. Which also ties back into that whole Shinto conversion.

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Apparently the Washington one is very close to me. I will have to check it out!

If you check it out, give me an update!

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That is an awesome ambition!

May I make the suggestion that, if you want to succeed in it, you start small and immediate rather than grandiose? You should dive into further studies of Shinto itself, as well as Japanese and Japanese-American culture, to better understand why these shrines exist and how they are utilized, and what the people who visit them think about them.

Then, instead of planning a major construction, think about alternative (cheaper and easier) ways to achieve your core goals embedded inside the vision. You may discover that what you want isn't a Shinto shrine per se, but something else--something more achievable--that merely accompanies these sites.

You will need collaborators and capital. Don't go it alone! In the meantime, draw up a projection of cost estimates and begin researching the legal details associated with land development and construction, operation of the facility, and taxation and bonding and licensing. Get a realistic sense of achievement milestones by which you can mark your progress.

You can get there--but only with serious dedication!

I definitely have some innate desire to combine nature with civilization. There's a city park here in Chattanooga where they set up a natural water filtration system build into the park; ponds with rows and rows of stones and the like. It's meant to help clean the dirty runoff before it reaches the TN river. It's literally nothing special, but I love going there and fantasizing about being an engineer and designing eco-friendly spaces.

Not that I really want to do that, but it's fun to wear those make believe shoes when in the moment.

I say all that because I think this harkens back to the shinto idea. I have no idea if it's even feasible, because you're right, it would take capital. And tons of effort and time. I envision applying for some sort of cultural grant, but even that would only happen after a business plan was established and protocols properly vetted.

I actually thought a logical first step would be to reach out to the priest at the Washington shrine and pick his brain. He may end up telling me that it won't happen. In the mean time, I am actually doing what you recommend -- trying to study up on Shinto so I have a more fundamental understanding of the religion as a whole.

Kodokami

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2018, 12:48:59 pm »
Have either of you looked into pantheism? Seems like it's right up your alley.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2018, 02:33:00 pm »
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Have either of you looked into pantheism? Seems like it's right up your alley.

I have.

I started evangelical Christian (what I was raised), then transitioned into a more liberally-minded Christianity (probably a mix of Catholicism with Episcopalian doctrines) in college.

Later, I realized my beliefs were more in line with some form of agnostic theism, in which I recognized I was no longer confident in the existence of any sort of divinity, and if there was, it did not interact with us. That likewise explored some form of pantheism (all religion are means to the same end; the universe itself is what we contribute as being the 'it')

It wasn't until about five years or so ago I became comfortable with the thought that I was, in fact, an agnostic atheist. I think a good portion of that stems from my need to un-brainwash the conditioning of the super religious, uber-right wing evangelical ("Pharisee," bahaha) environment I had been in for decades.

That all being said, I don't decry anyone for believing in anything. My wife is a devout, albeit mostly level-headed Christian and I still go to church with her out of a desire to maintain stability and keep the peace. I have not and will not try to convince her, and I hope my kids come to believe their own beliefs in time (regardless or not if that aligns with my own religious worldview). The more important thing is the type of people they will become. I know some highly religious people that are wonderful, loving, gracious people. But yeah, I don't maintain any belief in convincing others or anything.

PrincessNadia78

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2018, 03:18:43 pm »
How did I miss these posts?! This topic is right up my alley. Ha ha!

I'm a lot like you Boo, I prefer to think for myself than to have someone tell me how I'm supposed to think. I consider myself to be agnostic/pagan, even though I haven't "practiced" in quite awhile. I enjoy meditating and tarot card reading among other things. I've just had too many instances in life to not believe in anything. I grew up Catholic and non-denominational (and I would NEVER go back to non-denominational, long story) and just the older I got the more it didn't seem right to me. I support equality for all and I hate how people use Christianity to hate groups of people AND to push their religion on you. I don't push my beliefs on anyone and IMO, that's how it should be. I would rather be agnostic and be kind than be a Christian and be hateful.

Just my 2 cents. :)

tushantin

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2018, 03:29:11 pm »
I'd like to briefly butt into this convo, even though it's probably none of my business.

I've sharply matured since the days gone by, including how I view religion and lack of it to be, as well as the concepts of morality therein. I've come to sense that, when it comes to labeling ourselves most of us usually have it wrong -- not because of the labels themselves, but because our tendency to either strongly stick to a label or go about shopping for "what kinds of beliefs define me / could be trendy for me". Some folks end up labeling as agnostic, not because of their genuine interest in materialistic reason and lack of interest in the question of what may never be knowable (in order to move on to other, more important aspects of philosophy and reason), but because they neither want to be labeled as "religious" or "atheistic".

What seldom occurs to us is that perhaps the belief in some kind of divinity or concept of god (or lack of it) is not inherently important, but in fact contingent upon other aspects that define your personal being and existence -- your identity, your values, and further more, how you function in the world around you. Even if we are aware of it in some sense we seldom articulate it, and therefore are incapable of acting out by that reason.

