I've seen God

Dr Lobster*
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sat 30 Aug, 2003 20.14

i think we can agree that even over the last few years and certainly in our lifetimes our society has moved and will continue towards secularism.

whilst this is in theory no bad thing - i can really only comment on the christian belief system and it's gospels as intellectually unsatisfying, i wonder if the gradual erosion of an organised religious belief and more generally, the notion that there is "somebody up there" is having an interesting side effect;

there are a great many people these days who are completely and utterly obsessed with the self.

you've only got to look at twitter and facebook to determine that in many places the hot topic of conversation is the self.... thousands upon thousands of photos of themselves. hundreds of thousands of words all about the self.

do you think the loss of an outward 'god' in many peoples lives has forced people to look inward, to the self for worship and adoration rather than a god? or do you think the obsession of the self is more of an internet age construct?

and has this almost surreal obsession with celebrities private lives got something to do with this lack of a 'god'?

a quick check on the Daily Mail shows the following people on the front page: Kate Middleton, Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, Rocco Richie, Jonhhy Depp, Amber Heard, etc all in non-stories about nothing in particular right on the front page.

and whilst you might say this is just the pre-occupation of the daily mail, the reality is that each and every one of these stories has attracted hundreds, if not thousands of comments - people clearly are interested in this stuff.

a few years ago, i would have described myself as an atheist (i suppose i consider myself a pantheist these days) - again - i can really only comment about the christian teachings - which seem arbitrary and contrived and my belief system has always been rooted in science, or so i thought.

problem is, the more you learn about science and the universe and the more reductionist you become, you realise even science becomes unsatisfying. it can tell us lots about about how fundamental particles interact and how these building blocks create more complex system, but it can't tell me why, indeed it can't tell me why anything that we see is the way it is at all.

i almost see humankind stuck in an intellectual and philosophical no man's land.

if religion has been debunked by science, science itself has hit a brick wall and wonder whether the answers about who and what we are, even if they are not the domain of science, lie beyond our grasp.
Alexia
Posts: 2970
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

If you rely on science to answer questions on philosophy and theology, you're screwed. That's not what it's there for. Its only purpose is to explain the existence of life, the universe and everything. (42). It's only human ignorance and fear that seeks to fill the gaps in the knowledge with some sort of meaning or purpose behind those facts. Science is an evidence-based system to explain why things exist. It uses various methods of discovery, investigation and extrapolation. It allows for variance and change while reflecting trends and similarities. It is exhaustive, comprehensive, continuing, changing and evolving. It admits when it is wrong and it never says it is definitively right. Its default position is "we don't know".

Religion shuts down discovery and the quest for knowledge by claiming to have the answers to how we got here and, more importantly for the subjugation and control of the populace, why we are here. It places responsibilities on our shoulders that just shouldn't exist, and fills the gaps in our knowledge with supposition and assumption. It appeals to people's fears and doubts by providing false and misleading reassurances, which are then taken to the extreme as justifications for life decisions, lessons and rules. It is a scourge on society.

However one can seek, and find, personal spiritual enlightenment in science and nature if that sort of thing is important to you. Think for a second. We are only here because of a series of cosmic coincidences. That isn't special, I expect there are several earth-like planets in our universe. But we just can't see them, so we think we're the only ones. Which makes it more special and marvellous (in the true sense of the word, as in marvel). It does mean we're practically alone in our little corner of space which gives us an unjustified sense of arrogance and uniqueness. As a hardcore atheist, I find reward, hope and enlightenment in looking at my species' achievements. We as a species despite our intellectual deficiencies have survived where others have failed. We've created art, invention and culture in spite of religious doctrine. We've discovered nature's secrets in curing diseases. We've extracted this earth's bounty, used it and moulded it in a variety of functional and aesthetically pleasing ways. And then there's MUSIC.... We rub catgut with string and make men cry manly tears. We blow air into moulded brass and evoke memories.... Every time I'm dismayed by a Farage or a Hitler or a Trump, I think of a Florence Nightingale or a Martin Luther King or a Bob Dylan. I think of fellow humans who have brought joy into other human's lives and the enrichment of life they provide.

THAT's my spirituality, that's my justification of WHY we are here. 70 years is a short time. If you can use it well, you should.
robschneider
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 14.53

If I was pushed on the matter I'd call myself Christian. Whilst we didn't go to Church every Sunday, nonetheless I'd say I had a "Christian" upbringing. I'm not sure if I believe in God. I believe there's some sort of afterlife (and I'm also of the belief I had a previous life) but what it is, or what form that will take (or previously took) I couldn't tell you. I don't think it's as clear-cut as if you're good you go to Heaven, if you're bad you go to Hell. But nor do I believe killing yourself and taking as many people as possible with you gives you a load of virginal maidens to do your worst with on the other side. But there's definitely something after death.
Alexia
Posts: 2970
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

robschneider wrote: (and I'm also of the belief I had a previous life)
I think you did too. And I think it ended with a self-inflicted gunshot in a bunker in 1945.
PresIdents
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 13.02
Location: Oxfordshire

robschneider wrote:But there's definitely something after death.
A funeral, perhaps?
Dr Lobster*
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sat 30 Aug, 2003 20.14

robschneider wrote: I believe there's some sort of afterlife (and I'm also of the belief I had a previous life) but what it is, or what form that will take (or previously took) I couldn't tell you. I don't think it's as clear-cut as if you're good you go to Heaven, if you're bad you go to Hell.
i think the afterlife is one area of faith which science has got pretty much tied up:

we know that bodies themselves do not continue after death as they decay in a predictable way.

so therefore what must continue after death is consciousness.

whilst consciousness is not fully understood, it is generally accepted that consciousness is an emergent property of brain processes.

the fact that people with brain damage or defects have predictable deficiencies in function re-enforces that brain and consciousness are inextricably linked.

so really, we're looking for an explanation, a method and a reason why, in a universe that's almost certainly infinite, and by it's nature contains an infinite number of stars and galaxies, as to why it would have some built in process to rescue the human consciousness after death and hide it somewhere so it can continue.

and further, for this to work, there would have to be a 'universality of mind', so the universe could host and keep all these minds going after death.

but if we assume consciousness is built using emergent physical phenomena - and given the mind interacts with the physical world then there isn't really anything in the equation that can support this notion that part of us continues after death - our physical world is a closed system - anything the mind was doing after death, where it was going would be measurable - we already have to the tools to detect an afterlife and would have done so by now.

it is clear the afterlife, like the gospels is an ad-hoc human creation. it doesn't fit with anything we see physically.

the only hope for advocates of these types of belief system is panpsychism - but to me, whilst this might help explain consciousness, doesn't really solve any of the problems i've highlighted - it's an interesting theory and not something i've been able to discount myself.
Jason
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu 29 Dec, 2005 17.22

I thought Nick Harvey was god?
Jason aka JasonB @TVF
Alexia
Posts: 2970
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Jason wrote:I thought Nick Harvey was god?
He's A god, not THE god.
robschneider
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 14.53

It's quite sad that even views on religion and the afterlife mean posters have to resort to trolling, snide remarks and Godwin's Law in full effect.
Alexia
Posts: 2970
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

robschneider wrote:It's quite sad that even views on religion and the afterlife mean posters have to resort to trolling, snide remarks and Godwin's Law in full effect.
Meh. You deserve it.
robschneider
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 14.53

Alexia wrote:
robschneider wrote:It's quite sad that even views on religion and the afterlife mean posters have to resort to trolling, snide remarks and Godwin's Law in full effect.
Meh. You deserve it.
Why don't you explain why rather than keep attacking me for my political views?
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