Author Topic: Hi  (Read 3322 times)

Burning Zeppelin

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Hi
« on: November 13, 2010, 04:04:07 am »
What's up guys? I see you have new smileys!  

:franky

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 04:15:47 am »
Didn't think we'd see you round these parts again. How's life in Australia?

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Hi
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 04:20:36 am »
Neither did I! I was watching The Seventh Seal, and a line from the Book of Revelations about a 'falling star' called Wormwood was quoted; naturally, I thought of Lavos, came here to find information on it - failed - and felt an intense pang of nostalgia. So here I am.

Australian life is hot and humid at the moment. I have my fan on, my study-for-exams-cap off, and my hunger somewhere in between.

Good to see you're still lurking around here, Lord J!

P.S. You might like to know that I am probably amongst the most outspoken and openly atheist atheists (?) in a 200km radius of where I'm sitting now, and I'd probably be doing you a great disservice if I didn't attribute a large chunk of that to you.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 04:26:00 am by Burning Zeppelin »

Thought

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Re: Hi
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 01:11:07 pm »
Yo, nice to see you again.
Randomness, at first I totally thought Seventh Seal was that 1990's Arnold Schwarzenegger film about the end of the world. I'm glad to see you have better taste than that :P

Tactinius

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Re: Hi
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 01:16:45 pm »
Man, sure see a lot of old faces turning up again recently. Hey there.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 02:20:22 pm »
Neither did I! I was watching The Seventh Seal, and a line from the Book of Revelations about a 'falling star' called Wormwood was quoted; naturally, I thought of Lavos, came here to find information on it - failed - and felt an intense pang of nostalgia. So here I am.

Australian life is hot and humid at the moment. I have my fan on, my study-for-exams-cap off, and my hunger somewhere in between.

Good to see you're still lurking around here, Lord J!

Alas, these are gaunt times for the Compendium. Some folks got together and created a full-length Chrono game, which Square Enix put the brakes on in no uncertain terms, and afterwards we lost a segment of the community. With no new official games, and the Chrono series having been so thoroughly discussed, we are in gaunt times indeed.

P.S. You might like to know that I am probably amongst the most outspoken and openly atheist atheists (?) in a 200km radius of where I'm sitting now, and I'd probably be doing you a great disservice if I didn't attribute a large chunk of that to you.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wondered from time to time where you ended up going with yourself. I thank you for the generous compliment, and I am glad you think I did some good in your life. There is one more obstacle I should point out. I'm not an atheist, and never was. I am situationally an atheist with regard to the questions of Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhism, and so forth, but not to the greater question of whether there is some kind of divinity among us. On that I am agnostic. Probably there is no such "divinity"--what would that word even mean, really?--but I don't presume to say for certain. Religious faith is dangerous in and of itself due to the social contents of a religion, but it is the faith itself--that underlying mindset of uncritical, unthinking belief--that is truly dangerous. Faith is not limited to religion, and can appear in all facets of life. When it is combined with zealous aggression and a lack of awareness, a person can become dangerous to the rest of us whether they are religious or not. Anyone who is strongly religious and then becomes strongly irreligious must take great care not to imperil their newfound wisdom by clinging to the ignorance of fanatical beliefs and the ignorance they propagate. I have seen it happen to others, and I would hate for you to eventually be driven back into religion, or to evolve into one of those mean-spirited and counterproductive secularists.

Having said that, your life is yours to navigate...and I wish you all the best in it! It was never a social experiment of mine to try and change people's minds. It was only a desire to dispel ignorance wherever I could. I have had both positive and negative effects on people over the years, and I am still in the process of learning how to engage with people when I see them encumbered by faulty beliefs or other weaknesses of character. There have been some people on the Compendium since you left who likely would have benefited from the receiving end of a Lord J salvo, but I have to say it gets tiring to start from scratch each and every time. Now that you're more aware of religion's fallacies and falsehoods, it's your turn to dispel an ignorance or two. I wish you well with that, also. =)

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2010, 02:24:03 pm »
Actually, that's not strictly true. There was a little bit of social experimentation, inasmuch as I have used the Compendium over the years to hone my confrontational skills. But that was not what I originally set out to do, nor was it ever my sole motivation.

What can I say, I'm an alpha wolf...not the safest company for sheep and mooks.