I'm a Pantheist through and through, and yet the concept of God (at least to me) has never been separate from its metaphysics and morality -- even if you were a Christian, Hindu or whatever else you ascribe yourselves to be. For a Christian, perhaps, the concept of God may be a collective anthropomorphous manifestation of Human Goodness, a metaphysical concept that exists beyond Humanity and its arrogance to believe itself to be the final arbiter of Virtue and Vice (not unlike, say, mathematics). On the other hand, the Pantheist, while accepting of that concept for people to function as moral and righteous beings, is opposed to believing in it myself because I believe the idea of Evil is indistinguishable from Divinity itself due to their very existence in reality, and therefore both Triumphs and Tribulations matter, and therefore I need to be a stronger man than I find myself to be right now.

Ultimately, whether or not you believe in a God is pointless unless you clarify the metaphysics of that belief, the reason being how you act in your world around you is strongly determined by those beliefs. What ultimately values to your own identity is not the name of the God but the values you either find or are imparted to you, and the principles that you live by -- ones that matter to you, ones you agree with, as well as ones you honestly (in your heart) KNOW you need it, even if you don't like it. Strongly abiding by those principles, that code of morality, and reflecting upon your actions and slowly updating your principles based on the lessons you've learned in your life is the measure of what sort of a human being you're becoming, or better yet, what you want to become. That determines the guidelines for your pencils to trace on between Good and Evil, Useful and Uselessness, Responsible and Helplessness, Strong and Weak, etc. If you get that from Christianity or Hinduism, that's perfectly fine (heck, I've made friends with plenty of Atheistic Hindu and Atheistic Christians recently).

Besides, if you can't define your own principles, then by whose strings would you be living your life on? In  fact, I'd ask, do you have life-jacket in case you drown and take somebody else with you to the abyss?

Meh, I think Dr Jordan B Peterson can probably explain all this better than I can. His lectures have pretty much saved the lives of friends of mine -- and some of them were, and still are, atheists. I've personally found his lectures pretty useful too.

Anywho, that's all I gotta say. *throws smoke-bomb and disappears*


Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2018, 04:09:42 pm »
I think you have the gist of it, tush. I get what you're trying to say. I think your summation to be...

tldr; How your worldview is interpreted - and how you act on it - is more important than labeling yourself.

I think this is true, which is exactly the sentiment I mentioned with my children. The single most important thing in the universe is the type of people they become. That is partially up to me, but ultimately they will go the rest of the way themselves. Let's just hope they have enough 'ingrain moral law' baked in and that I am able to top it up off with my interpretations of values.

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I've come to sense that, when it comes to labeling ourselves most of us usually have it wrong -- not because of the labels themselves, but because our tendency to either strongly stick to a label or go about shopping for "what kinds of beliefs define me / could be trendy for me". Some folks end up labeling as agnostic, not because of their genuine interest in materialistic reason and lack of interest in the question of what may never be knowable (in order to move on to other, more important aspects of philosophy and reason), but because they neither want to be labeled as "religious" or "atheistic".

I get what you're saying here, but all I can say is that this is the most millennial thing I've ever heard. Millennials hate having labels placed on them.

:D

I do get what you're saying, though, but I do think labels can be very helpful at times. In the face of religion, most people are not fluid in their religious beliefs (which stems back to my previous post about people being sheep and have an innate need to be herded; we crave order in the chaos that is the natural state of being). It's why most people identify as strictly Christian or Muslim or Hindu or agnostic or atheist. So on and so forth. It simplifies and does, to a large degree, aid in 'shopping' when it comes to interpersonal relationships, as it helps identify like-minded people. This is why, most times, spouses will fall in similar circles of philosophy / theology. Not every single detail may align, but the "big picture" will likely be similar. It's just a fact of life and having such a label isn't a bad thing. It's a form of cataloging people, if you will.

However, I don't necessarily agree that some people label themselves out of trendiness or to avoid falling into one category or another; I think sometimes those are the best short "names" to classify one's viewpoint. Not everyone can be pantheistic, not everyone can say "it's all true." But, sure, there are people who probably do fall into some sort of line of trendiness. As all things are apt to do.

I can't speak for anyone else, as I can only speak for myself, but I get the pantheistic worldview and why some fall into this belief system. It's not a bad belief and I like it. It's attractive; it casts a wide net and allows for a ton of 'customization' in the form of personal interpretation. It's very safe to me. It's accepting and doesn't try to pigeon hole and call everything into fact and error.

In fact, there are certainly elements of pantheism in Hinduism - Veda Vyasa comes to mind. So to some degree, I'm at a cultural disadvantage to you! Hahaha!

(Side note: I work with a mostly Indians these days and I think, fundamentally, Indians are much more open to the idea of pantheism (or a pantheistic-based worldview) than many other cultures. I think it stems from the less black-and-white cultural philosophy influenced by Hinduism than, say, the United States, based on the Heaven-or-Hell philosophy of (most of) Christianity. Or at least that's my observation; I'm not from India, so I can't say for certain.)

