"This is clearly self-deification — atheism’s ultimate goal. Note that the answer to the question, “Where is my light?” is not, “There is no light,” but “My light is in me,” i.e., “I am my light,” or “I am the light.”"I think the real point is that we, as humans who do not base our lives on or seek purpose in religion, define ourselves and decide what our own "purpose" is.From a theist's perspective, I suppose that that's equivalent to attempted usurpation of the God's authority, hence your view that being one's own light, as it were, is self-deification.That angle only really works if you believe in a God. Since we don't, the typical nontheist's perspective on this would be that the idea of being a light in of yourself, or defining your own purpose, is merely a necessary assertion of the value of humanity in response to theistic assertions that God is the only "light" and source of purpose - not in response to an acknowledged but rejected God.In short, the self-deification idea is wholly consistent in a theistic worldview that asserts a purpose-giving God, and wholly absurd in a nontheistic worldview.---Nietzsche is an odd case, and I'm not aware of a great deal of reverence for him among the sundry nontheist communities of the intertubes. He was bound in an essentially theistic worldview - God, or the concept of God, was to Nietzsche essential for moral sense and order. Nietzsche's argument from the madman's mouth was that any hope of moral order must necessarily be abandoned when Christianity and faith in God is cast aside.After the moral loss, however, Nietszche believed that humanity could more fully give itself to the world, achieving things that are impossible when hegemony is assumed to be held by God. This is an idea that many atheists do agree with, but, taken in the context of Nietzsche's total philosophy, it isn't a terribly attractive one.Another idea that nontheists tend not to favor is the notion that a sense of the sacred is necessary to life - that faith must be placed in something, if not God.Again, this is an idea that is thoroughly bound in a theistic worldview.---The practical upshot of all this is that the basic difference between your nontheist and theist writers and commenters is whether they accept the necessity of a God.We don't; you do, and it would be nice to see some arguments for 1) the necessity of a God and 2) from that, arguments that the Pentateuch or Gospels or Qur'an or whatever other books/stories you may care to share are compatible with the sort of arguments you make for the existence of a God.I know that this is primarily an anti-Atheism blog, but, considering that most all of your arguments "against" atheism start with a theistic or deistic presupposition, it would be nice to see some justification for those ideas.Thanks, and apologies if I have wasted your time.
Mariano- this may surprise you, but not all atheists revere Nietzsche. He was certainly brilliant, but his characteristic huffing and puffing about superiorities of various kinds is tiresome. And he rejected Darwin. Perhaps that's what happens when you study theology, as Nietzsche did: you become a priest or a madman.Anyway, you say:This is clearly self-deification—atheism’s ultimate goal. Note that the answer to the question, “Where is my light?” is not, “There is no light,” but “My light is in me,” i.e., “I am my light,” or “I am the light.”Now, now, Mariano. While there have certainly been atheists into self-deism (Stalin comes to mind- but perhaps it was just his training to be a priest that caused that), saying that this is "atheism's ultimate goal" is just plain silly. While atheists have goals, they are just as varied, or even more varied perhaps, than the goals of believers, because atheism as such has no goals: it is simply lack of belief in God. And I assure you, it is quite possible to not believe in God and still not want to deify oneself, and I suspect most atheists don't want to deify themselves, Nietzsche and Stalin notwithstanding.And your sequence from "my light is in me" to "I am the light" (I suppose you mean in the sense of being like Jesus) is ridiculous. Saying "my light is in me" is simply a figurative way of saying "I will find my own way" or something of the nature.
"This is clearly self-deification—atheism’s ultimate goal. Note that the answer to the question, “Where is my light?” is not, “There is no light,” but “My light is in me,” i.e., “I am my light,” or “I am the light.”"Yeah, recognizing that you have self worth is obviously deification. Self-esteem: atheisms ULTIMATE weapon!"Note also that while it is asserted that “you’re never going to know what God is,” we get an instant dogma about what God is, “God is a construct of the mind.”"You are confusing two differant cagtegories- one is definition, which there is no static one. The other is concept, which does have a known placement. "I have already chronicles various statements by atheists who seek to establish an atheist religion in my essay, Atheism is Holier Than Theism. In this case we encountered a Jewish atheist irreligious service with all of the trappings with the exception of references to a supernatural God."Someone has no idea what the meaning of religion is.Yes amazing. Apparently when you get rid of religion you have to find a way to fill the social roles that religion has held. it isn't something that every sociologist on the planet has predicted... oh, wait it is!The fun part is this is, once again, completely irrelevant to the truth value of atheism versus theism. It is the logical fallacy known as appeal to consequences.
