Humanist Book Club Meeting- No.10 - "Religion for Atheists"

  • May 8, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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'Religion for Atheists' by Alain de Botton will be shared at this May meeting.

 

Scheduled Titles:

# 11  (June) The Good Life by Hugh Mackay

# 12  (July) The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah

# 13  (August) Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe by Greg Epstein

# 14  (September) To be determined.

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  • Tanya M.

    Thanks again, Cate, for being such a good host :-)

    May 9, 2013

    • Cate

      Pleasure Tanya, was lovely to meet you :)

      May 10, 2013

  • Salvatore B.

    Thanks everybody! really enjoyed last night and of course sepcial thanks to Kate!! Hope you didnt have too much to clean up.

    May 9, 2013

  • Garry R.

    For Salvatore:
    Buddhism and Karma
    Introduction to the Buddhist Understanding of Karma

    By Barbara O'Brien, buddhism.about.com

    May 9, 2013

    • Salvatore B.

      Thanks Garry, i will have a look at OBrien's book. If u find any other interesting Humanist/Buddist/Miorali­ty/Ethics/and most importantly any Humor stuff. wooow got carried away here sorry Garry cant help it i love books.

      May 9, 2013

  • Garry R.

    Yes thank you Cate for hosting the Meetup and thank you Stevie for the summary of the evenings discussion; concise and accurate. Oh and thank you Bruce and Tania; I am glad to meet you for the first time. Once again it has been worth the long drive to partake in such a thoughtful and lovely tribe :-)

    1 · May 9, 2013

  • Stevie

    Thanks to Cate's warm hospitality in hosting diverse and spirited debate from all on De Botton's 'Religion for Atheists'. Garry shared insights from Buddhism which in guises seeks spiritual betterment without belief in a deity. Cate spoke of Humanists' quest for fulfilling spiritual lives in a society which de Botton writes has often left many feeling alone from shared values and community. Salvatore tasked secular society to engender Community, the bond historically shaped by religion. Art and Education are areas De Botton identifies where depictions of virtue and values are no longer central. Bruce expressed doubts on de Botton's contention traditional religion can retain meaning and moral power without a divine belief structure. Diana and Tania criticised De Botton's lowly depiction of man's 'frailty' and 'sinful' nature. Caron and Stevie challenged De Botton's generalisations and lack of scholarship. Debate shifted to humans' cosmic significance and a personal basis for morality.

    1 · May 8, 2013

  • Bruce

    Excellent get-together, lovely bunch of people :)

    2 · May 8, 2013

  • Keri P.

    Sorry everybody - I also won't be able to make tonight. Apologies for the late notice-the combination of blustery night and a sick child

    May 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to cancel too. Absolutely knackered and headache coming on. For the record, I give de Botton's book a thumbs down. :-(

    May 8, 2013

  • Martin

    Sorry for the late notification guys.

    May 8, 2013

  • Mirella T.

    Hi Everyone,

    I've lost my voice and have developed quite a nice cold so I think I'll have to pass on tonight. So any of you on the waiting list please take my spot!
    Hope to see you next time :)
    Mirella

    May 8, 2013

  • Garry R.

    One way to test for the existence of God is to use science. If experiments reveal a result then they go onto the pile of data and information supporting the probability of the existence of God. Thinking humans can continuously do this infinitum until after a period of time we may attach the term truth to the belief in God one way or the other.
    As an atheist I do not believe in the documented claims of a God or the undocumented ones. The documented claims for a God reflect thesis that have all been discredited by the tools of science and reason. The theoretical God however may have a stronger case, yet alas not by much.
    So for me when it comes to believing in a God, the spring board from which I would take such a leap of faith is much too feeble for me to even begin to seriously contemplate the jump; my energies are better invested somewhere else.

    April 14, 2013

    • Garry R.

      The truth of conditionality destroys the notion that there has ever been a creator being. That does not necessarily mean a denial of the existence of God because the concept of God means many things to many different people. It is only the aspect of God that relates to it being a all powerful creator that is denied by the truth of conditionality. If we follow the rationale of conditionality, even from the conditioned mind of common sense or the intellect we will understand that at any moment in this thing we call time or history, for a creator to have existed there must have been something that preceded it for it to become the creator and therefore that thing then becomes the creator and the pattern continues into infinity.

      May 7, 2013

    • Garry R.

      Karma is a Sanskrit word that means "action." Sometimes you might see the Pali spelling, kamma, which means the same thing. In Buddhism, karma has a more specific meaning, which is volitional or willful action. Things we choose to do or say or think set karma into motion. The law of karma is a law of cause and effect.

      May 7, 2013

  • Keri P.

    Hi there

    I would love to come if there is still space available?

    May 2, 2013

  • Elisabeth de B.

    Overlooked that I will still be in the Eastern States 8th May. On my return I will study all the events a bit more closely. Being a latecomer I realise there is a lot happening in this society.