For me, despite my soul searching, the universe truly is chaos. There is no order. There is no kismet. There is no luck or cosmic strings pulling and twisting with the ebb and flow of time. I am convinced of this. I am confident in the scientific method, which states there is no empirical evidence to support any sort of deity or supernatural. This led me from organized religion to pantheism.

But I think, ultimately, my pantheistic view ended with similar logic to my theist beliefs in that, if there is a god, s/he would be a "dead" god. I can see every day, all around me, that there is no divinity that influences or provides us with anything. Which, in turn, would make a theoretical God useless. A pantheistic universe is worthless to me. It doesn't connect any of us; we are only the same if we choose to be. All benefit of the belief ends and begins with us.

Even if the universe and all within it is/was/will be god ("we are god and god is us and everything is god"), I guess I have a hard time accepting that, as Spinoza said, "God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things." Based purely on the fact that we are alone. We create, kill, heal all by our own hands and reason, not by anything else. Once again, all benefit of the belief (or pantheism) would begin and end with the individual.

Maybe that's selfish of me for thinking that there would be a reason, that there would be a benefit. But that's ultimately where I fell into the atheism category over pantheism. I simply do not, despite previous efforts, believe in something that simply cannot be. Pantheism explains nothing, it is nothing as a result. It's empty because it is nothing. It claims nothing for itself.

Now all that being said, there are elements of pantheism that appeal to me. This is why it was a stop in my personal journey in my beliefs. Pantheism removes the separation from god and mankind; is it not (most) people's journey to be closer to divinity, to touch the heavens of godkind, to beseech that which is greater than us? I love this aspect of pantheism, because it removes all of the division between us and them, when at the end of the day, everything is the "we." I get this in atheism as well.

Another thing I love about pantheism is how it reflects freedom. It removes the "choice" of religion and allows all to be true/not true all at the same time. It opens up the floodgates of interpretation. It is true freedom. It makes it so easy to see past the man-created divides of mankind and see our fellow man for what they are: the same thing as us. As a humanist, it allows people to accept and come together. As Spinoza said, "nothing forbids man to enjoy himself, save grim and gloomy superstition." By this 'virtue,' it challenges us to be good in the name of sameness, rather than by a hypothetical theology-based religion. One doesn't need to be good in the name of a god, for we are all god and it is how we should be. I also get this from atheism (although I cannot claim that anything comes from anywhere but from within, so there is that caveat).

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Ultimately, whether or not you believe in a God is pointless unless you clarify the metaphysics of that belief, the reason being how you act in your world around you is strongly determined by those beliefs. What ultimately values to your own identity is not the name of the God but the values you either find or are imparted to you, and the principles that you live by -- ones that matter to you, ones you agree with, as well as ones you honestly (in your heart) KNOW you need it, even if you don't like it. Strongly abiding by those principles, that code of morality, and reflecting upon your actions and slowly updating your principles based on the lessons you've learned in your life is the measure of what sort of a human being you're becoming, or better yet, what you want to become. That determines the guidelines for your pencils to trace on between Good and Evil, Useful and Uselessness, Responsible and Helplessness, Strong and Weak, etc.

We've come full circle. How you act - the person you are - trumps all else. I couldn't agree with you more. I know just as many shitty Christians as I know good ones... just as I know just as many shitty people as I know good ones. Some people get challenged on this, because they think that morality must be defined by something larger than us rather than a combination of ingrain moral law and personal worldview. I think this is what you meant when you were discussing labels. Labels are meaningless if they do not constitute action (behaviors). By this logic, all that is important is who we are.

Treat others how you want to be treated is always a great mindset to have. I try to live by it every day, even to my own self-detriment at times.

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Meh, I think Dr Jordan B Peterson can probably explain all this better than I can. His lectures have pretty much saved the lives of friends of mine -- and some of them were, and still are, atheists. I've personally found his lectures pretty useful too.

I find Dr. Peterson to be a mixed bag. But now I'm curious how/why your atheist friends needed saving. Saved from what?

Edited for typos.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 04:24:05 pm by Boo the Gentleman Caller »

tushantin

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2018, 06:36:07 pm »
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tldr; How your worldview is interpreted - and how you act on it - is more important than labeling yourself.

Also, "be clear about your ethics, bruh". Coherency is the utmost important, and that's why articulation matters. Not everyone is capable of articulating, though, but they are capable of accruing wisdom by taking on responsibilities and thereby experiencing life through hardship (aka, those "trials and tribulations", and ultimately "triumphs", that I mentioned).

Recent sociopolitical drama (both in India and globally) has pretty much exhausted me, but it has also given me a lot to think about. Because of my own innate nature (being unable to understand social norms, what is and isn't appropriate, what I should or shouldn't say, etc.), I've pretty much become a Shitlord, testing the boundaries of what is and isn't moral and to what extent, and with certain triumphs and failures I've become more confident with myself (even if, at times, somebody might despise me for it) having a coherent justification for my actions, and yet at the same time having clearly defined boundaries for myself that I will never cross, or which boundaries I have to cross only when specific dire circumstances call for it. This is how my inner Gandhian pacifist also reconciles with my recently integrated value of viciousness, or integrating my shadow, if you will.