FaustWolf

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Re: Hi
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2010, 07:39:27 pm »
Hey, it's been awhile since anyone's username reminded me of the Hindenburg. Welcome back Zeppelin!

At this rate, maybe the legendary GreyLensman will even resurface.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Hi
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2010, 10:42:15 pm »
@Though: The day an Arnold S. movie inspires me to come back here, I give you permission to find me and shoot me.

@FaustWolf: I was going through my old messages before and saw one from GrayLensman, and wondered where he and other veterans were. Sad times.

@Lord J: Oh my, Square Enix dividing and destroying a once thriving community. That is sad indeed :( But it is interesting you were 'never an atheist' - it reminds me of Christians who play Devils' advocates, undermining their own beliefs, but without realising it (reminds me of, but not 'equivalent to...'). It would be interesting to discuss your position on divinity and your agnosticism. In fact, only recently I was debating people about their alleged agnosticism and what it really meant (I don't believe agnosticism is a position one can hold in relation to God's existence, but rather in relation to ability to know). But yes, regardless of where my critical thinking takes me, that critical thinking most likely couldn't have arisen without you or this forum. That isn't to say nothing else influenced me, since when I left this forum I wasn't an atheist, but every descent has its beginning.

And yes, I will take on the Lord J esq role and dispel a fool or two :)

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2010, 01:37:00 am »
But it is interesting you were 'never an atheist' - it reminds me of Christians who play Devils' advocates, undermining their own beliefs, but without realising it (reminds me of, but not 'equivalent to...'). It would be interesting to discuss your position on divinity and your agnosticism. In fact, only recently I was debating people about their alleged agnosticism and what it really meant (I don't believe agnosticism is a position one can hold in relation to God's existence, but rather in relation to ability to know).

What I am tempted to assert is that much of the theistic debate is premature, because supporters of the argument for the existence of the divine have not properly defined what their "god" is, rendering as gibberish any argument as to that divinity's existence. This owes to the fact that most religious conviction in the world supposes an ineffable and inscrutable divine entity whose own nature is explicitly asserted to be beyond cosmic nature, thereby denying our potential ability to conceptualize the divinity within a logical framework, yet is simultaneously proclaimed to encompass specific qualities whose effects are knowable or at least believable, and therefore within the realm of logic specifically and reason generally. "God" manifests itself in the world, we are told, but we are not told what "god" is, and we are explicitly denied a mechanism to discern this divinity rationally. It is a very elaborate bare assertion, but no less fallacious for the supposed primacy of the subject matter.

Cosmic atheism--that is, the rejection of the supposed existence of that which is described by every divine premise, without regard to the specifics of any one such premise--is not convincingly untenable to me, presently, mostly due to lack of intense study on my part into the matter, but neither is there any such argument for cosmic atheism of which I am aware and which I find persuasive. At the end of the day, our knowledge of the universe is still limited, and the possibility of unknowables outside present human nature (if not necessarily future human nature, let alone cosmic nature) cannot be discounted. I am content, then, to proclaim agnosticism not as a matter of universal truth, but because I don't have the means at this time to make an argument in either direction which would persuade, of all people, me.

Further, as my thoughts and experiences have grown, I have come to the view that it probably doesn't matter. We are creatures of such capacity that, in our present nature, it may be impossible for us to distinguish between the actions of a truly divine entity and those of a merely highly advanced natural being, unless of course we beg the question by presuming that "GOD" would resolve the dilemma for us through divine power. We must be who we are, because we cannot be who we are not. If there is divinity among us, then, either we shall be made aware of it through inexplicable divine power, or we shall not be made aware of it at all--yet, either way, our existence will continue as natural beings in this natural world, unless or until such time as we are all magically spirited away through divine power into other circumstances, because that is our nature.

It is not so different to wonder whether there are castles outside the laws of physics. Perhaps it can be an interesting question, and perhaps if there are such constructs it would entail consequences for our castle design methods heretofore, but, really, it doesn't matter, because we have no access to the true answer. We could overwhelm our minds with an infinitude of such ponderables, all perfectly outside the realm of observation and reason. "God" is merely one instance of this class, and is only inflated above the rest by our instinctive characteristics. I, myself, have long since moved on to more interesting questions in philosophy. For me, the question of the existence of the divine is relevant only in the context of eradicating religious faith.