A general comment about your blog: if you guys can't get it together to moderate and post your comments at least once a day, it gets pretty frustrating. Your atheist competition with moderated comments is much more on the ball...
I love Nietzsche and I am a theist.I love sushi and I am a buddhist.What the ...?Exactly!
Lots of stuff to talk about here.First, the Atheist elevates himself above any deity when he denies the deity, without empirical proof. Atheists declare themselves to be smarter and more moral than any deity. (Self-deification)The lack of any empirical proof for any of this has presented a problem for Atheists, who demand empirical proof for every belief. This conundrum is the reason that Atheists have begun to deny their denial, saying that they merely have no belief - an obvious irrationality. They have a belief alright, and it is that no deity exists. So the intellectual dishonesty becomes a brilliant red light for those who make such claims.Next, Nietzsche was the only honest Atheist I have ever come across. He first denied the First Principles (in Beyond Good and Evil); he accepted and furthered evolution in his concept of humanity as the link between animals and the ubermenchen (ultra-man). (Will Durant called him "more Darwinian than Darwin"; Story of Philosophy) Not only do morals not exist, the value of the human "herd" is determined by what they can produce and nothing more. For Nietzsche, evolution is the only absolute; rationality and logic are not absolutes, because they are based on the First Principles, which are denied: therefore the universe is not rational, and Nietzsche's anti-rationalism came into being. His anti-rationalism produced contradictory philosophies (ubermench vs. recurrent existence). But the principle of non-contradiction was denied, so he maintained them against all his innate rational faculties. It is said his insanity and death were due to syphillis; I wonder if his suppressed rational mind finally rejected his cherished anti-rational philosophy. It is the same irrationalism that is used today by Atheists; the conclusion drives the premises. Materialism (which cannot be proven, either empirically or rationally) reigns over the minds of Atheists, limiting options to a non-empirical, non-rational, truncated physical reality. Having denied the First Principles, Atheist "rationality" becomes a rationalized mix of temporary positions, temporary ethics and temporary logic.Nietzche's ubermench is a god-like super-creature evolved out of man. The path to ubermench is through selective breeding of the elites. Elitism is a form of self worship; it is rampant amongst the elite Atheists. Becoming an "elite" is one reason to become and remain an Atheist.Finally, Sociology is the "Queen of Rationalizations and Abductive Reasoning"; faking quotes or beliefs of sociologists has no truth value whatsoever.
stan, you say:First, the Atheist elevates himself above any deity when he denies the deity, without empirical proof.So stan, do I have to specifically deny all deities, one by one, and furnish empirical proof that none of them exist? Since there have been about ten thousand deities postulated, that would be quite a job, and not much less of a job for you, since you would have to prove that 9,999 of them don't exist.Why should I have the burden of proving that invisible undetectable beings don't exist? I could just as well say that you elevate yourself above Santa, or Bambi, because you have no empirical proof that they do not exist.Atheists declare themselves to be smarter and more moral than any deity. (Self-deification)Yes, I declare myself smarter and more moral than any being that does not seem to exist- true as charged. Are you not smarter and more moral than any leprechaun?The lack of any empirical proof for any of this has presented a problem for Atheists, who demand empirical proof for every belief.I don't know which atheists you have been talking to, but I don't know any who demand, for instance, empirical proof for my belief that there is no teapot in orbit between Mars and Jupiter.This conundrum is the reason that Atheists have begun to deny their denial, saying that they merely have no belief - an obvious irrationality. They have a belief alright, and it is that no deity exists. So the intellectual dishonesty becomes a brilliant red light for those who make such claims.No conundrum here- I can't prove that there is no God, or no teapot in orbit, but as there's no evidence for either one, or for any of gazillions of other imaginable fantasies, then I provisionally don't believe in them. I'm open to new evidence, of course. If you have any for the existence of God, I'm all ears. But calling my disbelief "intellectual dishonesty" is silly. I honestly see no evidence for the existence of God, and I see lots of evidence that people make up religions all the time.About Nietzsche- he was a strange piece of work, undeniably. But there's no reason for me to accept his reasoning, and I don't. Despite what Will Durant said, Nietzsche made the same misinterpretation of Darwin that Herbert Spencer did: the old is-ought fallacy.Elitism is a form of self worship; it is rampant amongst the elite Atheists.Elitism is rampant among elites? What do you mean?Becoming an "elite" is one reason to become and remain an Atheist.Says you. I'm not an atheist because I want to become an "elite", and I don't know any such atheists. Do you? Can you give me some evidence for this assertion?