And I do this, not because I wish to ally myself with some ideology, not because I'm afraid to be labeled or something, but primarily because I want to be effective at what I do, self-dependant, also somebody that people I care about can depend on. If I cannot take care of, and protect and provide for, the people I love, then I will regard myself as a failure. That will be my hell.

This is essentially an act of Soul Construction (something that Dr JBP calls, but applies to a different context than I have), and the more formidable soul you're capable of building the more integrity it possesses, the more confident you are, and the less likely it is capable of being broken. I have yet to reach that apex -- a destination I call Cyan Los.

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I get what you're saying here, but all I can say is that this is the most millennial thing I've ever heard. Millennials hate having labels placed on them.

But that's not what I'm saying, and I think you misunderstand me. I never said labels are a bad thing.

Millennials are weird, they eschew labels and identify themselves with even more of them, all because they're drowning in their own uncertainty. And then they whine about having anxieties. (I have sympathies with people who are genuinely suffering from Depression and Anxieties and can't help it. But Millenials CAN help it; it's just that they're too stupid and arrogant to want to. I know because I tried to help most of them.)

What I mean is that labels are useful, just not as useful as the things they are meant to represent -- as descriptors to your values. Using inaccurate descriptors, much like having a bad synopsis for a book, will only cause a massive confusion with expectations and coherency between you and your held values, and it compromises your integrity as a person. It makes you metaphysically (and often psychologically) vulnerable. That's my general point: utility for utility's sake.

However, the issue with utility for utility's sake when it comes to labels is, of course as you pointed out, a social negotiation between people to help catalog and generalize you. But I'd argue that they have to, at least on first sight, because at first they would know nothing about you, and need an anchor of expectation to help define you as an individual. This is also another reason why sometimes people foolishly apply labels to themselves, no because represent the values inherent in that label, but because it has currency in social affair. This is also why having an accurate label for yourself matters if you wish to communicate exactly who or what you are.

For me, Pantheism has only ever been a personal label for me, to keep track of myself, and nothing more. There has seldom a point in any social interaction that I actually identified myself as one, because there's just no need for it, unless there is.

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(Side note: I work with a mostly Indians these days and I think, fundamentally, Indians are much more open to the idea of pantheism (or a pantheistic-based worldview) than many other cultures. I think it stems from the less black-and-white cultural philosophy influenced by Hinduism than, say, the United States, based on the Heaven-or-Hell philosophy of (most of) Christianity. Or at least that's my observation; I'm not from India, so I can't say for certain.)

Hah! Maybe the reason is the fact that Hinduism inherently consists of a Pantheistic system (as well as an Atheistic one.... don't ask how, it's a pretty complex system even for me). Most Hindus know this with the saying, "There's God in every grain of sand". However, the versions of Pantheism between Hinduism and Spinoza are not the same. They are compatible, however.

  :wink:

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For me, despite my soul searching, the universe truly is chaos. There is no order.

And that's the issue here. Order isn't granted to you. Order is yours to make. The scientific method is a manifestation of that human-invented structure of reason, because without some semblance of Order it will be nigh-impossible for you to navigate through Chaos.

In fact, I'm writing a funny poem on that, and I think I have an idea... Hmm....

However, I don't think you're a stranger to this idea, given what you mentioned earlier about nature and civilization.

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I am confident in the scientific method, which states there is no empirical evidence to support any sort of deity or supernatural.

Yeah. And nobody cares. xD Even in organized religion, the belief of a supernatural deity is nothing more than simplified understanding of tradition for those who don't have the capacity to comprehend it -- I would know, because I know how traditions are interpreted regardless of what they were meant to be about. For the people who CAN comprehend, on the other hand, trying to find an empirical evidence for such a deity is meaningless because the deity is meant to be metaphysical concept, a system of ideas (a philosophy, if you will) rather than something materialistic to quantify. But regardless of whether you can or cannot comprehend it, as a complex system of ideas, that deity serves a function -- guidelines to trace your steps on.

I'm not particularly religious, for instance (honestly, the only Supernatural God I believe in is our lord and savior Joseph Joestar), but where do you think my beliefs come from? What sort of beliefs do you think Atheistic Christians might have?


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But I think, ultimately, my pantheistic view ended with similar logic to my theist beliefs in that, if there is a god, s/he would be a "dead" god. I can see every day, all around me, that there is no divinity that influences or provides us with anything.

And that was part of my point earlier: You're stuck arguing with yourself about the existence of God, without going further or deeper, such as what that God is meant to represent, or what sort of a manifestation is that God. If you can't escape your mental loop to analyze that, then you will be unable to go even further than that, and therefore unable to comprehend what you are constantly thinking about.
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But that's ultimately where I fell into the atheism category over pantheism.

That's perfectly fine, man. Question is, where do your values come from? What is the pillar that you check yourself by and quantify your progress? What is your end-goal? What is your daily campaign?