But yes, regardless of where my critical thinking takes me, that critical thinking most likely couldn't have arisen without you or this forum. That isn't to say nothing else influenced me, since when I left this forum I wasn't an atheist, but every descent has its beginning.

Thank you. That is what I would consider a high praise. I remember you once arguing that it is okay for a husband to hit his wife because he is required to be gentle about it, and is only allowed to do it after her independent streak cannot be quashed in other ways. You have come a long way. Welcome! One thing I can share with you now is that this world is so much more satisfying when you comprehend that it likely wasn't "created" by any intention at all, or, at the very least, can be explained and quantified naturally. This is one of the truths of the world which no believer seems to be able to comprehend...perhaps because it is the kind of realization that would instantly disabuse them of their faith.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Hi
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2010, 04:59:27 am »
I agree that most (I wouldn't go so far all) theist debates go into gibberish. Mostly because their god becomes unfalsifiable and thus unprovable or provable -- but then it becomes impossible to believe in such a thing without it being completely unjustifiable, and thus, I lack specific belief in such a thing (which is a reason I consider agnosticism and atheism to be the same in this situation). On the other hand, the god proclaimed by the Bible or the Quran can be disproven due to the qualities they supposedly have.

I don't see your argument in anyway flawed. For all we know, there can be a god of some sort. However, until I get evidence of such, I won't believe there is a god, so that makes me by all definitions an atheist. I'm withholding believe until further findings, rather than outright disbelieving. But it is most likely that there is no god, due to things like evolution that make the historical idea of god redundant. So in the same way I believe the Big Bang is most likely to have happened, I think a god most likely doesn't exist -- I don't argue one is certain.

Also, I agree that in the end, it doesn't really matter if god exists. If he does, then existence was constructed in such a way that makes believe in it implausible, irrational, and reasonable. Possibly there is a god that has deceived us and made us in such a way. The only problem is that this logic gives rise to 'agnostic theism' (or, that there is no way to know if god exists, so just have faith he does) which as you noted is highly dangerous. It was W. K. Clifford who said  "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." He noted circumstances where false belief can lead to negative, immoral consequences. So I'm glad that you still find religious faith repugnant.

Yes, I hope you don't hold it against me that I once had such views -- I still do, to myself. I find it sick when religious people justify things like that; find it sick when people justify violence against gays or apostates or whomever else; find it sick when people justify evil as gods plan; find it sick when people justify eternal punishment (one of the things that made me become an anti-theist).

Sometimes, the world does seem more bleak when I look at it as empty of divine presence, sometimes it scares me that the end is the end. But after all that, it becomes empowering, knowing that I can create a life without a totalitarian dictator watching my every move and claiming monopoly over all the good feelings like love and happiness, while shrugging off his part in all the negativity.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2010, 01:59:03 pm »
It would seem that your view is similar to my own, that of cosmic agnosticism with numerous specific atheistic exceptions for specific divine premises. Agnosticism is the default position; in addition to those who declare it there are those who are unable to declare anything else, and there are those who never considered these matters to begin with. You are certainly not in the category of faith-based atheism. I don't get the sense that you're itching to make an argument that no divine entity exists.

On the other hand, the god proclaimed by the Bible or the Quran can be disproven due to the qualities they supposedly have.

Quoted for truth. Because the religionists have numbers on their side, we never hear the end of "My god exists because..." arguments, yet all of these arguments are known to us, and all have been discounted. Even so, that's not how they see it, and they work themselves up into these absolutely outrageous contortions in order to defend their particular divine premise. Only fools and already-believers could possibly accept it, yet the same old arguments rage on because of the populous and powerful establishment of the world's major religions.

I don't see your argument in anyway flawed. For all we know, there can be a god of some sort. However, until I get evidence of such, I won't believe there is a god, so that makes me by all definitions an atheist. I'm withholding believe until further findings, rather than outright disbelieving. But it is most likely that there is no god, due to things like evolution that make the historical idea of god redundant. So in the same way I believe the Big Bang is most likely to have happened, I think a god most likely doesn't exist -- I don't argue one is certain.


Sometimes, the world does seem more bleak when I look at it as empty of divine presence, sometimes it scares me that the end is the end.