"First, the Atheist elevates himself above any deity when he denies the deity, without empirical proof. Atheists declare themselves to be smarter and more moral than any deity."I am also smarter and more moral than Bigfoot and Santa Claus.
Stan:First, the Atheist elevates himself above any deity when he denies the deity, without empirical proof.Wrong, Stan. It's not about "elevating" ourselves above any deity, it's just us not being able to accept the existence of any deity unless theire's proof of it.Let me guess: You're trying to make us look egotistical, right? Do better than an ad-hom next time, Ok?By the way, are you implying that we need to have proof that your deity does not exist before we go and say that he doesn't? Wrong again. You need to show evidence that your deity does exist. Why?Look at the myriad of religions in our planets' past and present...is a skeptic supposed to disprove the existence of each and every one of them before he's entitled to not believe in them, or is the adherent to each religion supposed to present the proof for his or her god to the skeptic?Atheists declare themselves to be smarter and more moral than any deity. (Self-deification)Yep, you're trying to portray us as egotistical.The lack of any empirical proof for any of this has presented a problem for Atheists, who demand empirical proof for every belief.And justly so, otherwise any and every religous belief and superstition would have to be held in equal respect in this world, and would be just as valid as yours.This conundrum is the reason that Atheists have begun to deny their denial, saying that they merely have no belief - an obvious irrationality. They have a belief alright, and it is that no deity exists. So the intellectual dishonesty becomes a brilliant red light for those who make such claims.At this point, I wouldn't talk if I was you.
Stan:First, the Atheist elevates himself above any deity when he denies the deity, without empirical proof. Atheists declare themselves to be smarter and more moral than any deity.Again, from a nontheist's perspective, we're smarter and more moral than any deity in the same sense that you probably assume yourself to be smarter and more moral than any animate, intelligent muppet: the comparison is totally meaningless without a belief in the entity in question. The lack of any empirical proof for any of this has presented a problem for Atheists, who demand empirical proof for every belief. Empirical proof for every assertion of fact that makes a claim about the way things are, function, or about things not present, yes. We accept that total empirical proof is sometimes impossible, and work the lack of total certainty into our framework of knowledge.Look to meteorology as an example: Some things we know for certain - what a cold front is, how a cold air mass moving into a warm air mass will affect weather. Predictive power in meteorology is imprecise, however, and we know that and are OK with it. Predictions are based entirely on comparing a number of presently existing factors with past situations in which those factors existed. That's why rain, snow, etc predictions are given in percent chances: x percent of days with these particular conditions led to this outcome.There are other sciences in which our lack of total knowledge is factored into claims and our framework of understanding. In few case do we wait for %100 certainty and understanding before testing what we think we know.Oftentimes, further testing of an assumption will result in a)results that could not occur were our understanding wholly accurate, in which case we adjust our thoughts, or b) results that would be impossible were our assumption not true.This conundrum is the reason that Atheists have begun to deny their denial, saying that they merely have no belief - an obvious irrationality. They have a belief alright, and it is that no deity exists. This comes up all the time. For which definition or accepted understanding of "belief?" We can go to a dictionary, which provides as a definition close to what yours must be: "Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something"- or maybe we can look to philosophical discussions which tear apart to word to try and figure out what constitutes belief. To what degree and in which way must mental acceptance/assertion of a concept be held, or at what level must a person act in accordance to an assumption et cetera...I find that all mostly useless, since people tend to define themselves and their personal vocabulary.Since I can speak only for myself, I will tell you that I believe, wholly and completely, that:-The God/spiritual force/cosmology presented in all human religions is in every case internally inconsistent and inconsistent with the world as I understand it empirically and intuitively.-I make no assertions regarding the existence or nonexistence of some sort of "higher power" apart from that presented by human religions.