I say this because Atheism is not a pillar of morality. It is a descriptor for a lack of supernatural deity. If you say you get it from Empathy, I'm going to laugh at you.

IMO, you seem to take a lot of aspects from different religions and cultures, such as what you love about Pantheism and Hinduism as you say. So if you're constructing your own pillar based on the best things you find from different culture (such as, "Work Ethic" from Protestantism), the only question left would be how coherent that pillar is, and how frequently you update it in order to abide by it religiously and track your progress. Not a bad thing. In fact, it's a necessity for everything.

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One doesn't need to be good in the name of a god

Eh, that's a pretty archaic way to view God. I wouldn't blame you for perceiving it that way, though, considering a lot of religious nut-heads (especially Islamists) who do a lot of shady (and often self-righteous) things "in the name of" a God.

That is the big issue you get when you start to vied God as a supernatural All-Powerful Being that can do anything (including erase your sins), rather than what it actually is -- a series of allegories, a metophorical concept, a set of ideas necessitating to be held as "Supreme", existing outside and beyond humanity (unless you're a Pantheist; then it's embedded within humanity). From that perspective, saying "being good in the name of a god" is redundant and nonsensical, because then you're better off saying, "Being good in the name of a name of a name of a name."

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Some people get challenged on this, because they think that morality must be defined by something larger than us rather than a combination of ingrain moral law and personal worldview.

But those people are correct, though. For one, there are personal moral codes (example: Don't leave your injured friend behind), but then there are also universal moral codes (example: Thou shalt not kill / betray / steal). Universality of some of those morals are supremely larger than us all, far larger than any collective we know.

Also, the whole point of having that manifestation of morality as something separate and outside of one's self is that we can't trust ourselves, as individuals (or collective) to be the final arbiters of Goodness, because we can be morally compromised, and as a result we may do shitty things. Sometimes we, as individuals, do evil things believing those actions are good and righteous (aka, our self-righteousness). See: God-Kings.

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Labels are meaningless if they do not constitute action (behaviors). By this logic, all that is important is who we are.

Yes. And if what you are is incomplete, then that causes a serious issue not just for you but also everybody around you, no matter what label you ascribe yourself. A broken self constitutes a broken behavior. So essentially, what's important is to have a set of rules for yourself and stick to it. Religiously.

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Treat others how you want to be treated is always a great mindset to have. I try to live by it every day, even to my own self-detriment at times.

I concur. Although, that's a very Christian / Kantian thing to say.  8)


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I find Dr. Peterson to be a mixed bag. But now I'm curious how/why your atheist friends needed saving. Saved from what?

Doesn't really matter, tbh. He's just a man; he makes mistakes, says the wrong things sometimes. What matters is if his ideas serve utility, and for a lot of people it does.

As for my friends, some of them were ideologues, and as a result they were a mess in their own lives. Some of them were legitimately depressed and wanted to kill themselves. Some of them were struggling hard in their life and relationships. Some of them were too weak to do anything about their dire circumstances, where they were always trampled upon by everybody. Some of them were just arrogant fucks who acted despicable because there was never any consequences to their actions, until one day it came to bite them in the ass and they were too helpless to do anything about it, making them even more jaded.

I'd hate to make Dr Peterson sound like some kind of a messiah, but he really did turn a lot of lives around. My ideologue friends became more open-minded and organized. My depressed friends managed to regain their self-efficacy and work towards being more effective at overcoming their sickness (with some medical intervention, of course). Relationship folks just got better at love. The weak ones found a way out of their pit. The dicks became more humble and, further more, helpful and responsible.

Me? I accrued some free wisdom, foresight, exponentially increasing my ability to learn and get better, conquer my weaknesses, learning gratitude, being patient with people, being a bit more disciplined and focused (which is hard for me, but I managed it at the detriment to my own health, which I'm working on again), organize my life, learning to negotiate with people even if I don't like them, being goal-oriented, etc. All sorts of things I could never imagine my younger self from a few years ago to be capable of. And I still don't think I'm at my best, lol.

And what's interesting is that none of us even needed to buy into his Christian views (except for, obviously, Christian friends). His work is helpful either way. And that's weird, because he says a lot of stupid shit about Hinduism. XD But I can pardon that for the bigger picture.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2018, 12:00:08 am »
I don't have time to fully respond the way I'd like, but I'll address a few thoughts and return later:

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And that's the issue here. Order isn't granted to you. Order is yours to make. The scientific method is a manifestation of that human-invented structure of reason, because without some semblance of Order it will be nigh-impossible for you to navigate through Chaos.

There is certainty a natural order that occurs in nature - atoms and molecules in align in certain ways to make elements and life, and water is fundamental to life, so on and so forth. That is natural order. But events are largely chaos; cancer is chaos, conception is chaos, the big bang in and of itself is chaos. Order, beyond the natural order of the universe that occurs naturally and on a scientific scale, is simply applying a human need for order. Any order that exists is a man-made construct and a concept, like time.

