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1  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 07:48:18 pm
Why should you expect that what a person imagines is by default, logical given that it is possible to conceive of illogical things? When asleep the mind mostly conceives of illogical things. Added to the illogical things that the mind infers while awake, you could argue that we spend more time engaging with illogical concepts that logical concepts given that most logical concepts, even if we do not fully understand the reasoning behind them are self evident (and often rooted in material experiences/sequelae/needs) and don't require much thought.

Thoughts can become illogical when they're transferred to the material realm. To claim that one could flap one's wings and fly (to use a trope commonly found in dreams) would indeed be an illogical statement, except that, in dreams, one really can. So to dream about flying is actually not illogical at all.

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Why should logic have anything to do with what a person imagines? 'Logic' may infer a god (or no god); deism is not entirely outside of the realms of logical inference, but one would expect that logic would also infer one outcome from that, as opposed to so many competing notions of god that not only does every person hold a different notion from the next person, but may hold different, overlapping or competing notions of god within themselves.

I think that a person ought to apply logic to his thoughts in order to distinguish between a mere phantasm, and something that he can build his philosophy on. When it comes to the nature of God, I would say that most religious people have allowed their thinking to become debased, which has resulted in widespread idolatry. If one were to apply logic critically and consistently, I'm sure that one could come up with a conception of the divine that is intellectually unassailable.
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 06:51:57 pm
That's why I apply different standards of proof to claims made in the different realms: If you claim to have a personal relationship with Barack Obama, I'm going to ask for proof; If you claim to have a personal relationship with God, who am I to say that you don't?

So essentially, you don't apply standard of proof to anything a person can imagine?

I suppose that I do expect the things that a person imagines to make some degree of logical sense, considering that logic itself is a product of the human mind.
3  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 06:11:16 pm
A relationship with a deity is noumenal

Only if you are a Kantian. An object is not an object in itself. An object is always an object for a subject. The subject is man and man is material. His senses and thoughts are material. His relationship with anything that he postulates (because the postulation is an object of the conscious mind which is bound to the material) is material. A relationship with god is material because it is processed (whether it is reciprocal at all) within the mind.

I agree that the thoughts of men are bound by the constraints of man's mind (as are all his perceptions), but I disagree that a thought exists in the same way that Jupiter or the chair that I'm currently sitting in does. That's why I apply different standards of proof to claims made in the different realms: If you claim to have a personal relationship with Barack Obama, I'm going to ask for proof; If you claim to have a personal relationship with God, who am I to say that you don't?

1. I guess human relationships are material, then?

Yes, they are.

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2. Religion is completely unnecessary.

It's necessary to some people's happiness.
4  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 04:23:47 pm
A relationship with a deity is material

No, a relationship with a deity is noumenal.

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At worst it is a 'relationship' on egg shells, which psychologically may not be of any benefit to the believer at all.

Perhaps not. In that case, the believer should reevaluate the nature of his relationship.

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Whether such relationships benefit the deity is unknowable. Even the most transient and fleeting of human inter-personal relationships are more reciprocal.

Human relationships are more reciprocal, in that both parties get something out of them. But whether one's deity gets something out of one's relationship with him/her/it is irrelevant, IMO.

That doesn't disprove my point.  You are saying in your experience irreligious people, who you incorrectly identify as materialists,


I don't think that it's necessarily inaccurate to conflate irreligious people and materialists. Or are you saying that most irreligious people don't reject the existence of a realm outside of the material?

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I asked you to name a good deed that I as an atheist am incapable of.  I didn't ask you what materialists struggle with.

There are no good deeds that an atheist is incapable of. What's your point?
5  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 03:47:06 pm
I'd say that the ultimate "goal" of human existence is to cultivate an inner peace that can't be disturbed by external events. That's a challenge that the materialist is particularly poorly equipped to deal with. 

Why do you distill people's systems of 'non-belief' into base materialism? If materialism is simply reliant on other people/selves, then why can a person not acquire an inner peace through being content with themselves and their friends?

They can (though I would say that if your happiness is reliant upon your social circle, you haven't achieved true, lasting happiness, as your social circle is liable to change). However, my experience has been that many non-religious people (and many religious people) derive their happiness from things - which is a much less stable source of happiness than a relationship with one's deity, or something similarly intransitory.
6  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 28, 2015, 10:56:13 am
People are incapable of altering whether or not they follow religious belief?