-I choose, therefore, to act as though there is no god: Human religions present ultimately absurd assertions, and the existence of a higher power or motive force which I have no definition of or ability to define could not possibly affect my life in any way that I would notice or understand.-As such, it can be said that:---I believe that human religions are absurd.---I believe that the god(s) defined in Earthly texts do(es) not exist.So, yes, I believe that a deity as defined by religion does not exist, but I make no assertions regarding the existence of the sort of deity posited by certain philosophies except to deny in some cases that those deities are "necessary."(It's worth noting that many intelligent Christians, Muslims, and Jews go from broad philosophical definitions of "God" to the specific definition presented by, guess what, the religion they were raised in, or a slight variation thereof. Nothing about Descartes' concept of God suggests that that God is the god of the Bible, but many are content to accept a broad definition and then insist that their God is the one that contains all perfections or something of the sort.)So, I, and others, believe that certain "gods" do not exist, but simply lack belief in broadly defined "gods." A total lack of assertion regarding the subject can't reasonably defined as "belief against."So the intellectual dishonesty becomes a brilliant red light for those who make such claims.The real intellectual dishonesty, intentional or not, is insisting on using your definitions of belief and assertions of our beliefs instead of seeking out what we say.You can't reasonably argue against someone unless you know what they're saying.By the way, if I was convinced that a single, unified, personal God existed, I would be a Muslim. The Qur'an is easily the most internally consistent Book of religion on the planet, although it has its absurdities. I'd be interested to see what would happen if theists all read the recitations with the same "open heart and soul" that Christians often ask me to read the New Testament with.
Stan, you obviously do not understand that theists are the ones proposing the idea that a God exists. Therefore, theists, such as yourself, must provide said proof.
Question for all of you NON-self-deification atheists: Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?Who is up above and beyond you?Stalin was said to be a theist because he determined morality for himself, how are you any different?Are you not better informed than the overwhelming majority of the entire planet’s population regardless of chronology, geography, theology or philosophy?aDios,Mariano
Question for all of you NON-self-deification atheists:Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?Who is up above and beyond you?"Higher" in what respect? Knowledge on how to operate a crane? Height? Weight? Amount of melanin in our skin?Stalin was said to be a theist because he determined morality for himself, how are you any different?Are you not better informed than the overwhelming majority of the entire planet’s population regardless of chronology, geography, theology or philosophy?aDios,MarianoAre we better informed than most other people? In what type of information?Do you believe that most atheists think they're better informed than other people? What exactly is your point?Ahi nos vemos
Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?No, because the idea of a "higher" being is, to me, meaningless. Unless, of course, you're talking about something concrete or societal.I can name beings with more human-given authority than myself, and I can name beings with more mass, knowledge, height, or common sense than me, among other things, but those are all metrics.Stalin was said to be a theist because he determined morality for himself, how are you any different?I don't understand. Are you saying "Stalin was said to be a theist because he determined morality for himself, and, since only God can determine morality, Stalin must have thought himself to be God and therefore believed in himself?"If I don't believe that a God is the source of morality, I can't be said to be declaring myself to be God or above god by saying that humans define themselves and find moral codes in the human experience.To echo my first comment, such an assertion depends upon a theistc supposition that God is the source of all morality, and that it is impossible to define morality without God....and to that I would say "Yes, the idea of a universal, unchanging morality would depend upon some sort of force/law, but I believe in neither a universal morality or the idea that such a morality would come from God as is defined by religion.Are you not better informed than the overwhelming majority of the entire planet’s population regardless of chronology, geography, theology or philosophy?I would wager that I know more about the Wu-Tang clan than at least six billion other people, oh yeah.I don't understand this point, I'm afraid.
"Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?"What do you mean by "higher"?What are the units on the y-axis?
Mariano "Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?"Mom"Who is up above and beyond you?"Also Mom."Stalin was said to be a theist because he determined morality for himself, how are you any different?"Huh? Stalin's link to theism was using the tools of the Russian Orthodox church and repurposing people under the Church (and the absolute and unquestionable rule of God) to people under the State (and the absolute and unquestionable rule of Stalin).The question is; how are you any different? You're just taking another group's morality, attributed to God, and then claiming that that and the other bits you got from other people combined into your own moral amalgam is, what, superior or better grounded than anyone else who does basically the same thing (less the supernatural attribution)? Most of your morality you got from the same places that everybody else (including the writers of the Bible) got them; your parents and those around you and your observations of them and interactions between them. This is how you and the Conquistadors and the Quakers can all be True Christians; same bible + different society = different True Christianity. You're just selecting different parts of the bible to focus on, reinterpret, minimize or ignore."Are you not better informed than the overwhelming majority of the entire planet's population regardless of chronology, geography, theology or philosophy?"Probably. I try not to let it go to my head.
Mariano- you ask:Can you name one being in the entire universe that is higher than yourself?No. But I can't name one being in the entire Universe that is lower than myself either. That's because "higher" and "lower" don't mean anything except in specific contexts, and you haven't clearly specified one.If, by "higher", you mean "more intelligent", then of course there are beings more intelligent than myself (although not very many, lol). If you mean "more influential", sure, lots. Lots of people are stronger, nicer, better looking, faster, wealthier, and taller than I am. Is that what you mean?Or do you simply mean, as you seem to imply, that "higher" means "better educated than believers". I would say that there are certainly believers who are better educated than I am in any field you care to name, except perhaps in the modern reconstruction of kitharas and psaltery-harps. I happen to think that the vast majority of the Earth's population is mistaken about the existence of God, but they also think me mistaken, and anyone can make a mistake: that doesn't mean that I am "higher" or "lower" than anyone else.I suspect, rather, (correct me if I'm wrong), that by "higher", you mean something like "having moral authority over me". If that's what you mean, my answer is no. I decide on my own morals, at least to some extent: some tendencies are built into my genes, since I'm a social animal, and are difficult to contravene. And of course I do listen to others and to my culture, and I try to find a way that makes me a worthwhile part of the human race and of all life, but ultimately, I decide what morals to have.And so do you, and so does everyone else. Christians choose to follow precepts from the Bible, Muslims from the Koran, and Hindus from the Vedas. But everyone is free to choose or reject whatever precepts they want: otherwise there is no free will. Does your God force you to follow Him? If not, then you choose your morals too. Even if you regard God as having absolute authority over you, it is your choice to submit yourself, is it not?
Zilch, Modusoperandi, et al;In that case, according to professor of philosophy Daniel Dennett you are not an atheist but you are a theist since you believe in god and that god is you.Some of you may not be aware of this post but I quote Dennett to that effect.aDios,Mariano
Mariano- I read your post, and you quoted Dennett saying that Josef Stalin believed that he was God. I don't understand how that is supposed to apply to me. True, I have a mustache as Stalin did; is that it? And I do have one Russian great-grandmother. Otherwise, I don't see much connection: I don't believe in any gods, and I am almost certain that I am not a god. Could you be so kind and explain how what Dennett said applies to me?cheers, hasta luego, zilch
Mariano: I don't know if you're aware of this, but Dennett isn't the boss of us. We decided this at the last atheist cabal meeting. It's currently, um, that guy who looks like Ben Stiller's turn to define our world for us.
Zilch, Modusoperandi, et al;In that case, according to professor of philosophy Daniel Dennett you are not an atheist but you are a theist since you believe in god and that god is you.Some of you may not be aware of this post but I quote Dennett to that effect.First of all, Dr. Dennett was wrongly trying to make Stalin seem a like a theist, which he very clearly wasn't. Stalin was very much an atheist.Now, I can see you didn't actually read the comments.First you've tried to make us say that we're the "highest" being we know of, whatever that means.Then, you incorrectly assumed that we all said that we believe we're each the "highest" being we know of.Finally, you incorrectly redefined "god" to mean whoever is "highest" in a person's mind.Unfortunately, your argument here fails on all accounts, even if Dr. Dennett had been right.