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Even in organized religion, the belief of a supernatural deity is nothing more than simplified understanding of tradition for those who don't have the capacity to comprehend it -- I would know, because I know how traditions are interpreted regardless of what they were meant to be about. For the people who CAN comprehend, on the other hand, trying to find an empirical evidence for such a deity is meaningless because the deity is meant to be metaphysical concept, a system of ideas (a philosophy, if you will) rather than something materialistic to quantify. But regardless of whether you can or cannot comprehend it, as a complex system of ideas, that deity serves a function -- guidelines to trace your steps on.

What your describing sounds awfully similar to faith. I know it's more nuanced than that, but let's simplify there, because there are many people who take religion (and a belief in god) to be more than metaphysical mumbo-jumbo as you describe. That may have been your experience, but I can guarantee you now that it's not the same for many "believers" out there.

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And that was part of my point earlier: You're stuck arguing with yourself about the existence of God, without going further or deeper, such as what that God is meant to represent, or what sort of a manifestation is that God. If you can't escape your mental loop to analyze that, then you will be unable to go even further than that, and therefore unable to comprehend what you are constantly thinking about.

No, this is wrong. I'm not arguing about an existence of anything. To you and certainly not to myself. There's no convincing or justifying. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else of anything; that's not my role and I don't give a rat's ass who believes what, since what I value is character. It's the same point you keep trying to drive home. I think we fall in line there regardless of any other aspects.

Despite what you claimed, I do know is what "god" is to people and the purpose it serves; to say that I "can't escape [my] mental loop to analyze that" blah blah blah shows that you missed my point. Your claims are, quite frankly, shallow and show a piousness that is befitting of your self-described embrace of the Shitlord. This is ego. The irony! Let's tie it back to faith, since that is a crux for many believers out there. Clearly you aren't one of them, but the point remains:

Faith is described as Mirriam-Webster as "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" or "something that is believed especially with strong conviction." All other definitions can go out the window and are mute on this point.

Faith is belief in something, anything that is a deity and does not have tangible proof. To be Christian, Hindu, etc. is to have faith, because there is no empirical evidence that such a concept exists beyond our mind. There is no tangible real world application... and this applies to pantheism, since your belief is not that god is a tall man (or woman) in the clouds ready to smite you, or that there is a pantheon of gods embodying attributes of man, but rather that the universe and all itself is a manifestation of god. You remove the human elements but still attain that there's this unknown element that science, once again, cannot quantify.

This still, ultimately, comes down to faith. Does that make sense?

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... Where do your values come from? What is the pillar that you check yourself by and quantify your progress? What is your end-goal? What is your daily campaign?

I say this because Atheism is not a pillar of morality. It is a descriptor for a lack of supernatural deity. If you say you get it from Empathy, I'm going to laugh at you.

IMO, you seem to take a lot of aspects from different religions and cultures, such as what you love about Pantheism and Hinduism as you say. So if you're constructing your own pillar based on the best things you find from different culture (such as, "Work Ethic" from Protestantism), the only question left would be how coherent that pillar is, and how frequently you update it in order to abide by it religiously and track your progress. Not a bad thing. In fact, it's a necessity for everything.

Ah, the old argument against atheism. "If a deity doesn't tell you how to behave, then how to do you know?"

For starters, there's ingrain moral law. Read up on it, it's fascinating. All humans are born, regardless of civilization, with certain self-composed "rules" that they recognize as being right or wrong. These aren't taught, they're "ingrain" at birth. This includes lying (which is in itself not a taught ability; people don't learn to lie, they simple discover it internally - it's a form of self-preservation on an evolutionary scale). Ingrain moral law also includes killing. So on and so forth, these are baked into a baby upon being born and aren't taught.

Second, societal values. Society teaches us values from the moment we are embraced by the convergence of people in our lives. We learn the cues that are unique to our socio-political makeup, and sometimes geographic. This may involve how we treat stranger, how we treat women. It comes back to chaos and chance - where are born is chance, and where we are born thus influences the societal values we inherit. Granted, there are always outliers who choose to reject these societal norms, and they're often shunned or punished.

Third, you answered your own question earlier in your post. Allow me to quote you:
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I learn as I go, as I am testing the boundaries of what is and isn't moral and to what extent, and with certain triumphs and failures "I" become more confident with myself ... yet at the same time having clearly defined boundaries for myself that I will never cross, or which boundaries I have to cross only when specific dire circumstances call for it.

It's not difficult to define the values we can choose to live our lives by, and although those may be influenced by religion (on a societal scale), they don't have to be defined by them. I never claimed that atheism was even remotely tied to morality, you simply assumed that I did. This assumes one of two things: either you don't really understand atheism, or you assume that I don't.

