12/1/08

The Misanthropic Principle – How Atheism Robed Me

FYI: this post has been moved here.

8 comments:

  1. Ditto what adonais said on the last post, and...

    So you can only see beauty in design. Life must have a given, perfect purpose to be worth living.

    You need to know that everything exists for a purpose.

    You don't believe that chance, and arbitrary nature of things, as you put it, can be wonderful.


    I tend to disagree. I was raised in a Christian household that never made grand, sweeping claims of design inferences or the like. All I was taught as a child and through my teenage years that God had a "plan" for everything. It was a comforting though, at times.

    Now, though, I find an absolutely incredible sense of wonder at the sheer improbability of my being, and existence as we know it.

    I could go into details, but here's the short of it: chance can be - and is - beautiful, and we define our own purpose.

    This is more than an aesthetic consideration, but it's similar in that it's a sense of life that we very definitely do not share, and isn't something that can really be debated. It'd be like arguing over whether something tastes good or not.

    The difference is, though, that we can change and adapt our ideals of beauty and meaning - and the truth, as I'm sure you will agree, is totally independent from our desires.

    What we want to see doesn't matter a bit to existence, and that's true for the both of us.

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  2. Maybe direct people to http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2008-11-30/
    rather than copying the cartoon.

    (Quick, before the lawyers arrive and make your blog smelly.)

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  3. Robed, or robbed?

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  4. Mariano,

    I don't think that you were ever robbed but I do think that you are now being conned. To be made to think that winning the the biggest cosmic lottery conceivable (being alive and knowing it) is in some way inferior to being the result of a whim of a capricious deity is silly. You are being conned into believing that such a thing as a deity exists, you are being conned that this deity is in someway responsible for the Universe, you are being conned that someone actually knows that this deity cares about the Universe and what goes on inside it. You are being mislead into thinking that this Earth and your life are part and parcel of this deities grand plan. That is a con. Nobody knows if there is a Plan and even if there is a plan that we are in any way involved in said plan. And even if there is a Plan and we are indeed an integral part of it, nobody really knows if we would approve of the plan at all.

    In the Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis posits that the Devil is motivated to collect souls because they are in essence a food source for him (and all demon kind). If we can grant that idea, then we can grant that God also collects souls for a similar reason - we are just food for the Heavenly host. Intentionally created and farmed with loving care and harvested according to a Grand Plan.

    I have no reason the think that God or the Devil exists, so I have no reason the think that Lewis' idea (or my extension of that idea) has any merit. However, I would never think that a Naturalistic Worldview in some way 'robbed' me of that vision.

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  5. Mariano, that was a very honest and personal expression, I admire you for that. I really do not mean to undermine it in any way with what may sound like criticism. I do think however that you have made it clear that you did not come to this decision by means of evidence for a deity, but by a deep yearning for meaning that you don't think is possible to achieve in a world without a God. Perhaps you should title this blog "Atheism is Death" it would seem to be more descriptive of your point of view, as there are increasing numbers of people who can and do find wonder, purpose,and fullfillment without a God.

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  6. Apart from the typo in the headline, you are attacking a straw man. Neither atheism nor evolutionary theory state that the state of anything in the universe is arbitrary. That is your statement and you are free to contradict it as much as you like. But you are arguing with yourself.

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  7. "Improbability of Being?" "Cosmic Lottery?" The interesting thing here is that it appears that atheists desire to be special and unique, and yet to have no accountability to the source of their unique existence. "I'm special, and oh so lucky, and I've no one to answer to, for the way I live this lucky gift of life!" But as Feste said: "the truth, as I'm sure you will agree, is totally independent from our desires." However, if he is correct that meaning and purpose are defined exclusively by each individual, then truth ceases to be truly objective, or independent of our desires, in any practical way. One cannot have it both ways.

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  8. Feste, Dale, cw1925, Jdhuey, Scary Jesus (each in turn) and generically to All atheists;
    Thank you all for chiming in here.