Zilch, Modusoperandi, et al;In that case, according to professor of philosophy Daniel Dennett you are not an atheist but you are a theist since you believe in god and that god is you.I don't know whether I'm included in the "et al," but I have to respond to this.If we believed in a god, then we'd be theists, yes. How, though, do we believe that we're gods?Because we can't name beings "higher" than ourselves? If your definition of God is "the highest possible being," and we accepted that definition, then we would have to accept that all things are God - no beings are "higher" or "lower" than any others, and, therefore, all are the highest possible beings inasmuch as "highest" is a concept without, to our worldviews, any distinction.I've read the Dennet post, and Ia) don't see how his attempt to exclude Stalin from the nontheist community applies to us.andb) don't see why his ideas apply to us.Are you taking the Stalin comment to mean that all nontheists are theists that believe themselves to be God?Apologies for the disorganized nature of my comments.
M.O.- thanks a bunch for spilling the beans about our cabal. I'm demoting you to a minor demiurge until you shape up. If you behave nicely for a week, I'll let you be Gilgamesh again.Mariano- the other atheists here pretty much speak for me, so there's not a lot left for me to say. One point deserves elucidation, however.You quote Dennett saying:“…it occurred to me - let's think about Stalin for a moment. Was he an atheist? You might say well of course he was an atheist. No, on the contrary. In a certain sense, he wasn’t an atheist at all. He believed in god. Not only that, he believe in a god whose will determined what right and wrong was. And he was sure of the existence of this god, and the god’s name was Stalin.”Note, in the first place that Dennett qualifies his claim that Stalin wasn't an atheist with "in a certain sense". There is no record of Stalin claiming that he is a god (as far as I know), and I'm sure Dennett is aware of this. So what does Dennett mean?It seems pretty obvious that believing oneself to be a god can have many different meanings. You can have Jehovah believing that He is a god, and it means one thing; I presume that Dennett did not mean that Stalin believed himself to be Jehovah. One can also say that a person is a god or goddess if they are very good at something, or very attractive- for instance, after listening to Seventh Son, I might say that Mose Allison is a god. Or the term might be used in a very general way, about the accomplishment of technological wonders, as Stewart Brand meant when he said "We are as gods and might as well get good at it". Arthur C. Clarke's famous quip "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" means much the same thing.Or- and this seems a more likely interpretation of what Dennett meant about Stalin- one can consider oneself a god when one is convinced that his will determines what right and wrong is for everybody, and uses his position of power to impose his ideas of right and wrong, as far as is possible, on everyone within reach of his influence.This sounds a lot like Stalin, and a lot like Jehovah too, but not like most atheists I know. In fact, most atheists are mild-mannered, polite to old ladies in the street car, and some of us even knit.cheers from chilly Vienna, zilch
Well, I suppose that I’ll quote another philosopher Bob Dillon, who sang,“You’re gonna have to serve somebody,Well, it may be the devil or it may be the LordBut you’re gonna have to serve somebody”But why pick on a Joe Shlomo blogger such as myself?Why do you guys not write to Prof. Dennett and explain to him how his position is faulty.When you have completed your correspondence with him you can email it to me and I will post it up front for you.His e-address is: firstname.lastname@example.orgEagerly awaiting and aDios,Mariano
Mariano: notice that Dylan said "it may be the Devil, and it may be the Lord..." He didn't exclude other possibilities, including serving one's own enlightened self interest. But it doesn't matter: much as I admire Dylan, I don't serve him.But why pick on a Joe Shlomo blogger such as myself?Why do you guys not write to Prof. Dennett and explain to him how his position is faulty.Because you made the claim, that according to Dennett, we atheists deify ourselves. As I explained, that's not what Dennett said. I don't see how Dennett's position is "faulty"- it's your interpretation of what he said that's faulty, q.e.d.