And, to give you a real, honest answer and step away from the fun of rhetoric, there's also a very real answer beyond the same reasons any of us inherit morality and values. To be quite honest, a lot of my moral views still align with the programming that comes with having spent twenty years in fervent dedication to a Christian version "god." My values largely correspond with Christian leanings because, quite frankly, it's what I know. I spent two decades in it, studied theology in college (as a minor), and my dad is a minister. I lived, breathed, and shit Christianity. That being said, the same values I reflect are largely echoed in most, if not all major religions... be kind/respectful, do not fall prey to the material, etc. Normal wisdom echoed in religion and philosophy all over. Some of my own beliefs have also been tempered with study of other religious doctrine in my own pursuit of truth. From there I made my own way by, no different from you, in defining those boundaries for myself.

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Eh, that's a pretty archaic way to view God

You may have missed the sarcasm there. It was meant to be taken as such, because there are people who believe this. They believe than an atheist cannot be moral because they believe that morality can only be defined by their own god.

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... My ideologue friends became more open-minded and organized. My depressed friends managed to regain their self-efficacy and work towards being more effective at overcoming their sickness (with some medical intervention, of course). Relationship folks just got better at love. The weak ones found a way out of their pit. The dicks became more humble and, further more, helpful and responsible.

But what does this have to do with your friends being atheists? Those aren't attributes unique to atheists, those are universal truths that many people struggle with. It's existential angst, if anything. In your original post you specifically said "His lectures have pretty much saved the lives of friends of mine -- and some of them were, and still are, atheists"; what does them being atheists? I'm trying to understand the correlation, because it sounds like you are implying they needed saving because they were atheists. That may not have been your intent, though.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 12:40:27 am by Boo the Gentleman Caller »

Kodokami

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2018, 12:00:45 am »
Quite a bit to digest here. I will say, I have no idea what an "Atheist Christian" is supposed to be. Also, "All benefit of the belief ends and begins with us." is a pretty powerful statement, Boo. I'm gonna mull over that for a while.

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2018, 12:18:45 am »
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Quite a bit to digest here. I will say, I have no idea what an "Atheist Christian" is supposed to be. Also, "All benefit of the belief ends and begins with us." is a pretty powerful statement, Boo. I'm gonna mull over that for a while.

Here's the kicker... Pantheism is awesome. It's, to me, the most coherent truth, assuming that something larger than us exists in some form. It bridges the divides in religious doctrine and is a unifying concept. How cool is that? I mean, let me clear: my rhetoric is NOT against pantheism. My rhetoric is rather a defense of atheism as a real, legitimate worldview that is often misunderstood. It's very hard for people to grasp unless you're in that belief structure (which, in reality, is sort of true of all beliefs, isn't it?).

As an agnostic atheist, I am okay with being proven wrong. If pantheism or Tom Cruise ends up being right, I'm cool with it. As of this moment, my worldview is simply based around what has proof and what does not. No proof for god is just that: no proof. "Then what about soul," some would respond. Welp, there may not be tangible evidence for a soul in a laboratory, but because I exist, I must therefore have a soul, and therefore I know it exists.

Morality is not limited to deism in whatever form it takes. I think some people have a hard time grasping this. At the end of the day, what purpose does religion serve but the ego?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 12:24:44 am by Boo the Gentleman Caller »

Kodokami

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2018, 12:48:47 am »
...my rhetoric is NOT against pantheism.

Oh, of course. I didn't even think of it as such. I just really enjoyed that phrase I quoted from you. Made me stop and think.

You and tush were talking about labels, and if I had to give myself one in regards to this topic, I'd call myself a pantheist. That's why I brought it up to begin with. Not that I believe the universe is "god", per se, but I have a deep reverence for nature that borders on spirituality. Pantheism is the closest label I can find to that. It's not even that the label is important but just learning that there's a group of people who feel similar to how I feel is really nice, and I can learn more about myself by looking into this belief. And to answer your (probably rhetorical) last question, I think community, especially of like-minded individuals, is the purpose of religion. Well, one purpose at least.

And who knows, maybe I'll follow a path similar to yours and eventually decide I feel more agnostic/atheist. I'm still learning myself.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 12:52:40 am by Kodokami »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2018, 01:06:48 am »
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That's why I brought it up to begin with. Not that I believe the universe is "god", per se, but I have a deep reverence for nature that borders on spirituality.

This is me, too! For years I went to church and felt nothing. I go for a hike for 10 minutes and I get that "hiker's high" and feel deeply, spiritually connected - I feel harmonious and energized and at peace with myself. I've tried to wrap my mind around how all this works. Maybe is it a cosmic oneness? Maybe it's millions of years of evolutionary pathways converging to remind me that that is where I come from?

I mean, for millions of years mankind lived in harmonious nature with the earth. Not even just mankind, but our ancestors, too (assuming any sort of belief in all that). Regardless, we lived in harmony with nature and slowly developed civilization as a more efficient means of survival, and we gradually moved into more sterile, less nature-oriented environs. And now I find peace in returning to what eons of evolution instilled within me.

I've often wondered if that's why there's so much mental illness and depression nowadays. We are denying a "oneness" we once held in communion with nature. Not even a oneness, since we manipulated and "ruled" nature, but we still lived in it. Used it. Cherished it.