I've already conceded that people are allowed to shape their own identities. What people can't change is who their ancestors are.

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It is absolutely destructive to embrace religion, for many reasons, but mostly because it contradicts in almost all instances what we've come to understand about reality.
 

One of my strongest beliefs is that people should look at their faith with an eye that's informed by the modern scientific understanding of the world. I just think that the wholesale replacement of metaphysics with nihilism is a cure that isn't much better than the disease.

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But is that even the overall question?  I think people are trying to argue that religion doesn't poison everything because it doesn't necessarily have to.  But in reality it does, through the fundamental undermining of our critical faculties.  I mean come on.  Name one major breakthrough in human achievement that religious hordes didn't try to fight.
 

Even if the "religious hordes" resisted every "major breakthrough in human achievement", religion must not have had as strong a hold on society as you probably believe that it did; otherwise, the modern world wouldn't exist.

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As one of my idols said, and I'm paraphrasing, "even moderately religious people need to step back and look at the price of their comfort".  Which is completely valid, because there is literally not one virtuous act that necessitates religious instruction, but thousands of horrible acts that require it.

But living virtuously is much easier when one rejects the narrow view of human existence that materialism so often demands. 

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I challenge you to name for this atheist ONE deed that I'm incapable of.

I'd say that the ultimate "goal" of human existence is to cultivate an inner peace that can't be disturbed by external events. That's a challenge that the materialist is particularly poorly equipped to deal with. 
7  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: How strongly do you agree or disagree? on: February 26, 2015, 12:58:48 pm
I didn't choose to be here.

That's fine, but whether you like it or not, you are fundamentally connected to a particular cultural tradition. Of course you have the freedom to reject this tradition in favor of your own contrived identity, but that doesn't mean that it's destructive or ignorant to embrace those aspects of one's self that one is incapable of altering anyway.
8  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Beck vs. Beyonce vs. Kanye on: February 20, 2015, 04:18:52 pm
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one though. There just will never be an equivalency to me between someone who has the ability to craft their own music from scratch: that is write a melody, write the chords, write the lyrics, etc. and someone who has largely made a career out of rapping/talking over other people's music and modifying it in some way.

I'm unwilling to privilege any one form of pop-music creation over any other.  How is sampling any less "real" than going over the same three chords over and over?

What is more legitimately difficult and impressive, of course, is classical composition, where you're engaging in more complex forms with development and all that; where you're writing down each and every note for each and every instrument. There are a few people working in "pop" music with those sorts of chops Sufjan Stevens is the obvious example here, he's a legitimately serious musician and artist.

This post is an excellent demonstration of why a composition's value isn't derived from its technical complexity, but from its inspiration.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Atheist man opens fire on Muslim students at UNC Chapel Hill on: February 17, 2015, 12:03:54 pm
Al, WHY in your view were Christians in the USSR persecuted?

Is this a serious question? The Bolsheviks were militantly anticlerical (far more so than Marx or (especially) Engels were, actually) and acted accordingly once in power. The various religious minorities didn't have a particularly fun time either.

And you think it's ridiculous to claim they were anticlerical due to the fact they were trying to establish a VERY centralized form of society and government that was dependent on everybody buying in (or forced, whatever) and being good little cogs in the machine?

By that same logic, you could argue that organized religion is an agent of social control, so no one has ever actually been persecuted for having the wrong faith, but for being a threat to the powers that be.

Religion is absolutely an agent of social control for those at the top.  Think Vatican City in the Dark Ages.  Doesn't mean individual radicals don't terrorize and kill in the name of their god or that Al Queda isn't largely faith-based martyrdom (who obviously use their methods to achieve a political agenda, as well... but still).

And do you deny that there were/are individual radicals, unaffiliated with any government, who lauded the suppression of religion in the Soviet Union, or would like to see the same thing happen today? 

No.  My entire point is that it's not nearly as common.

Perhaps not. Then again, who's to say that even those individual radicals commit violence for the reasons that they say that they do? If we're going to get into the business of judging people's motives, we can just as easily say that their hatred is inspired by good old-fashioned sectarianism, which can manifest itself around practically any distinction.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Atheist man opens fire on Muslim students at UNC Chapel Hill on: February 17, 2015, 10:18:07 am
Al, WHY in your view were Christians in the USSR persecuted?