    Feste;
    My point was that we should not presuppose absolutely materialistic reductionism simply because atheist want to hold to their consoling delusions about you, me, the universe and absolutely everything in it being a coincidinc.
    And if the universe and absolutely everything was created and does have intrinsic meaning—should I deny a sense of meaning, awe, or fulfillment?

    Dale;
    I was attempting to stave off the lawyers with my caveat but I do believe that Dilbert’s creator is an atheist so………

    cw1925;
    English is my fourth language and I have no second or third :o)
    Actually, it is my second and I am dyslexic so between the two odd things sometimes happen.
    But it may be interesting to consider that atheist reductionism robbed us of intrinsic meaning while God robed us with it.

    Jdhuey
    C. S. Lewis also stated that the devil’s greatest triumph was convincing people that he did not exist.
    God does not need us for food of any sort.
    I appreciate your concern. I could simply restate your observations thusly,
    To be made to think that you and absolutely everything that exists does so by winning the biggest cosmic lottery conceivable (being alive and knowing it) is in some way inferior to being the result of a deity’s creation is silly.
    You are being conned into believing that such a thing as cosmic lottery exists, you are being conned that this cosmic lottery is in some way responsible for the Universe, you are being conned that someone actually knows that this cosmic lottery does not care about the Universe and what goes on inside it.
    You are being misled into thinking that this Earth and your life are irrelevant to this cosmic lottery.
    That is a con.
    Nobody knows if there is no Plan and even if there is a plan that we are not still merely arbitrary side effects.
    And even if there is no Plan and we are not indeed an integral part of it, nobody really cares that whether we would approve of the plan at all
    .
    This last point is very interesting: if God has a plan “nobody really knows if we would approve of the plan at all.” I see your alternative as being two pronged: you discard the very concept of a plan yet, in doing so you assure us that you do not have the option of approving. In other words, all is absolutely materialistic-reductionist-arbitrary, call it a plan (by the unplanning planner) or a cosmic lottery guess what? You have no say at all, you do not and cannot approve or disapprove. You are a spectator riding on the back of arbitrary collocations.
    I hope that you will pardon me but I will make a rather pointed yet generic statement:
    Atheism is a consoling delusion for various reasons some of which are, I think:
    The consoling delusion of absolute autonomy.
    The consoling delusion of lack of ultimate accountability.
    The consoling delusion of more erudite than thou.
    The consoling delusion of subjective meaning in an objectively meaningless existence.

    Scary Jesus;
    “very honest”—true story: a friend admitted to being a compulsive liar. I did not know whether I should believe him :o)
    I appreciate your diplomacy, I really do.
    However, I assure you that whatever you infer about I came to a “decision” from this post or anything that I have chosen to reveal, you do not know the half of it, nor the third of it, nor the hundredth, nor thousandth. I am afraid that I am far to introverted to write an autobio.
    This essay may help elucidate.
    Let us just say that for the majority of my life I was functioning as an atheist. I found wonder, purpose, and fulfillment without a God. I found it in playing music, art, nature, relationships, etc., etc., etc.
    I would even sit around with my friends making fun of those stupid Christians and saying the same things about them and the Bible as many on AiD say to me today (I even smoked a page from the Bible, put that in your pipe and…well, its been done—at least by me).
    I am much like Solomon: been there, done that, tried that, considered that, lived that, I have been around the block and back again and then a few more times for good measure.
    My “decision” was a the end result of a chain of causation and not something that can be as neatly packaged as you may think.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    All: let us go with this concept that I found meaning/fulfillment by believing in God.
    Just who are you to judge my meaning/fulfillment?
    What gives you the right to besmirch my meaning/fulfillment?
    Why are you trying to convert me away from my meaning/fulfillment?
    If I sought meaning and found it where I found it, why should I lose it and find it where you found it?

    aDios,
    Mariano

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