    April 30, 2013

  • Elisabeth de B.

    Hi All. At the moment I am just busily reading all your notes and soaking up some of the info to get a feel of what you are all about.
    I think I have landed in the right territory.

    1 · April 27, 2013

    • Diana B.

      Hi Elisabeth. You are most welcome. Also have a look at our Facebook page.

      April 27, 2013

    • Stevie

      Hi Elisabeth, hope we get to meet soon!

      April 29, 2013

  • Garry R.

    As an atheist humanist I would say that any belief needs to be continuously scrutinised for its practical utility. If it has holes – fix them. If it can’t be fixed – find a better boat. Always look at improving your boat. Some boats might be fast, others can carry lots of cargo. This is when we realise we need to build a fleet of different boats depending on the utility that is demanded. A fast boat has different utility to a cargo boat but that does not grant either absolute supremacy in all boating circumstances.
    Boating metaphors.....can you tell I work with the Navy? ;-)

    April 14, 2013

  • Garry R.

    This is for you Jaye and Salvatore:
    Buddha cautioned against blind faith in doctrine and advised that his teachings are like a boat: when you get to the other side, you don't need to pick the boat up and carry it with you, you have already arrived.
    Is this what religion has done and it is time to drop the boat?

    April 14, 2013

  • Garry R.

    I see within the text of De Botton's Religion for Atheists the argument that individuals yearn and in fact benefit from community. I agree. Religion has honed its effectiveness on this human condition and via social feedback has conditioned certain populations, over time, with a reinforced liking for this conditioning. Religion has hence become a feature of community. I hear Dawkins in this regard. Like certain bird communities of the same species adopt behaviours which isolate them from other communities of the same species so does tribalism and religion. Eventually, if left separate long enough, the communities will become different species. The first change is of the mind which is both physiological and psychological. Neuroplasticity.

    April 14, 2013

  • Salvatore B.

    Ok ! I'm getting a bit Dizzy now. i think all our problems began with Adam (narcissistic misogynist) and Eve (play thing) in that dodgy garden. What we need is a new "genesis" ( De Botton's Religion for Atheists may help here) or a new paradigm say Bill and George (equality) in a Billabong.
    So: What we really need is a "Secular Bible" anybody out their with moderately good creative writing skills????

    April 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ha ha, Salvatore! The problem with a 'Secular Bible' is that many freethinkers would not be happy with one. It is in our nature to be critical and curious. A presciptive manual on how to live would be most unsatisfying in my humble opinion. ;-)

      April 14, 2013

  • Garry R.

    Science and all its tools are fallible and this is core to the scientific method. That is why science continually tests and retests theories and laws. Using science to reveal a truth is problematic for absolute truth is not claimed to exist in scientific thought, only probabilities of x or y. Arbitrary we may attach the term truth to a belief based on the guidance that probability assessments (which are also fallible) provide us. From what I understand, science attaches a high level of rigor to things that may be called laws. Natural laws for instance are stretched and pulled every which way to try to break them before they become acceptable as something approaching a truth. Becoming accepted as a natural law does not grant the belief in a law sacred immunity though. Newton’s laws for instance were broken in part by Einstein’s General Relativity and some of Einstein’s laws later broken in part by Quantum Mechanics; Natural Laws were found to be context sensitive.

    April 14, 2013

  • Garry R.

    Just started and already liking the book. Under the Chapter Education – What we get taught, section seven discusses the learning of wisdom and mentions Epicurus. I refer to Epicurus argument as one of the reasons why I am an atheists. I do not adhere to the belief in deities and at once recognise evil. In this regard Epicurus is credited with first expounding the problem of evil and a God. In case you didn’t read my other post, Epicurus is sited as putting the argument as a series of questions:
    1) Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? If yes then he is impotent.
    2 ) Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    3) Is God both able and willing to prevent evil? Then whence cometh evil?
    4) Is God neither able nor willing to prevent evil? Then why call him God?"

    April 13, 2013

    • Salvatore B.

      ..... (sorry i keep hitting "Enter") So where was i back to Epicuris...we cannot associate Atheism (non-rational argument) with the logic of Epicuris. however if we define Atheism as epistemological ie: "that we cannot know or determine the existence of god" then we are closer to the scientific rationale and the capacity to debate the ontological arguments of theology by using both posteriori (the empirical) and priori (common sense).

      1 · April 13, 2013

    • Salvatore B.

      So (my proposition) not Atheism but Agnosticism "no evidence for a god or gods" or you can dismiss all of the above as excessive pedanticism ???

      1 · April 13, 2013

  • Rob B.

    I read this a while back, sounds interesting! However I'll have to wait to see if work needs me that day or not.... Ill keep you guys posted!

    April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I wish I could make this one; this is one of my favourite books at the moment. But I'll be away.

    April 11, 2013

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