Meaningfulness is something we create. Even religious people do that; they just don't realize that it's them buying into a religious claim on their own accord, and not their deity actually feeding this meaningfulness into them. Without the distraction of religion, we are left much more evidently to our own devices when it comes to the question of whether there is meaning in the world. A forest of trees that is "just there" without any divine agency having put it that way may not contain any internal condition of "meaningfulness," but, if we perceive such a thing to be there, we don't need a deity's permission. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and we are, by virtue of our nature, disposed to having opinions.

The reality of our mortality is harsh when it strikes against our will to live, but at the same time, if it succeeds in entering our perception, we have a much richer opportunity than believers do when it comes to valuing this life.

But after all that, it becomes empowering, knowing that I can create a life without a totalitarian dictator watching my every move and claiming monopoly over all the good feelings like love and happiness, while shrugging off his part in all the negativity.

If ever there was anything that more single-handedly invalidates a religion on the substantive level rather than because of a fallacy, this, for me, is it. The Abrahamic premise that humans are wretched and anything good in our lives is a god's doing while (most) anything bad is our own doing...is obscene.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Hi
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2010, 06:11:15 pm »
Oh J, it isn't as fun when we agree on every point now :P

EDIT: Perhaps I should clarify my position. I believe that 'cosmic agnosticism' is the same as 'cosmic weak atheism', neither of which excludes 'specific strong atheism.' The reason I say this is because not claiming to be able to know does not mean 'not believing' is dogmatic or on faith -- not believing is simply default. If you do 'not believe' in god, then you are an atheist. I think the prevalence of 'agnosticism' as a placeholder word for this atheism is because it is seen as dirty. If (or when, if I am socially experimenting) I said to someone 'I am an agnostic', they wouldn't bat an eye: agnosticism is the kind of thing that if you hold, you are immune from criticism. If you say you are an atheist, however, you can get all kinds of things thrown at you: 'you're just as bad as religion!', 'don't you need faith to believe that?', 'stop being so militant!' etc etc. It becomes harder to explain your position because while an 'agnostic' just doesn't seem to care, the word 'atheist' comes loaded with all kinds of anti-theistic, dogmatic predispositions. Although I am anti-theistic, I would like to argue that separately rather than it being seen as part of my atheist.

There is nothing wrong with the term 'agnostic' of course, I just have specific gripes with it because the term seems to be making a useless schism in the irreligious community between agnostics and atheists, even though most of them are holding the same views.

EDIT 2: Just for fun, to highlight the cognitive dissonance between love and hate that goes on in many theists minds, a woman from California just sent me this on facebook: 'you r a down right dog for saying what you said about Jesus! and u will rought in hell 4 saying that! May God Bless You!' I think I said that Jesus didn't exist.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 06:48:36 pm by Burning Zeppelin »

Lord J Esq

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Re: Hi
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 01:29:50 am »
What you're saying is semantic. I've come across people who see atheism and agnosticism as potentially overlapping. I don't have a major complaint against that conceptual framework, even if I don't employ it myself, although I would bother to point out that on a logical level "not believing" is not the same as "believing not." Perhaps it would be edifying to introduce another word here, "utheism," to cover the former while leaving "atheism" to the latter. However, in my conceptualization, the word isn't necessary because "agnosticism" covers it just fine.

Meanwhile, if you're itching to have a disagreement of epic caliber with me, how about this: Western Hemisphere beats Eastern Hemisphere any day of the week!

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Hi
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2010, 02:12:31 am »
The problem I have with the entire issue is of a social one. 'Atheism' has become such a dirty word, and often you'll find -- as I have -- that agnostics will unfairly criticise your views as dogmatic, when often you'll share the same views. It would be ignorant of me to claim that diction mean nothing in discourse. I would rather people understand what atheism really atheism really means: rejecting belief in deities. This can mean lots of things, but that's the point! After calling yourself an 'atheist', you are then free to propose other points; perhaps you are a nihilist, an agnostic, a secular humanist, a Satanist, a Buddhist, or an mixture etc. etc. All good! But I want 'atheism' to become a more acceptable word in discourse, and unfortunately self-proclaimed agnostics have taken the role of the moral, tolerant, rational skeptics, and atheism has become synonymous with scream-totin' antitheists. I hope one day 'atheism' will just mean 'not a theist.' (but then that brings the whole issue of deists and pantheists and panentheists etc etc etc ad absurdum.

And I'm sorry, I agree with you re: West > East too :(