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2018, 03:06:11 am »
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I never claimed that atheism was even remotely tied to morality, you simply assumed that I did. This assumes one of two things: either you don't really understand atheism, or you assume that I don't.

Despite what you claimed, I do know is what "god" is to people and the purpose it serves; to say that I "can't escape [my] mental loop to analyze that" blah blah blah shows that you missed my point. Your claims are, quite frankly, shallow and show a piousness that is befitting of your self-described embrace of the Shitlord. This is ego. The irony!

Ouch!

Forgetting that you've constantly been missing my points throughout your responses (what with "that sounds like faith" to a statement that is meant to be about faith), or pointless pedantry, stating the obvious and digressing from the subject-matter to which the initial statement was made -- all of which I can pardon due to them being nothing more than human error -- I think, worse still, is the sense of this possibly coming from mean-spiritedness and antagonism.

And where there's mean-spiritedness, it's impossible to have a conversation because we'll likely be talking past each other. This isn't a forum I come to pick fights. You aren't the person I'm looking to take down. In all honesty, I don't think I should continue with this any further. Heck, I shouldn't have continued beyond my first response either. I've learned from my error.


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Ah, the old argument against atheism. "If a deity doesn't tell you how to behave, then how to do you know?"

For starters, there's ingrain moral law. Read up on it, it's fascinating. All humans are born, regardless of civilization, with certain self-composed "rules" that they recognize as being right or wrong. These aren't taught, they're "ingrain" at birth. This includes lying (which is in itself not a taught ability; people don't learn to lie, they simple discover it internally - it's a form of self-preservation on an evolutionary scale). Ingrain moral law also includes killing. So on and so forth, these are baked into a baby upon being born and aren't taught.
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Faith is belief in something, anything that is a deity and does not have tangible proof. To be Christian, Hindu, etc. is to have faith, because there is no empirical evidence that such a concept exists beyond our mind.

*sigh* You'd have to be really fucking naive if you have to make this, "So WhAt YoU'rE SayyYiingggGG" tactic to get around to actually having to understand what somebody is actually saying. That's despite the fact that I was already crystal clear about what I've said, many times over, and everything I've said is contingent upon the other.

All I'll tell you is this: Go read some philosophy. Not everything can be reduced to materialism (and that's ironic coming from a Pantheist like me).

Anywho, I'm out.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 03:31:50 am by tushantin »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Goodbye...
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2018, 09:07:34 am »
Feel perfectly free not to respond, but I do have more to say on the matter.

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Forgetting that you've constantly been missing my points throughout your responses ... or pointless pedantry, stating the obvious and digressing from the subject-matter to which the initial statement was made -- all of which I can pardon due to them being nothing more than human error -- I think, worse still, is the sense of this possibly coming from mean-spiritedness and antagonism.

To put it simply, you're wrong. You keep talking in flowery speech that lacks rhetorical value in the context of some of those points; you don't even respond to some of the questions I asked in return! Worse still, you've relied on arrogance and ego in the hope of making a valid argument stick to the wall (can you really read your above quote and not recognize the hubris?). If I can understand Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, I'm pretty sure I can follow you.

But we can agree to disagree, because ultimately all of this stems from differences in worldview. There's going to be disagreement. Regardless, this whole conversation, from my end, is still steeped in respect for you and your belief in those opinions (despite any discourse). Calling it "mean-spiritedness and antagonism" is surprising though; you know me better than that - when have I ever been antagonistic to anyone? This is rhetoric and should be taken as much. If you feel that I have been mean-spirited, then I apologize; that was definitely not the intended result. So for that I apologize. Seriously.

When you first responded to my post and dove in, you had to known it was going to lead to a challenging discussion. I feel, whether rightly or not, that you let your hubris get the best of you and have made some pretty base assumptions about how I perceive the universe. Regardless, when you were trying to articulate your feelings in your "I'm out" post, it's funny, because I'm feeling all the same things as you in regards to the other party not comprehending, sidestepping, not addressing things I asked to be addressed, etc. So in that, we stand together!

Down the road, if you'll lay your ego down long enough to come back and have a real, genuine conversation without relying on assumption and accusation, I'll gladly further educate myself and read additional philosophy (as you recommend).

(Although let it be known that I do have some philosophy 'learnings'. Just so you're aware, I took several 100 and 200 level philosophy courses at uni, have a theology minor from a Christian uni, and have spent countless hours in existential angst reading the works of writers like Kierkegaard, Sartre, Foucault, etc... I don't think I'm as baseless in philosophy as you think I am. But there's always room for more self-actualization!)

Just to be clear, there's no hard feelings on my end. This kind of passionate rhetoric is par for the course when it comes to theological discourse, and this has not been about, to me anyway, changing any opinions. It hasn't been my first, nor will it by my last rodeo. But all is good between us on my end. I assume it is the same from yours.

In mean time, keep fighting on as Cyan Los. Row row fight the powah, am I right?

To echo the words of Cyan Los, Anywho, I'm out.

:D
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 10:35:23 am by Boo the Gentleman Caller »