Is this a serious question? The Bolsheviks were militantly anticlerical (far more so than Marx or (especially) Engels were, actually) and acted accordingly once in power. The various religious minorities didn't have a particularly fun time either.

And you think it's ridiculous to claim they were anticlerical due to the fact they were trying to establish a VERY centralized form of society and government that was dependent on everybody buying in (or forced, whatever) and being good little cogs in the machine?

By that same logic, you could argue that organized religion is an agent of social control, so no one has ever actually been persecuted for having the wrong faith, but for being a threat to the powers that be.

Religion is absolutely an agent of social control for those at the top.  Think Vatican City in the Dark Ages.  Doesn't mean individual radicals don't terrorize and kill in the name of their god or that Al Queda isn't largely faith-based martyrdom (who obviously use their methods to achieve a political agenda, as well... but still).

And do you deny that there were/are individual radicals, unaffiliated with any government, who lauded the suppression of religion in the Soviet Union, or would like to see the same thing happen today? 
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Atheist man opens fire on Muslim students at UNC Chapel Hill on: February 17, 2015, 09:42:20 am
Al, WHY in your view were Christians in the USSR persecuted?

Is this a serious question? The Bolsheviks were militantly anticlerical (far more so than Marx or (especially) Engels were, actually) and acted accordingly once in power. The various religious minorities didn't have a particularly fun time either.

And you think it's ridiculous to claim they were anticlerical due to the fact they were trying to establish a VERY centralized form of society and government that was dependent on everybody buying in (or forced, whatever) and being good little cogs in the machine?

By that same logic, you could argue that organized religion is an agent of social control, so no one has ever actually been persecuted for having the wrong faith, but for being a threat to the powers that be.
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of this art piece on: February 09, 2015, 04:35:25 pm
BRTD, what's your favorite art style?
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do child poors get birthday parties? on: January 29, 2015, 10:30:11 am
Somehow, this thread is even more disturbing now than it was when HockeyDude created it.
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs. Hades on: January 27, 2015, 04:13:13 pm
Still, shouldn't leftists despise Hades for being the original plutocrat?

15  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: January 20, 2015, 12:11:24 pm


Just finished reading Part One. All the stories were great (except The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim, which didn't seem quite up to the same level as the others), but I think that I liked The Lottery in Babylon the best.
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs. WooHoo on: January 16, 2015, 03:53:01 pm
"Woo Hoo", of course! I love Blur Smiley
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: 2015 Academy Awards Discussion on: January 16, 2015, 09:14:37 am
The Lego Movie wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature - now there's a snub to get upset about.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 14, 2015, 01:56:56 pm
This chart is probably a more accurate gauge:

[/img]
Being a 9+/10 woman is less privileged than being a short, disfigured, man?

[/img]

Eh, the short disfigured man probably has to put up with less unwanted attention.
19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Moral Views on: January 13, 2015, 11:30:14 am
For me, all moral considerations begin and end by exploring how I would feel if I were the subject of the action whose morality is being evaluated (which becomes easier when you realize that you are the subject of that action, since the ego is an illusion). I'm not sure which of the available voting options comes closest to this answer.

That sounds something like Rawlsian contractualism.

After reading the introduction to John Rawls' Wikipedia page, that does sound like a fairly close approximation of my views - with the distinction that my moral philosophy is an extension of my attempt to overcome egotism in all aspects of life.

Contractualism it is, then.
20  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Moral Views on: January 13, 2015, 11:12:20 am
For me, all moral considerations begin and end by exploring how I would feel if I were the subject of the action whose morality is being evaluated (which becomes easier when you realize that you are the subject of that action, since the ego is an illusion). I'm not sure which of the available voting options comes closest to this answer.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 02:24:56 pm
How tall is "Manly Tears" exactly?

Probably around 5'6'' and below.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 12:46:34 pm
The chart isn't without its flaws (nothing from 4chan is), but I think that the overall assessment is generally accurate.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 12:13:55 pm
This chart is probably a more accurate gauge:

24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the British Empire on: January 03, 2015, 03:54:25 pm
Isn't "Freedom Empire" an oxymoron?
25  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: December 30, 2014, 12:07:26 pm
I recently picked up a translation of P. Boissonnade's Life and Work in Medieval Europe from a Salvation Army store (it seemed interesting enough to invest $.65 in). Has anyone here read it?
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